5 sorting steps to success: from clutter to cleared out

5 Sorting Steps to Success: From Clutter to Cleared Out

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I know at the beginning of a big organizing project, the mess and the task seem so overwhelming. You don't know where to start. I've been there so many times myself. No matter what the project, whether it is a box of a year's worth of mismatched photos, or a long-neglected outdoor shed.

No matter how overwhelmed I am feeling though, I don't panic. That is because I know the steps to break down the big mess into something manageable and that I can sort into success. At its most basic principle, it is about separating items into "like" piles. The more you split and divide, the smaller the big mess gets.

Below I break down a full five-step plan for attacking the disorganized mess that is overwhelming in your home and your life. It has been hanging over your head like a dark cloud for way too long. Well join me in proclaiming, NO MORE!

 STEP 1) Block out a specific amount of time you think you can handle for your first initial attack. A standard clothes closet: 2 hours; a kitchen pantry: 1.5 hours; a garage: 4 hours.

 STEP 2)  Limit your distractions: Turn off the tv, cell phone, etc. Motivating music is a good idea but make sure it will keep you energized.

 STEP 3)  Set a realistic and specific goal before you start. Do you have time to finish the whole room? Can you reach everything on the top shelf without the ladder you don't currently have?

 STEP 4)  Work as fast as possible. Stopping to reminisce on memories or emotions is the time abyss of any organizational endeavor.

 STEP 5) The key is sorting! Start with these categories: Keep, Maybe, Donate, Doesn't belong, and trash. The maybe items can be set aside or put into storage to be decided upon later. The donate, doesn't belong (to me or in this current space) and trash must be removed from the space immediately.

Once you see how much stuff you have after the sort, you will know if you need additional shelves or bins for your belongings to live. Labeled of course :)

I know for the truly overwhelmed person these my seem like unachievable tasks on paper, but I am giving you my promise that if you follow these tips you will start to see a difference. You will start to see the organized space you have longed for.

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