Great organizing tips from the trenches

I was the guest speaker at yesterday’s Parents Club of Palo Alto Menlo Park, who picked my brain about organizing strategies. They also taught me a lot and generously shared their tricks and suggestions for dealing with clutter and kids’ stuff.

Some of their wise advice:

— Fold Legos into a large sheet and tuck the sheet in a storage box. When kids are ready to play with them, lift the sheet out and spread it out as a play mat. Cleaning up is a cinch. Just lift the sheet’s four corners together to bundle up the Lego pieces and stow it all in the box.

— If you’re debating whether to keep something you don’t use often, give yourself the $10-dollar test. Is it worth more than $10? Can you replace it for $10? If you answered no and yes, then wave goodbye with a clean conscience.

–Still not sure whether to keep something? Calculate the square footage those unopened boxes, old treadmill and motorcycle parts are occupying and then figure out what you’re paying per square foot each month for your rent or mortgage. Do the math. Shocked? Hmm.

— Swap outgrown kids’ clothing on thredUP. One mom enthusiastically reported that for $13 in postage, she received a box of Hanna Andersson and Gap children’s items in excellent condition.

One question that arose repeatedly, in various forms, was how to get a spouse (OK, it was all about husbands) to either help clear out an overcrowded garage or just participate in regular decluttering efforts. I’m going to see what I can find on this topic and share it. Suggestions, anyone?

On that note, watch for tomorrow’s special guest blogger, who writes about what happened when she cajoled her husband into giving away some of his books.


About organizesf

Professional organizer June Bell ( combats clutter and chaos with sage advice, tested techniques and good humor.
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