The Road to Clutter is Paved with Good Intentions
March 2, 2017
Clutter is a sneaky, quiet invader of our homes. It slowly amasses in out-of-the-way spots – such as closets, basements, attics, garages, or spare rooms. After a while, it may also spill over into our living spaces. Do you ever look around your home, and ask yourself, “Where did all this clutter come from and how did it accumulate so much?” There are numerous reasons of course, although most clutter usually falls into one of the categories below.
First, there is “inherited clutter” – stuff that gets passed down to us from family and friends.
Next there is “sentimental clutter” – anything special that we’ve saved throughout the years. Memorabilia relating to our past, our children, or to loved ones that have passed away. These items are usually the most difficult to deal with.
Thirdly, we have “someday clutter” – these are generally items we’ve acquired with the best of intentions. For example, exercise equipment we’ve purchased but rarely, or never use. Fancy kitchen gadgets that sounded appealing but were too cumbersome to use or clean. Craft projects, games and electronic devices. Even broken items we meant to fix years ago. And, of course, there are all of the items that we kept, because “we may need them some day.”
We all have good intentions when we save, or purchase items. Most often though, our lives get busy, priorities change, and things sit unused. Whenever we occasionally come across those items, they nag at us, and even evoke guilt.
If any of this is striking a chord with you, take action. Make a decision to cut down on the clutter and gradually purge each box, closet or storage space. Ask yourself these questions: Do I really need it? Do I use it? Do I love it? Be realistic about what you are keeping. If you haven’t gotten around to using it in the past year or two, chances are, you won’t be using it in the years to come. Just think of the space you will gain when you lose all the excess clutter. Room to breathe!
What’s more, starting from this day on, let’s all be a little more selective about what we are purchasing and saving.
Thoughts, comments, questions?
“We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act but a habit.” – Aristotle
Yve Irish is a professional organizer and blogger, living in Rochester, New York. She has written for numerous organizing publications and has her own website, where you’ll find lots of great information and inspiration. Also, check out her interview right here on the Organize-It Blog.
Make Time for Organizing
February 17, 2017
How To Make Time for Organizing in Three Easy Steps
If you’re like most people, you’re struggling to find enough time to organize.
I may not know your personal situation, but I can guess that:
- You have a lot on your plate – so much that it overwhelms you.
- Organizing usually gets pushed to the bottom of your to-do list.
- When you do have some time to organize, you never seem to get far.
I understand. I really do.
My struggle is not necessarily finding the time to organize, but finding the time to write all the blog posts and articles I want to. Honestly, I’m not that different from you when it comes to time-related challenges. But In my quest to “find time” to write, I’ve learned something: You’ll never find the time to do what you really want to do. Never. So if you want to accomplish something, like getting organized, you have to make the time.
Of course, if making time were easy then we’d all be doing exactly what we want, wouldn’t we?
So rather than tell you how to find time, I want to share how to turn things around and make the time, in three straightforward steps:
1. Do an honest audit of your week by keeping a time log. Before you can make time in your life for anything, you have to know how you’re spending your time.
For one week (or longer) track exactly how you’re spending your time. You could use a spreadsheet, a piece of paper, or an app (check out this list of the 20 best time-tracking apps).
Once the week is finished, review your log and ask these questions about each task:
- Was this necessary?
- Did it have to take so long?
You might be surprised by the answers to these questions. Most likely the activities you recorded weren’t necessary and probably shouldn’t have taken so long; meaning, you could probably eliminate or shorten them and fill the time with another activity (like organizing!)
While it may be a painful task, logging how you are spending your time is essential if you want to make time for the things that matter. Jeff Goins puts it like this, “Time is like money. If you don’t track it, you run out.”
2. Cut out or cut back. While it may seem that all your activities are important and necessary, the reality is that at least some of your activities could be cut out or cut back.
Of course, this is a personal decision and what may be important and necessary to you may not be for me, and vice versa. It would be impossible for me to say what you should cut out or cut back on.
However, here a just a few ideas you might want to consider.
- Any commitments you don’t really enjoy or wish you hadn’t signed up for. Don’t keep doing something because “if you don’t do it, on one else will” or you feel guilty if you don’t help out. Don’t waste time on activities that don’t satisfy or aren’t really meant for you to do.
- Time-wasting activities that don’t add to your life. Again, what those activities are looks different for each person, but if a task really isn’t adding value to your life, why keep doing it?
Cut back on…
- TV watching. While I’m not suggesting a complete TV blackout, perhaps cutting back just a small amount of time (30 minutes) will allow you to do other things.
- Anything you might be able to delegate out. Whether that’s asking family members to help or outsourcing an activity (like housecleaning or lawn services), letting others help with some of your activities can free you up so you can focus on other things.
3. Schedule it. The truth is, if you want to make time for something, you have to schedule it.
Why? Because what gets scheduled gets done.
So rather than letting your calendar control you, take control of your calendar and schedule time for organizing. Even if it’s only 10 minutes, mark it in your calendar and honor that commitment.
Once you have an idea of how you’re spending your time and how you can cut out or cut back on certain activities, don’t just stop there. Take the next step and schedule time on your calendar for organizing.
I know this isn’t easy an easy process. Trust me, I speak (or write) from personal experience.
I recently made the decision to drastically change my schedule so that I could make more time for writing. It has been hard to change things around and honor the boundaries I’ve placed upon myself, but in doing so I’ve been happier and more productive.
The same can be true for you. Stop looking for the time to get organized and start making it instead. And when you do, you’ll find what you’ve really been looking for all along.
Could these steps help you make the time for organizing? Are you willing to give them a try? Leave a comment and let me know!
Written by Liana George, professional organizer and blogger at the popular By George Organizing site, which has lots of tips, videos and even decluttering challenges to get you excited about organizing. She also provides professional organizing services in the Houston area.
9 Must-Haves for Dorm Living
February 8, 2017
9 Must-Haves for Dorm Living – Inexpensive Items to Get You Organized
College life can be challenging, especially when you are leaving home for the first time. Dorm rooms are often smaller than you’re used to, with limited floor and storage space. Closets tend to be undersized and drawers, scarce. Shared spaces like bathrooms usually mean less storage for you, so you might even want to keep some of your accessories in a carrying case for transporting to and from the bath to your bedroom.
No matter what kind of room you end up with, you’re likely to be looking for ways to expand that limited storage. Here are 9 must-haves for college living that are sure to convenience you during your college stay.
1. Bed Risers
Bed risers add instant height to your bed so you can store clothes, bedding and other items underneath. Genius? For sure! You won’t believe how much you can fit under your bed.
2. Under Bed Storage Containers
Under bed storage containers and bags come in a variety of materials and sizes. Some even have wheels and handles for easy access. Use them for shoes, linens, coats and things you may not need every day.
3. Scarf and Belt Hangers
Scarf and belt hangers consolidate your accessories in one place and hang easily from a hook or closet rod for convenient, compact storage. Lots of styles are available with double and even multiple hooks for the extreme accessory freak.
Over-the-door-shoe-racks make instant shoe storage over standard doors to create tons of storage in unused space. Many models are available including wire, canvas and see-through plastic varieties. You might even want to share one with your roomie.
5. Cosmetic Organizers
Makeup organizers keep all of your beauty supplies in one location – so no more unpleasant black eyeliner surprises in the bottom of your purse. Small acrylic organizers are available for the small-needs student and larger, multi-compartment carousels appease the makeup queens.
6. Charging Stations
If you have a dedicated charging station, you’re less apt to lose your devices and recharging becomes habit. Whether you need a large one for multiple devices or a small-profile one to plug into the wall, Organize-It has you covered.
Everyone needs a backpack in college. It’s a purse, a lunch bag, a tablet holder and a desk thrown over your shoulder.
8. Bulletin Boards
Memo boards remember things when you can’t. They’re also good for keeping your roommates current, writing to-do lists, sharing random thoughts and writing poems.
9. Laundry Bags
Laundry bags are a lightweight alternative to bulky laundry baskets when lugging your soiled laundry from dorm to laundromat – or home on the weekends. Some can even be folded and stashed in a drawer when not in use.
Whatever your needs for college, Organize-It is sure to have it. Be sure to check out our Back-to-School category for lots of ideas for organizing and furnishing your dormroom.