Here are some strategies that can help. The example we’ll use applies them to paper clutter, but they can help you get moving on any clutter-busting project.
Often, seeing something concrete will get you moving, especially if you’re a visual person.
“Where did all this stuff come from anyway? How did it all fit in here in the first place? I can’t believe how long this is taking and how many boxes we have! AAAaahhhh!!!!”
Well, it’s true. When we pull everything out of its storage space, we can see the volume of what we really have. And, for those things that haven’t been seen or touched in years: much of it is astonishing.
“Cans of hairspray? Wait. I haven’t bought hairspray in a can in at least 2…uh, 5…oh, I don’t know – better throw that out. How did these shoes get back here? Man, they’re dusty. And sort of misshapen. Well, okay very misshapen. Nevermind. Out! And, wait. Do we really have 6 new containers of black pepper? Six? I had no idea. This will last us forever!”
You are moving into a new home. Whether larger or smaller than your last, it’s an opportunity to get organized – right from the start! Here are 6 spaces to set up when you move in so you can get and stay organized:
Spice Storage: There are so many options for organizing spices that there is really no reason you need to fight to find what you need, have bottles and jars falling out onto you as you reach behind, or repurchase multiples of what you already have.
Pantry: DIY or go the extra mile and get pro-installation. A pantry organizing system will be a delight to your family today and a great selling point tomorrow.
Under Sinks: Either in the kitchen or bathrooms, under sink storage will make ALL the difference. Enjoy the control and say goodbye to yucky under-sink messes!
Shoes: The struggle is real. First decide where you want to store them (By the entryway? In a closet? Under the bed? In the garage?) Then, reign them in.
Bedroom Closets: If you are renting a home, you may want to save money and purchase some temporary solutions that you can take with you when you move out. For homeowners, installing built-ins is the way to go.
Storage Area: Before you go building columns and walls of heavy boxes stacked one atop another; stop and think. This is what got you into the last mess of storage chaos. Is there room for some shelving? Is there ceiling or wall space to be taken advantage of?
As a professional organizer, I have seen more than my fair share of wedding gifts…
But not exactly as you’d expect…
I see them years after the big day…
…in their original boxes,
…tucked away in a closet or in storage.
Think ice cream maker (sure, sounds super fun but…), bread maker, fine china, crystal…
In recent years, there has been a real shift in registry selections, a move from traditional household items towards experiences, accessories to fuel their hobbies and lifestyle while still embracing good old gift cards, but to new locales, services.
As a professional organizer, I LOVE that modern, engaged couples are choosing to pack their registries with low clutter or clutter-free options!
So how can you, as a newlywed, plan a better registry with functional (and fun) items you’ll use and love vs those that you won’t? Check out our practical tips to your best wedding registry.
3 Practical Questions To Ask When Planning Your Registry
Does This Make Sense With Our Lifestyle?
Think about your lifestyle right now, as a couple. Do you love to make elaborate meals together, entertain family & friends? Or are you a couple who orders Hello Fresh or prefers to eat out due to busy schedules? How necessary is an 8-piece professional knife set or a Cuisinart Dual Blade 8qt Mixer or the 10-piece mixing bowl set if you have a compact kitchen? Are you planning to start a family right away or is travel and entertainment on your immediate agenda?
Think about what fits your lifestyle as a couple. For example, my husband was a chef, in a previous life, so the kitchen tools we received as wedding gifts have been well-loved & well-used over the years! So DO register for what you love…whether it’s cooking or entertaining, camping or traveling!
If you’re already keeping your life simple, don’t clutter up your kitchen or other spaces with big bulky items you’ll use once or never at all.
What Do We Already Have?
If you and your soon-to-be spouse lived in separate homes before getting married, now is the perfect time to see what you already have for your new space. Put everything where you want it. You may find that your future spouse already has a brand new Kitchen Aid Mixer and a set of glass mixing bowls, so no need to register for them. Have extra towels? Set some aside for guests.
Now you’ll have a great idea of…
…what you’re missing or might need,
…what is on its last legs and needs to be replaced,
…what items are duplicates and can be donated or passed along to a friend.
Repeat this process in every room in your home – declutter, evaluate, and adjust your registry accordingly.
But make no mistake…merging households could require quite a bit of decluttering…definitely more so than starting from scratch.
What Would Our Future Selves Do?
Your wedding registry is all about your future, so fast forward…5, 10, 15 years…
Do you see yourself using that must have juicer?
Are those higher thread count sheets really a priority?
Do you really need a 6-slice toaster or should you opt for nicer everyday towels?
Will being married motivate you to make your own bread?
Will you ever really host formal dinners that require fine china & crystal?
As someone who has been married for 15 years, I can tell you that, over the years, we’ve donated at least half of our wedding gifts…for one reason or another. Remember less is more so don’t overdo it…but get what you love to make your house a home! Good luck!
Spring is finally springing up all around us, daffodils are blooming and the forsythia is blossoming into that amazing yellow color.
Easter and Passover are a time of new beginnings. April is also the month we celebrate the earth. Earth Day began in Philadelphia in 1970 (Belmont Plateau anyone?). In the organizing and productivity industry, we consider every day Earth Day! When we work with clients on a home organizing project, we teach our clients about recycling. There is so much that we recycle to help preserve our earth. Here are some of the resources that we use to locate the most appropriate place to donate and recycle in our area:
However currently there is an abundance of stuff that people are getting rid of, they are very picky, so what you try to consign has to be in very good condition.
Depending on what you have there is usually an auction house or specialty sale that items can go to. When you sell at auction houses and consignment shops there is a fee usually between 30% and 50%.
Do you love to see things grow and blossom? Your kids? Your puppy? Your Christmas amaryllis? Your spring flowers? Your summer veggies? Your piles of paper? Say what? What was that last one – paper? No!
If you’re like many of the people I work with, paper is not your thing. You didn’t ask for so much mail, you don’t know what to keep vs. what to discard and you don’t enjoy processing it. I’m going to help you reframe the way you look at paper by comparing paper management to gardening. Stay with me here! It might be more motivational than you think.
So, what are some of the components of both gardening and paper management?
When planning a flower garden, consider color schemes, the timing of the blooms, the height of the plants, etc.
Create a plan for where to place paper, i.e. unopened mail, papers to be acted on, papers to be filed, papers going out of the house, etc.
Perhaps you use Round Up to prevent weeds (an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure).
To prevent unwanted and junk mail, sign up using an online service, such as dmachoice.org (an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of MAIL).
When gardening, you periodically fertilize, weed, dead-head the flowers, and of course cut the flowers for indoor appreciation.
Establish daily, weekly and monthly routines to open the mail, address action items, pay bills, file, read, etc.
You’ve dedicated a place where you store your pots, tools, soil, etc. for easy access.
Use file cabinets or file boxes to store reference papers and keep papers you need to act upon on your desk.
END OF SEASON CLEAN UP
Gardens get ‘put to bed’ in the autumn by cutting back plants, etc.
Purge your files annually. The best time is when you’re gathering papers for income tax. Shred paid invoices you don’t need for taxes and make room for a new year.
I wish you much success in your garden and office. KEEP UP in order to thrive and blossom!
NAPO Member, Lauren Mang shares her experience working with a treasured client and how a turn toward Buddhism immersed them in the power and liberation of being present:
I’ve had the pleasure of working with some really wonderful clients, but Katherine really stood out. She worked for years as a successful biochemical scientist and had a lot of wonderful things. After years of this lifestyle, Katherine sought real change. She turned to Buddhism and began not only practicing but teaching it.
Over three sessions, Katherine and I worked together to clear and review items within her condo. Some items Katherine had no attachment to, so the decisions were quick and easy. I was pleasantly surprised when Katherine agreed to let go of 75% of her items.
What I admired most about Katherine was how she handled
items from her ‘past’ life. With each, she’d have same reaction: take a breath, smile, and quietly exclaim, “Wow!” She’d hold the items for a moment, acknowledge their importance and the purpose they served, and then quietly say, “This is a part of my past. I’m ready to let it go.”
Katherine was so immersed in the now that fear and anxiety were not clouding her judgment of materialistic belongings. I said to her, “Katherine, you’ve let go of most of your shoes. Are you sure you don’t want to keep a pair for an evening out?” She thought for a moment before responding, “I think I’d like to treat myself to a new pair.”
Living in the present allows us to realize what we need in the moment. We are not left asking, “What if I need it in two years?” or “What if I finally lose the weight?” The simple answer is, you might not need it in two years (if you do, buy it). Or if you lose the weight, reward yourself with new clothes that you feel great in.
We don’t know what the future will hold, but the universe is ready and willing to provide what you need right now, just lean in. This means letting go of fear of the future, or anxiety/uncertainty over the past. Live in this moment, right now, and watch life become clearer and simple.