About Organizing

What is clutter? 

My definition of clutter is any item that falls into one or more of three categories: 

  1. Things you do not use or love (three extra spatulas in the kitchen utensil drawer) 2. Things without a home (the new shirt you just bought that is draped over the back of a  chair because the dresser is too overstuffed) 
  2. Anything unfinished or in need of repair (The sweater sitting on the washing machine that is missing a button).  

Where does clutter come from?  

Sometimes it seems like clutter falls from the sky; as quickly as you clear one area it gets cluttered again. I noticed that each person accumulates clutter in a different way. Which of the following describes you? 

  • Holding onto an item thinking it might come in handy one day 
  • Putting an item down and planning to deal with it later 
  • Being unwilling to let something go simply because it’s still good 
  • Getting stuck in a perfectionist rut and waiting to do the organization project perfectly Having a sentimental attachment to items because they remind you of someone or  something  
  • Taking items home just because they are on sale or free 

How much time can a person lose every day due to disorganization?  On average a person wastes 90 minutes a day looking for lost or misplaced things. This might sound like an unbelievable amount of time, but when you stop to think about it, you might find that the time you waste is average or below average depending on the day. Think of it like this, add up five minutes spent searching for car keys, plus 10 minutes lost waiting for a child to locate a backpack, plus 15 minutes wasted waiting for take-out since you forgot to defrost something to cook. See how quickly you can lose a half-hour? That doesn’t take into account time you might waste looking through emails in your inbox, searching for a scrap of paper with a phone number written on it, or running extra errands.  Imagine what you can do with that wasted time. Gaining extra minutes can be a great motivation for getting organized.

Before you are able to get organized you must find the root causeWhat are the root causes of disorganization? 

Here are seven basic causes of disorganization: 

  1. The lack of good habits. There are no elementary school classes on clutter control. If no one teaches you how to do something, how can you be expected to learn? 2. Lack of respect for belongings. Usually, the stems from my childhood where your personal possessions were treated as easily replaceable or other people picked up after you. 
  2. A need for more time this is a legitimate concern that sometimes is used as an  excuse 
  3. Rebelling. At some point, we all want to place our hands on her hips and yell, “you can’t make me if I don’t want to”. 
  4. Perfectionism. There’s nothing wrong with wanting to do a great job. The challenge comes with a fantasy of a project done perfectly causes a paralyzing fear that results in inaction.  
  5. Procrastination. Putting off small tasks like sorting the mail or putting the dirty dishes in the dishwasher always leads to a bigger and more overwhelming mess later on 7. Setback or major life change. This might explain why someone who was very organized suddenly battles clutter and disorganization. 

What’s the best test for assuring how organized you are. 

Which of these items can you find in less than two. 

  • Passport 
  • Sunglasses 
  • Band-Aids 
  • Pen with ink in it 
  • Last years tax return 
  • Your grocery list 
  • A library book that is due 

The more you locate, the more organized you are! 

Can clutter affect your well-being?  

Yes without a doubt here are the areas where clutter can be a factor in your health and well-being 

  1. Family and relationships: clutter in the house has the ability to create resentment and stress among family members. These feelings can lead to temper tantrums outbursts and overall disharmony especially if one is frustrated by other people’s clutter. Excessive clutter can cause depression,  acting out, and bad behavior in children due to their inability to focus. Searching for keys or an item of clothing can make you chronically late for events or appointments, in which turn can affect your social life. Clutter also keeps you from getting close to people, because you do not want people to visit your home.  
  2. Mental health: clutter often causes feelings of shame, guilt, anger, and embarrassment. clutter drains your energy. When an item goes unused, unloved, and uncared for their stagnant energy may affect your energy.  
  3. Illness: when cluttered areas of the home cannot be properly cleaned, dust, mold, and mildew can build up and cause health problems for those who live there. Stress caused by clutter can lower your immunity, so you may have frequent, persistent colds or other infections.  
  4. Time: having too much stuff eats up your time. Everything you own requires some amount of care and organization, which takes time. Trying to Take care of a large amount of stuff often leads to procrastination and tardiness, which in turn waste your and other people’s time.  
  5. Your future: holding on to clutter often grounds you in the past, at the cost of your present life and your future. Clutter distracts you from thinking about your goals, completing projects, and having hobbies. Things from your past remind you of what you used to like to do, leaving little or no time for the things you use and love daily. 
  6. Weight: you might lack time to work out or get to the gym because your home is disorganized. If you use your home exercise machine for an expensive hanger. Dealing with clutter day to day can drain your energy, making you less active. This can also stunt your ability to create healthy meals. Finally,  if you feel guilty or depressed about clutter, you might opt for an unhealthy snack for comfort.  

I simply lack the energy to get started. How do I get motivated? What was it that motivated you to get organized in the first place? What do you hope to gain through organizing your life? Before you start getting rid of things, take the time to think this through carefully.  This means visualizing the ideal lifestyle you dream of. If you skip this step, not only will it delay the whole process, but it will also put you at higher risk for to rebound. 

Getting started is often the most difficult part.  

Start with clothes, then move on to books, papers, miscellaneous items, and finally things with sentimental value. If you reduce what you own in this order, your work will proceed with surprising ease.  By starting with the easy things first and leaving the hardest for last, you can gradually hone your decision-making skills, so that by the end, it seems simple.

Only 20% of the things we file will ever be retrieved again. (NAPO)  So that means 80% goes  untouched  

15% to 20% of the average American household budget is spent on buying duplicates of items that were misplaced or lost as a result of disorganization. (NAP