I confess, I’m pretty organized nearly year round.  I’m one of those people that really can’t relax unless there’s order in my surroundings.  I know this kind of obsession has been referred to using a wide array of adjectives, some less complimentary than others.  🙂

That said, even I find certain parts of my home can be found in various stages of disarray different times of the year.  That’s what new years are for, to clean up, clear out clutter, and get back on track.

Sometime last year I followed a link that has me thinking differently about what I keep and what I giveaway, donate, or dump.  I’m going to give you the name (and link) to this site, but you have to promise you won’t immediately dismiss it by the name alone. (there was a time I would have!)

The Minimalists is a site that is co-authored to by a pair of young men that for various reasons (you can read their story) found themselves pairing down.  Here are two of the passages that most influenced me and have made my clean/organize tasks much more effective…

What people don’t understand, however, is that minimalism is not about deprivation. Rather, minimalists—anyone who’s deliberately seeking a life with less stuff—find more value in the stuff they do own. They do this by jettisoning the superfluous, keeping only the possessions that serve a purpose or bring joy. Everything else goes by the wayside.

There is no Minimalist Rulebook. We’re all different. The things that add value to one man’s life may not add value to yours. So hold on to that hair straightener, those colorful socks, that collection of angel statuettes—but only if they are appropriate for your life. Only if they serve a purpose or bring you joy. – The Minimalists

I promise I’m not trying to convert anyone, I’m only sharing what has started making sense to me, in part because after 32 years in the same smallish home we’re bursting at the seams.  I have 7 boxes of collectible sports cards, two snowboards and a surfboard that belong to son #1 (now living in Austin, where there is no ocean and the nearest mountain is a lengthy drive).  Fortunately, son #2 lives a short 15 minutes away and he (sorry, Sarah) has taken his treasures to their house.  I’ve discovered that a lot of what I lovingly collected over the years is no longer needed/wanted.

The book, Organizing For Dummies has a cheat sheet of the tried and true methods for a good new year organization/clean out session.  Here are the basic five easy steps:

1.  Determine the goal for the room or closet.

Maybe it’s as simple as cleaning out a bookcase or adding a tray to an existing coffee table where items can be corralled.

Garden, Home and Party: organized

Or maybe its as simple as adding hooks to a shelf to handle the extra mugs in the cupboard (the ones you love, remember?).

Garden,  home and party: organized

2.  Identify the limitations of the room or closet.  Like this clever idea from Martha Stewart.  If you don’t have enough space for essentials, there are stores (Container Store, and others) that have efficient tools for making your space handle the extras.

Garden, Home and Party: organized

Garden, Home and Party: organized

Not to mention Martha’s clever ideas for keeping up with the ‘should do more than once a year’ tasks.

Garden, Home and Party: Organized

3.  Sort the items in the room or closet into the well known categories of STAY, MOVE, SHARE or GO.

Garden, Home and Party: organized

4.  Determine what items (storage systems, bins or boxes) will help you to keep the space organized.  I love the look of these PB baskets and could see them helping with the ever-present storage issue in our home.

Garden, Home and Party: orginized

{Pottery Barn – Daytrip Lidded Baskets}

5.  Reassemble the room or closet/drawer.

Garden, Home and Party: Organized


Garden, Home and Party: Organized

Do you go through some kind of cleaning/organizing this time of year?  Do you have any tips for the process?  I’d love to hear from you. 

Happy Wednesday, have a productive rest of the week and a relaxing weekend.