How To: Declutter Your Space and Organize Your Stuff
A year and a half ago I moved from a one bedroom, single story, itty bitty apartment to a 3 bedroom, two story home. On moving day, we had a small trailer and some family and friends help us move, and all of our belongings could have easily fit in one single room of this new home (which really is just an average size home). Over the last year and a half though, I’ve made up for a lifetime of never really owning anything and I’ve accumulated quite a few “things”. Most new purchases were made to fill all the new space but not all, and I’ve struggled to find functional storage space for those items.
In a fantastic turn of events, I was able to convert one of my spare bedrooms into a “dressing room” (you can read about that here and here-go back and read those posts if you are specifically interested in closet organization ideas). I would never consider myself to be a low-maintenance girl but I do like everything to have a spot, be organized, and of course, I like my morning routine to go as quickly as possible. I’ll give you my general tips for decluttering your space and organizing your things to make your space more functional by using a recent project I did in this room as an example.
1. Choose your storage/organization units
This really depends on what you want to organize. Do you need to be able to see what’s in your storage unit? how many drawers do you need? Do you need boxes? Think about where you will put the storage/organizer, is it practical? Do you have size or space restraints? Don’t forget to measure. Do your research and investigate your storage shelving/boxes/units options.
Time to shed the excess from your pile of stuff. Gather whatever it is you are organizing and sort through it all. Get rid of what you no longer need, or what is old, broken, or can be donated or given away. Use the “one year” rule: if you haven’t thought about it or used it in a year, it’s time to consider getting rid of it. Typically used for clothes, the rule goes for polish, make-up, shoes, etc as well.
3.Use Storage Trays and Drawer Dividers
Talk about being a super-organizer! Now even your junk drawers will be sorted. I prefer clear acrylic because they are less distracting and I can easily see what I have displayed in each compartment. These are ideal for smaller items like makeup, jewelry, beads, craft items, etc. You can get larger units that are meant for desktop organization as well if that is a purpose you need. Drawer dividers allow you to create your own custom compartments within each drawer.
4. Be creative
Be innovative. You want your organizers to be functional and practical and not just pretty. Sometimes that means you need to get creative and use your imagination. Shop from your own home for helpful ways to store and display your things. You don’t need to reinvent the wheel, trust me. I’ve given you some examples of my own “inventions” below.
5. Re-arrange and try again
So you put it all together and it looks great (or maybe it doesn’t), but it’s not working out the way you thought. Try it a different way. Re-arrange until you’ve created an organizational system for the things you use that works well for you.
Let’s Get Started:
I wanted a way to display and store my fashion jewelry (which outgrew my traditional jewelry armoire awhile ago), my growing collection of craft supplies, and my bathing suits and sports bras; as both have outgrown their space in my dresser. Odd collection right? I know. Ordinarily, I wouldn’t put craft supplies in with jewelry and clothes, but, my storage options were either my dressing room or the scary basement, and, well, I guess now you know why I chose to include it in with this stuff 🙂
I researched storage units for a really long time. The price commitment was tough, IKEA has nice options, cheap, not great quality. I knew I wanted white, simple, with a few large drawers for the bathing suits and active wear. Home Decorators had a great sale on the solid wood unit I bought, plus I had a $30 off coupon,
I went through all of my jewelry and tossed all that were broken and tarnished from too much wear. I did the same with my swimsuits and sportsbras; any that didn’t fit or had been over-worn I trimmed from my collection.
To organize and display all of my “stuff” I used acrylic organizer trays, all of which were from Homegoods and ranged from $5 on clearance to $16. I highly recommend! I don’t really wear much make-up but I think both the storage unit and the acrylic trays would be perfect as a make-up organizer 😉
Through trial and error and a little creativity, I’ve come up with what I think is the most functional (for me) set-up of a “dressing room”. I use a swan decoration I bought at the thrift store ($2), from some era, probably the 60’s or 70’s to display my watches (otherwise I won’t remember to wear them), an amazing decorative bowl from Homegoods ($2.99) to keep my extra hair-ties easily accessible (this is absolutely my #1 accessory, I hate to admit it), and a decorative wall plaque with knobs to hang my necklaces to avoid annoying tangles. On my dresser I’ve got a pile of notebooks handy (I’ve got one in my purse, work bag, on my desk, and next to my computer as well; writing down my thoughts the second I “think them” is the only way I get anything done…. that’s another highly recommended tip of mine).
Stanton 6 + 2 Drawer Wide Storage Cart in White: $231.00 from Home Decorators
Acrylic organizer trays: $5-$16 from TJ Maxx/Homegoods – they also have these in all kinds of cute patterns
Wall plaque with knob hooks: $12.99 from TJ Maxx/Homegoods
Burlap Bracelet Stand: $5.99 from Michael’s
Frame: $7.99 from TJ Maxx/Homegoods
Tray: (old) From Bath and Body Works