Long strands of a spider’s web and colorful leaves scattered on the ground remind us that it’s October! Already? The Holidays are just around the corner, and we know some of you have it on your To Do list to de-clutter and organize before it’s too late. We asked Sherri Hanson, long-time resident and former business owner in Snohomish,who is currently a real estate agent giving seminars on this very thing, what we can do TODAY that will help eliminate the overwhelming task of organizing.
Sherri used to have an interior design company, Sherri Hansen Designs with Wicker and Wood in the Mark’s Building on First Street. She creates beautiful oil paintings in her spare time, and is currently a real estate agent with The Red Door Team at Keller Williams. Sherri’s team works primarily with seniors looking to downsize or who are transitioning into a retirement situation.
“When we give our seminars, we’re really trying to eliminate the overwhelm of de-cluttering and organizing, particularly with seniors who may be downsizing. But these tips work for anyone trying to get things in order at home,” said Sherri.
WHERE TO BEGIN
It’s important to set mini goals. Don’t just take all of your clothes out of the closet and think you are going to go through them all one by one. What may end up happening is that you get tired or called away and the clothes are still taking up residence, but now on your bed or a chair! Follow some of these tips to make the act or organizing attainable.
THE CLOSET AND LAUNDRY ROOM
One tip Sherri gives is to hang clothes that you may want to donate on the right side of your closet. That way after a few weeks, you can start to see what you’ve been wearing, and what’s hanging around on the right side. This works for dressers too. Set a date for donating clothes, and just simply go through the right side and say good-bye to all that clutter.
Another surprising tip that Sherri just started doing is to hang up EVERYTHING when it comes out of the dryer. We all know what happens to that pile of folded clothes intended for the dresser, particularly to families with small children. This tip might save you time and the hassle of having to rewash clothes.
QUESTIONS TO ASK YOURSELF
The main one is, “Do I really need it?” Instead of making the art of organizing a BIG project, take different colored dot stickers and just stick them on items around your house with one of four colors: Red/Trash, Yellow/Maybe, Green/Keep, Blue/Donate. When you’ve approached a date for when you will sort all of these items, it will seem like you haven’t done any work at all.
Want to feel successful organizing right away? Sherri says to begin with the room you use the least.That way you are able to take a minimal amount of time to clean things up, like in an extra bedroom.
WHAT ABOUT ALL THOSE VALUABLES I’VE BEEN SAVING?
There are resources available and clever ideas to help hang on to the memories of those items, but maybe without the items themselves. Kari Townsend from The Quiet Lives Project, documents people’s valuables and creates a book for them. That way the memories are there, and the item can be enjoyed by somebody else.
Maybe your valuables are a little more expensive and you’d rather sell than donate. Art of Ebay will take your item, list it on ebay and give you a check when it sells. This is a great way to get the item out of your house so you can enjoy a de-cluttered home.
MINIMIZE INCOMING ITEMS
What would happen if you went through all of those bins and junk drawers in your house? You would probably find batteries and other essentials that are scattered about, but take too long to find when you’re in a hurry, so off you go to the store to replenish things you already have. We all have too much stuff, pick a day or even just 15 minutes to go through one drawer at a time. You might be surprised at what you’ll find.
KEEP YOURSELF ACCOUNTABLE
Tell a friend what you are planning to do, that way it will be easier for you to get it done. The buddy system works great in the area of clothing and kitchens. Invite your friend over and go through things together. You and your friend may have just the thing the other one needs. Win/win.
Eliminate a little bit of the kitchen rush by planning your dishes in advance. Sherri used to own a catering company, Celebrate Catering, and this tip helped her at events. Put sticky notes on each platter with what will go on it. When your guests arrive and want to help you, they’ll be able to match the right food with the right dish.
There you have it! These ideas will help you get started today with a goal to get organized by Thanksgiving. If you want to attend one of Sherri’s seminars click here.