Decluttering Tips From A Personal Organizer

When you have been working as a personal organizer with people for almost 10 years and helping them make tough decisions about what to get rid of when clearing clutter, there is one steadfast rule: keep your goal of a clutter-free and organized home and life in mind. And then, be ruthless.

Yes, that’s right. You can sit for hours pondering over and trying to let go of sentimental items– that sweater you saved from college, heaps of unsorted photographs, and giant stacks of old holiday cards.

If it seems impossible to make these tough decisions when you are decluttering remember this:

  1. It’s harder to live with clutter than it is to clear away things that don’t serve you at this time in your life.
  2. All that clutter didn’t get there in one afternoon, so don’t expect it to disappear in one sitting.

The Negative Effects of Clutter

 Clutter affects your daily life in more ways that you may think. Believe it or not, clutter can affect your physical, mental, and emotional health.

  • Clutter can make you feel tired and drained all the time
  • Cluttered spaces have been proven to raise your blood pressure which can negatively affect your heart
  • The stress and disorganization of clutter affect your ability to concentrate. If you work from home, this can be particularly problematic, as it can affect your ability to complete work tasks effectively.

One of the most overwhelming things about living in a cluttered space is that it can feel like it just keeps getting worse. It can be hard to see a way to stop the madness.

Clutter in your home feels like it multiplies and expands overnight-clutter breeds more clutter.

Why? Because when there is already clutter, more clutter accumulates because you don’t have systems in place to deal with what things are coming in and going out of your home.

Don’t worry, there is a way out.

Benefits of Clearing Clutter

The benefits of clearing clutter can be seen in every facet of your life. Some of the most impressive benefits of a clutter-free home are:

  • More energy
  • Increased concentration
  • More positive mental health
  • Healthier lifestyle
  • Increased productivity
  • More clam in your life
  • More space and time for things and people that make you happy

Sounds great, right? All it takes is a little hard work and you can experience all of the benefits of a decluttered and organized life.

Digging In

Find the areas in your home that are the most problematic when it comes to clutter. Choose a space that you has been frustrating you for a while or a space that you can envision being so much more useful in your daily life it was decluttered and organized.

When the clutter is so overwhelming and my clients don’t know where to start, I ask them: which space would cause the greatest impact on your/your family’s quality of life if it was organized? Usually, they know the answer right away!

    • Set a time to do the work. If you don’t schedule it, it won’t happen.
  • Before you even touch anything, ask yourself: what use do I want for this space? Where am I in life and how do I want to feel every day? How do I want to feel when I enter this room? Having these answers will help you anchor your decisions and guide you when you get lost or have a hard time letting go of something.
  • Make sure you have a full tummy so you have the energy to do the work. Decluttering takes physical and emotional energy.
  • You’ll be able to work longer if you keep water handy and stay hydrated.
  • Set up and clearly mark your Keep – Donate – Trash bags.
  • Start clearing clutter by first sorting things that have a place back where they belong so you can see what’s what. You’ll find “old friends”, those things you haven’t seen in a long time. Don’t get distracted and keep moving along.
  • Now take a look at the things that remain and that are without a home. Eliminate anything that is damaged, broken, or missing pieces, or you are confident that you will not use anymore.
  • You should now be left with those things that you seem to always have a problem getting rid of. Some things may be sentimental items but a lot of it will probably be things you can let go of. When trying to decide what to do with these items remember the answers to the questions above. If it’s something that doesn’t help you achieve the vision you have for your space and your life, then it’s time to let it go.
  • Here are some questions you can also use and ask yourself: Have I used this in the last 6 months? Will I use it in the next 6 months? What value is this bringing into my life? Is it more of a hassle to sort and store this item rather than getting rid of it?
  • Finally, take a look at the items you have left in that space. Now it’s time to organize them and store them in a way that makes sense for how you use these items.

Conclusion

Living in a cluttered home is more difficult than the process of letting your things go, so why not get started today? These steps will take your home from cluttered to decluttered and have you enjoying the physical, emotional, and mental benefits of a clutter-free home.

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2 Comments

  1. The benefits are so substantial. It really is worth the effort. I love your point about having a full tummy. Being hungry will lead to needing to take a break to eat. Then, once you leave the room, you will get distracted… much like the book If You Give A Mouse a Cookie:)

    1. A full tummy is a must for me as a pro organizer and when organizing my house. We simply lose steam and don’t know why. Water, too! Lots of it.

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