Organizing, decluttering and purging are great ways to reduce the toxic load of your house, as well as lessening stress. Do be careful not to ADD toxic items to your home when purchasing organizing supplies such as baskets and bins.
BEST MATERIALS FOR STORAGE CONTAINERS
⁃Cotton or natural fabric (organic preferred)
⁃Wood or bamboo (but be warned that bamboo items usually contain a lot of toxic glue)
MATERIALS TO AVOID:
-PVC (ie, clear plastic mattress storage bags)
Cube storage bins and drawer organizer bins are usually made of cardboard covered by polyester. Do not attempt to wash those because of the cardboard. I have found natural fiber ones (affiliate link: https://amzn.to/3IzkUjm, wood, or hard plastic ones.
I like lids for any container to prevent dust (which usually contains toxins) from accumulating on the items. If you have an organizing style that prefers open bins, you can use them within a cube shelf unit, or use loose fitting lids that can easily by lifted.
I avoid wicker baskets because they can collect dust.
GENERAL ORGANIZING TIPS (Not necessarily non toxic)
Have places/ collection containers for:
-Broken things to fix
-Donate/ give away/ sell
-Projects (crafts, hobbies)
-Extra bulk food
-For things you save to reuse such as bags, once it’s designated container is full, stop adding to it (recycle or otherwise get rid of it).
TIPS FOR MANAGING OTHER FAMILY MEMBER BELONGINGS:
-Have a basket or bin for each family member, and/or to bring to other areas of the house (for example a basket in the kitchen for things that need to go to the toy room). Whenever I leave a room I pick up any items that need to go to the next room I’m going to.
-Small laundry basket for each family member for clean laundry (I sort into the baskets as I take clothes out of the dryer. Much easier to fold put the clothes away in each bedroom instead of all at once in the living room).
-Utilize the backs of doors with over the door Hooks, or back of door storage pouches or even small basket shelves. Note that many back of the door pouches are made of PVC. Here is an affiliate link for a canvas one: https://amzn.to/3IB5XgK. Or, if you want to be able to see what’s inside the pockets, here is a polyester version: https://amzn.to/3GZdrcU.
-Don’t let things fall into chaos. Keep things as orderly as you can as you go. Once you have your systems in place, things need to have a home and things need to go back in their home after use. Get rid of things you don’t use, to make space for the things you do use.
TIPS FOR GETTING RID OF THINGS/ MINIMIZING:
⁃Organizing and decluttering is like unpeeling layers of an onion. If you want to get started, the first layer is throwing away actual trash, like wrappers that may have ended up in drawers. And putting aside things that you already are sure you don’t want, that can be donated or sold without agonizing over it.
-Marie Condo has some great advice, but some of it, such as “spark joy” isn’t effective for everyone (ie, people who have a hard time getting rid of things). Instead of asking if it sparks joy, you can assess WHAT it sparks. Sometimes it is dislike/ resentment/ reminders or associations to negative things and it’s time to thank it and say goodbye.
⁃Other things, you might like the idea of but in reality need to be honest that in some cases, you’re never going to use it.
⁃For sentimental things, it’s ok to appreciate things yet also realize they no longer serve you, and it’s ok to take a pic and let them go.
⁃Family gifts and dynamics can be really hard because they ingrained habits into you, and guilt you into keeping things, which is an unhealthy reason to keep things. I never lie, but in this case I advise people that you may need to say vague things like “oh right, thank you for that! I’ve been moving things around so it might be in the attic…”
-I personally think that decanting food into other containers is a waste of time (and containers), unless you have an insect problem.
-Something to keep in mind is that there is kind of a ratio of stuff to space. So what is “too much stuff” is relative to how much space you have to work with. The previous place I lived was a great example. It was a one bedroom apartment! The ratio of stuff to space was fine for one person, tight when another person moved in, and then completely overloaded when we had a baby. My husband said we had too much stuff, but really the issue was a lack of space. That said, we have to work within the limitations of our space.
-Never feel pressure to be a minimalist; remember that decluttering is really about prioritizing space for the things you like and actually want to be able to use easily. And to simplify your life.
DETERMINE YOUR ORGANIZING STYLE
-Check out Clutterbug and see if you can figure out what organizing style works best for you. This will help so much before beginning to organize or purchasing any organizing supplies. The styles are explained here:
-Just don’t get too caught up in her example photos; if you like any you can adapt the look no matter what your style actually is. But at first I made the mistake of thinking i was a certain style because of one closet she showed that I liked. Be honest about whether you are visual or not and micro or macro. If you choose based on looks alone, it might not fit an organizing style that is sustainable to you, and may become chaos albeit in pretty bins.
(I have no affiliation with the creators).
-Here is a quiz you can take to determine your style. Tbh I figured mine out without the quiz, but took it later and it did give the same conclusion I came to. https://clutterbug.me/what-clutterbug-are-you-test
-This is a great video on how to decide what to let go of. The “spark joy” thing is not a good one 😅 https://youtu.be/yrFD8L0gR5Y
-Relevant to doing things a little at a time. Funny story at end. https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=nkFbfFGJ8Gs&feature=youtu.be
-Great method for when you only have a little bit of time or might get interrupted by kids. It will prevent making a huge mess if you might not be able to put things away right away. https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=7yQqvQ99MVw&feature=youtu.be
-Get rid of toxic clutter (she means toxic psychologically, but there’s definitely potential for items in every one of these categories to be literally toxic as well). https://youtu.be/XqK-A0jAuLg
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