Hello there you tidy people! A friend of mine recently asked me for 3 tips on de-cluttering and organizing. And I was like GAH - JUST 3? Ironically, I happen to have this blog segment where I focus on 3 things each week, so cultivating 3 of my favorite organizing mantras was not really so much of a stretch for me. Also, I happen to say the same things over and over again to clients because THEY WORK. (Clients, if you are reading this, you can attest to my repetition.)
1) Have a home for everything. If it doesn't have a home, make one.
This is my most important mantra. Piles and clutter are just deferred judgements of where items belong. If it has a home, your items can go there and hang out instead of on your kitchen table. People often don't realize that the main reason they have clutter is that they have rendered too many items homeless - and that's just not a nice thing to do to your poor stuff that works hard for you!
The best example I give of this is cutlery. Even some of my most cluttered clients have a drawer with a utensil divider. It becomes second nature/habit to put your spoons back with their spoon friends in their spoon section in the cutlery drawer. Your spoons have a home. If you apply this system to everything you own, you will be organized. It's really that simple!
2) Store like with like:
Ever can't find a battery, but you know you just bought a bunch of triple A's, and GOSH WHERE ARE THOSE BATTERIES? You have some in the kitchen junk drawer, some in the garage, some in your desk drawer. Here's what happens next - either you will spend an hour searching all 14 battery hidey-holes, or you will spend half an hour going to the store to re-purchase something YOU KNOW YOU ALREADY OWN (then you will be out time and money, and ain't nobody got time for that!).
Herd them all up in one big electric cattle call and store them all together in a Battery home (see tip 1). Along with all of your like Battery accoutrement (I have my battery charger, charge detector, and a small electronics screwdriver stored with mine. Like with like - see?). You can even go one further and store your extra charging cords with these guys. This really charges me up.
3) Close the loop:
This is one of the tougher concepts to enact (even I struggle here when I am in a hurry!). So if you are following along, you already have a home for everything and you are storing like "friends" with like friends. Great!
Now it's time to maintain your system.
Close the loop people. Every task has an end. Change your mindset so that every task ends with putting away the stuff you used to complete the task.
For instance, you get out your stationery to write a thank you note. Write your note and put the unused stationery, pen, and stamps back in their homes with their like "friends". Now get that note in the mail (or at least in a place where you can pick it up on the way out the door). Your loop is closed.
Same with your toothbrush and toothpaste. Same with the coffeemaker. Same with your chocolate chip cookies (I definitely have a home for them!). Everything is at home with their friends and family. Life is good. You and your stuff are happily un-cluttered!
Peace, love, and labelmakers y'all!
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