“The Psychology of Clutter” is a fascinating article in the current issue of Getting Organized magazine. The article talks about the sizable increase in our homes over the past 30 years, the growth of self storage units and the trend that’s driving it all: we’re simply purchasing more and discarding less.
The writer suggests that behind all the clutter and disorganization in our lives is a sense of insecurity – we buy things to suppress the uncomfortable feeling we get from not having what everyone else seems to have. As things pile up, we become more disorganized and less productive. The article says that we can free up energy currently being wasted on stuff that’s in the way, out of place, and not needed.
And who couldn’t use more energy?! The writer concludes that clearing our environment of clutter and sorting through the accumulated mess around us will help us attain a healthier lifestyle.
AtticMaxx is a proud sponsor of Getting Organized magazine. At the end of the article, look for our new ad, and tell us what you think about the ad and/or the article. You can comment below or on our Facebook page.
If you have followed us through the first three steps of our “Organize Your Attic” blog series, you might be amazed at just how great your attic looks. Why not take the final step and do what it takes to keep your attic looking this organized for years to come? Use these tips to find what you need, when you need it, and make it last!
Maximize attic storage space with the AtticMaxx Shelving System.
With all the cleaning you have been doing, you might be surprised at the amount of space you now have in your attic. But did you know that you can create even MORE room in your attic with the AtticMaxx Shelving System? Our attic truss shelves utilize the often wasted vertical space between attic trusses for easily accessible and stable bin storage space. The system includes 22” x 22” solid wood shelves with adjustable straps and a swiveling metal bracket, offering flexibility to accommodate varying angles of trusses depending upon the slope of the roof. The shelves install in minutes with a screwdriver, level and four screws, and hold up to 50 pounds each.
With AtticMaxx shelves in place, you’ll have an ideal storage place for all of your “keep” items (see Step Two), have plenty of room for walking and avoid toppling towers of totes. No more stacking and unstacking!
Speaking of totes, let’s talk about attic storage containers. Avoid cardboard and opt for sturdy, clear plastic containers with good-fitting lids. Take your organization one step further by color coordinating containers or even just the lids to the season (e.g., red for Christmas, yellow for Spring/Easter, orange for Halloween) and using labels that are temperature and humidity resistant.
Seal up any openings you discover, use cedar blocks to deter moths, and make sure there are no food items stashed in boxes (e.g. leftover Halloween candy that might be hiding in a plastic pumpkin!).
Write an inventory of what you’re keeping in your attic and where items are stored for easy reference in the future. Attach this list to the back of the attic door or just next to your attic ladder.
Tap into resources.
We can always benefit from an organizing tune up now and then. Consider an expert consultation from a professional organizer throught the National Association of Professional Organizers (NAPO), subscribe to helpful newsletters or magazines such as Getting Organized Magazine and visit retailers that specialize in organizing products such as OrganizedAtoZ.com and StacksandStacks.com. It’s fun and helpful to learn about all the latest tips, tools and products to help us simplify our lives!
Finally, snap an “Organize Your Attic” AFTER picture.
Enjoy comparing it to your “before” picture, which we recommended all the way back in Step One! And, keep both of them as an incentive for your next big organization project.
If you have stepped up to the “Organize Your Attic” challenge, we would love to hear about your experience or see your “before” and “after” pictures. Leave us a comment below or speak up on our AtticMaxx Facebook Page.
We hope that 2013 is your most organized year yet!
Have you hit a speedbump in your attic clean up? Check your progress and consider some helpful strategies for overcoming obstacles and getting the job done. Questions to ask yourself:
- Are you putting off decisions on too many items? Revisit your rules to organize by, which we covered in Step One, and make sure you’re following them.
- Are you making your way through the space at a realistic pace? If not, you might consider setting a timer and giving yourself 30 minutes or less per box to speed up decision making.
- Are you seeing any trends in the items you’re having a harder time parting with? If so, spend some time considering why you’re having a hard time letting go. Ask yourself if a picture of certain items would be just as good as keeping the item itself.
This is also a good time to consider your definition of “treasures.” If items are truly of value to you, then honor them and incorporate them into your daily life rather than stash them in your attic. If they have less value than you once placed on them, and you don’t have a use for them in your current life, donate them or share them with a loved one.
Be aware of your stress level – are you feeling more relaxed by this process or less? If you feel your anxiety is growing as you go through certain boxes, consider asking a friend or loved one to help. Organizing as a team can be more fun and less stressful.
Attics can hold many memories and trigger some big emotions, so give yourself the time to feel what you need to feel. Pat yourself on the back for all you’ve accomplished and keep moving forward!
The finish line is definitely in sight! Check in with us tomorrow as we share final tips for wrapping up your “Organize Your Attic” project with tools for maximizing your storage and keeping it in tip top shape.
If you’ve done the prep work we suggested in Step One of our “Organize Your Attic” series, then it’s time to roll up your sleeves and get started! Pick a spot near the entrance and work your way clockwise around the attic.
Be ruthless and thorough. Open each box and sort into one of the following categories:
“KEEP” for items appropriate for the attic such as:
- Holiday décor you use each year
- Off-season clothing you still regularly wear
- Clothing or other items you plan to hand down to others someday
- Furniture you plan to use again soon (wood doesn’t hold up well long term in the heat)
- Archival paper you rarely need (e.g., old tax returns)
- Other seasonal items (e.g., coolers, beach gear, camping equipment)
- Family heirlooms you use infrequently but treasure
“TRASH” or “RECYCLE” for items that are no longer useful or in functional condition for others such as:
- Obsolete computer or electrical equipment
- Paper you don’t need to keep for financial, legal or sentimental reasons
- Clothing, furniture or heirlooms that are no longer in useful condition
“DONATE” or “SHARE” for items that could be useful or functional to others such as:
- Gently used clothing you haven’t worn for two or more years
- “Treasures” you never use and keep just in case…
- Furniture you’re keeping but do not plan to use
“MOVE ELSEWHERE” for items you want to keep but that do not belong in the attic due to the elements or to frequency of use such as:
- Delicate or vintage fabrics
- Books (Silverfish will have a feast!)
- Sporting goods used year round
Once you determine the items you’re keeping, group “like with like” as natural categories emerge. Think of how often you access these items when deciding where to locate them in the attic, keeping frequently accessed items near the door.
WOW! You did it! The heavy lifting is done! Remember to let us know if you’re on board with this attic organization project by commenting below or speaking up on the AtticMaxx Facebook Page.
And join us next week for Step Three as we discuss working through the stress and emotions of letting go of the clutter in the attic. Then, for Week Four, we wrap it all up for the “Big Reveal!”
Big organizing jobs require a little prep work!
In step one of the AtticMaxx “Organize Your Attic” blog series, we’ll share preparation tools that will help you get the job done right!
Take Stock of Items Stored in Your Attic
Climb up to your attic and take stock so you can create a plan of attack. Answer the following questions:
- What are the big categories of “stuff” in your attic?
- What truly belongs in your attic and what belongs elsewhere?
- What will you need help moving?
Create “Must Go” and “Must Keep” Rules
Before you start sorting and cleaning, create rules for yourself identifying which items to keep and which items you’ll part with to simplify decision making. Write down these rules and refer to them throughout your attic organization project. For example: household items I do not like and will not use—MUST GO. Clothes that I haven’t worn in two years—MUST GO. Letters from a special loved one—MUST KEEP.
Gather the Supplies
We recommend you gather the following list of supplies before you start sorting, cleaning and organizing:
- Good task lighting
- Boxes and garbage bags for donations and trash.
- Sorting containers (boxes) labeled KEEP, TRASH, DONATE, and BELONGS ELSEWHERE.
- A pad of paper to write down notes and an inventory of items.
- Masking tape and a Sharpie for labeling containers.
- Sticky notes for identifying categories.
- And if you’re tackling this job alone, an MP3 player loaded with good tunes to keep you motivated!
Another step you can take toward the beginning of your project is investigate local charities that will accept the clothing, household items, furniture and books you’ll be removing from your attic. Schedule pickup appointments so items can be carted away as soon as possible. If you’re storing items for family members, schedule a time for them to come claim their treasures.
And one last prep task … snap a “before” picture. You’ll want to celebrate your work when you’re done. And, we’d love to celebrate with you! Let us know that you’re on board with the challenge by commenting below or speaking up on the AtticMaxx Facebook Page. We’ll cheer on your progress step by step.
Come back next week for “Organize Your Attic” Step Two: The What, When and Where of Getting the Job Done.”