Full transparency, I don’t have it all together. In fact, most days lately, I am thankful to be able to drink coffee before noon and brush my teeth before leaving to pick my oldest up from preschool. As a mom of two daughters, 4 years old and 8 weeks old, I find fewer and fewer moments for myself. I am sure every mom, parent, adult (for that matter), is nodding their head in agreement with me. I am here to tell you that I am not perfect. There, I said it – and you should, too.
Our spaces are not meant to be “perfect” they are meant to be “perfect for us”. With that said, my kitchen counters have things on them (gasp), my daughter’s playroom is an utter disaster Every. Single. Day. I put clothes in my drawers and I do not roll them like sushi. My car has Cheerios on the floor and the crumbs of some foreign snack in the dark crevices of my daughter’s car seat. I have magazines and books on my family room coffee table, and I like them there.
I could go on and on about how imperfect things are, but truthfully, that mindset is exhausting. Instead, I see these spaces for what they are – a sanctuary for my family, a clarity for my brain, and a lightness for my soul.
If things make me feel heavy, then I remove them. I have a system that works and I want to help you embrace your “happy” and let go of “perfect” – because organizing is never a game of perfect.
Here are my pillars (organizing secrets):
Secret #1 – Find Time
Carve out some time, daily, to get into a positive mindset about removing the clutter – affirm the journey as part of the process.
Secret #2 – Do the easy stuff, first
Always start with spaces that are small and not overwhelming. Do not try to tackle the master closet before practicing on smaller items. I always suggest choosing a cabinet, drawer, or a shelf.
Secret #3 – Make A Mess
This is the easiest step. Pull all of it out, make a mess, in order to put only the “right” things back. You have to make a mess to truly remove the clutter.
Secret #4 – Follow the Golden Rule
“If it doesn’t have a home, why do I own it?” Now that everything is out and visible, you may be reintroduced to things that you haven’t seen for months or even years. Do not get sentimental, keep your game face on, and begin the process of categorizing. Here are my 4 categories for organizing anything. Make sure that all items are placed in one of the categories. We use the DOTS ™ method (my original acronym):
- D – donate
- O – organize
- T- trash
- S- sell
Secret #5 – Contain it or Explain it
Take the organize pile and investigate it fully. Do these items bring you joy? Do any of them make you feel heavy? Having a relationship with stuff is a real thing. We need to be sure it is positive. Ask yourself: Can you fit everything back in the space from which it came? What type of container does it need? Does it require a shelf, a basket, or a specific container? If you cannot contain it, why do you have it? If there are things in this pile that after further review can move to another category, do it now. Then, decide how you are going to contain it. See my upcoming posts about containers and how to use them effectively in every space. If there are still things in this pile that you cannot contain, explain why you still need to keep it. Is it an emotional attachment or is there a functional use for it? I always allow myself to keep (1) thing from a space that is only there for sentimental value. This keeps my spaces warm and welcoming and not cold and sterile.
Secret #6 – Leave space
Finally, put your items back. Be sure to do a self-check of your final product. If there is still empty space in the area you have organized – YOU DID IT! Be sure that there is space for the items to breathe, just as we need space, so do your things. Be kind to them and make them visually appealing. Use these organized spaces as a way to stay uncluttered on a regular basis. Even if things are used or removed from the space, you should easily be able to put them back, efficiently and neatly.
CONGRATULATE YOURSELF AND FEEL THE WEIGHT SLIDE OFF OF YOUR SHOULDERS AS YOU CELEBRATE YOUR DECLUTTERED SPACE!
Yours in joy,
P.S. If you still feel overwhelmed, or you just don’t want to do this by yourself, I am here to help you meet your goals. I work with clients both locally and globally by helping them effectively create Joyful Living Spaces. There is no project too small or too large that we can’t tackle together.
Email me at joyfullivingspaces(@)gmail.com.