Don’t let your shame and discomfort prevent you from decluttering and getting organized!
Almost every organizing and decluttering job begins with the client saying, “is this the worst you’ve ever seen?” The answer is always “not even close.” We once worked in an apartment which was stacked floor to ceiling with tiny paths through the huge piles of belongings. So a closet like this one doesn’t shock us or even surprise us. It does bring up an aspect of our work which is real but unnecessary and that’s shame.
Many people feel terrible about the amount of stuff they have that doesn’t need to be in their homes. They feel torn between getting rid of all the excess that no longer serves them and a fear of wasting something that is still good. I tell our clients that when things are saved I see the client’s goodness and decency. I understand why it’s difficult to throw things away. There is the fear of dumping stuff in the landfills and also the fear of throwing away items that were paid for with hard earned money. Then there is the guilt about gifts that were given with love and kindness but unfortunately aren’t wanted anymore.
So what to do?
Take a look at all that stuff and congratulate yourself on trying to be a responsible person. You didn’t want to hurt the gift-givers feelings or waste money or fill landfills but here is the secret – it’s nearly impossible to change without getting rid of things and reducing the amount you purchase.
When people ask for my number one organizational hint I say watch the front door. The things that are already inside can be managed but with the tsunami of stuff that’s coming from shops and box stores — not to mention Amazon and online shopping — you’ll never get a handle on your home if you continue to buy more than you need.
We’d all rather color-code books than accept that they are now worthless and need to be recycled. Who wouldn’t rather make their pantries attractive with pretty bins than throw out all that out of date food and come face to face with wasting money?
The great news is that in our experience once the Great Clear Out is done our clients buy less, hold on to less, and generally have an easier time living in the homes they love.
So tackle that closet and when you’re taking bags to donate don’t feel badly about what’s going. Focus on the fact that you’re moving towards a less wasteful future!