Vali Heist is a professional organizer and owner of Thecluttercrew.com She shares her tips, tricks, and pointers on decluttering and organizing to improve your life.
Spring has sprung and many people have dreamy thoughts of taking walks outside, planting flowers and uncluttering the house. What was that last one? Uncluttering the house and letting go of CRAP (Clutter that Robs Anyone of Pleasure) isn’t what most folks dream about in springtime. Many people know it has got to be done and they want directions on how to do it.
A client recently said to me, “The biggest step to take [when cleaning out clutter], is the one in your head. Sometimes, wrapping your head around the realization that there is so much stuff in your home that you no longer use is the hardest part. But if you take it step by step, you can make a big difference in a short period of time. Reclaim your spaces by using these tips to help you get started.
How to identify clutter. They are things that:
- are not used for at least two years
- were given to you that you don’t like or need
- were given to you by someone who caused you pain
- drain your energy simply because they exist in your home
- have negative connotations or remind you of unpleasant events
- make you feel bad about yourself
- items that are waiting to be repaired or mended for over two years
- Projects that have been waiting for a long time to be finished
- Supplies/books from projects that no longer interest you
- Memorabilia from people or events in the past that have no value or meaning now
- Collections that are not displayed or packed away
- Too many things displayed in a small area
- Poor buying decisions (e.g. clothing, furniture, junky/cheap stuff, etc.)
Vali Heist suggests these tips for uncluttering and organizing a Big Area
- Start on the left side of the room and move toward the right; focusing on one area at a time.
- Sort items into categories quickly using signs, boxes, or bins: Keep, Sell (Facebook Marketplace, yard sale), Give Away (friends and family), Donate, Recycle, Fix (give yourself a deadline), and Trash (some stuff is just trash).
- If you’re not sure, put it in the “Keep” pile for now.
- Stay focused and just sort. Don’t read everything or struggle.
- Purge the “Keep” pile
- Keep your goals top of mind. If you want to simplify your life, create space for a new business, make more space for grandchildren or guests, etc., be tough and let go of the CRAP!
- Go through things one by one. Some things will be harder to let go of than others. Trust your gut.
- Invite an objective “body double” to help you, i.e. someone to help make decisions, but not judge you.
- Assign a home
- Everything needs a home, or it ends up as clutter and it’s harder to clean up or find it when you need it.
- Make sure you and everyone else knows where it belongs and promise to help you keep things that way.
- Opaque or solid? Lid or basket? Plastic or sea grass? High or low?
- The container you use depends upon where you place it, whether or not you want to see through it, or if it needs a lid.
- Take time once a week to maintain your organization so your hard work pays off.
- As life changes, change the system.
Finally, don’t let your stuff rule your life, let your stuff serve you in life. Donate your unused items to the OppShop located at 3045 5th Street Highway.
Vali Heist is a professional author, speaker, organizer and the owner of Clutter Crew.
(c) Opportunity House 2023