Welcome to www.OnlineOrganizing.com -- A World Of Organizing Solutions Your Order Your Shopping Cart About Us Contact Us Site Map
Do You Need Help Getting Organized?Shop For Organizing And Business Development ProductsProfessional Organizing ServicesFind A Seminar, Workshop, Or Keynote SpeakerRead Our Two Free Monthly NewslettersFree Organizing Tips And AdviceResources For Professional OrganizersLearn How To Become A Professional OrganizerUseful Organizing Website LinksUseful Organizing Website Links

Search for:


You Are Here: Home - Blogs

NEW! - Keywords For This Page:   Organizing E Book - Organizing Articles - Time Management - Tips And Tricks - Paper - The Mental Side - E-Book - Clutter

Blog: Can We Have Some Order Here?
The A-To-Z Of Getting Organized: D Is For Decluttering

A lot of people think that organizing is about the systems you set up -- having everything color-coded and alphabetized and stored by season. That's certainly part of it, but arranging your places and spaces comes later. You can't effectively organize when you're weighed down. To create order out of chaos, you must lighten the load -- but the tricky part is figuring out exactly what in your life qualifies as "clutter."

Clearing Out Clutter Of All Kinds

So what's YOUR definition of clutter? Yes yours. This is a very personal question, and the answer is different for each of us -- one man's junk is another's necessity. Some classify clutter according to how long it's been since you touched the item (the old "if you haven't used it in 6 months, get rid of it" mantra) -- but that doesn't always work. You may only USE that punch bowl once a year -- but you keep it because you remember it fondly from your childhood, it's so pretty in your china cabinet, and it makes you feel good to pull it out for special occasions. Completely valid. Rather than assigning arbitrary time limits, I see clutter as anything which eats up time, space, energy, or money without serving a meaningful purpose in your life -- realizing that things can "serve a purpose" even if they aren't used every day.

You might keep some things because they are aesthetically pleasing, have sentimental value, or remind you of the places and people and ideas that you cherish most. Fabulous! But you probably also hang onto stuff you haven't touched in years and don't even like for more self-destructive reasons -- usually having something to do with guilt, worry, or fear. Your goal is to make more room for the items in the first category by allowing yourself to cut back on those in the second. My favorite way of accomplishing this is asking yourself, "Is it beautiful, useful, or loved?" It should seem obvious that you wouldn't want to keep things that are ugly, purposeless, and despised -- but you might be surprised at how much of the "stuff" in your attic wouldn't pass this test! WinkOf course, any physical mess getting in the way of your daily functioning could be considered clutter -- a stack of paper on the desk, a pile of clothes on the closet floor, a garage you can't fit our car into. But you can also have clutter in other areas of your life -- financial clutter (in the form of spending leaks and money wasted on late fees), clutter in your schedule (time lost on low-priority activities and tasks you don't enjoy), relationship clutter (those toxic people and unfulfilling relationships that make you feel bad and drain your energy), even mental and emotional clutter (all that "junk" floating around in your head that litters your thoughts with jealousy, anger, and unreasonable expectations). The good new is, it's easy to rid yourself of any type of clutter -- as long as you're willing to be honest about what purpose "it" (whatever "it" is) serves in your life.

Don't worry if you're feeling anxious about letting go -- it can be hard to clean out, even when you recognize that your life is overflowing. That's because clutter does actually serve a "purpose," just not a meaningful one -- and over time it becomes harder and harder to break the habit. You might use your "stuff" to fill a void in your life, to shield yourself from worries, or as a reminder of your potential (just think of all those unfinished projects in the back of the closet that you're going to get around to "someday"). Releasing these insecurities is a scary but necessary part of getting organized. It's natural to be worried about what might happen when you toss something that's been taking up room in your life, but the only way to deal with these fears is to face them head on -- envision the worst case scenario and ask yourself how bad it would really be. Will the world end if you chuck that extra stapler? Probably not. Are you going to scar your kids for life if you clean out the toys they no longer play with? I hope not. Will the IRS come after you if you and take away your home and force you to live in a box under the freeway if you pitch that ring binder you haven't used since college? No way! How about if you say "no" the next time you're nominated to chair a committee or asked to work late or tempted to spend more than you can afford on a pair of shoes? Eliminating clutter is easy, once you get clear about your priorities and give yourself permission to let go of the rest.

read the original post of this blog

posted on: 9/20/2012 11:30:00 AM by Ramona Creel
category: General Organizing Tips

Can We Have Some Order Here?: < Previous Post - Next Post >
Blog Central: < Previous Post - Next Post >

Discuss This Post

by Karen on 9/21/2012 2:41:37 AM:

Great decluttering ideas. I did a major "de-cluttering" when we did some remodeling this summer. Two ideas: Pull all the clothing and books you haven't worn. If you plan to use them, move them to the front of the closet/eye-level shelf and turn backwards. When they are used, turn the right way out. Challenge yourself to use them before a certain date (one year from now) and see what happens. I'll let you know how I do.

by Ramona on 9/21/2012 9:27:21 AM:

Great -- keep me posted!

Add a comment about this post:
(Note: To reduce blogspam, HTML tags are not permitted in blog comments and will be removed)
Please Enter The Following Code:
In order to cut down on SPAM, we ask that you enter the code exactly as shown in image below. If you can't read the code, simply select "Load New Code" and a different graphic will appear. Cookies must be enabled on your web browser.
Code Image - Please contact webmaster if you have problems seeing this image code Load New Code
Powered by Web Wiz CAPTCHA version 2.01
Copyright ©2005-2006 Web Wiz


Can We Have Some Order Here?

by Ramona Creel

View This Blog

   Subscribe To This Blog

About Ramona:

I have been a Professional Organizer for more than 10 years, I am a NAPO Golden Circle member, and I was the original founder of OnlineOrganizing. I have worked one-on-one with scores of clients and have trained dozens of newbie organizers as they got started in the industry. I provide both hands-on and virtual coaching to help clients improve their organizing skills and simplify their lives. I invite you to visit my website at http://www.RamonaCreel.com, and I challenge you to find one new idea that you can put into practice in your life, to help you become better organized, starting TODAY! I am passionate about coaching folks toward a more balanced, productive, and enjoyable life -- and I firmly believe that if I can do it, so can you!

You are also welcome to follow me on Twitter, check out my Facebook profile, and subscribe to my feeds.

Ramona's Website:


Ramona's Other Blogs:

Ramona's Favorites:

Add this page to your Bookmarks!

E-mail this page to a friend!

www.OnlineOrganizing.com is a service mark of Bradford, LLC.
Content on this site is © Bradford, LLC, All rights reserved.

If you notice any problems with this site, please contact our webmaster.
And if you don't see what you need you are welcome to "ask the organizer" any question!

To see what people are saying about www.OnlineOrganizing.com, check out our visitor comments.

Click here to view our privacy policy.

Calendar Of Organizing Holidays And Events Blog Central Sign Up For Our Free Online Newsletters Join The Conversation At Our Organizing Discussion Board Advertise Your Company On Our Website Be An Affiliate Of www.OnlineOrganizing.com
Check Us Out On FaceBook