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Overwhelmed by Clutter? Show Junk Its Way Out with These 10 Steps.

Overwhelmed by Clutter? Show Junk Its Way Out with These 10 Steps.

As a Professional Organizer, I deal with people’s clutter day after day. Over time, I have discovered that most of the clutter found in any given home is things that should have left home but failed to do so. We’ll call it junk. If you are overwhelmed by clutter, show junk its way out. 

Although junk includes trash, it also includes anything that does not serve us anymore, regardless of the item condition. How long waste stays in the home depends on the routines and procedures we follow (or fail to) in handling our belongings.

Those routines determine how cluttered our environment remains. Thus, consistently following specific practices and learning different habits can remove most of that clutter and help us maintain the space in much better shape. 

Handle The Trash 

Have a good size trashcan (13 gal.) and recycling bin in the kitchen. To be functional, these need to be out in the open. It’s a good idea to get matching trashcan and recycling bins (or dual-purpose units). Square or rectangular shapes are best because these save space and configure better to the areas. 

Relying on the latest grocery bag hanging on a doorknob to discard your trash or an 8-gal trashcan in a corner to collect recycling might be an economical alternative. Still, it creates more obstacles than benefits, and it is not conducive to a cleaner kitchen. So instead, invest in good quality tools that make life easier.  

Sort The Mail

Have another trashcan and recycle bin set where you sort mail if this place is not the kitchen. This process goes hand in hand with having an effective mail processing system

Add Trashcans Everywhere

It is easier to dispose of trash when there is a place to do so while we handle that waste. Therefore, place a trashcan in every room in the home. The amount of actual trash removed from homes while decluttering is astonishing. Trash goes on the floor, under the bed, on the counter, and everywhere else when we don’t have accessible trashcans. During the weekly cleaning day, take all trash out.

Be Aware

Pay attention to when and how you experience the feeling that something no longer has a place in your life or your home. This feeling could be subtle as an energetic discrepancy in your body or noticeable, like clothing that does not fit. That’s the moment when you need to act. So take that thing out of your space. NOW.

Handle Packages Immediately

When receiving a package, open the box and remove the contents. If keeping it, remove the outer and inner packaging and tags. Take the item to where it is used or stored. Then trash or recycle all packaging. Do not let those boxes and protective packaging material roll around your home for weeks on end. 

Every Time You Come Home

Every time you come home, especially when you bring bags of any kind, open that bag and remove its contents. Take everything where it belongs. Then trash, recycle, or fold bags to reuse if desired. This process takes a couple of minutes, but better to employ seven minutes each day than suffer a panic attack when you realize that you can’t deal with the clutter.

If anything can go anywhere, then everything will go anywhere. So you want to have control of your environment. Every single day, with consistency, is how you achieve that. 

Donate 

When you decide something is for donation, take it out of the house and place it in your car. Then, place a note on your windshield or seat to remind you to stop by the donation center first thing when you go out next. This practice might sound silly to you, but it won’t when you see how effective this method is. 

Deal with Broken Things 

Upon identifying an item that needs repair, put that item in a particular place dedicated to this purpose. Assign a monthly date in your calendar for repairs. On that day, take the basket, bag, or bin with you and take care of all of them.

Send Stuff Away

If you see something that you should have/could have/would like to send someone, prepare the package at that moment. If this is impossible, place the item where it bothers you enough that you won’t ignore it or forget. Then include a reminder in the calendar for later that day to prepare that package. Once the box is ready, please put it in your car immediately to be shipped.

Take It Out NOW!

The point is to TAKE THAT THING OUT OF YOUR SPACE NOW. Some things might need to wait. For those, prepare a labeled area in your home to place those. As you place something in that area, calendar the action or reminder to take care of the issue.

Is the item too big to move, or is the action something cumbersome you cannot handle now? You can always calendar these things. You deal with the issue the moment you decide about it. By placing a reminder or an action in the calendar, these things will be out of your head – clearing your mental clutter as well.

Do not entertain trash, junk, and other people’s treasures in your home. Your home is living space, not storage space or a dump. 

Professional Organizer Vs. Mari Kondo

Professional Organizer Vs. Mari Kondo

What This Is About

It has taken me an excessive amount of time to write this piece. I had allowed the cloud of dust to settle. In the meantime, I have been learning about the subject, filling in the information gaps where I deemed appropriate. So here is what I’ve got on Professional Organizer Vs. Mari Kondo.

The way I see it, Mari Kondo helps you get rid of the clutter and teaches you how to fold your shirts and underwear in a very particular way. Still, her method is not about professional organization. Some KonMari certified consultants are Professional Organizers. But following the KonMari process alone is not enough to call someone a Professional Organizer.

The Need That Each Serves

Please do not take me wrong. I’m not at war with Mari Kondo. On the contrary. I think she brings a lot of attention and value to our industry. But having said that, she serves a specific portion of the market. What she does is not equivalent to what a Professional Organizer does.

If you need to declutter your space, you can choose between the KonMari method or a Professional Organizer. However, if you want to find the root cause of your disorganization and need systems to maintain the order to go forward, you need a Professional Organizer. Unfortunately, Mari Kondo can’t help you there.

Let me present a couple of criteria to compare how the KonMari method differs from the Professional Organizer’s approach.

Scope and Focus

Organizers typically follow a method that involves evaluating, classifying, purging, allocating, containerizing, and labeling spaces. As part of this process, they emphasize improving the productivity of the client and the efficiency of the space. To achieve that, Organizers implement systems and processes. 

On the other hand, the KonMari method focuses on decluttering the home using the classification of items. Her process does not address the organizing details. Indeed, Mari Kondo does not focus on systems or processes to enhance the efficiency of the space or maintain the order achieved.

Ideal Clientele

Mari Kondo does not address the root cause of disorganization in a home or a person’s life. Therefore, it is logical to presume that her process does not work for people whose clutter problem is “not about the stuff.”  Should these individuals follow the KonMari method, the chances are that shortly after, they will be cack on square one. 

Organizers train in a wide variety of areas to best help their clients. Therefore, it is essential to look for that Organizer best suited to each person’s needs. A good Professional Organizer seeks to find out the root cause of the problem, transfers skills, and designs systems to make their client’s life easier.

Aesthetic Value and Design

The KonMari method emphasizes reusing what the client has available to organize and containerize the client’s items after decluttering. The process expressly avoids the purchase of containers and systems. Not buying additional equipment or supplies could be an advantage when considering project costs. However, things have changed recently with the new merge between Mari Kondo and The Container Store. 

Nevertheless, as humans, we are more inclined to maintain the organization of areas that look neat and that are pleasing to the eye. An organized place should be decluttered and functional but also aesthetically pleasing. An organizing design does not need expensive organizing products to look fantastic. However, it requires careful consideration of style and form. And random repurposed containers might not achieve great-looking results.

Room by Room Vs. Categories 

One of the fundamental KonMari principles is organizing the whole house using a process based on categories, placing together all items from the same type to evaluate them at once. Some see this method as more definite, fast, and conclusive than organizing room by room.

But Professional Organizers agree with the organizing by categories! One hundred percent! We all want to place similar items together before the client decides what to keep. The difference lies in what happens next with each category once the client has decided what to keep. 

Organizers Go Further

Organizers take it a step further, clarifying the purpose of each room to assign items to their logical place. But yes, we completely agree-this should be a whole-house approach. 

And the whole-house approach is inevitable anyway. People love to spread their things all over the home, regardless of item type or home space purpose. So, we need to search the whole house to bring together all items in the various categories.

Once And For All?

As they say, the KonMari process is a “once and for all solution.” But organizing is a life skill. There are habits to be learned and exercised throughout our lives to keep an organized space. 

The order does not magically happen “once and for all.” People change, fail, recover, let go, and come back. We are more complex than “once and for all.” Without addressing disorganization’s root causes and the human condition, how can anyone sustain the “once and for all” claim?

When clients work with a Professional Organizer who shows them how much easier life can be by using the “logical place for things” and the “one home per category of items” approach, they usually adopt new habits.

In Conclusion

We are not opposed to the KonMari method – it works in specific situations and for a particular type of client. However, people should understand the fundamental differences between the KonMari way and what Professional Organizers do. 

It is time that people in need of professional organization services stop thinking they don’t need a Professional Organizer because they read the KonMari book. Those who truly need a Professional Organizer will see no progress with the KonMari method. On the other hand, people who do not grapple with disorganization or any underlying clutter situation will be happy, experiencing joy with what they keep and gratefully saying goodbye to their discards.

4 Factors That Feed Disorganization

4 Factors That Feed Disorganization

Disorganization has many root causes, but some elements can aggravate a chaotic environment, compounding the problem. Addressing these elements can make our environment much more manageable.

1. Too much stuff

We can’t organize clutter. That’s a fact. Things accumulate over time if we do not keep a close eye on what we purchase or even what we have had for years. Things that once served us well might no longer be relevant in our lives. We need to make room for what we truly need and want by eliminating what no longer has a place in our lives. 

Ongoing purging what we no longer need and want should become a lifestyle rather than a once-a-year activity. Things will continuously enter our space. If we do not get in the habit of eliminating what no longer serves us, we end up with an unmanageable accumulation of stuff.

2. Improper use of the space

Holding on to things that we do not want or need is just part of the problem. The inefficient use of the space available is another.

Thinking in terms of categories and placing similar things together forces you to assign a specific space to each type of thing, so everything in your home has a place where it belongs. You will always know where to go when you need that item and where to return it.

When things do not have an assigned home, they get everywhere. And when anything can go anywhere, then everything will go everywhere. 

Your disorganized belongings occupy three or four times the space they should.

Suppose you used the space appropriately, thinking about item categories and assigning each category type a unique and logical place. In that case, you’d recover space you had no idea you had.

3. Lack of proper tools

The purchasing of containers or organizing systems should happen after purging what we do not want or need anymore. 

Buying these items beforehand is a waste of time. It might even compound the clutter problem. Getting these solutions without first knowing what they are for or where they go results in incorrect items for the purpose or space intended.

Storage solutions and containers purchased beforehand may become circumstantial band-aids to our organizing project at best. As such, they will perform a mediocre job. At worst, purchasing these items negates buying the right tools for the job. Then these end up cluttering our home. 

4. Broken things

Broken things can be structural barriers to organizing. These are items or systems that have stopped working as intended and, as a result of being neglected, cause further disorganization around them. 

The dresser with the broken drawer that no longer opens causes its contents to be scattered around the room because it has no other place to go. 

The closet rod that fell caused you to install a rolling laundry solution in the middle of your bedroom, and you trip on it every day when walking by (not to mention how it looks!). 

That shelf inside the cabinet that fell off caused you to start shoving the cabinet’s contents inside without any rhyme or reason. The broken shelf means the contents can no longer be divided or organized. 

We live life at a fast pace. That causes us to ignore many details of our environment. Those details accumulate over time and result in a dysfunctional environment that stresses our minds and bodies. Often we do not even realize how it happened – we feel the mess at some point. 

These details do matter. Take time to fix these minor problems the moment they happen. It would be more time-consuming and costly to let them go and deal with the consequences later.

Many elements can become roadblocks to an organized life. But if we could keep up with these four factors that feed disorganization, we would be better shaped to bring the organization back into our lives.

The Wardrobe Capsule

The Wardrobe Capsule

Lately, I’ve been obsessed with the concept of the wardrobe capsule. I know it’s nothing new by any means, but for some reason, my time to pay attention to this has come. It goes perfectly well with the minimalist trend we have been experiencing in recent years. I love that!

Much has been said and written about the wardrobe capsule. There are capsules for every possible age, gender, color palette, and season. Just go on Pinterest, and you’ll never run out of ideas and options.

The Wardrobe Capsule

Susie Faux developed the term “capsule wardrobe,” She was the owner of the British boutique “Wardrobe” in the 1970s. At that time, the term referred to a collection of high-quality essential items of clothing that would not go out of fashion and we could wear across multiple seasons. The idea was to update the collection with seasonal pieces to provide something to wear for any occasion without buying many new clothing items.

According to Susie Faux, a woman’s wardrobe capsule should typically contain at least two pairs of trousers, a dress or a skirt, a jacket, a coat, a knit cardigan, two pairs of shoes, and two bags. This concept uncomplicates the morning routine and saves money in the long run. Also, because the capsule pieces are of higher quality, they might be more expensive, but they won’t go out of style and last much longer.

The concept of a capsule wardrobe was made famous by American designer Donna Karan in 1985 when she released her “7 Easy Pieces” collection.

Concept Evolution

These days, the capsule idea deviated from the original concept due to the rampant consumerism of our days. Instead of limiting the collection to 7-11 items, the current capsules limit is about 30 items (including shoes, handbags, and accessories). Still, it is a beautiful improvement (or sacrifice, shall I say) from the two or three full closets many women own these days.

I like how this concept gets our creative juices flowing. We need to be creative to come up with different combinations and develop outfits with a limited number of clothing pieces. For some, this is a real problem. For others, this is just what they need. Others might even discover a side they did not know about themselves!

Stylebook App

Here’s a little to help with creating diverse combinations of clothing pieces. A couple of years ago, I discovered an app called Stylebook. Again, nothing new but still super fun. Stylebook brings your closet to life with its many applications. It takes some initial prework, but even that part is enjoyable. 

Stylebook requires that you photograph your wardrobe pieces (including accessories). There are many options to create your wardrobe images, including clipping and importing images from your favorite online stores, social media (Pinterest, of course), and others. It yields images that make your clothing look like magazine stuff. 

And if you’re using the capsule concept, the amount of clothing to photograph will be minimal anyway – another advantage of the capsule! 

Best Fashion Blog

Speaking of capsules, I should not forget to mention blogger and fashion diva Allison Lumbatis from GYPO (Get Your Pretty On). Her blog is fantastic, with lots of helpful content and advice. Allison offers seasonal wardrobe capsules based on the outfit formulas concept. Curious? Check her out! Be careful, though! This stuff is addictive.

Have fun with the wardrobe capsulesStylebook, and GYPO!

Let us know how it goes!!

7 Big Decluttering Tips

7 Big Decluttering Tips

7 Big Decluttering Tips

Here are some fantastic decluttering tips from Joshua Becker, host of Uncluttered, and founder of Becoming Minimalist.

  1. Identify the purpose of a room and get rid of anything that doesn’t serve that purpose. If this sounds a bit stoic, hang in here with me for a second. Think about it. Your bathroom doesn’t need a Peloton. Your kitchen doesn’t need a video game station. Find purpose and balance for every space, or everything will remain confused and out of balance.
  2. Distinguish between decluttering and tidying up. Simply put, these things are not the same. It’s like the difference between rearranging the furniture and renovating a space. Decluttering makes tidying up a thousand times easier.
  3. Simplify walls. It’s easy to point at the messy surfaces, cluttered closets, and dramatically stuffed junk drawers, but one of the quickest ways to create more “breathing room” in a space is to declutter the walls. What’s hanging in your way?
  4. Start with the easier spaces and move on to harder ones. Overwhelm is a true mind-killer. Some people say “eat the frog” and tackle the most excruciating task first. While this may work for some, I find it’s better to get some quick wins, create momentum, and work your way up to the bigger tasks.
  5. Choose one of three options for every object: remove it, relocate it, leave it. Success and speed go hand-in-hand. When it comes to evaluating possessions, it’s time to be decisive and categorize each object and then move on. Rinse and repeat.
  6. Count the “clutter cost.” Think about your money, your energy, and the days and hours of your life spent addressing clutter. And the time clutter takes away from what matters most. From this standpoint, who among us can truly “afford” to live a cluttered existence?
  7. Focus on the gains, not the subtractions. Minimizing isn’t just about getting rid of clutter. It’s about adding freedom and control back into your life. Celebrate your wins in the form of new freedom, not in the number of items you eliminate (although it can be pretty cool to keep count!)

Find clarity and enjoy your life. The more energy you put in removing the excess, the easier it will be to find and develop habits to better manage the things you keep.

If you need help organizing your home, don’t hesitate to contact My Space Reclaimed, LLC. We can provide that much-needed help.


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