Sep
29
How to Take Inventory and Categorize Your Stored Items

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We live in a consumer society. This means we are encouraged to spend our disposable income on products designed to make our lives better, fuller, and more convenient. Over time, this could lead to a house full of items you rarely use, but that you don't necessarily want to get rid of because you know you'll use them at some point.

This can leave you with a very cluttered home interior. What is the solution to this problem? Do you need to find more creative storage solutions in your space, or is it time to upgrade to a larger home that can accommodate your stuff?

In truth, you will likely find that neither of these options provides the long-term solution you're seeking. Adding storage won't actually add needed space - it will just take away from your living spaces. Buying a larger home will only spur you to purchase more items to fill the space.

What you might want to consider, if your house is starting to look like that creepy episode of 'Hoarders' where you can't find all of your cats, is moving some of your vast treasure trove of items into a storage facility. Just because you can't bear to part with your family's heirloom furniture or your massive collection of comics doesn't mean you have to live in a den of antiquity.

Of course, you must first decide what you'd like to keep on hand and what can go to storage for the foreseeable future. This requires you to inventory and categorize items, especially if you already have some in storage. Here are a few tips to get you started.

Create a Workable Schedule

When you start looking at the many items in and around your home, as well as those already in storage that you have to sift through, you may be understandably overwhelmed. However, if you panic at this early stage you're unlikely to get anything done.

For this reason, it's best to start the inventory process by creating a schedule to attack your organizational project in manageable stages. If you work during the week, schedule a weekend day to address one room at a time. Although it may take you several weeks to complete your project, you'll feel a lot less stressed in the process and you are less likely to become exhausted and give up.

Those who already have items in storage should probably start by cataloging the contents of their storage unit. This way you can decide if some of the items that have been gathering dust in your storage unit for the last decade can go to make way for newer items, or if you have duplicates that will allow you to pare down before you move more items into storage.

Prioritize

Any time you begin to take inventory of all your stuff, you're bound to find that there are items you don't use and won't need. If these are in good condition, you can give them away to family members or friends, donate them to charity, or host a garage sale. You might even offer them on Craigslist or through an app like LetGo so you can recoup some dough even as you clear the clutter.

You should also throw away items that are damaged. Oh, you said you would fix it two years ago and you never got around to it? Throw it away. You're never going to fix it.
While you take inventory you should be able to complete this basic categorization: what are you keeping, what are you selling/donating, and what are you throwing away?

Categorize

Now comes the hard part. You have to categorize all of your items so that you can decide whether it should remain in your home for easy access or move it into storage so that it's not taking up space in your house.

Some items will be easy. If you go on a ski trip every other winter, you can and should move your ski equipment out of the closet or the garage and into storage in favor of items you use all the time and need handy. If you have workout equipment that you use periodically, however, it can probably stay put (also, these heavy items are really too hard to move - it's not practical to store them).

Other items like heirloom furniture may give you pause. However, if they don't fit in your home or with your decor and you're mainly keeping them for sentimental value or to pass on to other family members in time, storage is probably the best option.

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