Space – it’s something we all need. Whether it’s additional space in our homes, our schedules, or even our minds, we could always use a little more of it. Humans are naturally inclined to seek items that bring comfort, so ridding ourselves of our stuff to make room for essentials and well, space, is not only hard to do but also difficult to maintain. When our cluttered homes start to clutter our minds, it’s time to call in the experts for a little assistance.
Fortunately, the art of organization is at the forefront right now. There are plenty of avenues available to help declutter, whether it’s books or television shows, or even phone apps. But if we want to really keep on pace, we need to follow a guide and adhere to the script. Whether it’s clothes or knickknacks or our children’s artwork, our stuff can overwhelm us.
Most of us struggle when it comes to purging our belongings. Making that final decision to toss or donate can be difficult and painful. This is where the professionals come in handy, offering a detached and clinical eye: should it stay or should it go?
“It can definitely be an overwhelming and challenging task,” says Anna Scarangella of Organize 4 You. “I suggest starting with one room and sticking with it if you can. Organize within one room, making piles of what you want to keep and get rid of, and moving pile to pile.”
Anna has been helping people declutter and purge for 18 years, and understands how truly difficult it can be, especially when it comes to letting complete strangers invade their personal space.
“No one wants to be judged for their mess,” she says. “There’s a lot of anxiety involved in bringing a stranger into your home. It can be hard and uncomfortable, and very tricky to navigate. It takes people a long time to admit they need help. I know it’s easy to get discouraged, so I try to teach them skills.”
Anna says her clients are primarily working women with children. “Most responsibility for organizing and purging falls on women,” she says, and she often has repeated clients who like her service so much that they ask her to return and do another purge up to a year later. “You have to respect the client,” says Anna, “and the client has to be ready to organize and purge and get rid of stuff. They have to be in the right mindset.”
Rose Ritchi from Organize Me Please also has a few helpful tips when it comes to getting your space in order. She suggests starting with the basement, storage area, or a cluttered room that you just can’t stand anymore. These areas tend to be out of sight/out of mind locations, so you’ll have better success in letting go of items there.
“It’s a family affair,” she says about purging. “You didn’t create this clutter on your own so pick a date with the family and get their commitment. Keep in mind, food and cash always perk up teenager’s ears. Plan on a morning or afternoon, not a full day, because kids with electronics or cell phones tend to go missing in action.”
Her tried-and-true decluttering supplies include drinks and snacks, a timer set for an hour at a time, followed by a five-minute break, and bags/boxes/labels/markers. These are vital for marking items destined for charity, to toss, to recycle, to give to family members and as cherished memories.
“There are usually lots of items that have memories attached to them that bring up emotions, so be kind to yourselves,” says Rose. “Take these items and put them in a box to go through when you have the time to truly enjoy them, then you can make clear decisions to let them go or not.”
Regardless of your ultimate goal, organizers stress that focus is key. Stay in one spot at a time, and don’t wander. Rose also suggests assessing your current storage availability: are there shelving units? Plastic containers?
And all the experts always stress this above all: maintenance. Once you’ve purged, you need to keep it clean and organized. “Right now, you have a clean organized spot, everything in it place,” says Rose. “Let’s keep it that way. Advise all family members that at the end of the day take five minutes to survey their areas and any item that is not in the correct place, pick it up and put it where it should go.”
With just five minutes a day, you can keep your home neat and tidy leaving you with plenty of time to get on with the important things in life, such as family time and dare we say, a little R&R.
“There’s no one way to do it,” stresses Anna. “Everyone is different. Be conscious of your choices. Everything changes over time, and once it’s in your house it’s hard to get it out!”
by Allison Dempsey
Organize Me Please
Organize 4 You