I wish I could tell you organizing is a "set it and forget it" process, but it's not. After your hard work of sorting, editing, and organizing, you have to maintain your spaces and systems. One tried and true strategy is to keep what I call the "Outta Here Bag." You could also call it a donation box or give-away bag, and in my organized home, I have at least one at all times.
What is an "Outta Here Bag"?
The "Outta Here Bag" is a receptacle that you keep on hand to receive items you have decided must get outta here! These are items you want to donate or give away between organizing or maintenance work sessions.
Why should I have one?
Once you start to declutter and live in your organized home, you may continue to find items that you realize you don't want any more. Don't worry, it's natural to require ongoing editing even after a concentrated organizing session. Even more frequent editing might be needed when your kids are at an age where they grow out of clothes constantly or when you are changing seasonal decor.
We need to accept the idea that, in our world of abundance, new items will always be flowing into our lives. Following holidays, birthdays, events, and sometimes for no particular reason at all, we find ourselves the recipient of new items that are now our responsibility. Therefore, to keep an organized and manageable home, we need to be ready to either immediately "catch" these items before they enter our home or be ready to edit to make room for the new ones.
Where should I put my "Outta Here Bag"?
Ideally, you want the bag in an inconspicuous but convenient place that is close to the main exit of your home—like an entry closet or just by an interior garage door. In essence, you're preparing for these items to leave by putting them near the door.
What type of bag/box should I use?
A sturdy opaque bag or box (like a large reusable shopping bag or a medium cardboard box) works great. Ideally, your "Outta Here Bag" or box can go with your give-away items and be replaced with another empty one ready to receive.
What do I do when my "Outta Here Bag" is full?
When your bag or box is full, put it in your vehicle and take it to your favorite local donation spot. If you don't drive, you can schedule a charity pick up.
If you have multiple places to send your giveaways, you can have more than one receptacle, but it's best to limit them to 2-3 for simplicity. For example, in my home, I keep one bag for various household donations to a local charity reseller, one bag for books to put in the Little Free Library in our neighborhood, and one small box to collect my kids' hand-me-down clothes to send to a friend.
Do you have an "Outta Here Bag"? Are you surprised by how often it fills up?
There will be more maintenance tips coming in this series, so check back soon! In the meantime, if you've recently organized your spaces and the idea of regular maintenance is appealing, contact us for an hour of coaching and strategy. You can either execute the strategy yourself or have our team professional organizers do the work for you!