• Mara Clements

De-cluttering Does More

Six steps to reclaiming your space. Where to start when clutter has you overwhelmed.

REPRINT from Susquehanna Style Magazine

February 6, 2019

Most of us want our homes to be a retreat from the daily grind, a place where we feel not only safe, but inspired. There’s an undeniable connection between what we surround ourselves with and how we feel physically, emotionally, and spiritually.

We want a living room that welcomes deep conversation, a bedroom that provides quality rest, a home-office that inspires creativity. But where do you start when the clutter has you feeling overwhelmed?

My advice as a professional organizer is to give yourself a moment to be still and quiet the next time you’re alone in your home. Take in the room around you and ask yourself how you want to feel when you walk in the door. How do you envision the room functioning ideally and what kind of lifestyle do you desire for you and your family? If we want to own our homes instead of allowing our homes to own us, we’ve got to take back the power by being intentional about what we desire and by remembering what we deserve.

Practicing awareness and giving yourself permission to dream is one thing, but here are some practical steps you can take once you’ve set your intentions for your home:

  1. Pick one room or one category (books, clothes, papers, etc.) and focus your attention in that one area. You can’t do everything at once, so pick a small space or an easy category if you want to gain momentum. If you decide to go with a professional, I’d suggest taking advantage of their expertise and tackling your most stressful area first.

  2. Set up a box for donations, a bag for trash, and a basket to relocate things that don’t belong.

  3. Empty out your space and purge what you haven’t used in the past year. Start with what you know you don’t need or haven’t used. You’ll get a second opportunity to declutter once you’ve consolidated and begun to organize your things into categories.

  4. Give the space a deep clean and take the opportunity to start fresh. Purpose to fill the new space only with things that serve it’s function and bring you joy.

  5. Take a look at all the items you’ve removed from the space and begin to categorize and consolidate only what fits in with the ideal purpose of your space. This will help you see how much room or what type of containment you need for each category.

  6. Finally, organize your things in a way that makes sense for your routine. Items you use every day should be front and center while things you only use once a year can go higher up or further back.

The most challenging part of the process tends to be the third step, decluttering. It’s hard to let go of things that have memories and meaning attached to them, even if they no longer serve you or bring you joy. Decluttering takes a lot of emotional energy, but if you’re ready to make the investment, it will change your life. My clients always walk away from their projects feeling lighter and more at peace.

Here are a few helpful questions to ask yourself during the decluttering process:

  1. How do I feel when I hold this thing?

  2. Why am I struggling to let this thing go?

  3. What is the meaning I’ve attached to this thing?4. Does this thing serve me or bring me joy?

I would invite you to let go of any object that creates negative energy for you: a gift you never liked but thought you should hold onto, a pair of jeans telling you to be smaller, a book you feel guilty about not having read. We deserve to be surrounded by things that bring us to life and remind us of our value and worth.

On the other hand, if your space is looking a little bland after everything is in place and organized, add some extra positive energy. Color is important, so my favorite things to add are inspiring pieces of art, healthy plants and flowers, or something that brings more light into the room.

Reclaiming your space is hard work, but it’s a form of self-care and will uncover things like clarity, creativity, peace, and productivity. It’s possible to walk into your laundry room and feel like you’re in control, or walk past your office and actually get excited to start working. Our homes have the potential to be a curated reflection of our passions and dreams. So find a few minutes today to accept the truth about what you deserve and give yourself permission to imagine the possibilities. The next right thing is simply scheduling a block of time in your calendar to reclaim that healthy home you’ve envisioned.

Photo by Nicola Herring

Mara Clements is the owner of MoreSPACE Organizing. Learn more at


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