Gear up for a spring cleaning! 30 Days of Decluttering

Sneak preview! A 30 day decluttering plan– let’s do this!

Your house is cluttered. How do I know? Because most houses are. Even mine sometimes! Besides, you’re here aren’t you?

This is pretty straightforward. I have a printable chart for you if you’d like it, and every day in April, I’ll be addressing one space here on the blog. However, you don’t have to do them in any particular order. I encourage you to look at the tasks and circle the spaces that are driving you the most crazy first.

Feel free to print!

BUT! I do not recommend doing extra large or tedious jobs at the beginning. For instance, save the filing cabinet until later. It’s best to pick things like your pantry, car or your mail stack to begin with. Why? Because they are good short term goals that will make you feel better immediately and encourage you to keep going! In fact, I’ve organized these in order of typical impact– that is, the areas that will improve our every day lives quickly are towards the beginning. Cross them off as you go; it’ll feel GREAT! If you have before and afters, I’d love to see them! Please post to facebook.com/simplysarahorganizing/

One note: as you go thru these, you’ll find random photos, batteries, non-working electronics, and things that should be filed EVERYWHERE! Save these somewhere until you get around to those areas so you don’t get sidetracked. Also: if you’d like, spread this out and do one a week! Just go forward. Even small steps are progress.


Organizing Advice for Creative Types

Know what you get when you mix all the colors together? An icky brown.

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After having several clients who are artistically inclined, I’ve learned a few things. The most important being that the artistic mind is so busy creating wonderful things, that eliminating clutter is often not considered amidst creative bursts– it seems unimportant in the moment. However, there comes a time when the artist or musician deems it important; when creativity suddenly feels limited due to untidiness that causes stress and may even be keeping them from finding what they need to make the art they love.

If this is you, I want to first say: Please, let go of the guilt. I see this often, and we need to realize we each are made with different gifts. You bless my life with beauty and song, and I’ll bless yours with organizing it so you can continue with your gifts. Please feel comfortable enlisting the help of a friend or organizer.

Secondly, I want to change the way you see your life and space, and I believe this shift will help you in your efforts. Please consider:

  1. An artist starts with a clean brush and blank canvas. A tattoo artist typically begins with bare skin. A musician begins with a bare staff. Similarly, it helps to keep your space tidy, because…
  2. You love beautiful things. Beautiful music and beautiful colors…why should your eyes be forced to look at anything less than beautiful and pleasing in your every day life?
  3. You know that art and music can be created in a messy, jumbled up way, with dark colors or dark melancholy notes. AND you know that those things are purposely used to elicit a certain response in your audience. A messy room does this to your subconscious. It will wear away at you over time if you don’t change your tune.
  4. You can’t use your favorite brush or colored pencil set if you can’t find it. And looking for things takes time when you could be productive.
  5. Space is finite. A canvas and a sheet of music both have edges and you don’t go beyond those. Similarly, once you’ve filled a space, there’s no where to go but to overlap.
  6. There is a point where art becomes gaudy. A few colors or chords delicately balanced make something wonderful. But mix too many together and you either get icky brown or in the case of music, a song becomes noise. Too many paint layers on a canvas, or writing a notes on top of a totally different song in another key– neither of those would produce a pleasing result.

In short, I hope I’ve made you see your life and your spaces as another outlet for your creativity. Living art, living in art. Time to create a beautiful life.

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How Much is Your Clutter Costing You?

Hint: It’s way too much.

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My second passion besides organization is frugal living. Or maybe it’s my first.

As an organizer, I’m aware of many different kinds of costs associated with clutter, but I began to wonder exactly how much time & money it translates into. I did some digging. It was shocking… I’ll get right to it.

 

Financial Costs

On average, you’re paying about $15 per sq foot of your home per year according to AARP. So, that big bouncy ball from the dollar store that’s been sitting in the corner for 5 years has now cost you $75. Multiply that by everything in your home that’s not regularly used. Woah.

Enter storage units. There are 5 times more storage facilities in the US than there are Starbucks! Let that sink in. According to Forbes, Americans spend more than
$24 BILLION a year for storage. AARP mentioned one widow who rented storage space for three years after she “downsized”. In all she paid over $11,000 to store $1,000 worth of items before paring it down.

A few more:
-late fees for late or unpaid bills you’ve lost
-throwing out food, make-up, and other things that spoil because we couldn’t find them
-REPURCHASING things you know you have but can’t locate

Cost of Time

It’s been reported that over a lifetime, the average person wastes between 1/2 and one year looking for misplaced items.

Additionally, the National Soap and Detergent Association (who knew?!) estimates that decluttering eliminates 40% of all house work. How ’bout that?

Emotional Costs

I can’t say enough here. I’ve experienced:

-Children with ADHD that simply can’t concentrate in their spaces and are overwhelmed
-Spouses who argue and rant about the messes, marriages strained
-Higher stress levels in all family members due to feeling enclosed and lost items

Here is a link to a study that shows how clutter leads to higher cortisol levels and depression rates and lower marital satisfaction. I’ve seen it first hand.

There’s simply a mental angst to spending so much time and money on a home and not being able to move around in it. Lifehack mentions loss of focus and productivity.

 

The Final Verdict?

Many people believe that getting rid of things will be a waste of resources. The truth? It’s costing you more time, money and emotional equity to keep them. Start your organizational journey today!