Clearing out our 15×16 storage shed was a huge eye opener – the in your face fact look at our things that showed me the reality of neglect! Sure we purge a lot and are anti-hoarders but we completely overlooked our storage shed since we don’t hang out in there often.
But since we’re turning the space into a multifunctional space that needs to look good, but still store things, it was a challenging goal – get rid of probably 75% of our things.
I wanted to share what I learned that might encourage you to tackle the garage, storage unit, shed, room, and even closet.
- Decide if it’s really worth the space. You know the faux foam pumpkins? We have a few of them and they take up so much room. I used to have mini haystacks too and it was so bulky, all to display for a few weeks. Right now they are on our porch but after this season, they will be donated. I don’t love them enough to allow them to take a shelf of space for 11 months out of the year. And maybe it means I just don’t love decorating for fall enough). Here’s an idea – I’ll just buy real pumpkins for decor and I can throw them away after the holidays! You should also ask ourself how many times you’ve actually searched for that item instead of waiting for that “one day.” And that dress you may one day wear for a themed party? Maybe it’s best to search for a new one if that party theme invitation ever comes.
- Consider buying live seasonal items for decor. Last month I bought 5 votive holders online for pickup. I went to get them and they were not votive holders, more like hurricanes! Then I still decided to keep them (I wish I didn’t and now I tossed the receipts and tags) and I was pretty upset I had to store them until use – the goal for Christmas use. Spending about $100 on them, I realized I can hire a florist friend to create a gorgeous centerpiece for the same price for my annual party and toss it after. It would look prettier, creative, fresh and better than votives – so this will now be the route I take, annually.
- You have to compromise with your other. In our case, most of it was my stuff since I had a 1700 sq. ft. townhome before moving into our house. You know, the more space you have the more you tend to accumulate (kinda like a purse). When Benjamin got rid of a few things, I too had to show I was a team player and get rid of things he thought we didn’t need to hold onto (he dislikes Halloween, so we compromised any decor would be autumn themed, if any).
- Set a designated maximum space. I designated one very large tote to Christmas. More decor cannot overflow our of this generous tote. I came up with this idea after seeing a friend’s mom have more than a dozen large tubs for Christmas brought up from the basement and it horrified me. Listen, I love me some Christmas time (I once put the tree up before Halloween) but let’s not go too crazy! Because I have limited space, I remind myself that the closet can only hold so much – limit under the bed storage to a few bins – no going out and buying more!
- Consider swapping with friends! One of my best girlfriends text me a photo of some plates asking if I wanted them. I went crazy for them – and I text her some photos of things I was getting rid of and she went wild. Now we both got rid of stuff and got new things for free! Here’s another thing, if you need to borrow it at some point, I’m sure your friend would loan it to you. I also love having friends over to go through my closet, it’s more rewarding for me to see a girlfriend enjoy it than to just donate it – never forget your friends!
With the storage, we cleaned that space several times because of the weather (heat) and schedule, but in reality I would suggest paring your things down twice! When you are organizing, and one more time before you put our items back in (if you are redoing a space like we did). It made us think about our items twice and if we could live without them. When I organized my closet I took everything out of it and then put only the things I loved back in. Reminds me, I need to do that again – that’ll be a 2017 project.
Another fun idea is to use baskets like above that are labeled “sell” “donate” etc. You can use bins or baskets depending on your space – outdoor storage or inside your closet. These baskets were from Target.
Also, even though I’d look at the pile and think, goodness all that money! You have to realize it’s already been spent and hopefully you used that item well to get your cost per use/wear. Either you list it on Craigslist and wait for it to sell, or you simply give it to a friend and then donate. My parents have instilled a character of generosity especially to friends, and always encourage to give things to friends, then donate. So, I set a day, text my friends an open house time, letting them know the next day is donate day. It’s up to you to take private appointments if friends want to visit earlier or you have the time.