Organize + Energize: How Much is Too Much?
Tuesday, July 31, 2018
Kristin MacRae, GoLocalWorcester Organizing Expert
Do you ever wake up and feel overwhelmed, stressed, anxious or flat out tired? Are you consumed with too much stuff around you? I’m not talking about being a hoarder. I’m talking about just having too much stuff. There is a difference. If you’re starting to feel like all of this stuff is making your life more complicated, trust that feeling. The more you have, the more complicated your life becomes. Add the stress of being disorganized to this picture and you will at some point reach a breaking point and won’t be able to take it any longer.
Being disorganized and having too much stuff will soon become a problem in the home. When there aren’t any systems to contain the stuff it becomes a chaotic, stressful and an overwhelming environment.
You have items in your home that have meaning and are special to you, but after a while the really important things that mean something to you will mesh with the unimportant things. When you walk into your home, it ultimately all blends in together.
How does your home make you feel? Grab a pen and paper and answer the following questions. Jot down any thoughts that come to mind when answering these questions. Clearing the mental clutter and putting things on paper will help you through this process.
• Do you feel like your home is always chaotic?
• Do you feel comfortable and relaxed in your home?
• Are you embarrassed to have people over?
• Do you find yourself shoving items into closets when the doorbell rings?
• Are you holding onto things that have no meaning to you?
• Will letting these items go give you a sense of freedom?
• Are your relationships suffering because of all the clutter and disorganization?
• If you were told that you had to move tomorrow, how long would it take you to pack?
• Are you paying to store items in off-site storage units? How much money do you spend?
• Is there a room(s) in your home where the door is always shut?
• Do you find yourself saying there isn’t enough time in the day? Are you busy but not productive?
• Are you wasting money?
You know you have too much, but it’s so overwhelming to tackle the project and you just don’t know where to begin. You also have to be ready to make the commitment to change and you have to be ready to declutter. You will definitely hit a breaking point and you’ll wake up one day and say, “I’m ready.”
Are you ready to tackle this project? I hope this article will make you think about how much you have and how decluttering and getting organized will make your life easier and allow you to become more efficient and productive. When you are ready, make a plan, break the process down and commit to tackling it.
Kristin Carcieri-MacRae, is an organizing & efficiency expert and owner of Organizing in RI. Kristin teaches her clients that living an organized lifestyle will save them time and money, decrease their stress levels and help them become more efficient and productive. Her articles have been published in local and national magazines. She has also given over 80 presentations throughout the state. Kristin has created a one-of-a-kind weekly planner. More info here.
Paper in any form
This was the most challenging space! 91% of people surveyed stated paper was their biggest headache. Just because we are in this digital age, people think paper is going to disappear. As long as we have mail, and paper at work, kid’s school papers, etc., paper is going to be around for a very long time. We need to develop systems to organize and maintain our paper clutter.
To stay on top of an organized closet, you should be emptying your closet twice a year. Switch your closets in the spring and fall. This will force you to take inventory of the contents of the closet. You’ll never know what’s hiding in the back corners of your closet unless you take everything out.
When was the last time you emptied your entire food closet down to bare shelves? I asked this question at my last presentation and not one person could remember. Some said the last time their food pantry was empty was when they first moved in and others stated it had been years. Have garbage bags on hand. In every kitchen I organize, we throw out at least three garbage bags of expired food.
This is the black hole of the house. If an item doesn’t have a home, it usually gets thrown in the basement on a shelf. You’ll walk into the basement one day and wonder how did it get so bad? The first thing you need to do in the basement is declutter, then categorize items and then decide how you want to function going forward. Measure your space and choose shelving units that will fit what you need to hold. Block off 3 hours and don’t leave the basement during that time. Staying in the room will keep you focused.
The garage is an area similar to the basement. The garage tends to be a drop spot for outdoor items and usually there isn’t any organization. Most tend to regret not organizing the garage when they find they can’t park their cars in the garage in the winter months when it’s snowing. Put this project on your to-do list this fall.
Office at work
Most will say they don’t have time to tackle this area, but think about the time you are wasting by not being organized. The office can be challenging for some because you have paper, closet space, desk space and bookshelves. Most get overwhelmed and stressed just thinking about tackling this space. They think it’s easier to function this way than to actually tackle the project.
If your kids are over the age of 6, incorporate them in this process. If you don’t have the skill set to help them get organized, call in a professional to work one-on-one with them. If your kids are craving structure, it’s time for them to get organized.
Another one of those black holes like the basement. You rarely venture into the attic and you continue to toss items in there that don’t have a home. The garage, basement and attic are really challenging areas because you don’t spend much time in them. Think about how you want to function in these spaces. Streamline and maximize this space. This room should have a purpose.
When items are just thrown into this closet without being contained, chaos will ensue. Empty the entire closet, categorize, itemize and then measure the space. Purchase containers to match the space and what you have to hold. It’s all about maximizing space in this closet and being able to put your hand on something without moving five other items out of the way.
This is a tough project even for people who are organized. Memorabilia items and photos are a challenge because as you go through them, you tend to reminisce. Save this for the last project on your list of areas to organize. Once you begin, just focus on tossing and keeping and then reminisce when the decluttering process is completed.