Declutter and Organize Your Off-Season Storage Zone
November is the perfect time to declutter and organize your off-season storage areas. Very often this zone is in your basement or attic. This time of year, it is not too hot or too cold and you are probably already digging around looking for your holiday decorations.
Look around. How are you using this storage zone? What are you storing here? You might store:
· Seasonal decorations
· Seasonal items for your home like fans or heaters
· Bulky off-season clothing or sporting equipment
· Household items you wish to keep but are not currently using
· Toys, clothing, or other items you want to pass on to friends or family
· Archival paper
Arrange your items so that you have them stored by category. This will give you a chance to see how much you really have and the condition of the items that have been stored. How many suitcases do you really use and need? How many of those seasonal decorations have not left the storage area for years?
Decide the best place in this zone to keep each category.
Things that you are just storing but have no immediate plans to use can go to the back. Household items you are keeping but not using fall into that category. Take time to assess what you have and why you are holding on to it. The wooden crate that holds a large glass bottle that you use when moving the bottle is a keep. The homemade round table that was used to use for outside parties is just taking up space and should go – likewise the big decorative fan made of palm fonds.
Items that you are storing to pass on to others would also go to the back. But will the people really want these things? Many of the toys saved for grandchildren to play with now look tired and not worth keeping. Check and see if the person you thought would like the item (an end table or trunk) really will want it. If not, now is the time to let it go and make room to move around.
Items you use often like a cat carrier or suitcases should be nearer the entrance.
Leave space between each category so that you can safely retrieve or store items without having to move stuff out of the way.
Label all containers. Use large labels you can see from some distance. Even if a container is clear, it is hard to see what is inside if the lighting is dim.
It helps to locate seasonal holiday items if you use colored or themed containers. Still label the containers with the primary items. This keeps you from having to dig though multiple boxes to fine the advent wreath or creche you want to use early in the season.
Take time to look through archival papers. Are there now some that can be tossed or shredded? If you label these containers by the year it is easier to keep on top of what can be released. It will also help you find what you need if the occasion arises.
If you have not decluttered or organized this area for many years – or since you moved it – it may take more than one session to work though. Schedule times on your calendar to work though it and call in help if necessary. When you complete this zone you will feel so much lighter and it you tackle it again next November, it will not be nearly so difficult.