If you’re feeling overwhelmed by stuff at home or at work, it’s time to declutter. Decluttering is not neatening up, sorting, or organizing, it’s actually getting rid of stuff and that’s tough for many. The cool thing about decluttering is that if you do it right, you have a very clear idea of what you own. And when you put things again in their own place, you also know where to find them.
And remember: The goal is Organizational Zen which is the peace of knowing you’ve got a handle on your life. You don’t have to organize the entire world – just your world 🙂
A word of warning: decluttering takes physical power to move stuff, and mental power to stay focused because memories are stirred and decisions have to be made. So before you attempt a declutter, make sure you are taking care of yourself. You feel healthy, have gotten enough sleep, and are feeling clear.
While declutter gurus like Marie Kondo advocate decluttering your entire house in one big swoop, I like tackling decluttering in smaller parts. My clue that something needs to be decluttered is when I waste time searching for something.
Here are a few declutter quickies.
My favorite quick declutter is the refrigerator. It only takes a minute to pull stored food out of the refrigerator that has been sitting for a while. Then put condiments back with condiments, put salad dressings back with salad dressings, and sort things on the big shelves into “like” categories. A quick wipe of the shelves, veg and meat storage bins, adds to the feeling of a “fresh start”.
If you have a shared refrigerator at work, try to get everyone to label stuff with their name and a date for easy purging.
If you have a little more time, pull everything out of your drawers, sorting, pitching, and re-organizing or folding. Something I picked up from Marie Kondo is folding t-shirts into smaller squares and putting them back in the drawer vertically. I like seeing all the shirts at once, and no shirt gets ignored in the bottom of the drawer. Here’s Marie showing you how to fold. Who knew you could fold clothes with such affection? 🙂
At work, your biggest offender drawer can be the top one with all the “stuff” in it. File drawers also tend to bulge. The good thing about decluttering “stuff” drawers at home or at work is that you just need to sort, pitch, and re-arrange in a logical order. No folding is required.
Rearranging your furniture pushes you to clean and declutter. If you’re feeling stale, rearranging the furniture adds energy to a room. Before you re-arrange, re-assess how you use the room. What makes the most sense for the seating areas? For the tables? Can the room change with the seasons to take advantage of window views and light? Is the room too full? Or too empty of furniture you like and use? If you don’t have a lot of options for where the furniture goes, try changing the art around on the walls. If you have no art to change, get some art! Or better yet, draw or paint something. What a great excuse to make something new.
Bookshelves are a prime target for decluttering. I’m an avid reader and do historical research for my writing so I own at least a ton of books. I like owning them. I like looking at them. And I read them and refer back to them. But about every six months, I have to weed out the strays. Some are books that I’ve read but won’t read again. Others are books I’ve bought or people have given me that I will never read. It feels good to move the completed or neglected books along to a charity (I never throw books away), and to sort the rest so I know what I have and where to find it.
Store things with intent. If you choose to keep things in your house or at work that you don’t use but want to keep, make sure you know what you have, that it’s clearly labeled, and that it has a place to live.
Quickie Exercise: Choose one thing to declutter today, and pay attention to how that makes you feel.
Sending you organizational peace and love from San Gimignano, Italy.