Rather than going through entire rooms, which takes a lot of mental energy and creates a big mess that you won’t be able to get rid of right away, below are 3 smaller projects that will make you feel accomplished during the pandemic:
1. Pantry (the necessity): Let’s be honest, never has there been a more important time for everyone to take stock of their pantry. To start: clear off a surface and pull out all your food to look at. Toss expired food and separate the remaining items into categories; baking, cooking, breakfast, snacks, oils and vinegars and spices. This will help you see what you have and what you need to buy more of. Make sure that you have your grocery list (be it paper or electronic) handy so that you can add items as you go.
This is your opportunity to reimagine your pantry; do you like where your food has been living? Would it be more accessible in another space? When you put things back, do it in terms of priority; the shelf which you can most easily see/ reach should have the items you use most often. Then create an excess shelf for items you’ve purchased but haven’t started using yet. Make sure to take a peek at the excess shelf before you go grocery shopping.
2. Linen/ Misc. Closet (the ‘easy’ win): If you want to feel accomplished, attack the linen closet. Pull it all out and separate into categories. How many sets of sheets do you have per size? Do you need all 7 when you really only use 3? Decide on a number that makes you feel comfortable and choose the ones you like best rather than focusing on which to get rid of. Go through each category and separate out what you’re going to donate; a great place to donate old sheets and towels is the ASPCA.
Again, this is your opportunity to reimagine the space; just because the beach towels have always lived on the middle shelf doesn’t mean they need to stay there. Maybe they don’t deserve to take up such prime real estate and can be moved to a less accessible location. Your prime real estate is the shelf which you can most easily see/ reach and should have the items you use most often. If you have items in bins, make sure to label so that you remember what is where; if you can’t see it, you won’t use it and you’ll most likely buy more.
3. Paperwork (hard but worth it!): You’ve stopped ‘seeing’ the paperwork but you know it’s there. When you originally held onto a piece of paper you most likely needed it and now, 9 years later, you probably don’t. This is an opportunity to go through the backlog. Go pile by pile or file by file and separate recycling, shredding (anything with your social security number, account number, etc.). Create piles for different categories and put a sticky note next to the pile to keep track of what’s where: investments, important documents like wills, social security cards, etc., a health pile for each family member.
Use a filing cabinet or file box to put things back. And you don’t need to do alphabetically – do it based on how you’ll look for things. I have my financial folders together, my business folders, health folder for each family member, etc.
There are people who will come out of quarantine with their entire homes organized and others who won’t. Do yourself a favor and don’t compare yourself to what others are doing, you’ll do what you can do.
Try my tips above and let me know how it goes! You can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow me on Instagram @toritheorganizer