Clearing the Clutter

Home, Home & Family
on September 12, 2011

Clutter. We all have it to some degree. According to Julie Morgenstern, author of, “SHED Your Stuff, Change Your Life,” organization is about “identifying what’s important to you, and giving yourself access to it.” To access what’s important, the clutter must go. But how do you clear the clutter that has accumulated in your life without losing a week’s time in the process? Here are some tips from professional organizers:

Break it down. You don’t have to organize every aspect of your life all in one go. Marilyn Bohn, owner of Get It Together Organizing and author of “Go Organize! Conquer Clutter In 3 Simple Steps,” says you should start in one room, or even a corner of that room, and set a timer for 15 or 20 minutes. “When the timer rings, stop and come back to it later, even after a five-minute break.” Bohn suggests taking a break to avoid an organizing overdose. “Doing too much all at one time burns people out and it is too overwhelming so they think they will never get it done.”

Get personal. “Just because it is written in an organizing book to organize things this way or that way does not mean that will work for you,” says Michelle Lehman of Organizing Solutions. Lehman works to establish an individual solution for clients, helping them to identify the causes of clutter and develop habits that are more productive.

Learn to let go. “Sometimes organizing is really not enough,” says Morgenstern. “Sometimes you can keep all your stuff and you can have access to it, but it’s actually weighing you down.” Her four-step SHEDding process, (Separate the treasures, Heave the rest, Embrace your identity, Drive yourself forward,) is less about organizing and more about “getting rid of what is old and no longer relevant, to gain the energy and clarity to move forward.”

Bohn agrees. She says that having too many things that aren’t being “used, loved or that light you up in your home,” is one of the major causes of clutter. Simply getting rid of things that don’t fit into one of those three categories is one of the most useful tricks for preventing clutter from building up again, Bohn says.

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