Blog readers always have one consistent question after they see our beautifully organized before and after gallery. “Does anyone actually maintain their space?”
The organizing process has several phases, the last phase being maintenance. Typically when you get to the last phase of anything you start to see light at the end of the tunnel because the work is almost completed. But in the organizing world, you could say the work has just begun.
Once you have sorted, purged, and set up a freshly organized space you’ll need to carve out small blocks of time to keep things maintained. Half of my clients are able to do this on their own and the other half prefer to have me come back to help give them a boost. It’s like having a personal trainer but for your junk. It’s always easy to do 10 more pushups when someone else is cheering you on!
In order to maintain a space properly you’ll need to give yourself a few weeks to see how the new system that you’ve set up is working. If you notice that you need to make some tweaks, get to them right away so the entire system doesn’t fail. For example, if you recently organized your garage but are feeling like it would be a great addition to invest in shelving. Don’t sit on that thought. Go for it before the items that need to be stored on shelves just become a pile on the garage floor again.
Once the space really starts to feel like it’s running smoothly you will want to maintain it little by little each week. Remember the space is freshly organized so you won’t spend as much time sorting and purging the clutter. Small efforts like keeping up with putting laundry away and clearing the kitchen counters each night so that they can be wiped down will reap great rewards as the weeks go by. You’ll find that you won’t need to do a major overhaul every 6-12 months. You will only need a small tune up here and there.
Scheduling a regular maintenance session to sort, toss, and clean spaces like pantries, refrigerators, and makeup drawers each quarter will take a bit longer but will yield cost saving results. These are areas that clients tend to overbuy because they don’t know what they have stored when they are out shopping. Schedule your fridge and pantry maintenance around the your children’s school or vacation calendar, before the holidays, and after the new year. Makeup drawers and vanities should be maintained seasonally as makeup trends change and medication needs for cold and flu or allergies come and go. Always have cleaning products handy so you can wipe out bins, baskets, and drawers for a clean slate.
With our amazing climate we don’t have to do much of a wardrobe swap for the seasons but it doesn’t hurt to maintain your closet twice a year. I always have a donation bin in my closet so I can purge when my gut tells me to. I also do a big overhaul before I go on vacations. Sounds crazy considering there is so much to do when preparing to travel but if I don’t want to pack it I probably don’t love it. I pack my suitcase 3-4 days before I leave for a trip and I schedule enough time to try on and purge what doesn’t make the cut.
A spring/fall overhaul for garages and storage closets will be worth it’s weight in gold. These areas are often out of sight and can fall victim to the ‘ol “shove and shut” habits. Coordinate these maintenance sessions with your free bulk trash pickup that you are allowed each year and schedule a donation pickup from Hope Services while you are at it!
Overall, try to find a schedule that helps you live a more organized and stress free life. If you aren’t sure where to start I recommend opening up your fridge right now! Pull everything out, toss expired items, wipe down the shelving, create a system with the items that you are keeping, and make a shopping list of items you need to stock up on! Hopefully this quick project will give you the momentum to continue to organize and maintain the rest of you home!