Ideas for a Simple, Clutter-Free Life
It’s 7:42 as you get in the car. You can still make your 8:00 meeting if— where are those keys? You dash back inside; rummage through the upstairs, downstairs—no keys. Stumbling across toys, magazines and shoes, you collapse on the family room couch. 7:54—you’re late. Now you’ll have to call work.
Sound familiar? You’re not alone. Americans are finding themselves drowning in clutter. According to Agency Sales magazine, about 80% of what people have never gets used. And at what cost? Lost time. Not just at home, but also at work; Fast Company says corporate executives waste six weeks per year searching for lost documents.
What you do during the first 30 days of getting organized can make or break your organizing ideas as you clear out the clutter and put long-term plans into place that will keep you organized into the future.
Where to Begin?
Figuring out what to organize first can be incredibly overwhelming. “You should start organizing the part of your life that bugs you the most,” says Julia Signore, professional organizer and owner of 1,2,3, Sort It, a professional organizing company in Maui, HI. If there’s no one place that’s worse than the rest, focus on giving your whole house a light overhaul.
Jean from Ocala, FL, made the garage her starting point. “I chose the garage first because it was getting dangerously out of control,” she recalls. After throwing out unusable items, Jean took the items she wanted to keep and packed them up in boxes.
Once you’ve decided where you want to start, create a vision for that space. “The most important thing to do is establish what your goals are,” says Laura Leist, certified professional organizer and owner of Washington state-based Eliminate Chaos LLC.
It’s also really important to develop a manageable schedule and stick with it. Figure out how much time you can devote daily or weekly to organizing. If your plan is realistic, you’ll stick to it and start seeing results immediately.
With a full-time career and toddler to care for, Jeanine from Warwick, RI, didn’t have much time to organize. “I felt so overwhelmed by my stuff and couldn’t find the things I needed,” she says. “I had to commit to organizing everyday.” By dedicating 10 minutes each day to organizing, Jeanine tackled a good portion of her house in the first three weeks.