There are people in the world who are totally legit organizers. Then there are the rest of us (hand raised) who think we are organized people, but when we take a step back we realize that we just make our hoarding look pretty. Let’s get to the root of your de-cluttering habits and answer the question- Are you organized or just hoarding clutter?
1. Are you delaying dealing with your crap?
The moment that I get excited about going out and buying some new organization solutions is the moment I literally check out of the project. It’s way more fun to jump in the car with my 15% off coupon and go waste 2 hours looking for my perfect storage solutions. Then I come home exhausted from shopping. Not only did I just bring more crap into my house, but I don’t even feel like dealing with anything so I put if off for another day…week or even month.
Get Organized Tip #1- Purge first, then organize what’s left into bins, baskets and file folders.
2. Are you paying extra money to hoard clutter?
Unless you’re shopping at the dollar store, organization solutions are pretty stinkin’ expensive. This past weekend I declutterd about 5 storage bins in my basement and ended up with 3 empty containers. Now when I need storage container for legit stuff like Christmas lights, I’ll have one without needing to buy one.
Get Organized Tip #2- Declutter your current storage bins before you run out and buy new ones.
3. What are you putting into the bins?
I don’t know about you but there are typically 10 things that go through my head when I’m de-cluttering.
- I use this regularly.
- I use this seasonally.
- This is special/sentimental and I like it.
- This makes me happy to look at.
- I don’t like this or I never wear this.
- This is trash.
- This is special/sentimental and I don’t want it but I have to keep it in case someone asks about it.
- Isn’t this broken?
- I got this for FREE!
- I don’t know what to with this.
- This might be worth something!
When organized people de-clutter, they only deal with thoughts 1-6. What they put into bins is going to be a need or regular use item. They don’t keep stuff for crazy reasons like numbers 7-11. It’s pretty simple for them.
On the other hand, people like me are going through all 11 and so there will be a bin around for all 11 things. We have a hard time getting rid of stuff and that is where the hoarding habits begin. Instead of dealing with stuff we don’t know what to do with we shove it in a box, put a pretty label on it and call it organized.
Get Organized Tip #3- Don’t keep something just because you think it’s worth something. Find out if it’s worth something. Check out Ebay and see how many there are, how much they are going for and if anyone’s even bidding on them.
4. Does your stuff have a home or is it living in an RV?
Real organizers are people who give their items a home. Those bins and hangers will consist of items they need, items they use regularly/seasonally or items they actually like. They typically create a home for each item and the stuff that lives there always goes back there.
On the other hand, the non-real organizers might do this for a few weeks and then their stuff wanders. It just travels around the house like it’s living in an RV. When you need to find that item you can’t because you never took it back to it’s house. Then you waste minutes or even hours of your life trying to find it. (If you can’t tell by this rant, I’m speaking from experience.)
Speaking of moving from place to place, beware of those items that never get used and just get moved around when they are in the way. It’s probably time to send it on a permanent vacation.
Get Organized Tip #4- Give every item in your home a permanent home of its own.
Changing Your Ways
If after reading this you’ve come to the conclusion that what you thought was organization is borderline hoarding, it’s okay! The first step is admitting that you actually aren’t as organized as you thought and getting after it! Get your home down the basics and then become a gatekeeper. Tell your husband not to bring home useless freebies from his recent work conference.
Put on your yoga pants and your old 5K t-shirt ladies, it’s time to show clutter who’s the boss. The plan is simple- give it a home or kick it out. If you can do those two things, you’ll be on your way to a more organized life in no time!
Kim Anderson is the organized chaos loving author behind the Thrifty Little Mom Blog. She helps other people who thrive in organized chaos to stress less, remember more and feel in control of their time, money, and home. Kim is the author of: Live, Save, Spend, Repeat: The Life You Want with the Money You Have. She’s been featured on Time.com, Money.com, Good Housekeeping, Women’s Day, and more!