De-cluttering - Getting Started

Often people call me to help with a space that they continue to plan to tackle, but once there, feel overwhelmed and don't know where to start. The first piece of advice is always to break large spaces into small spaces. Rather than look at a whole room, pick one piece of furniture to start with. Once there, pick one drawer or shelf.

Pick up every item and make a decision about it. Don't automatically assume all items should be kept without asking key questions. Consider starting with Marie Kondo's question of "Does it bring me joy?" If the answer is yes, it stays. If the answer is no, decide if it's worth donating, recycling, or just trash. If you don't have much feeling about an item, perhaps it's a binder or a pile of office supplies, then ask yourself:

  1. When is the last time I used this?
  2. When will I use it again?
  3. If I get rid of this and find I need it again, what is the replacement cost? 
  4. Do I have something else that serves this purpose?

Asking those questions should help in the decision-making process. For items being kept, the next step is to decide if that is the right space to store that item. If they're office supplies and you're in the playroom, perhaps they go back to the office. Make piles of items to be delivered to different places in the house. Once done, decide if you're ready to tackle the next shelf, or take a break. If you're on a roll, keep up the momentum. If not, take a break! Don't work until you're exhausted. One step at a time. Before you know it, the space will be done!

As an Organizer, I help in the decision-making process by asking these key questions and more, while also helping to decide which items to donate and where, before taking them to those places. Once de-cluttering is complete, I help decide how and where to best store items. This IS a difficult and draining process. An organizer can be helpful for reassurance that your decision is the correct one, speed the process by having two people sorting through items, keep up your spirits by having a partner in the process, and removing all donations, recycling, and trash so you can relax when you're done.  Now you're ready. Where shall we start?