Going to The Container Store, or someplace similar is one of the best parts of my job as a Professional Organizer. What I need to constantly remind my clients, though, is this is a step only taken after full decluttering is done. You first need to know what you are keeping to know how best to use products that may help that space be more organized. As exciting as it may seem to get that custom closet built, there is no sense ordering it until you have fully gotten rid of everything you won't be keeping. Or desk accessories may seem great, but not yet--finish that desk decluttering first. I just did my pantry and got lots of cool tiered shelving. I couldn't do that though until I purged what I knew either didn't belong there, or was something I wasn't keeping. You may LOOK at http://www.containerstore.com, but no buying remember until you are done decluttering that area!
Darby Saxby, Assistant Professor of Psychology at USC, studied clutter in a home, and the effects on persons living there. Her research found that home clutter can affect a person's level of cortisol, the stress hormone. She told Real Simple magazine in the February 2016 issue (pg. 128) "One of the things that make people have a physiological stress response is feeling a sense of overload, and clutter is a nagging reminder of things that are left undone." From what I have seen from working with my clients, that is certainly true. It is like a weight is lifted as the clutter begins to clear and a calm enters your life as you complete each area. Give it a try and see if you agree.
The term "hoarder" applies to those people with a serious disorder which can be treated with cognitive behavioral therapy, medication or both. These are people that have severe anxiety about getting rid of possessions. If you find you fall into this category, you can contact the National Association of Professional Organizers to find someone specially trained to work with such individuals. They can be called at 856.380.6828. Reaching out for help is a tremendous first step.
If you are not a hoarder, but simply have lots of decluttering to do, get started. Determine item by item if it is something that either brings you great joy or serves a purpose.. If it does neither, it is time to get rid of it. If it is of use to no one (a shirt with rips or paint on it) ditch it. If you no longer have use for it but it is something others might use, donate it. Many shelters assist homeless in getting set up in a new home and need household items in addition to clothing. Always call before dropping off items. If you decide to keep something, it needs to have a home and your space is going dictate how much you can really keep. You'll love all the extra closet and pantry space once you declutter and get rid of those items you truly don't need!
Remember, organizing truly never ends. Once you feel you are "done" go back to the beginning areas you worked on and reevaluate each area and give it a "tune up." If you have put in the right process of keeping things organized, you should have minimal work for each area. Keep it up and a full decluttering and organizing shouldn't be needed again!
There are a couple of ways to deal with clutter around your house that are certainly among the WORST in my book! The first is to DO NOTHING. As much as you may "wish" it would go away, it won't. Many clients I have worked with tried that tactic for months or years and then realized that isn't gonna work. You need to tackle it, and the sooner you do so, the sooner the calm will start entering your life.
The other advise, which I love the way Real Simple stated it in their January 2014 issue, "Thou shalt not transfer clutter! Don't bury the den to save the dining room." Sometimes, we think if we just set this pile over in another room, that will work. WRONG! It needs to be handled.
In doing so, remember you need to look at the items causing the clutter and determine if each serves a purpose or brings you great joy. If neither apply, it's clutter. At that point you need to determine if it could still be of use to someone else or should be trashed. Maybe it could go to a friend, a charity or a family member. Remember, nobody wants your JUNK, so if it is trash, admit it and put in the trash can. If you are keeping it, you must find a home for it. Clearing out cupboards and closets allows for you to have space to keep those things you want. Let me know how you do. I can see calm entering your life as you declutter those many areas in your home.
Steph has been organizing for over ten years. Her simple tips here can help you get and keep organized and add calm to your life.