As a home organizer, I encounter too much stuff in every home I go to. I help people declutter and organize, but that’s not where my work ends. As a professional, I consider success only when my clients learn how to stay organized. This is a process, it does not happen in a short period. There are many aspects to staying organized, such as motivation, emotions, time management, habits, executive skills. health and more.
In this organizing blog, I would like to focus on the basics: how does one prevent the build-up of clutter at home? If we continue to accumulate clutter, sooner than later we will lose control of our currently organized home. The same as a baby needs to learn how to crawl, then walk and then run, all households should first be able to prevent clutter entering our homes and only then talk about organizing methods. Organizing can not exist with too much stuff in the house.
Should we all start a minimalist lifestyle? Certainly not, although I fully support what I call a realistic minimalism. I’m a minimalist, but I would define myself as a realistic minimalist rather than a strict minimalist. I’m by nature a minimalist, but I never take ideas into extremes. I do not own less that a 100 items, I do own a car or a TV, but I do believe people own too many items that are useless to them and just make them miserable. The bottom line is that one does not have to be a minimalist to keep clutter level low. What you do need to do is apply practical simple concepts and be mindful of what you buy. This will keep you clutter-free on a regular basis. Here is what I urge you to apply:
ASK YOURSELF – DO I REALLY NEED TO BUY THIS ITEM?
Let’s say you want to buy something. TRY NOT BUYING THIS ITEM FOR 30 DAYS. If you were successful managing without this item for 30 days, it is fair to say that you do not need to buy this item at all. Many of our purchases are built on emotions – we see an item for sale and we want it. The reality is that in most cases we really don’t need it. The proof to this argument is that in too many cases we buy something, we use it once or never use it and from that point the item joins the accumulated clutter. The best part about applying this simple tool is that you will discover it would cut your purchases quickly by half. Clutter will not build up and you will spark joy when you look at your credit cards statements and realize how much money you have saved.
BUY NEW ITEMS ONLY IF THEY REPLACE OTHER ITEMS I OWN
This applies to 95% of the items we own. Naturally, it varies for different people, as we all have different preferences. A good example, that applies to us all, is clothing. We all need T-shirts, pants and shoes. What if one decides that a new T-shirt will replace an old one or a new coat will replace an older one etc. It’s those little things that will create the big change. Our closets will stay clutter-free and again, we will save a significant amount of money. The same applies to toys, tools, office supplies and much more.
People struggle the most with START TAKING ACTION. After they take action motivation starts to build up. I notice this with all my clients. The first time a goal is achieved is considered a breakthrough. It is critical to set a list of small actions to make progress. When such a list exists, we have a clear way on what we should do. This will avoid the feeling of being overwhelmed. So, create a list of items you choose to avoid buying in the next 6 months and stick to this list, which is your goal.
ENJOY EXPERIENCE VS CONSUMERISM
Minimalism evolved as consumerism shifted us humans from what’s really important to us – relationships, happiness, love and the feeling that someone cares about us. My father just turned 80. Instead of buying him big presents, that he would not even care for, we arranged an intimate family experience. We brought a chef and the whole family cooked together and had a memorable experience. Everyone got a special apron with prints that symbolizes my dad. So we chose a memorable experience over adding clutter to my dad’s house. My dad was so happy and he and the family will remember this event for the rest of their lives. When we appreciate a person and want to let someone know we care for him/her, sometimes it’s best to invest money in creating an experience rather than buying an item. There are many different forms to create experiences – I’ll let your imagination go wild:)
Trust me – applying the concepts discussed will make you feel like you have a new home. Our home should be our refuge. Our living space is directly related to our well-being and stress level. Our home is a reflection of our mind. We declutter our homes to organize our minds. It’s that simple and so powerful. My advise to you is to keep it SIMPLE LIFE. There is no need to buy plastic containers or any other organizing solutions. All you need to do is to buy less. Using organizing gadgets can just create more clutter.
Here is a link to a really nice video by “Simply by Christine”. It’s called “Minimalism for beginners”: Anyone can benefit, regardless if you are a minimalist:
I’d like to summarize by saying this: go back to the basics. Put yourself in first. Material does not have any meaning. We and social media create the meaning around it. Take a step back, think about yourself, your family and friends. Everyone wants to be counted. Buying stuff does not compensate for the compromised relationships. We can’t escape stress by shopping. Let’s buy less and be happy. I wish you all the best and I’m always here for you.