Freedom From Clutter

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Why you have too much stuff and what to do about it

Hello and welcome back!

Do you have too much stuff?

First, let me tell you why you hold onto your stuff even when you don’t use it, it is broken, or you don’t like it very much. It is because you have created a story, an imagine, or a mental picture and attached emotions to the item(s) you are unwilling to part with.

What to do about it

Create a memory album or scrapbook of the items you do not use, are broken or you don’t really, really, really love.Take a picture of the item and attach the story about it in this album and toss or donate the actual item. You have created a personal keepsake and freed up a bunch of space!

Why do you continue to buy more stuff when you have no more room?

When you shop whether at an actual store, online or at 2am from an infomercial you (or the person selling the item) have painted an imaginary picture and attached emotions to it.  For example, you enter a store to buy a wedding card when you see a shirt you think is adorable. A picture of you wearing it comes to mind, everyone is complimenting you on how great you look, suddenly you are the life of the party. You buy the thing and once home you realize you have nothing to wear it with. So now the shirt you had to have has become a burden and no longer fits into your mental picture. Welcome to reality. However, you will hold onto that story for dear life and usually refuse to return the item. You think the item is your story, but in reality you made it up the shirt was just your excuse for how you really want to feel or be. In reality the story is greater than the shirt and is a valuable lesson. Back to the purchase- now it either goes to the back of an already overstuffed closet or you need to make another trip to the store. Let’s say you choose to go to the store for something to go with the shirt when you notice a pretty hat on a mannequin. You ask yourself, “hat’s are back in style right?” You then picture yourself surrounded by relatives at your cousins wedding wanting to know where you bought such a pretty hat. Once home you realize it looks horrible with the dress you were planning on wearing and it flattens your hair in an unattractive way. Okay, okay I’m sure you get the picture. But that’s what happens when we make emotional purchases. We believe the thing we buy is going to bring us happiness, luck, approval, adoration or love. No material item has the power to transform you. Let’ s say you honestly believed you would use it, read it, give it as a gift, unfortunately, these made up pictures and stories have nothing to do with reality. So once the purchase is made and we snap back to reality we find  our space is taken over with even more stuff.

What to do about it

Get real and remain honest. Stay out of the fantasy world when you open your wallet. Never, ever go shopping anywhere without a list of actual needs and stick to that list. I tell my clients before you go shopping de-clutter first then shop. This way you know exactly what you need. Impulse or fantasy buying has gotten you in this predicament. But let’s say you haven’t had an opportunity to make a list or de-clutter and you find yourself in a store. As you pick up each items picture where you will keep it, store it or what you will wear with it or when you will actually eat, read or use it.  If it is clothes get in the habit of trying it on at the store. If you don’t have time put it back and wait for another time when you can. Look in the mirror from as many angles as you can and ask yourself do I really, really, really love it? If you do not get an immediate and enthusiastic ‘YES’ leave it at the store it isn’t worth the  space it will take up. If you do get a ‘Yes’ ask yourself what you’ll wear it with or exactly when you will wear it. Just leave the fantasy out of the purchase. This is the only way to be practical and wise about future purchases and hopefully get a handle on your precious space.

Best wishes always!

Sandy- Professional organizer


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Life is an inside job

Hello & welcome back! 

Finding your own personal organizing system or style is about taking action. Not to be confused with fixing something that is broken within you, justifying or excusing why you are the way you are, or belittling yourself because you think it is your fault you can’t grasp others organizing systems. Look at the organizing offerings, in periodicals & on television, as someone who found what worked for them & was hoping it would work for others. And some parts may, but usually not everything. Instead of picking & choosing, applying what does work & ditch the rest, we scurry to scrap the whole thing, blame ourselves or their system & hide behind our old habits. We find our time & energy focused on & applying what doesn’t work which keeps us out of balance.

Did you know one of our most important functions is to be in balance? And, for the most part, our emotions are the clue AND the answer. Our bodies also alert us when we are out of balance with unexplained aches & pains & even accidents, & illnesses. Even when we’re ecstatic & over joyed we are out of balance. Our bodies will search for balance, it will release the energy through crying or laughing or we’ll feel antsy like we can’t sit still. To help bring harmony or balance to ourselves we must get in touch with our instincts or, if you prefer, our inner selves. Because we are out of touch with our feelings or intuition we have gotten ineffective with our personal lives, some are even suffering. We rarely use our emotions to navigate our world, we either choose to, or have been taught to run from them instead. Our emotions have invaluable information, yet we keep looking away, ignoring or avoiding them. When feelings arise they are nudges, red flags, stop signs, begging for our attention. Unfortunately, we often blame others for causing our feelings to peek through the fog, however no one has the power to do that, no one. Being uncomfortable (with negative feelings) is your inner self, your intuition, alerting you to wake up, pay attention, it is calling you into action. If you do not heed the warning you will continue to experience the same things over & over again until you do. Sometimes it takes a crisis.  

You, your life, your body, your spirit, wants to be in alignment, in balance, & the only way is to find your personal sweet spot, which is inside you & only you can access it. True, it takes work & once you give up your struggles (what doesn’t work) & you find your balance the reward is a satisfied & fulfilling life. Everything that isn’t working isn’t working for a reason, it is so you can find what does work & get on with living, & enjoying your life.

At this point you may be wondering what does being disorganized have to do with being balanced? Anything that doesn’t work in your life, no matter what area, means you are out of balance. With the skills I was born with, seeing order & being efficient, was instrumental in my own discovery of what created my own balance & what caused disharmony. What came naturally to me I saw others struggle with. No matter what subjects, relationships, weight, or financial, I wrote about, the bottom line is everything comes down to learning to get back in touch with ourselves. Listening to your intuition, through feelings, is the only way to find your balance. I focus my business & this blog on helping others get organized because I know being disorganized & having too much clutter (not just in material things) is causing disharmony in your life. Once you find your sweet spot in one area so many other areas open up in miraculous ways!

We can agree you know what doesn’t work &, if you’ve kept up with your homework, what your ideal environment feels & looks like (& we will get there). This week I want you to take inventory of what doesn’t work, all your organizing challenges, & please be specific. For example, an overstuffed bedroom closet, continuously running late, losing my keys, & too many/much ______ (fill in the blank), etc.  For the second part I’d like you to think of what the opposite might be. For “lost” keys, you may write, “find” them a home. Complete your list choosing the opposites. Now, the third part is to imagine what steps could be taken to get to the opposites. Staying with the keys, you may write- place a hook by the door you frequent. Maybe buy a lanyard or hook to attach them to you. Maybe become disciplined to put them in your pocket or purse when not in use. In other words there are many ideas, the trick is to find the one that works for you. Pick one from your list & give it honest effort for, let’s say, a week. If what you picked is easy & effortless then you picked the one that fits you best, carry on. However, if you find it to be a struggle or a hassle your instincts are letting you know that doesn’t work for you, just tweak it or try something different. You want your habits to work for you, instead of being a prisoner to your habits. Continue to work your list exploring & discovering not only your sweet spot, but you too.  One more thing… have fun!

Next week I’ll write about the importance of good tools! 

~Sandy