S.O.S.  Sort. Organize. Store.

Tired of coming home to clutter? Need a serene space to call your own?

A lifetime of collecting memories and memorabilia can become overwhelming to keep and maintain. If you’re in the mood to purge, simplify and organize, this blog’s for you!

We’ve broken down the essentials for a room-by-room attack. Don’t think of it as work. Organization can be one of the most gratifying tasks you’ll tackle.

Before we start, let’s talk about “things.” For years, the design push has been minimalism, less-is-more, get rid of it. Collectors and lovers of things were seen as hoarding too much. But now there’s a swing back to embrace oddities, memorabilia and collections with an emphasis on how to display and curate them. The new “it” term is maximalism. It’s about surrounding yourself with what you love and find interesting. There’s nothing bad about loving things – collecting is a way to chronicle your life and cherish memories. Remember that as you go through your house. Purging doesn’t mean complete elimination. If you still treasure that china plate, keep it! Eclectic and interesting makes your house unlike any other.

(Read more about Maximalism)

Before we begin, make a list of the rooms you’d like to organize in order of importance. Think about where you spend the most down time and start there. Creating a retreat you love is essential. Study each room’s color scheme and style to start thinking about storage choices. Unconventional solutions like baskets and storage benches can also add a design element. Keep a notepad ready to make a shopping/supply list. (Think of ways to reuse/repurpose storage containers you may already have and note those on your supply list, too!)

Let’s go through two main rooms and organize. You can take it from there!

Just remember S.O.S. – sort, organize and store.

 

The Bathroom

 SORT

 Towels

When to Replace: Every 2-3 years

Recycle Tip: Old towels can be donated to animal shelters or cut up to use for cleaning cloths.

Toiletries

When to Replace: Makeup: Every 3 months

Lotion/Moisturizers: Every 18 months

Recycle Tip: Donate unused and unopened toiletries to a local nursing home or homeless shelter.

ORGANIZE

Towels

Stack in sets (2 bath towels and washcloths per person and 4 hand towels) for easy use.

Toiletries

Keep items used every day in a convenient basket you can pull out from a drawer or cupboard. Put away to keep counters clean and clutter-free.

STORE

Towels

Make a place that’s easy to access and has enough space for all your towels. Storing on open shelves can keep them organized, easy to grab and create more room for toiletries under the sink or in cabinets.

Tip: Rolling them looks good on an open shelf.

Toiletries

Create a toiletries “pantry” for extras and duplicates (a garage shelf, closet or laundry room cupboard can work). Keep travel-size toiletries together in a tote.

Tip: set some out with a towel set for overnight guests.

 

The Living Room

SORT

Magazines, Newspapers, Books

When to Purge: Magazines and newspapers should be sorted weekly. Books can be sorted bi-annually.

Recycle Tip: Donate periodicals to a local doctor’s office, shelter or nursing home. Books can be donated to the USO for overseas soldiers or leave them in a Little Free Library.

Eliminate What Doesn’t Belong

When to Purge: Picking up and putting away should be a daily chore, but let’s be honest, life gets busy! Make a trip around the room with a box and gather the “put-aways.”

ORGANIZE

Periodicals and Books

Find a stylish storage solution like baskets and decorative bins. If keeping a lot of books, invest in shelving.

Surface Clutter

Clear all the surfaces. It’s amazing what a difference looking around and having a clean slate can make. Now sort and carefully select what to put back. Create groupings if you want to display items. Three is optimum.

Collections/Photos/Memorabilia

Choose a favorite collection to feature. Maybe it’s time to eliminate some extra collectibles. Keep what makes you happy. Photos can be sorted by duplicates, to-store and to-be-framed.

Overwhelmed? Pick a Category

Sometimes the best way to start is gathering all similar things into piles. Just seeing everything together can show you how much excess or duplicates you have (pens/paper/books etc.).

STORE

Periodicals and Books

A basket or container by seating works well for what you’re reading now. If you’re a book lover, invest in shelving. Remember, a place for everything and everything has its place.

Surface Clutter

Some things will rotate seasonally. Make a room storage bin for the garage or a closet. Be sure to have a “donate” box ready.

Collections/Photos/Memorabilia

This is the fun part! Use your imagination to find ways to display your collectibles. Think shadowboxes, terrariums, apothecary jars and boxes. Raid your attic. Browse flea markets. Be inspired. Let your own personal style show and you’ll feel at home with your collections.

Find more display ideas.

 

Final Tip:

If you’re still having trouble purging, try this: create a “maybe” box for items you aren’t sure about donating. Store the box for a couple months. If you haven’t missed anything, it’s time to let it go.