November Organizing Tips

Da dum. Da dum. Dadum. Dadum. Dadumdadumdadumdadum. This time of year is like "Jaws" approaching: It starts off slowly, your stomach twisting at the approach of the holiday season. Suddenly, the onslaught: invitations arriving, others to be sent, parties to plan, those to attend, too much food, outings with family members in town, gifts to buy, and more.

Often, it all begins with a foray into your basement, attic or garage, where the holiday items are stored. Talk about a horror movie.

Janice shares some fantastic holiday organizing ideas and ways to keep it simple from party planning to gift buying on the MYM YouTube Holiday Tips channel {link}.

Meanwhile, let's take a look at getting that storage space organized so you can find both the lights and your holiday spirit:

  • As with any room, choose a spot to start and work around in a circle. Have some big trash cans/donate bins set up nearby because storage spaces are ripe for purging. Studies show we only use about 20 percent of our stuff. That other 80 is usually found in our houses' hidey-holes.
  • Think about sprucing up the space. We often "dump and run" with our storage areas because we find them unpleasant. Why not make it easier to put things away and find them later? Do this by installing shelves. We love the plastic "stick them together" shelves that require no tools, but shelves come in all shapes, sizes and materials these days. Add some lighting and spray clean the windows to brighten up the space. No one wants to spend time in a dank, dusty area.
  • This goes along with the FSM principle: Select Success Tools. When choosing the shelves, make sure they will fit in your space and hold your current set of bins or boxes. Consider putting the more fragile materials or paper items in plastic bins instead of cardboard boxes to protect them from flooding. Add labels to the shelves to make it easier to put things away later.
  • Basements, garages and attics get messy easily because it's one big large room. Set up departments in the space based on your items to manage things more easily. One section or set of shelves will hold your holiday stuff, making it a cinch to find! A great shelving product for areas that aren't configured to hold shelves is AtticMaxx. One section can store exercise equipment and related items while another area can be set up as a workshop, divided into sections for tools, painting materials and extra extension cords.
  • Finally, as you purge and add items to the pile:
    • Make Smart Choices. As you move stuff to the storage area, ask yourself why you are keeping it. "Just in case doesn't count." "Under what circumstances will I use this item?"
    • Minimize Internal Clutter. Storage spaces often house our cherished memorabilia. That's fine. We're not suggesting you get rid of your late grandmother's favorite quilt or that box of family photos. But so many other items find their way to the basement because we might use them "someday." Reconsider: 1) the bag of purses you haven't touched in five years 2) the hideous and oddly shaped mug your uncle made that's simply collecting dust and 3) the piles of bud vases.

Bonus tip:

  • Develop Meaningful Habits: When you move things to storage, are you just dumping them and running away? Develop good habits by putting boxes back where you found them instead of tossing things down the stairs. :) (Don't worry - we're guilty of it, too, sometimes.) Once you've improved the lighting in the space and added the labels, you might find this part easier.

Workbook :

Want more ideas? Check out our workbook, "Get Organized This Year!" chock full of tips and ideas for each month of the year.