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Organizing vs. Decluttering

Trust me, organizing and decluttering are simply not the same thing.


Do you recognize these ladies from their hit Netflix series, The Home Edit? They are among the queens of famous public figure Professional Organizers. I see The Home Edit as the epitome of organizing vs. decluttering. I often use their finished products as an example of aesthetically organizing. Yes, there's even a different between functional or aesthetic organizing.

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So here's the deal, folks reach out to me all the time with a dream of what their home and life could look at. This is amazing! However, it does not take into account the necessary first step towards their goal, decluttering. It feels like a bad word sometimes, my clients, and for that matter, nearly all people, struggle with their possessions.


Animals in the wild collect items for that what-if scenario. Squirrels collect nuts for a rainy day and humans collect.....you name it, hats, gloves, batteries, toilet paper, hair-ties, and spoons for that what-if scenario. This is often where we get into trouble. If we don't have the systems (organizing) in place, our collections continue to grow and grow. They grow in the garage, they grow in the back of the closet, and they grow in the basket, and pretty much anywhere else where there is a spot to stuff something.


As collectors of stuff, we often don't realize how much we actually have. How many ziploc baggies we have, how many batteries, how many post-its, or how many extra rolls of TP we have. That's the problem. We need to have one designated spot for our collection. Let's call it our inventory. In an organized home, we have systems set up that trigger an action, to ensure we are set. Like when there is one roll of toilet paper left (or 7), it's time to get more.


When our homes are cluttered however, we do not trust out system. As a result, we get into survival mode and collect and accumulate for that rainy day. When our homes are cluttered and disorganized, the bad news is that we can't magically snap our fingers and we will have an organized home. Instead, buckle-up, it is time to declutter. It is time to edit. It is time to consolidate by category and give everything a home.


The other piece of bad news? Having an organized home is not a one and done deal, it is a lifestyle. So if you want all white linens, you will need to wash your linens more often, look-out for stains and learn to treat them, and of yeah, it takes more work, so start planning accordingly. Let's jump to the pantry. You want pretty glass jars with a wood-top finish? Yep, that's a lifestyle choice as well. If you want "decanting" jars and containers for your pantry and you want it to all match, you're going to have to put in the time to keep everything where it needs to be. If you're fortunate enough to work with a Professional Organizer, ask them if they will offer a discounted service, I call this "Maintenance" and I only offer to clients that have organized their entire home or more than a few rooms in their home. If you're working with me, or a PO that will do this, it is a win-win. You get the aesthetic and functional organized home, with less effort on your part.


The good news? You can 100% achieve an organized lifestyle. It takes time, trial and error, and a vision. Do not feel defeated if you tried and were unsuccessful. Keep trying, set your timers, and take it on room by room. Look out for your duplicate items, and remember to limit your inventory to your space, not the Costco or Sam's Club bulk products. Before you organize your home and adjust your weekly and monthly routine to maintain it, start by decluttering.


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