Organizing Mission #40: Conquer Your Storage Space Demons

Organize Your Storage Spaces

Welcome to Mission #40 of our 52 Get Organized Missions.

If the idea of clearing out your attic, basement, garage, cellar, spare room or storage unit terrifies you, then take a deep breath.

In this organizing mission we’ll face the fear, and make a good start on conquering your storage demons.

In the last mission we concentrated on decluttering surfaces we could see, (Get Organized Mission #39: Declutter Your Surfaces), now we get to delve into the abyss!

Remember: you only need 30 minutes for the basic mission. Extended Options are below.
If you’re new, you might like to start here -> 52 Organizing Missions.

Get Organized Mission #40:
Conquer Your Storage Space Demons

Step 1: Assess Your Storage Space (5 minutes)

First up, let’s take inventory of the situation.

Go to the attic, basement, garage, cellar, spare room or storage unit and take a good, honest look around. Decide which of these descriptions is most applicable:

  1. It’s serious: You think you could have a hoarding problem.
  2. It’s manageable but overwhelming: You have no idea where or how to start.
  3. It’s manageable but scary: You don’t want to face all that stuff on your own.
  4. It’s time: You know what you have to do, and you’re ready to get organized.

Step 2: Create a Storage Organization Plan (10 minutes)

Once you’ve determined the scope of your challenge, you can formulate a plan of attack.

Depending on the description you chose, you’ll need to create a storage organization plan.

1. You think you could have a hoarding problem.

Many people have low-level hoarding habits, but if you suspect there’s something more serious going on for you, then you may benefit from professional psychological help.

In that case, your storage organization plan could be something like this:

  1. Ask your doctor for a referral to a psychologist or mental health professional skilled in helping people with hoarding problems.
  2. Call and make an appointment.
  3. To help you learn more in the meantime, search at a bookstore, online or at the library for books that can help.

2. You have no idea where or how to start.

If the reason you can’t face clearing your storage space is a strong sense of overwhelm, then you may need the structure and encouragement of a professional organizer.

Your storage organization plan could be along these lines:

  1. Find a local professional organizer. Ideally, choose someone who’s been recommended to you; otherwise try the National Association of Professional Organizers (US) or Australasian Association of Professional Organisers.
  2. Call and enquire about the costof having someone assist you in clearing out your storage space.
    • If you’re currently paying for storage, your savings may offset the fee.
    • If not, the benefits of getting the problem handled – reduced stress, increased space, greater clarity and lightness – are likely to be worth the investment.
  3. Make an appointment.

3. You don’t want to face all that stuff on your own.

If you’re afraid of the decisions you’ll have to make, or simply dread being along with all that stuff, then you may find it easier and more motivating to ask a friend to help you.

Create a storage organization plan something like this:

  1. Choose a friend who’s good at keeping their own clutter at bay.
  2. Decide how you will askfor their help, including:
    • What are you asking for?
      Encouragement to let go of things? Emotional support as you sort through family items? Company as you stick to the task till it’s done?
    • How much time are you asking for?
      4 hours? A day at the weekend? An hour per week for the next month?
    • When?
      Be ready with days and dates, so you can lock something in.
    • Quid pro quo?
      Depending on the relationship, you may not need to offer something back. In general though, it’s a good idea to show you appreciate your friend’s time by offering babysitting, a dinner invitation, or some other thank-you.
  3. Make a date.

4. You know what you have to do and you’re ready to get organized

If you’ve been procrastinating, but now feel ready to face up to your storage space, then seize the day!

Formulate a storage organization plan like this:

  1. Schedule a storage attack appointment. Put it in your diary, let the family know, do whatever you have to to get this firmly on your calendar.
  2. Assemble supplies. Gather rubber gloves, boxes, trash bags, storage bins, labels, sharpies – whatever you need to move quickly and get the area organized.
  3. Make it as enjoyable as possible. My motto for all things challenging is ‘If it must be done, then make it fun!’ Plan to have 80s music, margaritas as rewards, or anything else that will keep you motivated.

Get to work and create your plan for tackling that scary storage space.

Step 3: Implement Your Storage Organization Plan (15 minutes)

Now that you have a plan, it’s time to put it into effect.

Spend the rest of your 30 minutes working through the tasks in the personal storage organization plan you just created in Step 2.

When you’re done, you should have everything in place so that your storage-space attack is scheduled and you’re ready to go.

And I bet you’re even looking forward to it – just a little. 🙂

Dos & Don’ts

  • Don’t feel that you have to actually attack your storage space in this mission. You’ll get more motivated and increase your chances of finishing the project by doing this planning first.
  • Do take any opportunity to add fun. If silly music, a little company or a batch of cocktails is what gets your storage space dealt with – then why not!

Extended Organizing Mission Options

Want to go beyond this 30-minute organizing mission?

  • If you chose option 3 or 4 to describe your storage situation in Step 1, then you could complete Steps 2 and 3 with a friend or group of friends. You could even create a schedule for attacking each of your storage spaces as a group.

Ready, Set, Go!

Remember – move quickly, act fast, don’t overthink.

Start The 30-Minute Timer

Before You Go: Check In!

Please add a comment to say you’ve completed this week’s Get Organized Mission and you’re keeping your commitment.

And see you back here next week!

Did You Know

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Click here to sign up for 52 Organizing Missions.

[Image: / CC BY 2.0]

9 thoughts on “Organizing Mission #40: Conquer Your Storage Space Demons

  1. Sue K. says:

    I must be on the same wavelength….this was on my to-do for months, and I tackled it last weekend. Actually made my dump-run today!

  2. Handyman says:

    One should be constantly keep on thinking new ideas for conquering the storage problem because the household materials gets to increase day by day. Unless, you remove the older one’s , it becomes hard to adjust the new things,but all the members of the family let you do so?

  3. Brenda says:

    not too shabby but what do you do when your spouse or significant other won’t let you touch their stuff.

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