After a first bout of organising things last year, this year I had set out to simplify things after finding the energy when I met my online girlfriend.
It all started when I finally did something about the bad layout in the room upstairs and in less than two weeks I organised and sorted out unused stuff to get rid of.
Now, there are a lot of trendy ways to do this (like the 100 things challenge), but because we are all individuals there is no one way that fits everyone’s lifestyle (single, living together, kids, house or apartment, etcetera).
For me it’s looking at what I need at minimum and add one item in reserve.
Clothing for instance. I usually do one laundry a week, so I keep enough clothes (winter and summer clothing) to last me one week and a few days extra when I can’t do laundry in time.
Towels, three. Shoes, one pair for work, one pair for leisure time.
Kitchen, two forks, knives, spoons, plates, cups, glasses, etcetera. I’ve only used one small, one medium sized pan and a wok in the last couple of years. The rest of the pans, pots, glasswork, cutlery and what have you, back in the box and stored away until needed.
I used large plastic containers to go through my electronic items, sorting them in power cables and transformers, network and phone cables, internal peripherals, desktop switches and routers, and audio cables and assorted items. It’s still a lot, but it’s cleanly organised now and I can see what I’ll use in the next year and get rid of what I don’t.
Those same containers were also used to sort out tools and materials.
After having done all this I have ten boxes and two bags of unused stuff stored away now.
What’s left that takes up a lot of space? Books, DVD’s, CD’s. The nice things in life. :-)
There are some requirements though to keep things organised and clean, mainly enough space to store everything you need.
I know of myself that if I can’t put things back easily, I’m less inclined to do just that and leave it where it is. So if things are kept in a place that’s harder to reach or has more stuff in front of it, it doesn’t work.
Which is why I’ve exchanged all storage with IKEA’s IVAR racks (only using the shelves) because the tallest rack with 50cm shelves is 1 cubic metre of open storage space.
Any rack will do, but if it’s flexible enough to put shelves at different heights it’s most effective. I even used a predecessor as my desk for years, making it a little secluded corner to study in (attach a dim spotlight to the bottom of the shelf above to avoid using desk space for it).