Hot Mess Room "Just in Case" Items

by Lisa Woodruff

Mar 2, 2018 | Episode 218 | 51:28

Welcome to the Hot Mess Room Series - Week 2!

It’s time to sort through all of those items that you’ve been hanging onto without ever knowing where they’re likely to eventually end up.

Storage is essential, but it can quickly get out of control. It’s time to ask yourself two simple questions…

  1. Will I use this item 1-4 times a year?
  2. Is this item saved for a specific person, for a specific date in the future?

If you can answer yes, the item can stay. If it’s a no, it’s time for it to go. Storing things that you need is fine, and the more organized you get, the more you’ll appreciate a well-functioning storage room.

This course is now a BONUS in the ALL ACCESS program.

The number one goal for storage is to ask yourself if an item is something that you’re ever going to use. This applies to your items and the items that you are storing for others.

Here’s some of the things that I find most people store…


Are you saving gifts, but you don’t know who they’re for or when you’re going to give them away? I’m encouraging you to get rid of them in the next 12 months.

Allocate each gift to someone. In fact, write down a list of the presents and recipients and put it in your Sunday Basket® so you don’t miss the opportunities to finally give them away.


An exception to this would be if you have very small children, but this only really applies at the very beginning. You don’t want to be buying things that won’t be appropriate when the time finally comes around to giving them.

Saving money by buying items in advance only ever gets you so far. Instead, switch your mindset to buying things up to 6 weeks in advance. It will help you to budget and only buy the things that you really need.


I hear about so many people who have hundreds of rolls of wrapping paper in their storage!

Instead of endless rolls, I now buy plain white handled bags and put colorful tissue paper inside with the gift. It’s a really good alternative to keeping all of those rolls.

When you do buy wrapping paper, consider using a design that can be used for many celebrations. It’ll save you time, space, and money.

If I need a roll of wrapping paper, I’ll buy one. I’d rather pay full price than have 20 rolls that are ripped and frayed. My advice is to only keep your favorite roll and top it up when necessary.


If you have big, bulky items, think about where you could repurpose them in the house.

For the most part, stored furniture is never going to be used again. We’ll discuss items with sentimental value later on in this series, but the main thing to think about is whether anyone wants this at ANY time? If not, it’s time to go.

Home Repair Items

Ask yourself if you’re still going to do home repairs yourself. As we age, we tend to outsource these jobs. It’s not that we can’t do them, it’s just that sometimes it’s easier to get someone else to do it.

Carpet remnants are a great example of this – why do we keep so much? If there was a disaster on the carpet, chances are that you’d just replace the whole thing. Keep a small piece and let the rest of it go.

Challenge yourself to get rid of everything that’s not realistically going to be used anymore.

Sports & Entertainment Equipment

For these bigger items, think about the age of your family and how you entertain. You could introduce something, but if you do, put it on your calendar and really have fun with it. It’s all about creating memorable experiences from your stored items.

You could be hosting yearly ping pong tournaments at Thanksgiving in no time!

Really make use of the things that you choose to use and get rid of the ones that you don’t.

Cleaning Supplies

Personally, I don’t use a lot of cleaning products as I only buy what I need. You don’t need to have more than a 6-month supply either.

Surplus items can be donated to most food banks and that is a really great way to offset the guilt.

Kitchen Supplies

I love the idea of a kitchen supply shelving unit. It allows you to rotate seasonal items and it frees up so much day-to-day space.

Though, be realistic about what you do actually use and don’t be afraid to get rid of things that you’re not using.

You can always reignite a hobby in the future. Equipment is relatively inexpensive and it will save you storing your unused items indefinitely.


Children are likely to give up toys easily, but it’s often us that holds onto the emotions associated with them and we struggle to let go.

Think about whether your future grandchildren will play with these toys and the condition that they’ll be in in 20 years time. If they’re resilient and evergreen, keep a bin full of the special ones and donate or sell the rest.

There’ll always be opportunities to get the buzz out of buying more when the time eventually arrives.

If you have young children and rotate toys, you can answer yes to my first question above and, therefore, they can stay... for now!

Here's a short video with advice on getting rid of your children's old toys:

Home Décor

We rarely go backwards in our decorating tastes so don’t hold on to previous leftover decorating items. A change can be fun, but decide whether you want to use the items that you’re already keeping.

The likelihood is that when you decorate, you’ll want to buy new things rather than take old items out of your storage room.

Vases – where do I start with these?! Almost all flowers come with a vase these days so get rid of them! (Unless you’re my mom as she uses them ALL of the time!)

The general rule is to keep a few, but the rest must go.

Children’s Storage

Our homes are often a free storage facility for our children, but there must come a time when we need to address whether the things are EVER going to be used again.

I know this is a hard one, but if they don’t want it and you don’t need it, I’m giving you permission to let it go.

It’s not your job to think about other ways you can use it. Take the stance that you did your job and now it’s time to let it go.

A good way to think about this is how you would feel if your mom turned up one day with boxes of everything from your childhood. It would be cool to go through them, but you really don’t need it.

Making Money

Sometimes there will be items in your storage room that may potentially have financial value. The problem is they’re probably not worth as much as you think.

The sad truth is that, in most cases, prices are diminishing every single day. The resale market is flooded and there’s not much value in physical things anymore.

There's Not Much Value In Physical Things | Organize 365

It’s time to take action and take it out of the hot mess room and into the living room. You need to see it every day to get the motivation to do something with it!

You could even donate it instead of wasting time trying to sell something that may not be worth as much as the time involved. Ask yourself how much it would cost to get a professional organizer (like me!) around to sort things for you? Most of the time, the items will be worth less.

There is always a trade off between time and money. Organization is always going to give you more time and less stress.


In my opinion, clothing has no place in the hot mess room, with a couple of exceptions.

It could be that you live in a small apartment and you have to rotate your clothing because your closet is too small to hold everything. That is absolutely fine.

You may have small kids and are keeping clothes to re-use again. That is also fine! Parents sometimes buy things 6 months ahead and there are some great systems for this, but don’t fall into the trap of buying clothes when they start to get older to avoid spending money on things that they won’t then wear.

If you’re lucky enough to have people who give you children’s clothes, use it as an opportunity for dress up like we used to! Pick out the favorites and donate the rest. My ratio was always about an 80% donate rate.

Take The Time

Clothing maintenance takes time and I suggest you take a day a season to really go through everything. I love this production! In our house, we clear out the worn-out clothes and move on. We don’t justify things – we just get rid of it and go shopping for new ones as and when they’re needed.

The Series

I know that organizing a hot mess room doesn’t happen overnight so I’m creating this 4-episode podcast series to tackle things. This is Part Two. Last week, we laid the foundation and over the next two weeks we will cover:

This course is now a BONUS in the ALL ACCESS program.



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