Organizing and Packing Tips from a Pro
For this post, we are talking to professional organizer Penny Belfi, of Penny’s Home Decluttering and Organizing in Long Island, to get some organizing and packing tips for moving belongings into storage. She’s successfully helped hundreds of homeowners in Long Island with this tedious task and has some great advice.
Q: I’m about to move most of my belongings to storage, what’s the best way to pack up my holiday decorations?
A: This is a common question, and one of the biggest problem areas for moves and storage. The best thing to do is buy different colored plastic bins, such as sterilite. Christmas can be red/green, Halloween orange/black, etc. If you would rather not buy new containers, I advise my clients to label each bin clearly and with detail. For example, instead of putting “Halloween” label it as “Halloween candles and lights” so that you know what’s inside each bin.
Q: I have a bunch of cardboard boxes I’ve saved from deliveries. Can I use those for storing my belongings?
A: Although it may seem like a good idea, using those boxes is one of the biggest no-no’s for storing your valuables, especially if they’ll be in a basement, attic or garage. (But feel free to use sturdy cardboard boxes for your move!) If you’re using a climate-controlled storage unit then they should be okay, but to be on the safe side I recommend plastic bins. Why? Cardboard boxes can get soiled and moldy thus ruining their content.
Q: I feel like my closets are overflowing because we have entirely different wardrobes for summer and winter. What’s the best way to store my seasonal clothing?
The vacuum seal bags are good for seasonal clothes or even bins. Clear bins are good as well so you can see what’s inside or always label. Hopefully there is another area it can be stored. Maybe an upstairs closet or basement. If not, then under the bed storage bins are great for people with smaller homes or less storage space.
I also think that during the colder months it’s ok to leave out blouses or solid colored tank tops, or even t- shirts because you can layer them. I usually pack up shorts, bathing suits and sandals.
Q: How can I decide whether to keep something or donate it?
A: I like the 20/20 rule I read somewhere; If you can replace an item for under $20 or in 20 minutes or less, get rid of it. If people hesitate with an item for more than five seconds I tell them to put it in the “maybe” pile and then we get back to it after we’ve gone through everything else.
For clothing, if something hasn’t been worn after a whole year then you’re most likely not going to wear it again. Some people save bins of clothing for years in hopes that it will one day fit after losing weight. I tell my clients, if it hasn’t fit in the last year then donate it and instead treat yourself once you hit that goal weight.
Q: Any general advice for homeowners who are about to start packing for a move or who are organizing their current home?
Don’t think of your house as one whole big project. Do one room at a time. Even one drawer at a time. If no one sees that drawer you just organized except for yourself, be proud! Giving yourself little projects is easier to manage and won’t stress you out at much. It’s about getting things done one step at a time.
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