Top Ten Tips, #3 Clear the Clutter First!

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I work with clients all the time who thought that buying the right organizing products would solve all of their clutter problems.  The advertisements we are constantly bombarded with may have you believing otherwise, but the truth is, you probably don’t need much of anything new to start the organizing process.  A few trash bags, maybe some sticky notes, perhaps some extra boxes you already have at your house.

In some ways continuing to buy containers as a way to get organized is just an avoidance method, a way of procrastinating.  People don’t really want to deal with their mess at home, so they go buy a product that will “fix all of their sorrows” rather than diving into the sorting process, which is really the first step to freedom.


DO NOT buy containers before you clear the clutter.  Containers are great for organizing, but if you don’t know how much stuff you need to organize or where it’s going to go, simply buying more containers will only add to your clutter problem.  Declutter first, organize second!  You don’t really want a closet full of empty containers when you’re done do you?

I have also found that once the clutter clearing progresses it just becomes evident where things feel like they belong.  Have a bit of patience with the process.  Your house didn’t get a house full of stuff over night, it’s not going to get uncluttered overnight either.

As you’re clearing the clutter, it is imperative that you take notice of the items and think about how they got in your home in the first place.  Did you inherit a bunch of stuff and feel guilty about getting rid of it?  Did you get a really good deal at a sale and stocked up and then never used the items?  Do you shop just to make yourself feel better and end up with overflowing closets?

Not everyone who is currently disorganized is wading through mountains and mountains of stuff as is so often what is portrayed on tv these days – the most extreme cases.  Most of what I see is people who have had some amount of order in their homes for at least a good portion of their lives, but now they are situationally disorganized (usually as a result of a transition) and they need a little help getting back on track.  Some examples would include having a baby, getting married, getting divorced, a loved one passing away, experiencing an injury or illness, or anything else that causes a big change in our lives.

It is extremely important to look at the underlying behaviors that caused you to be in this situation in the first place.  If you just clear out the clutter without this crucial step, it’s more than likely you’ll end up with just as much clutter as you had before you started.

Tip #3 (Non) Action Challenge:

Make a promise to yourself NOT to go out and buy any bins, containers or other organizing supplies until AFTER you you’ve clearer the clutter or made sure that you really need these supplies.

Up next….

Help! How am I ever going to get all this done?!?!?!? !@#$%^&


Holistic Professional Organizer and Coach at Synergy Organizing, LLC

©Synergy Organizing 2012

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