If you feel overwhelmed, stressed, or anxious about growing piles of clutter that seem to be multiplying like rabbits around your house, you are not alone.
There are a lot of reasons why we as a society accumulate clutter, but surely we deserve more, in the proverbial sense. We are worth having a life with less anxiety and stress and a life full of peace and happiness that isn’t dependent on what we own.
My passion as a professional organizer is to give people, women especially, the permission to envision the lifestyle they actually want so they are inspired and motivated to reclaim their space in order for it to serve them.
Follow along with this blog post's guided organizing and journaling worksheet by following the instructions here.
Why a Cluttered House is Okay: Accepting Your Feelings
Some of the most common reasons for hanging onto things that don’t benefit us are fear, shame, and stress. Full schedules that include work, play, relationships, and laundry leave us exhausted by the end of the day and more than ready to binge four episodes of The Witcher rather than purge four drawers stuffed with Tupperware.
Maybe fear of loss or failure has crept into your subconscious and keeps you paralyzed when it comes to organizing your home. Do any of these scenarios resonate with you?
You may worry that you’ll need something after you donate it, even if you haven’t used it in several years.
A gift from your grandparents or in-laws could sit for years without seeing the light of day because you’re afraid of what they would say if you passed their gifts onto someone else.
You might think that keeping a purchase you regret will justify the fact that you made a mistake buying it.
The longer the clutter collects, the scarier the project becomes and the less likely you are to tackle something you may not be able to finish or do well.
All of these reasons for accumulating “things” are understandable and deeply personal. There’s nothing wrong with how you feel. All that said, the first step I recommend for dealing with a cluttered house is to vocalize how you feel inside it. Get your emotions and fears out in the open.
Feelings are extremely useful because they’re our bodies' way of telling us to look deeper. Being aware of how we feel and putting a name like “frustrated” or “defeated” to it makes it smaller and less overwhelming. This can motivate us toward creating lasting change.
Give Yourself Permission to Dream
Fear, shame, and stress may keep you in your comfort zone (understandably), leaving little room for you to visualize a more hopeful future. However, after you’ve spoken these feelings out loud and accepted them, give yourself permission to vocalize how you want to feel in your home. Dream a little (or a lot).
You’re the boss here. How do you imagine going through your day as a stay-at-home parent, or how do you envision coming home after a taxing day at the office? Do you picture a home that’s more like a sanctuary than a factory? Do you picture a place where you and your family feel comfortable, free, peaceful, and safe? What does that look like to you on a practical level?
Take your time with this part because establishing a vision for your space is what will inspire you to get and stay organized so you and your family can actually thrive where you live. For a fun visualization exercise, click here to get the worksheet sent to your inbox.
Embrace Your Fears: How to Start Decluttering Your Home
With your vision in place, pick one room or category to start with and block all the other cluttered areas from your mind. I suggest choosing the room or category (clothes, books, papers, etc.) that trigger the most anxiety for you. Start with a bang. Go on the offensive. Practice courage!
Tackling the most stressful area first will show you that you can do hard things and you are much more likely to continue the process if it only gets easier down the road. It’s okay if it doesn’t go perfectly or if you feel intimidated. You can always ask a friend for help or hire a professional organizer near you.
Your first round may go something like this:
You decide to confront your bedroom. You feel frazzled and annoyed because it looks like a war zone with piles of laundry that need to be folded and put away, papers from school and work collecting dust on all the surfaces, and random toys and shoes strewn across the floor.
You envision using your bedroom as a safe-haven, a place you can call your own; a place to relax and recharge with a cozy blanket, hot tea, and a good book. You want to feel centered and calm in this space.
You can make it happen. Grab a large bag for trash, a large box for donations, and a large basket to transport the items you’re keeping that belong in other parts of the house. Remove anything that does not serve you and your vision. Ratty underwear: trash. Books that taunt you instead of excite you: donate. Toys: they don’t belong in your oasis.
Once you’ve cleared the clutter, categorize what you have left so you can see how much you have in each group. This may help you get rid of even more, but it will also help you see how much space you need for each category to be put away nicely.
When everything is consolidated, place each category in the most logical space. Things that you use often should be stored or displayed neatly within arms reach, while items used less frequently can be stored up and towards the back of the space.
Remember: This space is sacred because YOU are sacred. You are worth taking care of, and shedding the stuff that doesn’t serve you is ultimately reminding you of your value. In my opinion, decluttering and organizing are acts of self love.
Feel the Benefits of Decluttering
Once you clear the clutter and create a space for everything that fits in with the vision you have, step back and take a look at what you’ve accomplished.
How do you feel? Is the room aesthetically pleasing? Does your personality come out in the fabrics you’ve uncovered? Are things arranged in a way that makes sense for your routine? Make tweaks where you need to and as you need to. Remember, this space is meant to serve you, not the other way around.
Uncovering peace in our personal spaces invites creativity and frees us from the stress and anxiety that come from not being able to find things and not feeling comfortable to have guests drop in unexpectedly. You’ll find you spend less money because you know what you have, and you’ll spend less time cleaning because there are fewer things to collect dust and move around to vacuum.
The benefits of decluttering and organizing your home are endless, but the ones I’ve enjoyed the most are the peace of mind and positive energy that a tidy home creates. As a busy small business owner and mom, these are feelings that I cherish. I love being a professional organizer because I get to help my clients in Lancaster, PA and beyond cultivate spaces that bring out their inner light in this same way.
What I Want My All My Clients to Know: You Are Worth Getting Organized
We all deserve an environment that serves us and brings us joy. We honor ourselves when we acknowledge our feelings and ask for what we want. We are better able to take care of others when we’ve taken care of ourselves.
As a professional organizer, I want you to know that you are worth having peace in your home. You are worth the joy that comes from reclaiming your space. You are valuable and deserve an environment that serves you so you can serve others. So dream big and get to work! You’ve got this.
Get started with this worksheet that will help you start envisioning the environment that you deserve. Get it sent to your email by clicking here.