Choosing What to Sort #3

Hey Collectors!

If you have been following my blog, we have been doing a series on where to begin. Don’t forget to check out the other blogs on where to begin. You can view the previous step Preparing to Sort here:

simple sorting

Today we are going to talk about deciding WHAT to sort. I get this question a lot. What do I chose to start? What should I sort first? I am going to suggest that you read this blog once before you make some decisions and then read again as you determine what to sort.

If your house is completely chaotic with stuff everywhere, it may be a challenge to figure out where to start.

I personally love filing paperwork, but this is not a good place to start. Don’t begin with paperwork because this involves lots of follow up, work, making decisions such as whether to file or shred, you may need additional information, etc. This requires a lot of effort and I believe it is better to start out with something a little easier.

Don’t start with photos either because there is usually a large amount and not much reward because of the volume. Photos tend to trigger memories, both good and bad, and can take us down the road of the past and future. You could easily become distracted.

I suggest you start with recycling. Many people are concerned that their garbage may contain some recycling materials. If you feel like your garbage has some recyclables this might be a good place to start. You can make a big dent in this area AND it sets you up for success that you can build upon.

Choose a small area you feel ok to declutter, that doesn’t give you anxiety and where you can easily fill your “to go through” box.

The garage or attic is another good place to begin. If you haven’t been in these areas in five, ten, twenty years or more, that will actually help you. It is a good place to start because you tend to have a lot less attachment to things you haven’t seen in a long time then items that are on the dining room table that you see everyday.

Another easy area is the kitchen. You might not have been in the kitchen in a while. It tends to be easy to release expired, moldy and contaminated items. Don’t worry about putting everything perfectly in your containers. Stuff may not fit and that is okay; place those items neatly next to your box to go through.

Start small and make good decisions. Find a space in your home where you are ok with decluttering. Maybe an area where you have old, crusty art supplies that are you know you could release. Or the bathroom with makeup that is past its shelf life. Find things that are easy to let go of. You will gain a great sense of accomplishment going through these items. Don’t make it hard in beginning or you may stop sorting.

Once you have found an area, start placing items in your “go through” box and go to your sorting station. Stay focused and just put stuff in your box. Maybe put a piece of bright colored poster board where you’re decluttering so you know where your station is and can easily find it each time. If you need to, throw a blanket over other stuff so it doesn’t distract you.

Remember, take your time putting your items in your box and not being a perfectionist about the process. This will provide a solid foundation of items to go through.

Have your Keep, Donate, Important, Recycling and Garbage bags by your sorting station.

Next month we are going to talk about Keeping vs. Donating. If you can’t wait check out the podcast!

How do you like to sort when you are decluttering? By color, size, item? What has been the biggest challenge for you when it comes to sorting? Share your comments below.

Sorting is only the beginning of getting organized and reducing your clutter. Collector Care can help! Call Collector Care at 925.548.7750 or email to schedule your free 30-minute consultation to discuss how we can help you with decluttering, hoarding, extreme clutter and getting organized.

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