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3 Clutter Buster Tips

First of all, what is clutter? What does it look like to you? My definition of clutter is a jumbled mess of miscellaneous stuff that has accumulated as a result of indecision and inaction. It’s piles of mail, heaps of clothes, and a tangled mess of adapters and earbuds. So how do we get rid of it?

Clutter buster tip #1

Reclaim order often and ask yourself two questions:

  1. What decisions do I need to make in order to get rid of this clutter?
  2. What actions do I need to take to reclaim order?

Reclaiming order is the process it takes for us to create order after we’ve made a mess of things. For example if all the laundry was clean and put away, how long would it take for more dirty laundry to appear?  Less than one day, right? That is natural disorder. We wear our clothes and get them dirty, and then they need to be laundered. Those three steps create the organizing flow (see diagram). The more often we complete the organizing flow circle, the less clutter and mess we have to address. I’m not recommending we do laundry every day, but I am recommending we do it often enough so it doesn’t become an overwhelming task. This organizing flow circle works for all areas of clutter, mail, clothes, cosmetics, tech paraphernalia, email, and the like. The key is to reclaim order in a timely manner so clutter doesn’t have a chance to grow and take root.

 

Clutter buster tip #2

Stop - Do not enter sign

Say No! and use gatekeeper questions.

A very effective way of reducing clutter is preventing it from coming into our homes in the first place. This is often easier said than done, but there are things we can do to stop clutter at the door. One option is to get removed from mailing lists, both electronic and snail mail. Use the national do not mail list. Another option is to see what makes up the piles of clutter and figure out who brings it into the house. Is it clothes, books, paper, or toys? Have the person responsible use a list of gatekeeper questions before bringing anything new into the house. These questions help determine the usefulness and practicality of items. Some examples are: Why are we buying you? What value will you add to our household? Where do we have a place for you? What will happen if we don’t buy you today? The point of these questions is to make you stop and think about what you’re bringing in before it gets to your door.

Clutter buster tip #3

tiny house key Adopt a return-home-routine.

Give yourself 5 to 10 minutes when you return home to take care of anything you brought home with you. I mean anything. Put your keys and handbag in a specific spot. Hang up your coat and put away your shoes. Take care of receipts, mail, and other items you carried in with you. Find a destination for any new purchases you bought. Do this every time you enter your home so it becomes a habit. This helps prevent piles of clutter from growing. We need to be diligent and have a do-it-now attitude, because clutter is a social creature and will attract other clutter if we let it.

 

©January 2020  Janine Cavanaugh, Certified Professional Organizer®  All Rights Reserved

2 Most Important Questions to Ask When De-cluttering

Organizing tipWhen de-clutering there are two important questions that will help you create order quickly and effectively.

  1. What decisions need to be made about this clutter?
  2. What actions need to be taken in regards to this clutter?

But I Might Need That Someday

We’ve all said it. Even me, but not anymore, and after reading this blog you won’t say it either. I’m referring to the phrase, “but I might need that someday“.  It’s a phrase that gets spoken when we think something needs to be kept, despite the fact that it hasn’t been used in a very long time. For some unknown reason we’re fearful that as soon as we get rid of this item we’ll desperately need it. We refuse to get rid of kitchen gadgets that live in the darkest recesses of a corner cabinet. We insist on saving the rarely used tools that are buried in the shed. We fantasize about using fancy linens that are still in their original packaging that has yellowed with age. We all own things that lay dormant in our homes, never being used or useful. So why do we hold onto them?

We hold onto them because we think they’re useful. BUT are they? What if someday comes and you can’t find it. It’s not where you thought it was. Will you waste valuable time looking for it? Will you go out and buy a new one? If so, you’ve not only wasted time, but money as well. What if someday comes and it’s not in the condition you thought it was in? Is it easier to make do without it or find an alternative solution? What if someday comes and you can’t get at it because it’s buried under a pile of clutter? How much time will you spend retrieving it? What if someday never comes?

Items are useful only if we can find them when we need them and they’re in good operating condition. It takes time and effort to organize and maintain our belongings. Why waste time and effort on items that haven’t been used in a very long time or at all? A guideline that I find helpful relates to how easy it is to replace an item and how costly it is to replace an item. If an item can be replaced in 20 minutes for under $20.00 then get rid of it. Instead of saying “I might need that someday!” please consider letting the item go.

The next time that phrase is on the tip of your tongue ask yourself these questions.

  1. When is someday? Are you willing to put a note on the item that says if not used within 3 years from today (date) then get rid of it?
  2. Will you be able to find it and will it be in good working order when someday comes? If no, let it go.
  3. Is there someone who can use and appreciate it now instead of waiting for someday? If yes, than give it to them.
  4. How much space is it taking up? Can that space be better used for something else? If yes, than free up that space.
  5. Can it be replaced in 20 minutes for under $20.00? If yes, than let it go.

 

©October 2019   Janine Cavanaugh, Certified Professional Organzier®   All Rights Reserved

3 Important Food Dates

Before the holiday season is upon us take time to clean out the pantry and fridge.

Product dates come in 3 types according to the FDA. Use these dates as your guideline to keep, donate or toss food.

Sell by – tells how long the store can sell foods like meat, poultry, eggs, or milk products; buy it before this date

Use by – tells how long the food will be at peak quality – if you buy or use it after this date, some foods might not be safe any longer

Best if used by  (or best if used before) – tells how long the food has the best flavor or quality – it is not a purchase or safety date

 

Organized client closet

Helpful Organizer Newsletter January 2019

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Celebrating
11 years in business
in 2019!
 
 
Thank you for supporting me and my business. I’m pleased to be celebrating my 11th year in business. A special thank you to all my clients both past and present. I value and appreciate your trust, collaboration

and fortitude.

 
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Recent Blog Articles:
Question:  Does your New Year Resolution involve organizing?
 
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Hi,
      Happy New Year! How are you? What does your 2019 have in store for you? Any plans to organize, reduce, and let go of stuff? If so, I’d like to hear about your plans, please email me. This year I’m excited to plan a town recycling event and to embrace minimalism.

Closet Clean Out
Did you know the best day to clean a closet is laundry day? On laundry day everything you like is in the laundry being washed and your least-favorite items are still in your closet. So, this is the perfect time to make decisions on what hasn’t been worn.
Did you know that we wear 20% of what we own 80% of the time? Laundry day is the best day to scrutinize that unworn 80% and consider giving some(or all) of it away.
Therefore, on your next laundry day, I’d like to encourage you to be decisive about your unworn clothes, while your favorite clothes are spinning and rinsing. If you need some help deciding what to keep and what to let go of, below are a few more articles that will offer some guidelines and direction.
Please share with me your results.

Resources for Less
In keeping with the theme of reducing the amount of clothing we have, I’d like to introduce you to Project 333 by Courtney Carver. It is the minimalist fashion challenge that invites you to dress with 33 items or less for 3 months. I have not personally done this challenge, but I continually weed through my closet and practice seasonal purging of my wardrobe. If you try Project 333 I’d love to hear about your experience. Please share.
I feel like I must mention the hot topic of Marie Kondo who is the author of The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up. She has a new Netflix series that is creating a lot of buzz. All I want to say is that if it works for you, do it, but if it doesn’t that’s okay!
From,

Janine Cavanaugh, CPO®
(508)-699-6652
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