Chances are you have seen Frozen and can picture me singing Let it Go! Here’s why that Disney song is my organization manifesto. I consider myself a pretty laid back person, but I do have one pet peeve-extra STUFF. I believe that most people don’t like clutter, aside from those people on the television show Hoarders, and even that is about more than the stuff.
As a counselor I always find myself thinking about the root. Why is it that so many people hold onto things and other people toss them? I am going to oversimplify here but I believe it comes down to two different life views. There are those who come from the land of lack-I need to hold onto everything because there may not be more, and those who come from the land of plenty-the universe will provide.
Now, I want to spare you my psychobabble. I realize that having a land of plenty mindset might not come easy to single moms, as we are often times worried about making ends meet. We tend to focus so much on what we don’t have, that we fail to recognize what we already have.
You also might view the land of plenty mindset as wasteful but it is really the opposite. It is the belief that you don’t need as much stuff, so you don’t consume or keep more than you need around. The minimalist’s manifesto!
Now, whether you agree or disagree with why someone might be more inclined to hold onto extra stuff, the bottom line is having less clutter will make you more organized and leads to a less stressful existence so here are 5 steps to help you get there:
- Trim the Fat- Get rid of things that are multiples or things that you don’t need. Whenever someone tells me they don’t have too much stuff I challenge them to concentrate on emptying a few drawers where they might keep miscellaneous office supplies (For me that would be a kitchen drawer, a desk drawer, a nightstand, a work bag, and an armoire). How many multiples of the same items did you find? Try coat closets, linen closets, kitchen cabinets etc. More often than not we simply have too much stuff. Trim the fat!
- Catch the Clutter-now that you’ve identified what you don’t need you need to contain the things you do need. I love baskets, bowls, and decorative trays to keep things like keys, mail, sunglasses and toys. I keep a basket at the bottom of the stairs and make sure that things that need to go upstairs are deposited into it. At the end of the night the basket goes with me. Certainly there are nights when I forget to bring the basket up but at least it’s neatly contained. There are no shoes, scarves, belts and books strewn across the living room floor.
- Sort that mail-my pet peeve alarm is going off just writing this. Go through your mail each day. Toss or shred the junk mail immediately and file the things you need (I use the word file loosely here) it doesn’t need to be alphabetized, just place the things you need to keep into a nice box and go through it all on a designated day of the week.
- Clear your counters-a cluttered counter top is so not chic. I am a gadget girl too. I have never met a mixer or Panini press that I didn’t love but these things don’t have to live on your counter. If you aren’t baking or making fancy sandwiches on a daily basis it doesn’t need to live on your counter. Put it away and pull it out if and when you want a Panini. Also, ensure that you have white space in your kitchen. You should be able to see the wall or backsplash. It shouldn’t be littered with appliances no matter how shiny or cool they might be. No daily purpose-no show.
- Do a clean sweep- each night before bed I take less than 5 minutes to toss all toys (dog toys now, but they used to be children’s toys) into a basket, fluff pillows, straighten coffee table, and fold the throw. Each morning I come down to a clean and clutter free environment.
Remember life is challenging enough. Refuse to embrace the chaos by finding small ways to clear clutter from your life, get more organized and instill a sense of calm into your everyday life. You can Let it go!