Professional Organizing Tips and Resources.
Well thank goodness I don't really live in a box, perhaps a smaller than ideal apartment, yet certainly not a box. What I am writing to share with you is a personal experience I have had last summer while staging our home in order to sell it.
There I was, going through everything I owned to see what I didn't need. De-cluttering is one thing but staging your home for a sale is something else and requires a lot more sacrifices. To make the apartment look like a showroom requires getting rid of everything personal to you. Even for a tidy freak like me, I still found it difficult at times.
Boxing up all my belongings was challenging, even knowing that the storage unit we have rented is close at hand. I mean, it is not as though I was throwing everything away never to see it again, yet as I put all my pictures, extra clothes and mementos into boxes I had to pause and think a bit from time to time. I mulled over how much I needed these things around and when I may need them again. Separation anxiety was what I went through and I empathize with anyone that is going through this.
What I did do to make it easier was to use the 4 T's Grid method; it managed to make some tough choices a lot easier.
Here's how it works; there are four categories that everything you own can fall into. These categories are based on only two criteria, making it even easier. The two criteria used are; Emotional Attachment and Functionality. In considering these two criteria and what level each item holds for you, you can easily judge which items fall into the following categories: Treasures, Toys, Tools & Trash.
Treasures are items with high emotion attached to them but are low in functionality. Those are destined for the storage in a staging situation for sure. In everyday life you may still want to keep a few around close at hand to reminisce over from time to time and that's about it. For example, in my case these were pictures I had of my family and friends.
Toys are things that have high function and high emotion, such as my partner's painting supplies and my PC. There was no chance we could part with those items so they stay.
Can you guess what criteria Tools falls under? If you guessed the opposite of Treasures your right. Tools are high function and low emotion. Things you must have, like your dish rack or perhaps your night lamp. It is hard to cut back in this area unless you have more than one of each that you don't need. For example having two coffee kettles or more than one clock in each room might be a bit excessive.
Last of all, hopefully least of all; Trash. Theses items are low emotion and low function. It kind of makes you wonder why you even bought them in the first place doesn't it. I'll get into that topic in another article soon. For me, trash was things like old outfits that didn't fit anymore and where kind out dated and my old motorbike helmet that was so old it wasn't safe to use anymore. I had little trouble tossing those things, yet once I was able to look at them objectively using the 4 T's method. It really made it a lot easier.
Now, where was I? Oh yeah, putting my life in a box. So, after spending a week, every evening, to clean out every bit of stuff we own that wasn't truly needed, I had an epiphany. Now that it's all gone I realize just how much stuff I thought I needed that I don't even miss. Our apartment is a clean and tidy as a showroom at the Furniture store and I feel great in it. It's easier to keep clean and there's even more room. I still have the items I really need and it is enough for me.
The bright side of this is you don't need to be moving or selling your place to do this. Storage units can go for about $65.00 to $100.00 a month, if you don't have enough storage at home. I found a great local place in New Westminster called "Queensborough Mini Storage." They were very affordable and secure, and I feel comfortable leaving my valuable belongings there.
Many of the things that we put in storage are things we definitely want to keep for when we have more room and the value of them outweighed the cost to store, so please keep that in mind also when considering this type of clean up.
If you live in a small place and want to de-clutter yet find it hard to part with items it may give you comfort to know you can keep things close at hand yet clear your space and gain more space and peace of mind. Who knows, while going through your things you may just decide to let go of some "trash" for good too.
Need help to do this; afraid you can't do it on your own? Call me and I would be happy to go through the process with you and give you the moral support you may need. Like a band-aid, once the strip comes off the pain of it fades fast, it did for me.
Be happy in the space your in.
Need help organizing? Michelle serves the Carleton Place, Lanark County and Ottawa areas.