Long before people came to the Americas and took over the land the Indians lived in beautiful harmony with the land. They “lived light on the land”. Many tribes traveled from place to place depending on the food sources, weather and other conditions. They traveled with their homes and all of their earthly belongings. They respected the earth and had only what they could use.
I can safely say as a professional organizer that the majority of us “live heavy on the land”. We have homes we chuck full of things. Often these are things that have no meaning for us or things we once loved but no longer care about. Or we have collected too many things for the space we have and the clutter becomes overwhelming often causing anxiety and depression. Then we are concerned about organizing clutter that we have created and allowed to live with us. This can hold us back from doing things we really want to be doing. We start feeling stuck and burdened with things that once brought us joy because we have too much stuff—and it is just stuff.
If you would like to start “living light” here are five tried and true steps to organizing clutter:
1. Go room by room and decide what is working for you and what isn’t working for you. Evaluate if you use the item, if you like it, if someone else would enjoy it more, if it is just a dust collector. If it doesn’t light you up and you don’t enjoy it, it is time to let go.
2. Make the goal to pare down and get rid of things in each room. I can’t say get rid of 50% of what you have, it is your decision to make after you have done your evaluation. If you are uncomfortable getting rid of items that you purchased or someone gave you, set a goal of getting rid of whatever will fit in a bag or a box and then when you have that space organized and you feel good about it you can come back later and get rid of more things.
I had at least 55 VHS tapes on a book shelf which I haven’t watched in forever. I decided I wanted the space for other things so I took two plastic sacks and said I will fill these up and get rid of the tapes. I thought I was being generous and it would be hard to do. By setting a goal to fill those bags the job went fast and it was fun. Before I was done I had filled several sacks and I only kept 9 tapes in all.
I feel so much lighter and actually happier now I have organized all that clutter. I didn’t even realize I was just holding on to the tapes “in case I ever wanted to watch them”. I can get them from any video store any time; I don’t need them cluttering my home.
3. Work with a friend, family member or professional organizer. It is easier when working with someone who will reinforce your goal and help you decide to let go.
4. Just because you once loved the item and used it doesn’t mean you have to keep it. If you are afraid you will forget the memory, take a picture of the item and put it in a memory book. Or take a picture and down load it to your computer and make a memory file and send the photo to live in that file.
5. Organizing clutter means opening drawers and cupboards and organizing what is in them, not just the flat surfaces in the room. Do one drawer or one cupboard at a time. Don’t try to do it all at once. Doing too much all at once can be over whelming. Believe me the clutter will wait for you and you can come back and organize another day or time.
Organizing clutter can save you time and money. You won’t have to search for items you know you have and you won’t have to go out and buy more things because you can’t find what you now own.
Marilyn is a professional organizer and invites you to visit her website www.marilynbohn.com, She is a sought after public speaker and author who is passionate about teaching ways to organize your life and how to reduce clutter. She works with women in their homes and offices. On her web site she teaches you to get rid of clutter by using her Lights On Organizing System. She provides practical information on how to declutter your home, office and life. In her blogs, articles, and videos she gives timely tips on how to clear clutter and how to declutter everything in your home and office. She is the author of a book called Go Organize! Conquer clutter in three simple steps which will be in major bookstores in December 2009.
Marilyn is a creative organizer who helps women, seniors & their families to create space and end
clutter in homes and offices by setting up custom made systems.
Visit her website http://www.marilynbohn.com for
free organizing tips.
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