Updated: Mar 4
The first step when it comes to organizing is doing a thorough purge. It is essential to assess what you own and what you no longer need or want before attempting to find a home for it all. Toys and clothes seem to be two of the top categories people purge frequently, but what about the things that are most often forgotten?
Below is a list of 5 things you might want to give a good purge.
Whether we are talking old Kodak prints and negatives, or thousands upon thousands of digital photos, this is a significant and forgotten category for most. Starting with prints and negatives, flip through and get rid of duplicates. Then look for blurry pictures and pictures with closed eyes, or better yet, the fantastic white or red pupils.
Lastly, look at the stacks of pictures that do not contain any particular person, place, or thing. I am talking about the two-hundred-and-twenty-three photos of trees and mountains you took in Utah, or was it Washington? If you can't remember the who, what, when, and why of a photo, there is no reason to keep it. However, if you have a picture of grandma in front of the Eiffel Tower, I would call that a keeper.
Next, let's talk about the photos on your phone or computer. The same rules apply. First, look for duplicates, blurry pictures, mishaps and also weed out any screen-shots that are no longer relevant. Now, you can decide if you need forty-five photos from your child's park play date or if one or two cute ones will do. The same goes for vacation photos; nobody truly wants to sit with you and look through hundreds upon hundreds of pictures from your last trip. Trust me! They will gladly see your top twenty, but that is about it.
There is a reason why professional photographers don't hand you a flash drive with six hundred photos from your photo session. They give you a handful of the very best ones. You can store the rest of the memories from your session in your mind.
2. Cords and technology
It is time to pull out that box from
the back of the closet and tackle all those cords, old cell phones, and other random gadgets. You know the one I am talking about, the one marked 'Technology' that is filled to the brim with all kinds of odds and ends that have not seen the light of day in years. This is the box where outdated tech comes to die.
For some reason, most people fear throwing out their old flip phones or a charger for a device they owned ten years ago. I can already hear you muttering, "But what if I need it again?" Trust me; you don't! Keep any cables or cords that still serve a function, and toss the rest. Then use cord ties to coil everything up neatly. Mark each item with a label, and you are good to go.
This one may seem a bit random, but many people purge their closets but forget to purge their sock drawer.
Do you have a stack of single socks tucked in the back of a drawer, hoping that one day maybe the dryer will magically spit out their match?
Or better yet, what about the socks with holes, or ones where the elastic is a goner, so they slide down every time you wear them?
There are also the itchy ones, the ones with the weird design that your co-worker gave you last year at your office gift-exchange, and the no-longer white, white ones. Going, going, gone! Keep only socks you wear that have a match and that are still in good condition.
4. Office Supplies
Office supplies often fall into the "I might need that someday" trap. Yes, you will probably need a pen in the future; but I can with certainty tell you that you will not need sixty-three random promotional pens, of which only fourteen work. If you only ever write with ballpoint pens, you might as well toss all the ink pens, fountain pens, and felt pens.
In the future, feel free to use the pen at the hotel but leave it there when done with it.
Another office supply surplus item is the notepad. Your bank gave you a free notepad, lucky you! Oh, but wait, you also got one from your insurance company, from the last conference you went to, from a hotel you stayed at, and from a grab bag at your alma mater alumni event. Not to mention the one that was just too cute to not buy at the craft store, the not-quite-sticky-enough sticky-note kind, the grocery list kind, and the to-do list kind. Don't get me wrong, having a notepad or two on hand is useful, but having many of them is unnecessary.
While you are at it, take a look at your other supplies and determine if you have a suitable amount for your family's needs or if your stash is big enough to supply a mid-size office.
5. Gift wrapping supplies
Most people fall into one of two categories when it comes to gift-wrapping supplies. Either they have all the bags, tissue paper, and ribbon you can dream of, or they might have one crumpled roll of wrapping paper and some smooshed bows tucked in the back of a closet.
If you fall into the first category, it is time to pull everything out and take a closer look. When it comes to gift bags, only keep the ones you can see yourself gifting to someone else. If cartoon characters or neon colors are not your style, then let those bags go.
Keep only a handful of bags in various sizes and suitable for a variety of occasions such as baby showers, weddings, birthdays, and any occasion. Now do the same with tissue paper, ribbon, gift wrap, and tags.
If you happen to fall into the second category, those who have a slim selection of less than stellar gift wrapping supplies, I suggest you get rid of all of them. It is not likely that you will dig out a crumpled gift bag from the back of a closet when you need to bring a gift somewhere anyway, so save yourself the trouble and toss it all out! When and if you need to wrap a present, there are stores open 24-hours with all the supplies you might need.
There are likely other forgotten categories too, but these are at least a start.