When my clients mention too much what exactly are they referring to? I wish it was that old Styx's song (Too Much Time On My Hands) but unfortunately, it's all about stuff.
Everywhere we turn it seems we're bombarded by an overabundance of stuff and things. We feel pressure to accumulate even more of it. I'm not talking about hoarding here. That's a serious problem that needs to be addressed by a team of specialized organizers and health professionals. I mean the "I had no idea I had so many of these" stuff.
We are consumers here in the USA, it's true. We can't turn down bargains or BOGO offers. 99 cent stores are everywhere. Dollar bins are placed at store entryways to entice us the minute we walk in the door.
We've been told to show our patriotism by going shopping. We shop when we're happy, sad and bored. We revenge shop and practice retail therapy. Shopping is a major hobby for some. There are TV shows all about shopping and bargain hunting.
And let's not forget another driving force behind our buying obsession....marketing geniuses. They make us feel ugly, fat, old and unworthy but, "If you just buy this one product all of your dreams will come true and men/women will fall at your feet."
What does all of this mean for you?
Well for one thing, an accumulation of too much stuff becomes clutter and clutter is draining. It's draining your bank account and your energy. It's a time waster and makes it difficult to get things done. It adds to your daily frustrations which raises your stress levels. Then you become frazzled and lose patience with everyone in your household including yourself.
Get off the merry-go-round once and for all!
Things You Can Do To Cut The Clutter
Ask Yourself These Questions:
1. How do I want this room to look and function? How do I want to feel in this space? You may want a serene spa-like bedroom that you can exhale in, so let that be your guide as you work through that area. Post some inspiration pictures to serve as a motivator.
2. Do I truly love this? KonMari asks, "Does this spark joy?" Ask yourself this as you work through the purge. Does that old lamp you inherited from your aunt really bring you joy when look at it or are you keeping it out of guilt or obligation?
Are you serious about getting rid of the clutter? Then mark blocks of time (three hours minimum) to sort/purge on your calendar. Treat it just like any other important appointment in your life. Shut off the TV, computer, your phone and focus your energy to avoid distractions.
I say this all the time -- start small. You'll get overwhelmed if you look at tackling your entire house at once. Begin with your clothing closet and drawers then work from there. As you move through the process you'll get into a groove.
Dump Duplicates, Anything Missing Pieces or Broken
This is a simple rule. Let go of broken electronics, toys missing parts, etc. Many of us have good intentions of fixing some of our belongings but never truly get around to it.
It's important to move through your belongings quickly in the sort/purge stage. If you stop and read cards, notes or look at baby pictures of your kids you'll get side tracked. Put the sentimental stuff aside, in fact, it's best to tackle that stuff last once you've had practice with sorting and purging.
Give Everything A Home
I do mean everything. A place for your keys, phone, office supplies & so on. This is the goal you are moving towards. If everything has a specific home, you will not lose stuff again or waste time looking for things. Which means more time for you!
Stop Too Much Stuff From Creeping Back In
One In One Out Rule
Once you've tackled an area remember the only way to keep the clutter from coming back to get rid something old whenever you bring in something new. Yup ladies, even shoes.
Purge Before Big Gift Giving Holidays
There are a couple of times during the year that an abundance of new gifts come in at one time like birthdays and Christmas. If you and your family do a purge of clothing & toys before, you'll have space for those things.
Say No to Freebies
Sure you can get a free T-shirt or coffee mug for your donation but do you really need it? Say no and do not bring unneeded things into your house from the start.
Make Decisions And Take Action Right Away
This is especially true with mail/paper. Instead of piling, immediately toss/recycle all junk mail, old magazines and newspapers. In fact, paper is such an issue for many that it's a good idea to sign up for paperless billing and put a stop to catalogs, magazine subscriptions and junk mail.
Beware of Hot Spots
Every house has them. They are areas or surfaces that become dumping grounds for stuff. Peter Walsh: flat surfaces are not storage spaces. That means counters, dining tables or beds. Get in the habit of clearing these areas daily.
Finish the Process
Clutter will stop being an issue for you once everything in your space truly has a home. Keep plugging away with the sort/purge process until every closet, drawer, surface - room is complete.
Getting organized is a life changing habit. Life changing habits take time, effort and practice to implement. It's a marathon, not a race so keep at it. The benefits will make the process completely worth it.