How to Sort Your Stuff

So, you know you want to get organized. You’ve opened the door to the room. (You know which room I’m talking about … yeah, THAT room.) You’ve stepped inside. You’ve sat down by a pile of things you keep meaning to go through, and you’ve either frozen in place or stomped out in frustration.

You don’t know how to decide what to do with it all.

Well, here’s a little help. It’s the mock-up of a decision tree/flow chart Daniel and I are in the process of developing, based on our own experiences. Consider it your map to the mental process you need to go through in order to successfully sort through your clutter.



Filed under Organizing, Sorting

2 responses to “How to Sort Your Stuff

  1. ahare

    Hi Andrea, what is your definition of, “Meets Sentimental Threshold?”

    • Hi! That’s a great question. I think it is different for everyone–it’s a sliding scale. But if I were to quantify it for myself it would be, for instance, at least a 6 on a scale of 1-10, with 1 being “not very sentimental and not necessary to keep,” 5 being “sentimental, but not necessary to keep,” and 10 being “very sentimental, very necessary to keep.”

      In other words, if it is an item that you were given by a classmate in kindergarten that you don’t remember and didn’t stay friends with, that item may only be sentimental if it is the only item from kindergarten you have and wish to keep for that reason (maybe a 6). Or you might throw it out because kindergarten was so long ago and you never kept in touch with the individual (maybe a 1).

      Or say you have a sweater from your grandmother. She knit it for you and it was the last gift she gave you. If you were close and the sweater still fits and you like it, that would probably be a 8-10. If it doesn’t fit, you never liked it, but you are reluctant to part with a treasure your grandmother knitted, it might be a 6. If, however, she knitted you a sweater every year and you have too many, choose only 1-2 sweater(s) that you love the most and can fit or turn into, say, a throw pillow for a favorite chair. That sweater would be about an 8, and the others would be a 6 or less, depending on the sweater.

      So, basically, my idea of “meets sentimental threshold” is an item that meets the requirements of being both sentimental and rare enough to keep in a memento box or used in some way in your home. My 10’s include my grandmother’s set of ceramic mixing bowls from the 40s or 50s, old family photos, love notes from my husband, anything my mother (who is now deceased) gave me to encourage me, and mementos from childhood that I hand-picked to represent different eras of my life.

      My 6’s include some special birthday cards, a few items from high school or college graduation era, a favorite old t-shirt, ticket stubs from important dates, etc.

      My 3-5’s include ticket stubs from dates with my husband that weren’t special occasions (early dates, first kiss date, proposal, etc.) You know … the one movie that was so-so and you just went to for something to do on a Friday night and may have enjoyed but surely don’t need to remember. Or t-shirts I’ve worn out but did like to wear when they were still in good shape. Or items from jobs I no longer work at.

      My 1-3’s include receipts, old dishes that weren’t gifts or vintage, books I read once and have no intention of reading again, movies I never watched and probably never will, dated decor, etc.

      Hope this helps!

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