2) PERSONAL MEMORABILIA – sometimes clients are surprised to learn that there is a name for their precious, sentimental small stuff. What is personal memorabilia? They are items that are worthy of remembrance and that have a personal connection. Examples of memorabilia are tickets from events, feathers from a nature walk, coins from a visit to a foreign country, souvenir books, trophies, and report cards. SOLUTION: try to weed out duplicates. Remove multiple souvenirs from the same vacation site; select the best examples of a child’s grade school years. Memorabilia are treasured parts of our individual histories and should be treated as such. Keep them in special containers all in one safe place like a high closet shelf.
3) PAPER – is a huge problem. Paper organization is a topic in itself but realize that it must be managed regularly and organized effectively for quick retrieval in the future. Ideally paper is acted upon and reduced on a daily basis. SOLUTION: store papers in containers of your choice like baskets, cardboard boxes, files, scans, drawers, or plastic file totes. The sheer number of filing possibilities and types of containers makes paper the most challenging thing to corral. First, admit that papers takes up space and therefore must have suitable homes. Second, there must be a defined system in order to file and retrieve. Third, get help from a spouse or a professional to make your life less stressful.
4) MISCELLANEOUS HARDWARE – here is a category that is quite baffling for many clients. Where do these belong: screw, curtain rod bracket, washer, picture hook, broom hook, nail? SOLUTION: in a container labeled hardware, one that is clear plastic and large enough to hold everything. Eventually, a household hardware collection expands to multiple containers organized by type or function. These bins can then be stored together on a shelf in the basement or in a closet for easy access if space allows.
5) PET PARAPHERNALIA – oftentimes lots of pet stuff clutters the floor, table and counters. It makes a home look cluttered and poses a tripping hazard. SOLUTION: keep pet toys in a basket; pet meds and grooming supplies in a box; leashes and coats in a box or on hooks by the door. Locate these pet supplies in a convenient place for quick retrieval and replacement.
6) SHOES – can get out of hand. Seasonal organization is the key to keeping footwear in check. SOLUTION: take time each season to anticipate what will no longer be worn and what will be needed. Utilize appropriate shoe racks: those with multiple solid shelves or sturdy mesh trays that keep footwear upright and in order. Position shoe racks for current shoes near the most frequently used entry and for off season shoes in remote closets.
7) PENS AND PENCILS – most households have too many. Thin out the ones you will never use. Place a cup or pencil box near favorite sitting areas where they will be used. Fill the container(s) with only the necessary items (pen, pencil, marker, and highlighter). Ask yourself, is this one of my favorites and will I use it? Store minimal extra inventory in a resealable bag or box along with other office supplies.
In every case above the collection of items must fit the dedicated storage container. Either reduce the number of things or increase the storage space. And recall Benjamin Franklin’s maxim, “A place for everything, everything in its place”.