The Inspector

By NPI, Inc.



How To Reclaim Your Junk Room

 January 9, 2023 |  DIY, Cleaning Tips, Home Decor |  kitchen, living room, bathroom, office, attic, basement, garage

Every homeowner has a problem room. Whether it is their garage, their attic space, or their basement, the increasing pace of life has demanded we develop a go-to area for things that don’t have a designated space at the moment. We’ll get to it later, for now, let’s just store it in the closet, or the spare bedroom. This phenomenon has come to be known as the dreaded “junk room.”

Quickly, a junk room’s original intent has been stretched beyond recognition and you’ve got a mess on your hands. The anxiety that you get from thinking about that task is natural, and probably a little too familiar. Don’t worry though! Rather than focusing on the difficulty of the task, imagine how satisfying it will be to reclaim the space. Now is the time to commit yourself to reorganizing your disaster space.

Lay Out Your Plan
Depending on the size of the job on your hands, the planning stage becomes increasingly important. See past the mess and envision the potential of the space in front of you. Do you want to revert the space into something similar to its original intention, or do you want to reinvent it? You don’t need to answer all of these questions immediately since the answers may become clearer during the process, but it is important to start asking as soon as possible.

Logistically, estimate the amount of time you will need to set aside for the job. Is it reasonable to set aside an hour or two to tackle the space, or is it something that might take up a full weekend? Whatever the case, set up your schedule with room for growth to be safe.

Additionally, you will need to equip yourself sufficiently for the job. Gather cleaning supplies, trash bags, and containers for temporary sorting like laundry baskets or cardboard boxes. If you plan on donating items, it might also be smart to plan out a timeframe for when you would like to transport those items as well. With your plan in place, you won’t get bogged down in the little details when the real work begins.

Establish the Staging Ground
With a solid plan in place, you are ready to tackle even the biggest messes. A vital area during this process is the staging ground. Your staging ground should be an orderly area where you can organize your supplies and potentially start some sorting down the road. Designate a table or counter within the room ideally where you can organize and orient yourself. If this sort of space isn’t reasonably available then find a location in an adjacent room until you can relocate.

Again, depending on the extent of disorganization within the space, it may be worthwhile to do an initial sweep with a garbage bag or with a box where you can gather any obviously misplaced items. Clear as much walking space as possible, throw away broken or unusable items, and rearrange simple items to provide extra working space. With this breathing room established, you should be ready to tackle your junk room in full force.

Remove Everything
That’s right, everything. You may need a lot of space, but work to take everything out of the space that you are trying to clean up in preparation for sorting. Larger jobs will necessitate breaking down the job into smaller parts to make the task more manageable. Still, start with the biggest issue to develop a positive forward momentum.

Rather than cleaning out the entire garage at once, target the top shelf of your workbench, or take everything down that’s hanging on one wall. As you work through this process, take the opportunity to do some deep cleaning on the bare areas. This is most easily done if you can clear out the entire room at once, but it can also be accomplished in chunks. Don’t overwhelm yourself by taking on too much at once.

Organize Your Items
With an empty and clean room, you can focus on organizing everything that you removed. First, sort your items between the broad categories of what you plan on donating or selling, what you need to throw away, and what you plan on keeping. During this step, err towards culling your items so that you have more storage.

Ask yourself when you last used each item, and whether you would miss them if you didn’t have them anymore. Too often, houses become cluttered by things that might be useful in the future, causing homeowners to lose track of the things that they really need.

After this, organize the items that you are keeping between what needs to be returned to the room, what can be relocated elsewhere, and what should go into storage. You should have far fewer things to sort through if you were honest with yourself while purging items.

Consolidate and Refill Your Space
Finally comes the most satisfying step: refilling the room.

Feel free to get creative and reimagine your space, while keeping practicality in mind. Place frequently used items in areas that are easily accessible and develop a system that works well for the space. This is the point where some can get overly excited and start buying new bins and containers, but remember that you can reuse and repurpose containers for storage!

Once everything is in place, train yourself and your family to respect your new system. As your new room gets used, don’t be afraid to adjust things that didn’t quite live up to your initial concept either. Relocate items and tweak furniture arrangement as needed so that you can avoid the room descending back into its former state.

Did you know that an annual home maintenance inspection can alert homeowners to potential damages before major repairs are needed? For a clear picture of your home’s condition, and to avoid a potentially costly surprise, schedule an inspection with NPI today!

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