Sort, trash, donate, clean, repeat. We’ve all experience the organization and storage highs and lows. Are you ready to truly dive into your organization project? Are you ready to freshen up your home?

Yes! Here you are, finally cleansing your home of all the clutter that has built up over the years. How have you accumulated all of this stuff, anyway? Why do you even need it?

Then, comes the hard part. A project you anticipated would only take a couple of hours turns into a month-long nightmare of heated spousal arguments and internal debates about your material attachments.

So, before you dive headfirst into a storage project, let’s differentiate some housekeeping projects. Demystifying the needs of each project can help lighten the stress of what each project needs.

Storage vs. Organization

There’s organizing, clearing cutter, and storage. Organizing and clearing cutter are two different things. Clearing clutter involves removing items. Organizing what you decide to do with what’s left. Storage is reserved for the items you want to keep in the space but want to keep out of direct site. Best-selling Japanese author Marie Kondo (The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up) actually writes that the point of organization is to purge as much unnecessary material belongings as possible to eliminate the need for storage. The essence of storage should be in practicality and access.

 

The First Step?

Clearing clutter! Always begin by letting go of the things you no longer need. Physically remove it, whether by trash, donation, or selling it, from the space before you transition to organization. A useful tip is to cleanse clutter by category instead of room. Deal with all of your old clothes, for example, otherwise you’ll find them creeping from room to room. Consider the condition you found them in a representation of how much you need them. Were you displaying this item proudly for all to see, or had it been neglected for two years out of site? Avoid creeping feelings of nostalgia. It’s okay to part with these material things!

Where should you start then? If you don’t want to move in categories, try to identify a problem area and start there. If your mornings are hectic, try decluttering the entryway. Then, you will know right exactly where to keep your essentials on your way out for the day. Tidying up your closet is also a great start in terms of making your day less stressful.

Things get complicated if you come to the realization that you’re not a die-hard minimalist. You can clear some things out of the house, but beyond that, you want to store nearly everything else in the basement. You want to keep things inside the house. This is okay. Your process does not have to be perfect. As long as your possessions don’t reach hoarding heights, then enjoy them.