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  • Writer's pictureLisa Y

The Secret about Decluttering

You might be thinking about clutter all wrong.  By wrong I don’t mean there is only one way to think about it.  Because there are many ways to handle it.  I mean that if you think of it differently it could give you a different understanding that could help you reach your decluttering goals.

You may already know that in order to get your home organized, you first have to declutter.  But in order to stay organized you have to keep decluttering.  

That’s the secret.  Decluttering is never finished.  It’s a constant process.  This may be totally different from how you have thought about decluttering and organization before.  It may be a mindset shift.  

Let’s think it through…

First of all, clutter is just stuff.  It’s too much stuff.  But the definition of “too much” is different for everyone.  There is no hard and fast rule for this.  Your stuff becomes clutter when you have more stuff than YOU can handle and more than fits in your house.  You can’t organize clutter, but you can organize stuff.  So before you organize you have to declutter so you have a manageable amount of stuff…an amount you can handle.   Being able to handle this amount is personal to you.  It’s an amount you can handle mentally, and emotionally, but also an amount your house can physically handle,  Remember, you may be able to handle more or less stuff than someone else.  The only way to figure out your manageable amount of stuff is to just start decluttering until you don’t feel so overwhelmed anymore.  

After you have declutterred to a manageable amount of stuff, and only then, you can successfully organize your stuff, making sure everything has a place in your home.  However, keep in mind that you still live in this newly organized house, and so does your family.  And that means that new stuff will always be making it’s way into your house, raising the amount of stuff to out of control levels again, unless you make it a point to always be decluttering.  I don’t mean 24/7 decluttering!  This means that whenever you want to buy something new, you need to consider what you will get rid of to make space for the new item, and keep the stuff under control, and in its place.  Same goes for gifts you receive, and things the kids bring home from school, and even things you get in the mail!

My clients, for example, were overwhelmed with this closet, and the games inside it.  We declutterred to what they felt was manageable.  In order to keep the games manageable, they will have to get rid of one if they buy, or are gifted a new one, or better yet as the kids outgrow them.  

I hope you can see decluttering is a constant process.  This doesn’t mean it needs to always be time consuming though.  Getting there can be a slow and steady process especially if you don’t want to burn out.  But once you’re there, the maintaining part should feel doable and easy.  If it still feels overwhelming, then you haven’t declutterred enough.

I’m not going to get into the tasks you can do to maintain your stuff and organization.  I’ll save that for future posts.  For now, see if you can shift your way of thinking about clutter, and your stuff, and maybe that alone will help you get started.  You will never get there, if you never start.  

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