If you’re lucky enough to have a storage room, you’re also “lucky” enough to know how easily clutter can build up. The storage room doesn’t necessarily need to be cleaned every week, but you should probably do some work on it at least once a month. If you can’t remember when the last time you worked in your storage room was, this weekend is the time to work on it.
This is the perfect room to use the four-box method, because the boxes can stay there and wait for next time you’re working in the storage room. You’ll need at least four boxes: keep, give away, undecided, another room. You’ll also need a garbage bag (I just take the whole box when I’m working in the basement) and a vacuum cleaner. Sorting boxes kicks up a lot of dust. In fact, if it’s been more than six months since last time you did anything in your storage room, you might want to consider wearing a mask or a bandana to keep the dust out of your lungs.
A storage room can be overwhelming. Unless you’re on a deadline, such as an upcoming inspection, take it slowly. Set your timer for a half an hour and start with the pile or box closest to the door. Sort out the items and place them in the appropriate box. If the item is severely dirty or mildewed, and it doesn’t have a historical or emotional meaning, throw it away.
Work until the timer goes off. Set the timer again to give yourself a 15 minute break. After your break, start where you left off. Work for about two hours total. It’s tempting to try to finish the basement in one day, but you’ll get burned out. If you really have momentum, plan to do another two hours in the storage room tomorrow.
Take the trash bag out to the trash. If the give-away box is full, put it in your car to take to a place to give the stuff away. If you have room in other rooms for the stuff in the “other room” box, then put that stuff away. Keep the “keep” box. You’ll want to organize that stuff into proper categories once you have more room. Keep the “not sure” box as well.
When you’ve gone through every box and pile in your storage area, you can begin to recategorize everything.
Some people like to organize their storage rooms with matching boxes you can get at an office supply store. You can also organize using plastic totes. It’s a great idea to have consistent sizing in your storage boxes, but it would be cheaper to wait until you’ve thrown away the trash and given away everything you can give away. Then you’ll be able to buy the exact number of bins you need.