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May - Orphan Items

Updated: May 1, 2023

"This is my experience on using the New York Times best seller, "One Year To An Organized Life" by Regina Leeds to enhance my quality of life and establish lifestyle routines. I admire her take on getting organized one week and one area at a time because I thrive on achieving little accomplishments in moments. I hope this inspires you to get the book, follow along, and establish your own lifestyle routines as well!" - Cheli Njoku/The Cheli Experience LLC

I’m inspired to start my post for May by telling a story the author shared about one of her clients in the book.

It was a story of acceptance, transition, and reinvention. The client in question was embarking on a transitional period - reorganizing his master bedroom and bathroom some years after his wife had died of a terminal illness. His grief from such a great loss had stalled his efforts to reclaim the master bedroom and bathroom. It still held memories of his wife’s presence in regards to medical equipment and her personal belongings. He didn’t even sleep in the master bedroom any longer.

This heartfelt story opened up my awareness to the other side of letting go and change -


Grief will instigate pause, hesitation, and resistance.

What I learned is that as much as grief makes us feel stuck during transition, it should still be honored. Allow the feeling to have its moment as you gather bravery and courage to transition past that feeling gracefully. I’ve come to believe from experience that no one feeling lasts forever. So why rush it? Why deny it?

Let it have its moment.

I hope we hold on to that piece of wisdom as we embark on “letting go” as we address the organizational action steps for each month on One Year To An Organized Life.

Now, on to the month May!

The month of May was for organizing the areas that absorb - as the author so eloquently put it - the “orphan items” that enter the home. An “orphan item” is something you don’t want to let go of but also has no intentional place to belong to. So you stick it anywhere. Usually out of sight.

Spaces in your home that hold "orphan items":

The Garage

The Basement

The Attic

The Laundry Room

The Guest Room

“orphan items” that usually get adopted into the above spaces:

Old couch/furniture

Spare mattress

Construction tools

Items for donation

Old toys

Here are some action steps to help you get started in an intentional way:

What is the true purpose of the room?

What can stay/ what can be donated/ what can be gifted/ what is trash?

What is needed to make the room inviting?

Are you an Empty Nester? Make peace with it and own your home environment.

Reclaim your space!

I feel the room that gets disrespected the most outside of the basement, is the garage. I had a neighbor whose car has never seen the inside of their two car garage because the space is a catch all for EVERYTHING! Including of all things - a pool table. Not saying this to shame, but to draw attention to what most of us end up turning our garage into - time capsules.

I say this because my garage is one of the first places I want to show up for on this organizational journey. I would like to move the donation items out of the space faster. I would like to stop fooling myself that I will have a garage sale (too paranoid...) or that I will use the gardening tools ever again.

Love a good garden; lack the skill set.

I also discovered art I bought several years ago (still in their shipping tubes!) that I’m currently working on framing and displaying in my home. One of the cool things about organization is discovering hidden gems!

(Using weighted items to stretch out the tight roll)

To date, I’ve finished Phase 1 of improving the garage. The donation items have been scheduled for pick up and other items have been trashed or reassigned to an intentional space. As soon as my donation items are picked up, (anybody in the Duluth GA area want a barely used bike?) I’ll work on creating high shelving for the other items.

Also, I would like to have the garage floors finished with granite, the walls repainted, shelving installed for tools, holiday, and party items. I want my garage to have its own feel and look. It’s own identity; like every other space in the house.

midway through the “before”...


Respect. Reclaim. Reinvent!

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