I’ve started this post twice so let’s hope the third time is the charm. It’s such a big topic and it’s easy to get stuck in the perfectionism trap! Simplify: Place which means this is the part of my class dealing with too much stuff and not enough space which is probably why you were interested in my class. Version one was my usual ‘big picture’ look and got all philosophical looking at gravity and mass (think of ‘mass attracts more mass’). Version 2 was my other usual storytelling narrative about how I went from being a collector (borderline hoarder) in a three bedroom house to successively smaller apartments. Still not too focused enough on practical help. So final attempt distilling the process down to a few steps and maybe a bit of coaching to aid in overcoming the overwhelm. So let’s start with the ‘how’.
Purge: duplicates, expired, damaged, worn out, used up, and just poor quality items. If you really want to build momentum start with the pantry and refrigerator by clearing out expired foodstuffs. But don’t stop there, purge unexpired items by being realistic about what you are actually going to use and donate ingredients bought for that stupid Pinterest recipe you never tried. Make a plan to use up every item you are keeping. If you find yourself unable to decide on some items set a deadline and label a box with that date. Then follow through and dump/donate what you didn’t use when that date comes! Likewise, turn clothes hangers backwards to help you part with what you aren’t actually wearing. Building habits like these helps keep the clutter from reoccurring.
Sort: group similar items to be contained and homed. Choose a system that works for you. I tend to go with alphabetical (essential oils, DVD’s, etc.) or chronological (Star Wars books are sorted by how long before or after A New Hope the book is set.) Most items in my kitchen are sorted by size. You just need your space to make sense to you so it’s easy to keep it up! I think this is a good point to mention labeling. It’s important to use labels to aid in tracking everything especially since you still have another step coming in this process.
Contain/display: There’s an excellent reason this step is last. It’s super easy to break the bank buying cute containers! Remember that budget from last week? The reason this is later in the process is so you’ll have a better idea how much you have to contain and what sizes you’ll need to consider. My best trick used to be finding ways to go vertical to store the most in each square foot of my home. Not as useful from the wheelchair but maybe it can be helpful for you. A finishing touch is to pick out a few prized (or at least nice) possessions to display.
Purged appropriately, sorted sensibly, and stored/displayed beautifully your space will practically clean itself! Now this doesn’t need to be completed all at once. Use this process to gain control over each room or each clutter spot. Just plan to hold yourself to your new standard and sorting style to avoid just transferring clutter from room to room.
There are many guides like this one available online so tell me in the comments if I’ve said something helpful here!