No matter which area of my house I’m organizing, I follow the same routine when it comes time to decide what to keep or what to donate.
I ask myself these questions:
One. Have I used it/needed it in the last year?
Two. Is this the best spot for it?
Three. Can it be replaced if I find myself needing it one day?
If the answer to the first question is “no”, and the item isn’t sentimental or a keepsake, it’s likely getting donated. Obviously, this doesn’t apply to everything in my house but in general, when I’m organizing a closet or the pantry, this question helps me decipher if this is something I *need*.
If it is something I have used, and want to keep, I ask myself if it’s in the best spot. So, for example, we have most of the kids’ medicine in the pantry near the kitchen. That is the best spot for it since we tend to offer the kids a drink after giving them any medicine. I keep a few essentials upstairs like pain reliever and cough medicine, but the majority is stored in the pantry.
Similarly, we also keep the kid’s socks downstairs in our shoe closet. We keep a few pairs in each of their rooms, but for the most part, the kids don’t put socks on until right before we head out the door. Part of this is for safety as we have hardwood floors throughout our home and this inhibits slipping down the stairs, and the other reason is to streamline getting out the door! In the past, I found myself sending the boys up to their rooms to grab socks over and over, and when I heard of this idea I knew it would save us so much time.
The third question is something I ask myself if I’m getting rid of kitchen related things or even home decor. And to be honest, even if the answer to this question is “yes, I can buy a new one if I need it”, I don’t think I’ve ever bought a replacement item for something I gave away.
I’ve written a few posts about organization and cleaning-out in the past, so I’ll link to those below. I also want to share that my friend Kate, at Naptime Kitchen, has a wonderfully helpful “Home Reset” program that can assist you if you are organizing your house.
Read this post about it not being so much of an organizational problem, but it’s actually more of a stuff problem.