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Could you find me a spoon?

Organizing tipIf you invited me into your home could you find me a spoon? Of course, but what about a postage stamp, last year’s W2 form or tweezers? Are those things stored in a place that is easy to locate? Having a designated spot for things is the guiding principle of organization. So, treat every item as if it were a spoon and give it a designated storage spot.

 

 

Most important question when deciding to keep

Organizing tipEditing our possessions annually is a healthy organizing practice. This helps us prevent clutter build up. When editing our belongings there is one question we can ask ourselves to help us decide weather to keep or not keep something. That question is, “Would I buy it again if I didn’t already own it?”. If the answer is ‘no’ then let the item go.

Experiment Living with Less

We are all consumers. We live in a society that values possessions. Our world economy relies on us spending our money on stuff. But does that stuff accumulate too fast and take on a life of its own? Do we end up with too much? Does the volume of things make organizing them stressful and difficult? Are you looking for way to get off the hamster wheel?

Experiment living with less. There are several ways we can accomplish this. Here are a few experiments to try.

  • Pack up half of your pots and pans. Date the box and put it in the basement for 3 months. Document how many times you retrieve something from it. Consider donating what doesn’t get retrieved. If you like this experiment do it with linens, toiletries, and kitchen gadgets.
  • Pack up all your CDs and DVDs and seal the box. Only take one out of the box when you really want to listen to it or watch it. After 6 months see how many are still in the box and decide whether you’d like to keep them. If you like this experiment do it with clothes, books, and serving dishes.
  • Establish a maximum number for certain possessions and reduce down to that number. You can find examples of a few numbers I suggest at Organizing with a Maximum Number. If you like this experiment do it with shoes, food storage containers, and coffee mugs.
  • Set up a temporary shopping ban for one month, or longer. Only purchase the absolute essentials, food, toilet paper, medications and the like. Keep a list of all the things you wanted to buy and the items that tempted you. At the end of the month share with me your insights.
  • Play the Minimalist Game. It’s interesting and challenging. When I played with my husband, we learned a lot about our relationship to stuff.stuff to donate

The less we have the less we have to organize and maintain. Try one or more of the experiments listed above and see what results you get. You may be pleasantly surprised and more organized.

©July 2021  Janine Cavanaugh, Certified Professional Organizer,  All Rights Reserved

Borrow Stuff

Organizing tipBorrow instead of buy. The concept of borrowing doesn’t only apply to library books. I often borrow my sister’s sewing machine and my friend’s garden tools. This allows me use of these items without having to store, organize, or maintain them. This tip works best if it’s for something you use occasionally. If you use a small item more than four times a year it’s worth owning.  A larger item requires more usage before being worthy of purchase.

Do you own stagnant things?

Stagnant means lifeless, inactive. Do you have stagnant things in your home? Do you have things that have outlived their usefulness? I think we all do. The longer we live in our spaces the more comfortable we get with our surroundings. It becomes easy to ignore papers that don’t require action, gadgets we tried once, and random things that have become part of our decor.  After a while we don’t see these things any longer. They morph into the background of our homes.

After attending a conference session on Feng Shui I decided to get rid of stagnant things in my home. I’ll list 10 stagnant things I removed my home to help you get motivated to do the same.

  1. An old cardboard display that I had used for a few business presentation more than 5 years ago was recycled with my weekly town recycle.
  2. An open, partially used bottle of carbon, that is used in fish tank filters, was given away by listing it on FreeCycle.
  3. A bag of craft supplies that I hadn’t used in more than 5 years was passed along to other creative people I know.
  4. Unused food in my pantry was donated to my local food bank and Operation Shoebox.
  5. Gardening gloves that I wore only once because they turned my hands orange were tossed.
  6. Our ice maker broke 2 years ago. So I finally donated (to Savers) the scoop we had used for that purpose, but hadn’t used since.
  7. Old makeup was tossed. I haven’t worn make up in years.
  8. A soup ladle that came with a soup delivery when I was sick, but never used, was donated to Savers.
  9. Two spare, never been used, hand-me-down light timers were donated to Habitat for Humanities ReStore.
  10. An open container of Armor All wipes that were given to me a year ago, finally got used up.

These 10 stagnant things may not seem like much, but they have a way of piling up and cluttering our homes. I encourage you to take a good look at your home and reevaluate what’s in your space. If you find stagnant things, get rid of them. You’ll improve the energy of your home (Feng Shui) which will have a positive impact on you.

©June 2021  Janine Cavanaugh, Certified Professional Organizer®  All Rights Reserved