A calm and organized environment is the first step in making space to do what you’ve been dreaming about. 

Clutter has a sneaky way of creeping into our lives. Whether it’s physical possessions, digital chaos, or mental clutter, the accumulation can drain our energy and get in the way of our ability to focus. We can let the clutter stop us because there is just such a mess around us that we can’t get anything done – or – because we are spending too much time cleaning, moving, and tending to all our stuff. It is really just too much! But, when you simplify and clear the clutter, you can create a harmonious space that supports your goals and well-being. 

Here are some simple steps to start your de-cluttering process and transform your environment into a place for clarity, productivity, and peace.

First, identify the Room: Identify the room you will work in first. Some ideas are your office, your kitchen, or your closet. These tend to be the hot spots in people’s houses that get in the way of productivity and joy.

Then, decide on the first space within that room where you will begin. Keep it a small space, like one drawer or one cabinet. Once you get that done, you can move on to the next small space and so on. 

Next, Give yourself a set time to work on the project so you stay focused and don’t lose interest, and so you don’t go down the rabbit hole of getting absorbed in the memorabilia you might find along the way! (Think of all your kids’ first-grade drawings and old family photos.) 

Now, sort the items you find into four piles: 1) keep, 2) repair, 3) return/donate/sell, and 4) toss.  This is the hardest part, but here are some guidelines.

  • Keep:
    • Keep the things that you genuinely NEED 
    • Keep items that are USEFUL to you
    • Keep the things you LOVE and ENJOY
    • Keep things that have DEEP MEANING for you 

A dose of brutal honesty can be good here!

  • Repair: Here, the item would otherwise be in your Keep pile, but it needs a little love first. This is the lamp you need that requires a new electric cord or the shoes you love that need a new heel. If you put these in your keep pile, the repair may never get done, and they will land back in your nice, clean space, but they won’t be helpful to you. 
  • Return/Donate/Sell: This pile includes things that don’t fit into the Keep or Repair pile. 
    • First, return anything that still has a price tag and is inside the store’s return window. 
    • Next, Donate everything in this pile that is worthy of finding a new home.
    • Lastly, you can try to sell the things you do not choose to donate.
  • Toss: Toss anything that doesn’t fit in the Keep, Repair, or Return/Donate/Sell pile.  This can be hard, but if it doesn’t work for you or anyone else, you can let it go.

Finish up by clearing and cleaning all your other surfaces: After you have gone through your drawers, shelves, racks, etc., in the room you selected to tidy up, it’s time to clear off all your flat surfaces, like countertops and tables.  They have a way of being junk magnets. You can go through the same process of sorting the items into four piles: Keep, Repair, return/ donate/sell or toss. 

This is a great time to get out the duster, clean all your nice empty spaces, and start fresh before you start to put things back into place.

Finally, it’s time to take action on all your piles. 

  • Things you are keeping: 
    • Remove everything you are getting rid of to another part of your house and out of the room you are organizing.  My mudroom is my next triage level for going out the door for good. You will be dealing with this soon enough.
    • Take everything you are keeping and decide how it will be stored in your space. If you are working in your closet, you can hang all your pants in one area, shirts in another, etc.  If you are working in your kitchen cabinets, reorganize what you are keeping to make things easy to access.  You get the idea. Right?
  • Things you are going to repair:
    • Research and find repair shops for your items. This is the time to decide if the object can easily be repaired and what it will cost you to do that. If you cannot find a reasonable place for the repair to be done for an affordable price, you can decide if the item should be donated to let someone else try to repair it (with a sign on it as to what needs to be repaired) or if it should be tossed.  What you do not want to do is put that item back in your cabinet because it will probably be right there five years from now, still broken!
  • Things you are returning/donating/selling (remember these are now in your mudroom or garage or basement – but you don’t want to let them linger there)
    • Returns – Do them as soon as you can. Stores have windows for returns; if you miss it, you might be stuck with an item you don’t want.  So find your receipts and do your returns. 
    • Donations –  A quick online search can help you find a place to donate almost everything. This is a feel-good move. You can donate clothes to a women’s shelter, food items to a food pantry, or furniture and accessories to a local charitable resale shop or Habitat for Humanity organization. Find your location, check the hours they accept goods, and load up your car.  Delivering those things and knowing they will be used well is such a great feeling.
    • Sell – You can have a garage sale or sell online on FB marketplace or other listings. If you have more up-scale items, you can bring them to a local resale boutique or try The Real-Real or other online resale shops. They exist for fashion, accessories, and furnishings, and they sometimes provide packaging and free shipping for items they accept.
  • Things you are tossing: 
    • Throwing something out can be hard, but by this time, you already know that you are not keeping it and that it is not in good enough shape to repair, donate, or sell. Tossing it makes sense. But you can feel good about this too. There are responsible ways to throw out things like electronics, batteries, paints, medicines, lightbulbs, chemicals, eyeglasses, shoes, clothing, plastics, plastic bags, etc.  It may take some online searching, but you can find local places that accept certain waste items for recycling or repurposing.

On to the Next-Level Decluttering: If you have gone through all the essential spaces in your house and you are on a roll, you might be ready for the next level of decluttering. These areas might take some extra time and a little extra help to accomplish. They include storage spaces, your digital clutter, your personal finances, your calendar, your daily routine, your office, records & files, and items of deep meaning like your children’s work, old family photos, and other memorabilia. 

In future articles, I’ll tackle other areas of simplifying your life and space, so stay tuned.  And you can always contact me for practical and results-oriented coaching to help you reach your decluttering goals in all areas of your home, life, and business so you can make room for your next best chapter. Check out my website at  https://annpmessercoaching.com/.  Follow me on facebook at https://www.facebook.com/annpmessercoaching/. Or email me at ann@annpmessercoaching.com

For now, walk around and enjoy the clarity that comes from having a simpler, decluttered home. 

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