How many times have you thought “I want to live clutter free!” What is holding you back? Does it feel too overwhelming to get started? You can do it if you remember that getting organized is a process. It doesn’t happen overnight.
When I finally reached the point that had enough of losing things and feeling stressed out, I committed myself to living a clutter free, semi-minimalistic lifestyle.
Society that tells us that the more we have the better off and more successful we are.
It is not hard to embrace this lifestyle of excess. I mean really, who can pass up a great sale? Why not have enough clothes and shoes to wear a different outfit every day of the year? Why not have all the latest kitchen gadgets and three or four sets of dishes? With this mindset we accumulate more and more and before we know it we are knee-deep in stuff, trying to dig our way out of it all. Peter Walsh says in his book It’s All Too Much, “for many of us, the stuff we own ends up owning us.” This statement was definitely true for me.
So Much Clutter
The most common response to getting organized is to purchase a variety of containers to hide all of our stuff. Of course, just containing clutter does not remove the clutter. And then there is the issue of where to contain the containers! They end up becoming another form of clutter and we are once again overwhelmed by our stuff. What we often don’t recognize when we start to get organized is that we have too much and need to let some (or a lot) go.
Clutter and messy spaces often leads to stress. How often do you find yourself running late looking for keys, a clothing item, or a piece of paper that you absolutely needed that day. Has all of this searching and rushing around become the norm in your house? Have you reached the point that you are ready for a change?
Surrender yourself to a life of organization. I used to think that the more stuff I had, the happier I would be. As I began to get organized I realized that all of my stuff was like a weight on my soul.
As I let items go, I began to relax and really breathe again. It was a process of learning to live in today and not the past! Knowing why we hold onto our items is they key to being able to let them go. We have all acquired items over time and will have more items entering our lives in the future. The secret to organization is: Knowing how to release items when they no longer have usefulness in our lives.
So where do you start and how do you know what to keep?
Simple. Start in the area that is bothering you the most.
Start small. It is easy to be overambitious and plan to tackle an entire room at once but you run the risk of becoming overwhelmed and not finishing.
Start with a drawer, a part of the counter, or a shelf in the closet.
Begin sorting through every item to measure its usefulness. To measure usefulness you will need to be honest with yourself and ask what the item really means to you.
Here are a few guidelines:
If it is a memory item:
- Do you have other items with the same memory?
- Do you really need the item to hold the memory?
- Do you even like the item?
If it is a family item:
- Do you value it enough to display it?
- Is it something you want?
- Can it be passed to someone else who really wants it?
If it cost a lot of money:
- Why hold on to it if it is not used?
- Are you willing to give up space for it?
- Can you call it a mistake and let it go? (why keep reminding yourself!)
Letting go of clutter is an amazing feeling!
When you make the decision to move forward, don’t expect immediate results. It may be a slow process and it may dig up old feelings. But don’t give up! If it is too difficult to sort through items on your own, ask a friend or family member to help you. A professional organizer can be a great impartial party to help with decisions and organization of the items you love and keep.
The best way to maintain spaces after organizing is to regularly do a sweep to gather up items that have become no longer useful. This continued maintenance is essential to keeping your home clutter-free and livable. Click here for more maintenance tips.
Life really is better when the clutter is gone!