ESCAPE from Clutter


Ah, the quintessential “drop spot.” It’s the area in your home where things get placed — and sometimes shoved — with the intention of getting to it later.

As many of us can relate, intentions only get us so far. I’ll walk you through a system that can be used to organize any space in your home.

ESCAPE is an acronym I came up with because that’s exactly what I want to do when my house is disorganized! Here is the breakdown:

E is for Empty. Take everything (yes, everything!) out of the space. Now, rest assured. The [bigger] mess you just created is only temporary! I promise!

S is for Sort. Sort the items by creating a “keep,” “toss,” “donate,” and "relocate" pile or box. Only keep items that are immediately relevant. Ask yourself, "Have I used this in the last 12 months? Will I use it in the next 12 months?" If the answer to those questions is NO, let it bring joy to someone else. Toss anything that is missing pieces, broken, or worn down. The "relocate" pile is for items that belong to someone else and need to be returned, or that need to be in a different spot in the home that makes more sense for its purpose. This is the most overwhelming part of the organizing process because it involves a lot of decision making. Take your time, and if needed, walk away for a few minutes and try again! (Of course, you can always call me, too) ;)

C is for categorize. Take what’s in your “keep” pile and group like items together.

A is for Assess. Assess how you will use the space. Only store things that will be used within close proximity to the space. This might involve creating new homes for some items (hence the "relocate" pile).

P is for Purchase and/or Put Back. Now that you know how the space will be used, determine if containers would be helpful in maintaining order. Be sure to take measurements before you go shopping! Also, creating labels for containers identifies its contents, and it also deters you from dumping anything that doesn’t belong into said container. Next, give the shelves a quick wipe down and begin putting items away. Store less frequently used items up high, and those used most often within arms reach. The final "put back" step is to find new homes for relocated items if necessary. Don't get side-tracked! The reason for waiting until a space is completed to this step is so you are not tempted to begin another project before completing the initial one. Organizing certainly has a domino effect.

E is for Enjoy! Step back and admire your hard work. Moving forward, opening up that cabinet, closet, or room door will be like a breath of fresh air.

Happy organizing, friends!


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