HOW-TO TAKE CONTROL OF CLUTTER BEFORE IT TAKES CONTROL OF YOU.
When it comes to getting organized, my body begins to tingle + with sweaty palms my heart begins to race. But not because of those paralyzing fear driven tingles (Erp!) that too often go hand-in-hand with clutter...
...instead an exhilarating wave of ‘creating calm’ in the wake of clutter + chaos washes over me. I’m literally drowning in ecstasy!
As a child, I remember playing outside in the warm summer sunshine with my brother (and while I love a serious game of 4-square) I’d come up with the most ridiculous reasons to go inside to organize my mom’s pantry!
Ok, let’s be real... I was enjoying the air conditioning ;) all Jokes aside, I was in absolute heaven. It was like donuts + hi-fives all day!
Shelf-by-shelf I disassembled everything, until it was completely empty. Then methodically, I’d figure out the best way to put the puzzle back together again, but this time it looked wayyyy prettier.
Looking back, the process -- of taking piles of clutter + turning them into organized chaos or creating streamlined systems that make sense for the way we live -- has always been incredibly soothing for me.
Apparently, even from an early age, organizing is my thing!
But for those of you who don’t find decluttering to be as therapeutic (looking at you mom), how can we take back control of clutter ...in our homes + in our lives... before it takes control of us?
Let’s start by talking about the mess we made + why we made it! If you’ve been hanging around here for awhile, you’ve heard me say… “Life Happens.”
In other words, clutter is an inevitable part of our busy, overstuffed, everyday lives + there’s a-b-s-o-l-u-t-el-y nothing to feel embarrassed about!
No matter who you are, we’re all guilty (at one point or another) of having turned a blind eye to the relentless pile of junk mail or the daunting loads of never ending laundry that need to be folded + put away.
But the real question is why? Why is it so hard for us to get organized but when it comes to putting stuff where it doesn’t belong, it’s ridiculously easy?
We hold our breath + cross our fingers in hopes that if we shove it out of sight (go ahead + insert your favorite place to dump clutter here -- we’ve all got one) we won’t have to deal with or look at it all the time.
Immediately, we feel a sense of accomplishment.
With the mess out-of-sight, we instantly feel a sigh of relief because the constant reminder of yet another task on our to-do list or something we should’ve taken care of days-weeks-months-(or maybe even years ago!) is out-of-mind #Procrastination
But lets sprinkle a bit of reality on the situation, shall we?
When clutter takes control it makes us feel ashamed, embarrassed + stressed. Been there? Me too.
So, why do we turn a blind eye? Why do we look the other way or stuff our belongings out-of-sight out-of-mind?
In this tear-jerking love-story, sometimes all we need is a fresh pair of eyes which is why I’m sharing with you a couple of helpful things to consider…
Maybe we have Too Much Stuff... (+ haven’t come to grips with it!)
Maybe there’s Not Enough Space… (+ again, haven’t come to grips with it!)
Maybe we haven’t Created Homes For Things To Live + we don’t know where else to put it!
REALITY CHECK - stuffing is nothing more than a temporary band-aid. Ouch! I know it hurts but when it comes to helping you move the needle, stuffing doesn't fix the problem + the longer we ignore things the worse things get.
Come on... you can do it... lets rip it off + air it out together!
Have I told you how much I love this part? All you want is an ice-cold glass of water but then you open the cabinet only to realize your kitchen is a hot mess… not the sassy-sexy kind of mess but rather the frazzling-anxiety-driven pit in your stomach kind .
Again, life happens but how did your deodorant wind up in the cabinet with a box of cereal, stack of mail, movie tickets from last weekend + your gym shorts. #TrueStory
When everything’s jumbled together, our minds bounce from one chaotic mess to another. We struggle to find direction + make sense of it all.
Like a real good BFF though, in order to create a clear focus (+ help you make better decisions) I’ve got a couple of key thoughts to help when you’re sorting through the clutter.
Start In One Area - remember there’s no right or wrong.
Group like items - think about items that go together
Begin Sorting - create organized chaos by sorting everything into 4 distinct piles
Relocate pile - anything that belongs in a different room (like the deodorant in the kitchen cabinets) goes in the relocate pile. Don’t worry about whether or not you want to keep it, we’ll tackle that decision when we’re organizing that area)
Give Away pile. If it belongs to someone else or has value + can be donated it goes here. (ex. The pyrex dish that belongs to your neighbor or a library book that needs to be returned, a bag of old work clothes that can be donated + given a new life)
Throw-away pile. Anything that’s broken or unusable should be put in the throw-away pile.
I don’t know pile. If it takes you more than 5-seconds to process or complete… it lives in the idk pile because the longer we think about something the more distracted we become.
Re-focus - take a step back + clear your mind before we tackle each pile individually. The last thing we want is for anything to get in the way of our progress.
Take Action - our goal is to avoid diluted focus so with a fresh start + clear focus tackle 1 pile at a time. For example, start by moving items from the relocate pile into the rooms that make sense in terms of how they’ll be used.
Can I be real with you? When it comes to getting organized + how to take control of your clutter it ultimately comes down to you making a priority to conquer it. You can do it on your own, with a friend or with a professional organizer… psst: I happen to know an absolutely fab-u-l-o-u-s Clutter Therapist *wink*
Subtle nudges aside, it can be hard to get started (+ stay motivated). Decluttering your home can be like peeling back a band-aid over an open wound. Underneath is raw -- but that’s real life for you.
Put the excuses aside before that narrative in your mind starts telling you all the reasons you can’t.
Because, you absolutely can boo!