Several years ago a woman called me because her friend threatened her! The friend was concerned and frustrated because she tried to help the woman get rid of the excessive amount of stuff in her home without any success. She reached the last straw when the woman tripped over a pile of newspapers and as a result of the fall, broke her foot. Now in a cast and forced to go up and down the stairs on her bottom, the friend threatened to call protective services if a professional organizer was not hired. This was an extreme situation, of course, and yet it raised numerous issues related to organizing and how it can improve both personal safety and health. In less extreme situations clutter, or excessive quantities of items, objects, and paperwork, can cause a variety of other concerns in addition to obstacles that cause falls: Fire hazard Compromised emergency preparedness, inability to access important items in an emergency or exit a building safely Injuries from stacked items falling Dust and mold that may cause or aggravate allergies, asthma Social isolation that may be caused by shame surrounding a cluttered environment, including estrangement from family members, and a negative impact on interpersonal relationships. If this sounds like someone you know or a situation that troubles you, it’s time to talk with a Professional Organizer. As a Professional Organizer I am part of an industry that trains us to work with these situations in a systematic, confidential and non-judgmental manner. It is stressful for a family member or friend to help no matter how much they care and mean well. They can support the work that the individual does with the professional. Write down your questions, concerns, and most importantly, your goals. All it takes is a phone call to start your forward movement.
You’ve likely heard the saying, “one man’s trash is another man’s treasure.” Do you believe that every item you possess is a treasure? Perhaps that is the reason why you continue to hold on to it. The idea that it is a treasure for you may be true in one or more ways. For instance, something may have financial value and be worth a lot of money if sold. It may have value to you because you paid a significant amount of money to purchase it. An item may have sentimental or emotional value regardless of its perceived or real financial worth. Another type of value is related to an items function. You may hold on to the item because it is helpful to you now or was in the past because of its usefulness. If you find that clutter is of concern to you or others who share your space and have difficulty deciding what to keep and what not to keep, you are in the right place! Rather than worry about whether your reasoning for holding onto things (this includes papers) is right or wrong, I recommend that you ask yourself these questions: Do I love it? Does it make me feel happy when I use it or look at it? Do I need it? Could I replace it if I let go of it and needed it or something like it? Do I use it? Do I display it? Does it work (operate, in good repair)? How many of these do I currently own? How many of these do I need? How long has it been stored or contained? What would happen if I donated, gifted, or sold it? How is it serving me? Others? Is it representative of what I want and need? Is it moving me towards my goals?… read more →
One of the things I love about my work is that there is always a new “problem” to solve! When you come across a stash of batteries and aren’t sure if they’re good anymore, here is a great way to check: Another tip: Take the dead batteries to a recycling center that accepts them. Locally, I suggest the public library where they have a container.
The process of letting go is different for each of us. Are we doing it by choice, or is it because of a difficult situation? Either way, here are some guiding questions to ask yourself as you go through the process: 1. Do I really need it? 2. When was the last time that I used it? 3. Will I need it in 6 months to a year? If I don’t use it by then, will I be able to let it go? 4. Do I love it? If so, how can I display it, use it, or give it as a gift? 5. Am I saving it for someone who wants it? If not, where can I consign or donate it? 6. Is it in good repair? If not, what will it cost to repair?
With so much media attention on hoarding behavior I find that people either fear that they are hoarding, or just the opposite, and are in denial about their behavior. I just read an review in the New York Times of “The Hoarder in You: How to Live a Happier, Healthier, Uncluttered Life” by Robin Zasio. It was described as “about the best self-help work I’ve read in my 46 years as a health and science writer” by reviewer Jane Brody. I’m going to purchase the book right now so that I can share the information with all you. Maybe we can start a dialogue on my blog: http://outsideinorganizer.com
Did you know that accumulation of unused items can cause… safety hazards health hazards inefficient use of space financial damage conflict in relationships emotional stress negative role models for children, and more? It’s never too late to take charge of the “outside” and feel better “inside”. You don’t have to make excuses, feel ashamed, or assign blame any more. People accumulate a variety of items including those things they think they might need someday. Years later it is apparent that someday hasn’t arrived and the stuff is still taking up space. Make a commitment to stop wasting space and your hard earned money starting today. Identify a space that you want to clear. Start small so that you feel a sense of relief and accomplishment. Perhaps the junk drawer in the kitchen is a starting place before you tackle the garage. Then set aside time and if possible, recruit help to get it done. Get rid of damaged, spoiled, infested, dust collecting, and generally unusable items. Clear out items that may topple over or cause you to trip. Take stock of what you have in the space and ask yourself, does it need to be stored in this space or are you more likely to use it if it is more accessible? Start using it and stop buying more until your stock is depleted. Don’t need it? Donate it, someone else will want it. The secret to organizing? It’s a process. It’s never done. The key is getting a manageable system in place so that it is easier to maintain. What are you waiting for?
My clients teach me… http://ezinearticles.com/?What-My-Clients-Teach-Me—Contd&id=7016571
We all know people who don’t seem affected by piles of magazines, clothes on the closet floor, or unopened mail. One person’s clutter may be another person’s breaking point! So, what’s so bad about clutter? Like any kind of excess clutter can be create a health risk, safety hazard, time waster, money loser, or social embarrassment. Outside In Organizer and Makeovers suggests that you consider the benefits of keeping things uncluttered on a regular basis. There is a difference between minimalism and what looks like a natural disaster. I suggest a happy medium so that you can enjoy: moving safely in a space opening cupboards and closets without things falling out a dust-free environment an aesthetically pleasing home or office, and more. If you’re overwhelmed, recruit help from a non-judgmental friend or hire an Organizer. Use the 1 at a Time Rule, work in one area at a time and don’t distract yourself by trying to organize more than one space. Set a timer to take breaks or simply establish a limit. Make it fun, put on some energetic music, wear comfortable clothing, take before and after photos!
Outside In Organizer & Makeovers is seeing an increase in clients needing help due to hoarding. Want to know more? http://www.bottomlinepublications.com/content/article/home-a-family/hoarding-you-or-someone-you-love-could-become-a-victim