Monday, March 3, 2014

Organizing Tips ;for March

With new snow and ice on the ground, it is hard to believe it is March on the calendar and spring arrives this month, at least on the calendar. Be prepared as Daylight Saving Time begins Sunday, March 9th.  Set your clock ahead one hour.  This month we are concentrating on the attic and clothing.

  • The Attic.  March is a good month for checking out the situation in the attic.  The warmer days allow you to spend time there without the coldest winter temperatures or the extreme heat of summer. 
  • Unless you are storing items for another family member, the goal is to keep as little as possible in the attic.  It is usually inconvenient to access and too hot or cold to spend time there.  The extreme temperatures are also not good for many items to be kept there safely.  In addition, you must take care to prevent invasion by critters.
  • If you are storing items for adult children or other friends or family consider asking them to retrieve them.  Setting a deadline to have them removed or they will be donated may spur them into action.  In my professional and personal experience, I have found that most people don’t really want them after being without for awhile.  You may be surprised that is the case with items you may have stored for others.
  • For safety reasons and convenience, add lighting and secure floor boards in areas of the attic you must use.  
  • For items you must keep, create zones for the types of items you are storing.  For example, holiday items can be labeled and stored together.      
  • Use color coded containers or labels to help identify containers quickly.  These are most easily found during or right after the holidays or seasons.  I have found brown and orange bins in October and November, red and green in December and yellow in the spring.  Of course you can create you own color coded labels, too.
  • Take care to cover wood furnishings with sheets or blankets.  Upholstered furniture should not be stored in the attic for many reasons. The extreme temperatures will cause the fabric to deteriorate and pests find the padding very inviting for nests.
  • The attic is not suitable for candles, photographs, soft plastics such as in dolls, electronic media such as tapes, and many fabrics.  Papers and files will become brittle if stored for any length of time.  Unless they hold sentimental value, they should be recycled or shredded.  There is no need to keep old bank statements or cancelled checks and most financial documents as they are now kept by institutions in computer files.  Legal documents should be kept where the temperature is controlled.
  • If there are many items left to store after sorting, purging and cleaning the attic space, it is a good idea to create a map of where items are located.  This will save much time when it is necessary to recover them.
  • Clothing   As the days are longer and warmer, remove the heaviest clothing you will save to summer storage.  This may mean to the back of the closet, to another closet or storage area, or out of the house permanently.  If they will be part of a future yard sale, store them in the area set aside for that.
  • Winter clothing takes up lots of room in closets and drawers because they are heavier and have long sleeves.  If there are items you did not use or those that children have outgrown, consider moving them out now. 

            Clothing closets are one of the most frequently requested areas to organize.  While there are great strategies to use in setting up closet systems, the biggest     problem is too many items.  Pareto’s rule applies here.  You usually wear only     20% of your clothing 80% of the time.  Being willing to let go of those items that you don’t wear, for whatever reason, will make the task of organizing the closet         much easier.

            Creating zones in your closets for types of clothing will make keeping it           organized easier.  Group types of clothes together with durable hangers.  Above   all else, do not use wire hangers.  They are not good for you clothing or closet.

            As you sort and group your clothing you will begin to see what you have in      excess and what you may need to purchase to complete an outfit.  Put those needed items on a list and try to purchase only those when shopping. 

            While consignment shops usually only take current season clothing, removed    items can be donated to a charity or sold in a yard sale.  Moving them out will give you more space for the items that you do love and wear.

  • If you have considered the possibility of having a yard or tag sale. It is never too early to plan and prepare for one.  This month is the time to set the date and work towards that goal.  May and June are great choices as it is not too hot and people are on the move.  Consider going in with neighbors or friends to draw more customers onto your street.
  • This is the time to get indoor tasks finished so you can enjoy the outdoors as soon as the warm weather is here.  Whatever the project, do not let it drag on or remain unfinished until next winter.  Make that final to-do list and get it done.