Updated: Jun 6
Once we organize a space, how do we keep it from getting cluttered again?
1 Stop buying unnecessary things
It's not cheaper if it costs us our peace of mind. It's not a good deal if it adds clutter and stress.
When shopping we can take an extra moment to think about our future selves and ask, "Do I really need this? Do I have a place for this? Does this serve the life I want to be living?"
If this sounds overwhelming, doesn't all that stuff add up to be overwhelming later? It's 100% worth it to take a few moments before putting each item in the cart. After we do it a few times, it becomes a habit.
2 Stop just for now-ing
Just for now is like water torture - creating insanity with a slow drip. A few seconds of relief or dopamine hits now adds up to hours or days for our future selves.
When we internally say, 'I'll do this later' we can ask: when is later?
Unless we put that later time on our calendar and stick to it, all those laters add up to torture time searching for things.
We can shift, "I'll just put this here for now,' to, "I'm going to put this in its home now."
If we don't have a home for it, we can make a time to create a home for it.
If we don't know how to make a home for it, find an organizer who can help you learn :)
If we don't want to take time to create a home for it, maybe we don't actually want it! We can make decisions all through the day about whether we want something or not.
No more just for now.
3 Do a little bit every day.
Taking time to clear space daily, even if it feels "hard" at the time, is well worth it in the long run. Even setting a timer for two or five or 10 minutes a day and clearing one little area makes a difference over time.
With practice, decluttering and organizing can be a simple act incorporated into everyday life.
This might mean making a couple decisions, tossing a few things in the trash, putting a few things in the recycling bin, emptying the recycling bin, putting things away...
Just a few minutes and a couple decisions each day adds up to hours over the course of a year.
"Inching forward is better than moving backwards!" Corinne Crabtree
4 Declutter & organize as self care and acts of love
Decluttering and organizing is like brushing our teeth, taking a shower, eating vegetables...we don't always feel like doing it, but it's good for us in the long run.
And taking care of our Selves is an act of love for those we care about.
When we don't brush our teeth, we get toothaches and dental bills and our breath stinks.
When we don't take a shower, we get stinky (and maybe a UTI).
When we don't eat vegetables, our bodies don't hold up as long and disease finds us more easily.
When we don't take time to declutter and organize regularly, we end up with more stress, overwhelm and anxiety.
When we're stressed, overwhelmed and anxious, this affects our relationships, energy, thoughts, time, health...everything.
When we think of clearing space as Self care and great love, then it can become less of a burden and more of an act of love.
5 Manage thoughts about stuff
Super organized people still have stuff coming into their lives. They get gifts they don't want, they inherit heirlooms they don't know what to do with, they outgrow clothes and change their style.
But they know being organized is important to them, so they don't waste time and energy sitting around wishing stuff would get organized or go away, they just do what it takes to make it happen.
To take action for things to go away, it takes THINKING that doing this is more important than checking Facebook, watching Netflix, online shopping and other things.
It's not the stuff that makes us cluttered, it's our thoughts about our stuff, our priorities and our relationship to clutter.
Thoughts cause feelings. My clients often think things like:
I should do something about my clutter, but I can't figure out what to do
Clutter stresses me out but I don't have enough time to deal with it
I don't know where to start
I'm too overwhelmed
These thoughts cause feelings that keep us from taking positive action and getting the results we want.
When those thoughts come up, we can then think things like:
I have a lot of clutter and I can figure this out
I want less clutter so I'm going to find one thing right now to clear
I have a lot of clutter and I'm going to get help figuring it out
Getting organized is important enough for me to begin now
That's when action happens.
When we're worried about clutter, or we let it affect our ability to achieve goals and dreams, it's time to change our thoughts and habits - or get help to do so.
If you're unsure how to manage thoughts and feelings in a way that helps you take positive action, reach out to connect with those who can help you (like me!).
Learning to pay attention to and manage thoughts opens life in amazing ways!
Have you organized a space and felt clutter creep back in? Have you cleared a space and kept it clear?
I'd love to hear your thoughts and experiences!
Connect with me for support with decluttering, organizing and mindset!
Learn more at The TidyWild School of Organizing