The Organizing Secret No One Wants to Hear

We all welcome a magic bullet, a hack, a shortcut that takes something hard or time consuming and makes it easier and fast tracks our success. What’s the secret to parenting, a happy life, or…an organized home? I’ll pass on weighing in on the first two, but I do have some things to say about the last one. This organizing secret may not be popular, though. It may not be what you want to hear. And, I don’t particularly love sharing it. That’s not true. I do love it, but I tend to tread lightly here. Any guess what it is?

Most organized homes have common components to them…effective systems, daily maintenance, healthy habits. But THE number one thing that makes getting and staying organized easier is to HAVE LESS STUFF.

So, why would no one want to hear that? Well, it could be interpreted as a directive, or a judgment…on decisions you’ve made, money you’ve spent, lifestyle, habits, priorities, emotional attachment to things, etc. But, it’s not. Why? That wouldn’t be helpful and it’s often not true. Also, people often judge themselves enough with others doing it, too. So what is it? It’s simply an objective look that acknowledges having less = less time and money spent on the purchase and maintenance of said stuff. Less stuff = more open space. Less stuff = less opportunity to create clutter. And, less stuff = more ease. And I want ease for you.

It’s also just simple math. If you compare the amount of space you have to the amount of stuff, and stuff > space, that equals excess. And excess can be organized at a snapshot in time, but it’s very challenging to keep organized over the long haul. Adding one more thing to a taxed overflowing space and the system falls apart.

You many be thinking easy for you to say. You don’t know MY situation. True. There are many reasons for stuff… lots of kids, multiple hobbies, a tiny home, no pantry, not enough storage, or inherited stuff. I don’t want to diminish the reality that some circumstances make it harder to “just own less” than others. However, if we come back to the notion that, emotions aside, less stuff = more ease, we can at least more easily see the attractiveness in scaling back.

Desire is one thing, but commitment and taking action is another. Commitments can be hard. But, really, is there a decent alternative? Continue to bust at the seams? Continue to have stuff take up your precious space, maintaining it, fixing it, moving it? Continue to feel burdened for…ever? At some point, cut your losses. EVEN THOUGH your stuff cost $, EVEN THOUGH you thought you’d use it but you didn’t, EVEN THOUGH it was on sale, let it go because it’s not serving you.

So, if there’s even a tiny part of you that thinks that you have too much stuff and you’re ready to part with some things, now what? First of all, start small. Get rid of a few ______ (fill in the blanks) and see how it goes. If you’re still standing ( you will be!), dig a little deeper. There are levels to decluttering and we can only tackle what we’re ready for. Step aside and come back in an hour, a day, a week or a month. When you’re ready for more, you do more. Whenever your mind resists you…”But I paid good money for it.” Or “But it was a gift”, remember your goal of ease, and remember that memories are not in things. They’re in you. All that being said, by all means keep your grandmother’s china. Keep what you value.

This isn’t about minimalism, which often gets a bad rap. A middle ground is available! You can have a life that doesn’t involve deprivation or lack, but includes owning what you want, need, use, and have space for. There’s no universal answer as to how much is too much, not enough, or just right. But, some clues you may have too much are….feeling stressed in your environment, having trouble finding things, piles that just grow bigger not smaller, time consuming clean ups. So, chip away one item at a time, one decision at a time. Move quickly, without overthinking. You will make progress. It’s inevitable. To quote the wise Joanna Gaines from her book The Stories We Tell “letting go reveals what else our arms were made to carry”.

How to Save Money by Getting Organized

There are countless benefits to being organized – from freeing up time to greater peace of mind. Let’s focus on what you have to gain financially from getting organized. Here are the top 5 ways being organized saves you money.

1. No more overbuying

When you’re organized, you have a “just right” amount of items for your space. You’re less likely to forget about the things shoved in the back, and more likely to see what you have. When you see what you have, you don’t inadvertently buy something you already own. See the connection? This really adds up over time!

2. Less waste

Using containers is a great best practice. When we define the amount of space we’re willing and able to allocate to a category of items, we are defining what is enough.

For example, when we designate a certain container for snacks we are essentially putting a boundary in place. A boundary that says this is a sufficient amount of space to house the snacks I want to keep in my home at any given time. It’s clear to everyone where to go to find snacks, where to put them back, and what you’re running low on. All this translates into less food waste, and a higher likelihood of using up what you have before buying more.


3. Less shopping

We know that when we have a big goal, we don’t get there by a wish and a prayer. We get there by having a plan, and chipping away, a little every day, at committing to new, healthy habits that are in support of our goals.

One of the culprits of disorganization is an excess of stuff. And, a large contributor to excess stuff is shopping. It’s all too easy to scroll and click that buy button. This is not a “shopping is bad” stance. I like a new thing now and again, too! But, this IS about bringing more mindfulness to what is often a mindLESS act of shopping. And, with a true commitment to the goal of getting organized, let’s face it, less stuff coming in can get you there more quickly.


4. Sell Unused Items

We’ve heard all the criteria variations to determine what to keep and what to part with….keep only what you use and love, keep what you would pay good money for again, keep what fits in your space, etc. However you arrive at identifying what items you can sell is great!

It’s easier than ever to make money on these items…facebook marketplace, poshmark, online or in-person yard sales, consignment or antique stores. This can really add up! Word of caution, though: Be realistic about what you are actually going to take the steps to get sold. You don’t want these things sitting around for months as clutter. You want to get them out the door asap!

5. More Time

More Time = More Money. When you’re organized, you have more time. You with me? You have MORE time because you spend LESS time looking for lost items, re-arranging, cleaning, and shopping. And, what is your time worth? I know you! You value time! Time is precious. So why not take the steps to realize the freedom that comes with getting organized. It’s so worth it!

8 Do’s And Don’ts To Kick Clutter For Good

The holidays tend to bring on next level busyness, stress, & overwhelm, all of which can be exacerbated by a cluttered home. It’s extra important now to pull back on our environment…make it extra calming, err on the side of less rather than more.

I’ve seen lots of approaches to clutter, and some seem to work better than others. I developed a list of do’s and don’ts not to be prescriptive or imply a right or a wrong, but to be tactical and helpful. To give you a guide that works, help you use your time effectively, make lasting progress on something that matters, and to be that list you pick up when you’re trying to get the motivation to start – especially when you don’t really feel like it or know how to begin.

At the end of the day, cluttering should not be a dreaded chore. Quite the opposite. It can be incredibly freeing, without much thought or effort once it becomes a habit. Here are my 8 Clutter Do’s and Don’ts:

1. DO Keep What You Love. You will need to make choices and define priorities, but absolutely keep what brings you joy! If you have the space for it and love it, it’s not really clutter! 1. DON’T forget you still have the memory. The main value isn’t in the item, but in the memory surrounding it.
2. DO Keep What You Have Room For. Let a container be your parameter. Keep what fits, part with the rest.2. DON’T Overfill your spaces or containers. It’s very hard to keep an overflowing space organized or to see what you have.
3. DO Give everything a Home. Golden Rule of Organizing! Clutter is often comprised of things that don’t have a home, so give them one today! 3. DON’T do the “Clutter Shuffle”. Moving clutter from one spot to another doesn’t accomplish anything. It’s inefficient, doesn’t address the problem, and just shifts it elsewhere for you to deal with yet again.
4. DO consult an outside perspective. Ask the opinion of someone you trust, who can help reframe how you look at your things and can support you in the decluttering process.4. DON’T consult a “yes” person. You know, the one who will want you to keep everything and won’t nudge you in the direction you’re committed to.
5. DO declutter frequently. There’s always another layer to uncover once you’ve addressed the low hanging fruit and realized “I’m ok. I got rid of xyz and it feels great. I don’t miss those things and I’m ready for more”. 5. DON’T ever stop. Decluttering is most effective when it’s a recurring habit, a mindset that says “I’m committed to sticking with this and I’m making everyday choices that will set me up for success”.
6. DO set a timer. It’s a great motivator. You’ll be amazed what you can accomplish in 20 min. 6. DON’T make the timer too long. You’re better off setting two 15 min. timers than one 30 min. timer.
7. DO set a specific goal. Declutter one drawer, find 10 things to donate, find 5 things to throw away, or declutter as much as possible with a 15 min. timer.7. DON’T make your goal too lofty. Yes, it’s great that you want your whole house decluttered. But, if you think and move room by room, you’re more likely to start AND to establish the momentum needed to accomplish big things.
8. DO act now. Remove donations/trash out of your home immediately. Once you’ve made a decision about an item, stick to it.
8. DON’T delay. If you set too many things aside, you’ll delay progress (“I’ll see if Great Aunt Martha wants this” or “I might try to sell that”). The main priority at this point is action and progress. You can do it!

Decluttering – Why Does it Matter?

Decluttering….it’s a common goal, especially this time of the year. We may have had an influx of gifts over the holidays, the kids were home, structure was, well, nonexistent, and the house can easily slip. As much as we feel that pull to get on top of the clutter, sometimes it’s not lasting. Or, we swing between being on top of it – for 2 seconds – then getting out of control again. What are the reasons to declutter?

If a decluttered state is what you’re after for the long term – if you want that to be the rule, instead of the brief exception, it’s worth exploring why you want to declutter in the first place. Your why may be different than mine, and it’s important to personalize the reasons so they really resonate with you. Why? Because then, you’re more likely to stay motivated for the long haul. Here are some common benefits to decluttering. See if any of these ring true for you, or if you’d add to or modify the list. 6 reasons to declutter:

1. Stress less

reasons to declutter = less stress!

When your environment is cluttered, your mind can easily become cluttered, too. What does this look like? What does it feel like? An inability to see past the clutter to focus on other things. Easily frazzled and behind the ball. Irritable, unproductive, overwhelmed, frustrated you can’t find what you need, even ashamed.

On the flip slide, when your space is pared down to what you use and love, you notice and appreciate those things more (and the people in your space). You have more time and energy to focus on what really matters to you. There’s space to breathe.

2. Save $

When you declutter, you become more aware of what you have. And, when you know what you have, you won’t buy more of it.

You’ll likely also find that you want less. You’re content with less. So, the allure of buying the new thing starts to fade.

And, lastly, when you declutter items in good condition – that you no longer use or need, you can sell them, and put that $ toward something meaningful.

3. Entertain with freedom

Clutter doesn’t need to be accompanied by a hesitancy to have people over due to the state of your home. But sometimes that’s the case. I’ve heard clients share that they’re embarrassed to entertain, so they don’t. Their ability to connect with others, share a meal with loved ones, is being stolen due to their stuff! Their stuff and the power it is exercising is robbing them of living freely! If that’s you, you can take that power back!

If it feels overwhelming at first, here are some suggestions on where and how to start digging out. It’s so worth it.

reasons to declutter = entertain without embarrassment!

4. Find hidden treasure

Things you thought were lost or forgot you had unearth themselves. You’ll find toys that will feel brand new to the kids, “new” pieces to add to your wardrobe, or that long lost item you’ve been searching for.

5. Maintain more easily

This is one of the BEST reasons to declutter! Decluttering (not just picking up and temporarily sorting and organizing excess, but truly paring down) is a great way to set yourself up for a long term decluttered state! More than a fancy organizing system, more than products and gadgets, or throwing money at it. Paring down means there is less to purchase, fix, maintain, clean, and keep track of. There’s no magic wand of maintenance (daily habits are key), but the initial heavy lifting of decluttering is the bulk of the work.

6. Reclaim your time

Where do the days go? How can we get everything done? Always so much to do, and it’s easy to feel that our time is not our own. There is absolutely a link between being decluttered and having more time to spend how we want to spend it.

It’s easy to find reasons for our clutter and forget our reasons to declutter. “This was from my great Aunt Marge. I have to keep it.” “Everyone gives the kids so many gifts.” “Noone picks up their stuff!” I’m sure you could add to this list. And, we don’t want to minimize these challenges. But, we also don’t want to give them more power than is there’s to claim. And, we don’t want them to get in the way of our goals. Who’s in charge of your home? Do you have the ability to make positive change? To say what stays and what goes? Yes, of course you do! Baby steps. It’s well worth the effort, especially when you find (and remember) YOUR why.

Find Your Floor

Find your floor…it’s an expression we organizers use when the clutter has been cleared, and the floor (or, more generally speaking, the surface) has been “found”. It has been cleared such that the counter, dresser top, desk, floor, etc. has been revealed, in all its glory. Here are some helpful tips on how to find your floor:

1. Notice

You may have pesky horizontal surfaces covered with clutter that you may not even notice anymore. They’ve just become that place that houses the mail piles or the random items. Look around your home with fresh eyes to notice where the clutter accumulates and what surfaces are waiting to be revealed.

2. Clear everything

Clutter is a magnet for other clutter. We see a pile of stuff and think “Well, all this other stuff is already here, I’ll just add to it”. Start by clearing everything off. Then, really comb through it. What types of items end up cluttering your surfaces? See what can be discarded first. Then, proceed to find homes for everything…somewhere besides the surface they were cluttering.

3. Employ systems

An organizational system is simply a habit, tool, or process that is repeated and helps to bring/maintain order and consistency.

Does your desktop need bins to contain paperwork? That would help you find your floor. One that’s labeled “To Do” and one that’s labeled “To File” is a good start.

Another good system is a place to hang backpacks, accompanied by a habit of the kids putting their backpacks there after school. Often, the simpler the system, the better. It helps ensure longevity.

4. Make it easy on yourself


Finding a home for clutter is a great first step. Another recommended step to aid you in the long term adoption of a new habit (putting things away in their new home) is to physically block yourself from clutter accumulation. That countertop that collected random papers? Treat it as an opportunity to find a decor piece or plant to occupy that space instead. Acknowledge the new purpose. “This is a countertop where this tray and vase stays. The papers get thrown away or filed in the office”.

The clothes that end up on the floor? Get a conveniently placed hamper where you’ll put the clothes instead.

laundry basket

5. Contain

Containers are key! Stuffed animals can go in a large basket instead of the floor. They’ll still be accessible, but they’ll be contained, freeing up floor space for play and room to walk. What other categories of items do you have that warrant their own container? Papers, legos, balls, stuffed animals, and tech are common ones.

6. Adopt a Do it Now Mindset

Why put off until tomorrow what you can do today? Will your tomorrow really have more time just waiting to be filled with putting away…yesterday’s…stuff? Is there a really a better time to handle something than the present?

This do it now mindset, combined with the action of following through, can go a long way. Before leaving a room, glance around to see what needs to be relocated. You’re heading out anyway, so might as well grab the empty coffee mug and return it to the kitchen. When you’re heading up the stairs, bring the laundry with you. These things take no extra time, money, or effort, only a do it now mindset. So, do it now…find your floor!

6 Reasons You Haven’t Decluttered

I can attest to the fact that people do, indeed, pay other people to declutter and organize. Why would they do this? Lots of reasons! Sometimes people simply need an accountability partner, a cheerleader to work side to side with them while they tackle their stuff, in the hopes of getting a sense of order in their home and life.

Regardless of the reason, hats off to people who are reaching out for support in this process. It’s not easy! I love to help people with this journey! Yet, even more than that, I want to equip and empower people to take hold of their clutter, habits, and space so that they can maintain it moving forward. Here are 6 reasons people aren’t decluttering, and how to cut through these mental stumbling blocks so lasting progress can be made.

1. It takes too much time.


As with most worthwhile things in life, decluttering does take time. We’re stretched for time, as it is, keeping kids fed and the wheels somewhat on the bus. I get it. And, I don’t want to make light of these reasons. However…I promise you, making a commitment to declutter is the single most impactful step you can take when organizing. If you didn’t “organize” anything, but you did pare down, that would be progress.

When you’re in a decluttered state, you’re in maintenance mode – a great place to be. A place that does NOT take much time. It takes regularity, but (this bears repeating because I’m sensing you didn’t believe me the first time!), it really does NOT take much time. Make it a priority to do a little every day and you’ll be amazed how far you get. More on this in point #4.

2. It will just get messy again anyway.

Yep, kids, spouse, us!, (fill in the blank) can be messy. But, remember, we’re talking about decluttering – the act of removing the things that are being messed up! So there is LESS to mess up, LESS choices to overwhelm people, LESS to not put away, so you, in turn, have LESS to stress about.

And, even at a very young age, kids can learn where things go, and can learn to put something away before something else comes out.

3. It’s hard…

Decluttering takes time and physical effort. But, even “harder” is that it often entails making decisions about things that are sentimental in nature. It’s easier to leave the pile of inherited china and knick knacks in a box in a storage room. But, that’s no reason to not get after it! It’s so worth it to dive into our clutter, and determine what is special enough to keep, and what can be donated or sold, while tucking the memory away.

4. I don’t know where to start.

which way to start?

This sentiment often includes the prefix “there’s just so much”….thus “I don’t know where to start”. I wrote a blog post with tips on where and how to start. Short answer: It doesn’t matter where. And, start small – one corner, one drawer does the trick.

5. I paid good money for that!

money growing on trees

The money has been spent. It is a sunk cost. Holding on to an item will not un-sink the money that was spent. There is no need to feel guilty over spending money on something that you no longer want to keep. It just doesn’t help. And, maybe you can recoup some money (and bless someone else) by re-selling it. You definitely won’t recoup anything keeping it stashed away. No time is better than the present to let it go.

6. What if I need it again?

Over the years, I have decluttered hundreds and hundreds (probably more!) of my personal items. I can count on 1 or 2 fingers the items I wished I held onto. And, in the grand scheme of things, they were nothing important, and easily replaceable.

The objective isn’t to be carelessly tossing things away, filling up landfills. There are usually ways to recycle, repurpose, and share things with others. But, for awhile, until you’re in a decluttered state, I do encourage you to do what it takes to get to a point where: 1. you use what you have, 2. you can fit what you have. It is a freeing and peaceful place to be. And, you can do it!

11 Declutter Questions to Ask

Decluttering is often the first step before organizing can take place. If you have excess, duplicates, broken things, or things you don’t really use or like then there’s no use organizing them! To aid your decluttering journey, here are 11 decluttering questions to ask yourself to help determine what stays and what goes.

1. Have I used it in the last year?

I like a 1 year duration on this question because you’ll make it through each season and multiple events (summer wedding, winter ski season, etc). If you haven’t used something in a full year, consider getting rid of it.

2. Is it sentimental?

decluttering sentimental items

This is a tough category, and know that you can keep sentimental things that hold great importance to you. Noone can tell you otherwise. However, it’s also helpful to remember that the joy is in the memory, not the actual thing itself. So, it’s also ok (and freeing) to let go of things in this category as well. Check out my blog about sentimental items here.

3. Would I purchase it again?

Sometimes we keep things just because. Because at one time we liked it. Because at one time we used it. Because we’re used to it and just don’t question it. But, when you ask yourself if you’d actually spend money on purchasing it again, you’ll hone in on the value (or lack thereof) that the item holds for you.

4. Is it a duplicate?

Only when we pull everything out of a space and observe what we have do we realize what we have. It’s common to discover duplicates of things like tools, scissors, craft supplies, and cords. Determine how many you need of a particular item. Yes, duplicates can be handy sometimes (ie a phone charger in a bedroom and in the kitchen for example). But, more often than not, multiples of things stored in different places throughout the home makes it harder instead of easier to find things.

duplicate items means declutter it

5. Does it have a home?

Where is the one place this item belongs? If it’s something that you want to keep, then find it a home. This makes it easier for you to find what you’re looking for and prevent re-purchasing things you didn’t realize you already own.

6. How do I feel when I see it?

Go with your gut on this one. If something puts a smile on your face, is useful and treasured, it’s probably in contention to be a keeper. If, on the other hand, you feel neutral, or even heavy or sad, you’ll likely feel that weight released if you part with it.

7. Was it a gift?

We tend to hold onto things more fiercely if they were gifts. We don’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings. But, the person who gifted it wanted to make you happy. They wouldn’t truly want you to hang onto something that no longer serves you. It is possible to be truly grateful for something, the thought behind it, the person who gifted it, and still let it go.

decluttering gifts

8. Do I have room for it?

This is key! I’m a huge proponent of letting your available space be your parameters for how much to keep. Having too much stuff for your space makes it hard to see what you have, hard to stay organized, and contributes to an overall sense of overwhelm and clutter.

There’s a way to reframe this to be positive, too. Instead of lamenting that you need to get rid of one of your 4 (fill in the blanks), you can look at the same scenario in a glass half full way by saying “This container looks like it can accommodate 3 of my 4 (fill in the blanks). That should be enough!”

9. Was it expensive?

This is a question similar to “Was it a gift?” There’s a strong pull to keep items that we or someone else paid good money for. And, in some cases, that makes sense – if it’s something we really do intend to use again (be realistic here!), but wouldn’t want to pay full price for again.

10. Is it easily replaceable?

Knowing that you can relatively easily obtain your item again, if need be, makes it easier to let go of.

11. Is it broken?

This seems almost too obvious to include, but we all are likely hanging onto something that doesn’t work. Commit to fixing it within the next week, or get rid of it.

Asking these 11 decluttering questions will help you pare down to what is useful, in good condition, and what you really love. The space you free up with a decluttering exercise will undoubtedly contribute to freed up mental space as well. Give it a try!

10 Things that Clutter a Home

We know a decluttered space when we see it…it looks clean, picked up, and evokes feelings of calm. On the contrary, a cluttered environment is messy and can feel chaotic. There are some common culprits to the clutter standing between where you may be now and a clutter free space. Here are 10 things that contribute to a cluttered home:

1. Stuff on Counters

Tuck those appliances away. File or recycle papers. And, stow food in a cupboard or pantry.

2. Dishes

cluttered dishes

If you do one thing from this list, tackle those dirty dishes. It will give the illusion of an entire home that’s clean – even if it’s not. Make this part of your evening routine. You’ll be glad you did when you get to start the new day fresh – free from yesterday’s accumulation.

3. Visible Cords

There are lots of cord management products on the market (or use what you have – twist ties do the trick!) This is a simple and inexpensive fix and can really elevate the look of your space.

4. Mail

cluttered mail

The tough part with mail/paperwork is the rate at which mail comes into your home. If you’re not on top of the previous days mail, you’ll be adding to it the next day and the next day. To remedy this, come up with a simple system that includes recycling junk mail (do it right away!), and filing away remaining mail into a few categories – consider “to pay”, “to file”, or “action needed”.

5. Mismatched Containers

The goal here doesn’t need to be Pinterest worthy, but attempting a little coordination as far as container style or color can go a long way.

6. Shoes

Ensure there are shoe shelves, a drawer, or some other place to contain shoes wherever they tend to accumulate – inside the garage or front door, most likely.

7. Remote Controls

Find a basket or other container to house remote controls. Keep it on a side table or other location that’s close to where the remotes are used. Make it easy!

8. Laundry

putting away laundry

Laundry clutter can come in various forms…dirty laundry that hasn’t been put in a hamper or clean laundry that hasn’t been put away. Ask for your family’s help with this one – everyone can be responsible for putting clean laundry away and dirty clothes where they belong.

9. Knick Knacks

Do you have special collections? Great! Display them with joy. But, if, on the other hand, your knick knacks feel like just “stuff” – without meaning or even fondness, it may be time to pare down. Keep what you really like, what you would buy again, or what holds special meaning to you. Let your space provide parameters for you….allocate 1 shelf for your candles, for example.

10. Anything That Isn’t Put Away

There may not be a pattern/a rhyme or reason to these things. Maybe they = consist of tools, dishes, stray socks or toys. Here are two strategies that can help: 1. Ensure these items have a “home” and get into the habit (kids, too!) of putting things away as soon as you’re done with them. 2. Set a timer for 10 minutes and zip through each room grabbing stray things to put away. It’s amazing what can be done with a little focus and a short period of time. Living clutter free is within reach!

4 Things to Declutter From Your Mental Space

Decluttering our physical space and decluttering our mental space is undoubtedly related. All types of clutter acts as a weight that drags us down. When our environment is free of clutter, there is a corresponding levity, a calm, and a clarity to our mentality and outlook.

Decluttering our physical environment is great – life changing, in fact. But, a decluttered mind is even better. What are you holding onto that isn’t helpful? Or, isn’t true? Here are some common types of mental clutter. Once we’re aware of these things, we can be more mindful of kicking them to the curb.

1. Comparison

comparing 2 doors

I love the book Love Your Life, Not Theirs by Rachel Cruze. It’s a finance focused book, but the concept of loving your life, not anyone else’s (or the appearance of anyone else’s), can be applied to every area of your life. You can recognize yourself comparing when you find yourself thinking things like “I wish I….” or “If only….” It could be related to material possessions, such as “I wish I had a house like that”. Or, it could be lifestyle related like “If only I could have the time/money/motivation/skill to cook/work out/travel like so and so does”. It takes on many forms, most of them subtle.

Why is this bad? You’ve likely heard the phrase “comparison is the thief of joy”. What does a thief do? It robs us of something that is inherently, rightfully ours – joy, in this case. We miss the blessings right under our noses. And, you better believe, our kids pick up on this comparison. So, let’s be mindful of perpetuating only what you want those little ones to adopt.

2. Fear

How free would we all feel if the fears we held tight to no longer had a hold on us? We hold them close like they’re ours to nurture and cherish, and it’s just the opposite. They’re ours to actively release, as fearful worrisome thoughts don’t do anyone any good. That’s not to say it’s always easy to do this. But, doing so, even in baby steps, has that same freeing sensation that clearing out a room has.

no fear jumping from rock to rock

3. Busyness

I wrote a blog post you could check out titled The Culture of Busyness. Busyness may be at bay now, but will inevitably return as the pace of life gets back to…normal….right? The good thing about starting from scratch is that we can choose what gets added back! We can deliberately decide if this activity or that trip or that class is something that will be a blessing or, instead, a source of unnecessary stress or obligation.

This resetting is an opportunity to craft a clutter free schedule that honors the stillness we’ve cultivated over the last couple of months, while still pursuing activities that bring joy. Maybe you’ve uncovered some new individual or family interests that you’d like to pursue. Now’s the time to prioritize what’s important and say no to the rest.

4. Perfection

perfect is the enemy of mug. cup says good enough.

Sometimes people mistake a decluttered or organized house as a “perfect” house. That is never the goal! A decluttered environment is a foundation that allows for stillness, and frees up your time and money to make space for what is important to you. Because nobody wants to spend their time looking for lost things, stressed about cleaning all day, or dealing with excess. That’s what organizing and decluttering is about. Not perfection. So, if you find yourself striving for a perfect ________ (fill in the blank) stop yourself, and let good enough be good enough.

Decluttering Jumpstart – “5 Things”

Here’s a little hack I use, a game, if you will, when I’m looking to do a decluttering jumpstart. It’s great for times when I want to feel productive, but don’t necessarily have the time or energy for something more ambitious. This typically occurs at the end of the day when I’m winding down, but feel like accomplishing a little something more. I call it “5 things”. I find 5 things to get rid of from anywhere in the house. Sometimes this entails items to throw away or recycle such as papers that are no longer needed, or items to donate or sell.

The beauty of a decluttering jumpstart is that it’s quick, doable, and it really does make a difference. Even if I just did the 5 things exercise the day before, I can always (always!) find 5 more things the next day. These easy little daily decluttering habits help to contribute to a home that stays relatively clutter free. 

You can do this as frequently as you want. Daily, weekly, or whenever you feel like it. I make a phone calendar entry titled “5 things” because, let’s face it, the things we write down have a tendency to get done. If you feel like overachieving you could always up your game and find “10 things”, or as many as you can in a short time period. Here’s what I found in today’s installment of “5 things”.

Decluttering Jumpstart image with 5 different household items selected to declutter - mix of trash and recycling

Other Ideas of Items to Declutter:

  • School paperwork
  • Clothes – damaged, not worn or don’t fit
  • Expired or unused toiletries or personal care products 
  • Mail – catalogs, ads
  • Extra boxes
  • Hair accessories
  • Old photos
  • Socks without mates
  • Food storage containers with no lids
  • Expired food
  • Books 
  • Vases
  • Writing utensils
  • Picture frames
  • Tools
  • Office paperwork
  • Junk drawer items
  • Kitchen utensils
  • Dried out pens
  • Items from the depths of the kid’s backpacks;)

Where to START Decluttering

Congratulations! You’re motivated to declutter and that’s half the battle! However, if you’re feeling a tad overwhelmed at the thought of tackling your WHOLE ENTIRE HOUSE, don’t despair! Like most things in life, the best way to start decluttering and organizing is one step at a time. 

Here are 5 recommendations of where to start decluttering. These ideas should give you the jump start that you need, so choose one that speaks to you and get after it! You’ve got this! 

1. Start With the Area That Causes the Most Stress.

In other words, the place that makes you cringe when you walk by or spend time there. Tackling this first will give you the biggest return on your investment and motivate you to keep going.

2. Begin With Something Easy

If you’re feeling really overwhelmed, or don’t have a lot of time to devote to this, commit to tackling just one drawer, or a corner of a room. Set a timer for 15 min., stay focused on the task, then be amazed by how much you accomplish!

3. Tackle a Visible Area

You’ll experience the benefit of seeing the fruits of your labor, which will likely lead you to tackle another space. 

4. Get Rid of the “DUDs” 

DUDs refers to Damaged, Unused or Duplicates. We tend to hang on to broken items thinking that we’ll fix them “someday”. Either commit to fixing them now or move ‘em along. 

5. When in Doubt, Start With the Bathroom

This room is typically small and not likely to contain many sentimental items that can be emotionally taxing to declutter.

Now, you are well on your way! Also, don’t forget the power of POSITIVITY. I call this “No Limits and No Labels”. There are no limits to what you can accomplish. Also, be careful not to label yourself as “not the organized type”. This is about progress, not perfection. Anyone can do it, including you! 

See this post for a step by step guide on HOW to declutter.