Isn’t it interesting that the frenzy of the winter holidays is followed by a push to clean out and organize? Actually, the timing couldn’t be better. The clutter of the holidays — the gifts, the tree, the trimming, the food — has to be dealt with in the New Year. Why not clean out a closet at the same time?
I love to organize, to clean out and giveaway things that are just collecting dust. It’s hard (I still have the shoes I got married in and I’ll never wear them again), but so satisfying. My philosophy is simple; I can’t bring something in to my house without getting rid of something. I have one room in my house that serves as the collection site for the things we no longer need or use. When the pile begins to grow too large, I contact one of the charities in our area for a pickup Easy!
Cleaning out and organizing feels cathartic to me. When I look at a pristine well- organized closet I’m reminded that I control my life, not the reverse. I have many friends who disagree. They debate the “ifs” and “I might need it” of every item. The task takes twice as long and before you know it, they’ve given up. Their homes don’t provide them with the calm and ‘sanctuary’ they crave. For that matter their homes are often a mirror of the chaos within them.
Peter Walsh (of Oprah fame) says, ‘Your home should be the antidote to stress, not the cause.’ I agree. If you walk into a home that is a mess or room with a table crammed with paperwork, do you want to stay? Does it relax you? Quite the opposite, it can be debilitating. If you’ve ever seen any of the hoarding shows on television, you know it can even affect your health.
My point is this, if you spent 10 minutes each day on a small part of your home — a closet, the pantry, the fridge — and clear out the clutter, you will feel so much better. Imagine being able to find that other glove, or the potato masher?
My cousin is a professional organizer in New York City. She has successfully moved, organized and created beautifully organized spaces for her clients. Although she works on her own, she often has the client work with her. Long-term success organizing a space is often a result of the client’s participation.
I work on this with clients all the time. If you control your environment, you control your life. One of my clients has struggled with binge eating for years. When I asked her what it feels like while she’s binging, she says things like, ‘frenetic’, ‘crazy’, ‘out of control’. During one session, I asked her to try something different. When the urge to binge begins, I suggested she find an unorganized drawer, her purse or a shelf and organize it! I told her this should take no more than ten minutes. When the task is done, she should come up with three words to describe the space. After a week, she reported that her first attempt failed, because, in her words ‘I took on too much’. A day later the urge to binge reared its ugly head again. This time she dumped out her purse on the living room floor and cleaned it out. She described it as ‘clean’, ‘clear’, and ‘light’. Once done, the urge to binge was diminished.
Notice, I said ‘diminished’ not ‘cured’. Like everything else in life, this takes practice.
Is there a space that you need to tackle? How will purging in small, manageable pieces help you?
Until next time!