Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Decluttering - Hoarding Organizing Systems

This week I want to talk about something close to my heart that I feel most would embrace if they called it a different name. Don't call it organizing, don't call it decluttering, don't call it cleaning. 

You are not a hoarder.
You are not a bad person.
You are not lazy.
But you just can't seem to keep it all together, all clean, all organized.
Heck - you can't even find a place for it. 
But you need it. 
So you'll Organize it.
Is this You?
The picture above is your last stop organizing system. And there is a chance that your basement looks close to this. But if this is how any other room in your house is starting to look - it's time to take a step back.

It always starts with taking a step back.

Now if your living room doesn't look like the picture above but you are still struggling with decluttering I'm going to help you out a little. I'm going to give you some mind blowing insight that is both common and not common.

If you can't find a place for it, if you can't find it, if you have more than one but don't know where the others are, if you don't know where you put it down, if you don't know where someone moved it - you are one step away from the picture above.

Because you're going to hit a wall and finally say "I need to get ORGANIZED" and that is not the answer.

It happened to me ten years ago. I spent HOURS shopping for new organizers because if I just got another organizer for my socks, for my shoes, for my dishes, for my papers, for my furniture, for my EVERYTHING then the mess would disappear.

And I would always find that perfect organizer, the made of wishes and dreams, that was going to fix it. And it would for a while. But you know what would happen? It would only organize one thing. My socks would be organized...until I got more socks and I had to get a different organizer.

An example - I needed more closet space but I had already filled four closets...yes, I had a problem. Did I address my problem? No, I *NEEDED* all of this stuff. What did I need to do? I needed to get ORGANIZED, I told myself.

I did what most people did - I organized the problem away...temporarily. I bet you're wondering how I got around running out of closets after filling four...I bought four rolling clothing racks. Problem solved! Until about three months later when those were filled and I had mess again.

I was an absolute extreme - I will admit that. But this is where it starts. You organize away the mess one mess at a time and it takes FOREVER.

When I stopped and looked, I was able to fill boxes with organizing systems I had bought, filled and outgrown. And it finally clicked - if you can't organize it, you have too much stuff.

Do you find stuff with stickers, tags or receipts still attached? You have too much stuff.
Do you have clothes that are a size bigger and a size smaller just in case? You have too much stuff.
Do you have more than one of something but can't find them all? You have too much stuff.
Can you name something in your house and find it within thirty seconds? You have too much stuff.
Does it take you longer than 15 minutes to pick up your living space? You have too much stuff.

The following excuses are obsolete:
I have kids - Me too! A 5 and a 6 Year old - let's teach them healthy habits now!
I have a spouse - Get them on board! Want to convince them? Box everything up...
I don't have time - Prevention and 10 items a day and you're clutter free before you know it.
We want a cozy home - But Can you can SEE the cozy instead of the mess? Be warm and Minimal.

Next time you try to figure out how to 'Organize' your room - ask yourself if you are trying to organize a life or organize a mess? Contrary to mainstream concepts - life doesn't have to be a constant mess. And you're not a maid. Make more time for yourself.

How do you become an Extreme  minimalist in 30 minutes per room?

Walk into any room with a laundry basket and pick the things in that room that you CANNOT live without. Rule: You only get what fits in the laundry basket. (Furniture are an exception at this point) You are done.
Donate the rest. Let your family have one basket for the room and see what it is you really want to save and make excuses for - and double and triple check:

Do I NEED it?
Do I WANT it?
Will I USE it?

More often than not, the answer is no.

How do you get rid of what is left?

  1. Get big boxes or bags
  2. Throw EVERYTHING in the boxes or bags without organization or review
  3. Donate it by driving it OR having them PICK IT UP FOR YOU!
Done, done, done!
And I mean it when I say done, it's exactly what I did with 4 closets, 4 clothing racks, and the rest of my apartment. 

1 comment:

  1. It might not be the entire room, but I’ve had the same problem with old pictures around the house, being that they’re taking up a lot of shelf space. Granted, these are memories and they need to be preserved, but sacrificing a lot of space for it seems ridiculous. We had most of it digitized professionally, and it came back in discs that can fit in a small box. Talk about saving space!

    Ruby Badcoe