I recently moved back down to my childhood house near the city of Miami; I am moving in with a friend in the fall, so my old lease is ending, and decided to go through all the things I haven't used since I moved up to Orlando.
Here are a few things I have learned:
1. Anything you don't want get rid of it.
There is a method of organizing called Konmari popularized by Marie Kondo. (Here is her book, it's a great read and very worth it.) One of the core tenants of Konmari organization is whether or not the item Sparks Joy in you. Basically, if you are happy when you see the item, if it brings you Joy then you should keep it. However, if it makes you sad or you feel indifferent, then you should donate it. Things you have no use for or haven't touched in a year or more should be considered to be donated for that reason alone.
2. Go little by little.
This is a marathon, not a sprint. I personally have only just finished my closet and bookshelf. I still have about 1/2 of my room and things to go. You will not be able to do everything in one go. Thinking that way will just exhaust you. Remember you have to take everything out, see what needs to be donated or thrown away, then put what you're keeping back, after your done cleaning of course, and finally take what you're giving to whichever place you decided.
3. Clean as you go.
Since you have already taken everything off the shelves why not wipe it down. Clean the dust off of things. That way when you're done, you can put what you want back somewhere clean. This also makes your room feel a lot more comfortable! It is incredible how cleaning can change how you feel!
After you organize a segment of the room, vacuum the floors along with it. Dust your fan and doorways. Open your window, especially if you're like me who pretends they are a vampire without the terrible marketing.
4. You don't have to keep anything.
It seems silly to say, however, it is important to realize that whatever you own should bring you Joy and make you happy. You are under no obligation to keep anything. Even if it was a gift. You don't have to keep anything.
There is a fear of giving things away that comes with not knowing if you will have anything later. However, you can not allow that fear to control you. I am not saying it is easy. I am not saying that it won't be exhausting or scary. It will. But the end result will make you feel much happier.
5. Get a candle you like.
It will make your room smell great and help you relax!
6. Keep some clear shelves so you can add and rearrange things as you go.
It's easier to clean up your space when you don't bombard it with things that only get in the way.
7. Don't be afraid to throw things away.
It can be hard, but if you aren't using it, just get rid of it. We all feel the need to hold onto things "just in case," but realistically, if you haven't used it in a year, you likely never will again.