One of the top five resolutions that people make in the New Year is to get organized. This time of year feels like a fresh start; a new beginning. We begin to plan projects, business trips, vacations etc. for the coming year. We buy a new day timer, open new files and it all begins anew. Or does it? Or, are you starting the year with old piles and undones from last year? As I write this I am looking at a desk and an office that needs some purging. There are little reminder post-it notes, a pile of paper, some Christmas cards, and books that need to be placed back on the shelves. The rest of my home is tidy and organized, but I find it challenging to keep my work space clean and clear. It is an organized space most of the time, however, we need to keep in mind that creative spaces and places where projects are completed might go from tidy to messy and back again. That is why having some strategies for keeping some semblance of order are a good idea. When I am working on a project it might look messy, but I know where every single thing is at all times. Organized chaos!
The best way to begin the process of getting organized is to declutter. When we move away all of the disarray, debris and obstacles we can see more clearly. There is an inner calm that comes from feeling organized and free of disorder and confusion. Our outer environment can be a reflection of our inner environment. When we are feeling chaotic, messy and unclear inside, it is reflected outwardly. Clearing our home and office can help clear out the emotional and mental baggage. Clutter is stagnant energy. Energy needs to move and flow.
When you look around your home and office do you feel relaxed and comfortable? Is it clean, organized and free of piles of stuff? Or do you feel stressed or claustrophobic while in the space? I love the feel of retail stores that are clean and uncluttered; where I can see all of the merchandise clearly. Think of how it feels when you walk into a store or someone’s home that is full of clutter. It feels difficult to relax.
Is this one of those projects that you keep postponing? This is a great time to clear your home, your office, and your life of clutter. Clutter can present itself in many different forms; an unkept home, piles of laundry, piles of paper, a desk of files and even relationships. Sometimes like my too small office, we outgrow the people we have in our lives too.
Here are some easy ways to begin the process. You will love how you will feel more inclined to invite guests over when your home is easy on the eyes.
If you know it is clutter, get rid of that first. Clutter can be invisible; we are so used to it being there, that we bypass it every day. Try this: take everything off of your kitchen counters and look at the clear clean space. Can you create a file for the paper clutter? Decide which appliances are utilized most frequently. Then begin the process of placing things back on the counter or placing them in cupboards. If you use them once in awhile, then make sure you have easy access to the items. Your living room: take everything out if you can, and rearrange the room using only those items that fit and that you truly love. Get rid of the items that make you feel uncomfortable or the gifts that you never liked in the first place.
Try not to look at the whole picture or you will feel overwhelmed. To reduce clutter you need to approach it in small amounts; begin small. For example, take a drawer – pull out all the contents and lay it out in front of you. The best way to decide is this: if in doubt, throw it out. I make three piles: have to keep, maybe and donate. When that process is complete, I go through the have to keep and maybe piles one more time until I am down to two piles: one I keep and the other goes in a box or bag for donation. To reorganize, little baskets or trays are nice for small items. For clothing, refold and place neatly back in the drawer and look at all that extra space – you will actually find things when you look for them now!
Closets: I take it all out section by section, throw it on my bed and go through each piece. Try it all on to see what fits, what you like, what is in style, and what is out of style. If you don’t feel great in something, why keep it? Make the same 3 piles again. I put the No’s away in a bag immediately; out of sight, out of mind. If you have not worn something in about 2 years, get rid of it. And how often do you paint? You don’t really need that many items for painting do you? If I buy two new sweaters, I donate two, and the same goes for anything I buy.
Shoes: Dig them all out, dust them off and purge in the same way. Take in the ones that need polishing, new lifts or repairs.
Good hangers are key: have all the same type of hangers. It makes it look neat and tidy, and keeps things properly hung up. Wire hangers be gone!
For offices and kitchens: Invest in baskets, trays and clear stackable storage containers. Label the ones you place on shelves for easy identification and retrieval.
Kitchen cupboards: Go through all of them and check the best before dates on everything. And while you are there, take the opportunity to purge items that are unhealthy for you.
The living room: Get a small basket for all of the remotes, one for magazines, etc., so you have a home for each item that tends to get lost or untidy. Consider adding different types of lighting or more area lamps for those areas. I love dimmer switches so that I can control the amount of light according to the time of day and the mood I wish to create.
Items that you use frequently: Keep them easily available so you can access them when you need to, and most importantly, so that they are easy to place back in their proper location.
Lighting: A well lit area does not tend to get cluttered.
One of the best ways to avoid clutter is to do a quick clean sweep once a day and move, arrange or put things away. This will eliminate the buildup of the daily accumulation of little piles everywhere. This will keep things from getting out of control in your home or office.
If you are having a hard time moving forward in your life, it just might be the clutter that is literally holding you back. Again, our outer clutter is often a reflection of the inner chaos… no wonder you may feel stuck, have trouble making decisions, or taking action toward your goals. De-cluttering your environment takes away a great deal of stress; it creates new space for new opportunities.
As you know I support, coach, inspire and motivate others to live their best life. I am here for you.
Let’s scratch this one off the to-do list!