“The point is, you need to distinguish between what honestly moves you and what the world is telling you should melt your heart. If something does not reach you on a personal level, let it go. It’s hard enough dealing with everything that does.” ― Judi Culbertson, The Clutter Cure: Three Steps to Letting Go of Stuff, Organizing Your Space, & Creating the Home of Your Dreams
It may sound funny but there is a difference between organizing clutter and organized clutter. Which category do you occupy most of the time and can you do better?
Our possessions are representations of pieces of us as we have lived a life along the way of living a life. We are legacy keepers, we are builders, we are dreamers, we are place holders, we are always accumulating new ways of thinking, feeling, owning. To a great degree we attach assumption to all of our things and assume that if we open that box or empty that closet too much emotional baggage will come flooding into us and we won’t be able to deal with the past being history, the present being too heavy and the future too precarious and delicate. I say, the first step toward better organized clutter, if that is your place, or organizing your clutter better is to allow the emotion but then set it free. Shake it off. Untangle the stranglehold. Change the narrative. Reinvent the wheel. Honor without dishonor.
“Clutter may rob us of the life we imagined or prevent us from creating a new vision for our future.” ― Lisa J. Shultz, Lighter Living: Declutter. Organize. Simplify.
To understand which category of clutter you belong to it is important to understand what each category represents and looks like.
Organized Clutter – Everything in a place. Read that how you will.
“I don't like to brag or anything--but I really am exceptionally gifted when it comes to the "Stuff" department. If I had a title, it might be "Her Royal Highness, the Queen of Crap." I could look snootily down from high atop my pile of ancient magazines, holding a scepter of dried bridesmaid bouquets, bedecked with a crown made entirely of those extra button packs that helpfully accompany sweater purchases, proclaiming "SAVE IT!" in an emphatic yet regal tone.” ― Eve O. Schaub, Year of No Clutter
Drop anywhere and go - D.A.W.G.
Constantly making messy piles look neat
Not eliminating any item from the messy piles or spaces
Organizing items by category. Example: Garden supplies, baking supplies, coffee mugs, dish towels but never eliminating from the categories
Using up every available open space in your home/office/garage/attic, etc.
Re-arranging closets/cabinets/drawers but not emptying or thinning them out
Holding on to items for those “you never know” moments
Not liking the fact that you are holding on to things, but feeling helpless to change the habit
Not going into a space in more than 6 months and forgetting what you have stored away
Finding/Making space for your past, present and future to include E.V.E.R.Y.T.H.I.N.G.
Paying for storage space for an undetermined amount of time, off home property, and never going to see the stuff you have stored away
Organizing Clutter – the establishment of effective authority relationships among selected work, person, and space in order to work more efficiently. Establishing sections and/or departments. In other words:
“You don't have to face every skeleton in your closet before you can make some room in there!” ― Carmen Klassen, Love Your Clutter Away: A step-by-step guide to gently letting clutter go for good
Organizing clutter is a mindset of choosing to get the excess out, not forcing yourself to do it
Clutter is not your enemy, habits of accumulating the clutter is the enemy
One in, one out rule
Writing down what you want to accomplish for each room or space/Create a room plan
Creating an inventory list of each space, cabinet, drawer
Going through all visible surfaces for immediate elimination or storage of items
Creating the trifecta: Donate, sell, trash to establish an easy habit of keeping things organized
Create a clothes bin for your closet for items you are thinking about getting rid of
Working through the hard items
Being kind to yourself
Finding an everyday purpose or display to the items you want to keep
Sticking to the numbers per person: towels, sheets, shoes, clothes, table settings, etc.
Eliminating duplicates/triplicates, etc.
Looking at the past with the present and the future in mind
Organizing by category and checking in each category every 6 months for content and purpose
Purposely creating breathing space throughout your home/office
Maybe you are not yet at the Organized Clutter category, you just have clutter. Practice on one area for at least one month to challenge yourself and see if you can create organized clutter from chaos clutter. Then, when you feel confident that you have created a good habit of putting things in the right piles consistently, go the next step and challenge yourself to become someone who is good at organizing the organized clutter. When you are ready to start organizing the clutter you are ready to let some clutter go for good and create a new lifelong habit of limited acquisition. If you want to take this one step further, you can become a minimalist either in whole or in categories.
Getting to a place of organizing clutter does not have to be scary or intimidating. Choosing to streamline things, choosing to not burden yourself or your space or your head with so much stuff around you is choosing to live a healthier life. Maybe you would like to start with your books or music or shoes. Do one thing, organize that one thing until you can feel the difference and the uplift. Sit with that change for a little while. Then tackle the next thing. It could take a year, or it could take an entire month, or it could take the rest of your life. The point is you are opening, you are allowing space to be space and your self to be yourself.