Spring Forward: Mini Motivators for Organizing Your Space

By: A Clear Path Team Member, Lauren Brennan

Let’s cut to the chase, it’s Spring, the state is about to reopen, and you never organized those closets. Along with the sourdough starter kits of the world, many of the projects you intended to complete (or simply start!) fell by the wayside. We don’t blame you. Like a drawer filled with Tupperware to which there is no matching lid, this last year has been frustratingly chaotic. If the thought of the pandemic ending fills you with dread because you still don’t know what’s buried in your hallway closet, don’t worry. There’s still time to get it together, at least where your belongings are concerned. Sometimes just getting started is half the battle. 

Here are a few places around your home that might be in need of some TLC and how to tackle them: 

The hallway closet.  Usually smaller than a wardrobe closet and situated near an entrance, this area of your home is perfect for throwing away things that aren’t yet garbage. Part of what makes it so terrifying is it’s mysterious contents. Anything could be in there.

Junk mail, empty amazon boxes, broken light bulbs, a holiday wreathAll of these items are known to congregate in this forgotten place you pass by so often. Grab a recycling bin because most of what’s in here probably never belonged anyways. The wreath can stay. Maximize the space in your closet by utilizing the interior wall space. If space permits, a command strip or nail in an inconspicuous area can be used to hang the wreath inside of the closet. Other items like umbrellas or reusable grocery bags can be hung up as well.

Recycle, reduce, reuse those single-use plastic bags! 

Speaking of grocery bags, how many do you currently have shoved into a small space beside the fridge? When you open the cabinet under your sink does a confetti-like assortment of plastic or paper bags burst forth? Thanks to covid, single-use bags are back, for now. Luckily there are hundreds, if not thousands, of tutorials online on how to store plastic bags. Click on this link for an easy and free option for storing all that plastic. The Russian Doll method of storing plastic bags will leave you feeling like a magician pulling an endless array of ties out of a hat. 

clean up, recycle, de-clutter not just for spring or Earth Day, but every day because every day is Earth Day

Environmentally friendly tips in honor of Earth Day: 

  • Instead of plastic bags use washable-mesh produce bags. 
  • Instead of plastic wrap try ethically sourced beeswax paper. 
  • Large empty food containers with lids make excellent mini-storage bins for paper-thin produce bags. Poke a hole into the top and grab as you go! 
  • Reuse single-use plastic bags for smelly trash like raw meat and expired veggies. 
  • Don’t throw out plastic water bottles and aluminum cans at the gas station unless the trash is separated for recycling.
  • White vinegar is a powerful, affordable cleaning agent that’s Earth, kid and pet friendly. Use it with baking soda to deep clean dirty spots like the bathtub and kitchen sink. 
  • Use this month as an opportunity to safely dispose of all old batteries. Check this site for  for a list of places to toss them. 
  • Check around the house for items to use as organizers in the car or trunk before buying something new. Cardboard file boxes or empty tubs and bins can double as storage spaces in the trunk. 
  • Earth

Keep it moving! Don’t neglect your second home 

Cars are another high traffic area that often get treated like a trash can. We use our cars for so much more than driving. They’re an extension of our home, a place we eat and sometimes even sleep in. During the pandemic, it may have doubled as your therapist’s office, or just a quiet place to escape the sound of upstairs neighbors. Grab that trash bin. Throw out all those empty coffee cups and pastry bags. If you don’t need it to start the car, it probably has a place inside your home instead. Consider investing in a backseat or trunk organizer if you travel often. While most people can see your car coming from a mile away, it’s an easy hiding place for junk and clutter. 

If doing a little is still a little too much, we’re here to help 

You don’t have to organize your entire space in one day; starting small can provide you with the jump start you need to get motivated. Most of the clutter in our way does not serve us any longer yet we hesitate to get rid of it for a myriad of reasons. The pandemic ending is a huge relief for many, but it could also unleash waves of anxiety as we consider welcoming our loved ones back into our personal spaces. Articles like these can provide helpful tips and tricks to get started, but if you feel overwhelmed by the level of clutter in your home and don’t know where to begin, that’s ok, too. 

Reach out to us at A Clear Path and we will help get you sorted.

Are there 300,000 Things in a Home?

300,000 Things in a Home

I didn’t begin my professional life as an organizer. Rather, I spent the bulk of my career in higher education – as a student, a professor, and an administrator. Budget cuts in 2008 led to a job lay-off at the tender age of 50. It was the beginning of the 2008 recession and the first time in my life that I couldn’t find a job. So I created one.

In those first few months of stepping foot into A Clear Path, I read everything I could put my hands on the topic of de-cluttering and organizing. One thing I remember reading impressed the hell out of me: The average household contains about 300,000 things.

In order to grow my company, I needed clients, which I found by speaking to numerous groups and organizations about clutter, and where I often referenced “300,000 things.”

Are there really 300,000 things in a home. Probably if you count every little thing.

I’ve asked some colleagues and a few clients to conduct informal surveys in their clients’ home or in their own home. We’ve concluded that items in homes could very well number up 300,000 if one were to count every single thing from underpants to office supplies to photographs to silverware.

I’m serious. Go room-by-room in your home, starting with the kitchen. Count:
• pots and pans and lids
• storage containers (and their lids!)
• utensils, plates, cups and bowls
• spices
• cereal boxes

You get where I’m going? Next up, do the living room.
• Books in bookcases, tsotchkies on shelves
• TV, speakers, laptops, and myriad techy stuff
• A couch, chairs, and fluffy pillows

Dining room? Where do you eat? Count chairs, a table, cupboard, and table linens. And don’t forget candle holders and candles.

I often see a lot of stuff in home offices. My clients love office supply stores, and here’s what they take home:
• Packets of Post-it Notes in several sizes and colors and shapes.
• Copy paper, envelopes, file folders, hanging file folders, boxes filled with notecards and thank you notes, and birthday cards.
• Wrapping paper.
• Tape, scissors, stapler and staples.
• This is actually a nearly endless list – but you get the drift.
• Oh, and don’t forget the box of cords.

A working desk, but a little too much clutter. Some good organizing can reduce this to a manageable state.

Let’s move to the bedroom. How many pair of black pants does one need to own? Start counting:
• Shirts and blouses
• Undergarments
• Socks, shoes, purses, totes, robes, work-out clothes, jackets, belts. And all the furniture.

Don’t forget the bathroom.

And this is a small house!

I’ve often wondered if I had it in me to conduct a study about the average number of items the average household contained. If 300,000 things is where we land, it would be nice to finally put the query to bed. And I will never be out of work again.

 

3rd Edition of Psychic Debris, Crowded Closets by Regina F Lark, Ph. D.

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