Several things recently have motivated me to start my pre-Christmas cleanout. In addition to the clean out I do before every co-op consignment sale, I also do one before Christmas.
Here's how I do it:
1. Start by taking out everything that is in the wrong place.
I go through the house and using small square laundry baskets and take out everything that doesn't belong in that room. I have three baskets that are each designated for a floor of the house.
2. Put things in the proper "home" taking care to put like things together.
Books with books, baby doll accessories with baby dolls, little plastic dolls with little plastic dolls.
3. Make one spot for miscellaneous toys - a car that doesn't go with anything else, a plastic trinket or toy that was won as a prize or received as part of a "kids meal" at a fast food place. I clean out almost all of these 3-4 times a year and give them away.
3. Eyeball and see what you have too much of. At one point we had three tea sets, so I cut it down to two and then to one. 4-5 dress up dresses are sufficient. 9 is completely unnecessary.
4. If there are things you can't bear to part with, pack them out of sight, and see if your kids ask about it. That may help you decide.
5. Make one pile for donate and one pile for sell.
You may have different piles, but this is what I do. I have gone CRAZY on the donations recently. Between the thrift store, the pregnancy aid center, the white elephant sale at church, and the toy drive at church (new, wrapped only) I had 4 boxes in the back of my car last week. I wouldn't even keep the stuff I was donating in the house - I took it out to the car, threw it in the proper box, and then covered them up with a beach towel so the girls wouldn't see.
6. The next part is where I get stuck - on the selling. I can always save things for my co-op/consignment sale, but I like to try and sell larger things inbetween then. Unfortunately, I just pile them up on a bookshelf next to my desk and tell myself I'll get to them later. Later sometimes never comes and I should have just given them away in the first damn place ! I've gotten a few things listed on Craigslist yesterday and today, but there's still more I'd like to do.
A BIG part of keeping things organized is to ALWAYS give my kids (and myself) a transition time. I try to not leave toys on the floor, shoes by the door, etc. Picking up things after we're done with them takes an average of 30-60 seconds, but waiting until the end of the day makes the cleanup seem too overwhelming.
Do you have a strategy when you try to de-clutter/organize or do you just dive in ? Do you tidy throughout the day or wait until the end of the day ?
1 week ago