Monday, January 16, 2012

It's Closet Clearing Time Again!

This is a remastered oldie but goodie, worth revisiting at closet clearing time of year!

If you feel a groan coming up out of your throat at the thought of clearing your closet, stop and imagine how you will feel when you get in there without wading! Don't fall into the trap of attempting an all-day stint, or you may simply burn out and let it go even longer. Setting aside small pockets of time to regularly work on it a LITTLE is more effective in helping you not have it get "that way" again. 

You can start a closet clearing habit by having the following items ready:

1. A box or paper bag for things which just don't belong in the closet.
2. A box for things to donate.
3. A LARGE trash can for things to toss.
4. A pad of paper and a pencil
5. A timer.
6. Substitute items for what you don't have on this list! (Yes, no excuses.)

Get in comfortable clothing and sturdy shoes, and make sure you aren't thirsty. Starting right after a meal or snack helps, especially if your children are home—can you say fewer interruptions?!

Depending on the configuration of your space, set up the trash bag, donation box or bag, and the container for stuff which doesn't belong a little outside the closet near a flat surface, such as your bed or a wardrobe. This is your sorting station. Now set a timer for 15 minutes and grab two or three armfuls of stuff which is not properly stored in your closet, leave the closet, and go to your sorting station nearby, keeping your paper and pencil handy.
Moving along, the sweater you received as a gift and NEVER wore goes into the donate box. The old holey coat you kept promising yourself you would mend goes in the trash, and anything you haven't used for a year goes there too!
Be ruthless, and SIT DOWN if that's what you have to do to keep yourself on task, and use your paper and pencil to write down projects and frustrations that come to mind as you go through your things. 
The main thing here is to stay focused, and the pad of paper is your secretary. The bill off the floor goes into your "doesn't belong" box, and you make a note on your paper to either pay it or double check that it is paid. Whatever you do, don't run frantically to your checkbook to find out right away! Guess what, you know what will happen if you do! You will end up back at your sorting station that night, and that pile of stuff will still be there. You will say, “where did the day go!”

When the timer goes off, throw out the trash, put what's in the doesn't belong box where they belong, do the most pressing item on your paper (like that bill), and put the donate box in your car. If you only have two or three items in your donate box, write "Donate" on it with a sharpie, and leave it open (force the flaps down and inward) in the middle of the floor in your closet so you will trip over it until you put more stuff in it, or take it to donate, full or not! If you can't decide where to put the "Doesn't Belong" stuff, considering adding it to the trash or donate! Keep the empty "doesn't belong" box in your closet too, and throw something in anytime you are in the closet and see something. Then carry it out to its destination when you leave the closet.

Don't expect perfection, and make sure to confer with others if it is shared closet space, to find out what they need most from the space. Let your kids be involved in the process, and set a trap for them to participate regularly as well.

For great closet ideas anyone can do, check out Susan Pinsky's book "Organizing Solutions for People with ADD."
One session, and you will be hooked, as you envision your closet spaces becoming increasingly usable and helpful to your daily life!
Still feel like you need help and at a loss to do it on your own? Visit me at for more personalized help!

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