Okay, organizing can be a bitch because you gotta pull out all the crap and make a big mess before it gets better.
Prepare by taking it space by space. Don't think about the entire house. Think 1 closet. 1 drawer. 1 shelf.
Where is that crap gonna go?
First, get yourself a pack of Post-It notes, a pen or pencil and 3 boxes.
Box 1: Line with trash bag and place a few more underneath. This is the TOSS box. Stuff that is worthless, things that cannot be passed down the line, paper, and trash. Fill it up. Throw it away. Replace trash bag.
Box 2: Place items for CHARITY in this box. Be it Goodwill, Salvation Army or your local thrift store. This box gets the items you don't need but are still in good shape.
Box 3: This is the dangerous box. The KEEP box. You should place items in here if they should moved elsewhere. Place a Post-It note on item with new destination so when you complete the organization, you can pick up the box and play "mailman" and deliver the items to their new home. OR, write a friend or family member's name on the Post-It note and place aside for their approval or drop-off. OR, sell the item on eBay!
Now is a good time for some tough love. Giving items to others means completely relinquishing it. My mom used to give me items that she no longer wanted but would hand it over and say, "This was great grandmother's such and such, it is antique but I don't want it and am giving it to you but don't get rid of this."
"Well, are you sure you want me to have it? Do you want to keep it?"
"No, but I don't want you to get rid of it."
"Are you going to want it back at a later date?"
Finally, I learned that storing other people's items is the easiest and fastest way to accumulate stuff. Ask any parent with grown children and a house full of crap the kids won't take. They are basically an unpaid climate controlled storage unit.
Back to Mom. After attending a few feng shui classes, I realized taking on items with conditions doesn't ever make it yours so now I make no promises to anyone about keeping an item "in the family". I'll offer said item to siblings but if no takers, it moves down the line. Mom is okay with the new plan.
Offer the items to friends or family but don't you dare guilt them into taking it. For shame.
Make some money by selling on eBay or get a tax credit by donating to charity thrift store but get rid of the junk.
Here are my two rules:
- Hold the item in your hand and truly look at it. Remember how it came to you. Think of how you've used it. Think about the space you just pulled it from. Be really truthful and answer: Does it bring you joy? This a tough question. Does it bring you joy? Are you keeping it out of guilt? Fear of hurting someone's feelings? Did it bring you joy at one time but not so much now?
- If you've owned an item for 2 years, never used said item AND you can buy another at WalMart for less than $20, TOSS it.