With the minimum possible effort, we're going to convert that heaping wasteland of a storage room into an orderly depot where you can locate any of your possessions at a moment's notice—and we'll leave open floor space to boot. You'll be happy to know that the following strategy borrows heavily from Chapter 1's S4 technique, which, by now, you have tattooed to your forearm (Strip, Scrap, Sort, and Store). This plan is broken down into three stages. I highly recommend that you be nice to yourself and not attempt more than one stage per day. Complete a step, and then go out for an ice cream cone, the How to Cheat at Organizing all-purpose salve. A feather-duster salute goes out to Connie Edwards, a cabinet design expert for the American Woodmark Corp., for her contributions to this plan.
DAY 1: The Strip-Scrap-Sort-Store steps are probably all the easier, because many of the items in storage areas are often already boxed up and clustered by type. Check the contents of each box. Move the boxes and the loose items around the room, forming three clusters:
• I'm keeping this stuff. Be hard on yourself. Do these items really hold a place in your future? If they do, they get to remain in the storage room, albeit in a more orderly fashion.
• This is usable, but let's get it out of my life. Good for you donate it to charity or leave it on the curb where passers-by will snatch it up. If there are no takers, then that's the surest indication that it really belongs in the category called . . .
• This is junk. Throw it away—immediately. Now categorize all of the possessions that you have decided to keep—for instance, all of the golf gear goes together, the kitchen equipment goes together, and the entertainment stuff goes together. When that's done, leave the room and get some ice cream.
Excerpted from How to Cheat at Organizing by Jeff Bredenberg Copyright © 2007 by Jeff Bredenberg. Excerpted by permission of Taunton, and Random House of Canada Limited. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.