You can uncover a perfectly good unused organization container or bin when decluttering. You can also discover that pair of boots you misplaced years ago, which were hiding under your bed the entire time. The solution to this common pitfall is simple: Give everything a home. Having a bin in not enough, it needs purpose or it becomes a waste of space.
This common mistake can be hard to avoid, especially these days of Amazon's 2-Day shipping. If you're on social media, like TikTok, Instagram, or Pinterest, there are videos toting, "TikTok Made Me Buy It!" that pushes this "buy now" reality of consumerism that we all know too well. For most homeowners, parents, young adults, and even boomers, we are guilty of buying things that end up as more clutter. Soon our kitchens, living rooms, and even under the bed are stuffed with "stuff"!
From a psychological perspective, we know when our spaces (like a bedroom, office, or even a kitchen) are cluttered, it can be difficult to stay focussed, actually have space to cook, and have friends and family over. Keeping those spaces clean and organized with clutter? I don't think so... To streamline the essential, maximize the available space, and decrease stress, you need to understand your biggest organizational challenges in each room.
For those diagnosed with a hoarding disorder, it's easier for an outsider to come in and quickly "take stock" of what needs to be let go of. That's the same thing a Professional Organizer does when they work with clients with or without hoarding disorders. So try walking into the space with a new perspective. Look at the specific room and ask yourself, What doesn't belong here? Those are your "easy wins," that when you do this over and over again, you can better cultivate this ability to see what is not needed in a space and let it go, or find a home for it elsewhere.
It is a good idea to regularly organize your home room by room, to ensure clutter stays at bay. Clutter, believe it or not, is a big stressor for many couples and families. I can remember as kid how my parents would yell back and forth about a mess, expecting the other person to magically take care of it all by themselves. This is another secret, you shouldn't do this job alone. Organizing should always be a team effort, so if you live with anyone else, invite them to the party.
It can be tempting to buy a ton of bins, baskets, and boxes...before you even get started, but it's not a good idea. You can have them in the back of your head as inspiration, but by the time you declutter the space, you will find that the categorizes will change, the amount of _______ will decrease, and the bins you pre-purchased now need to be returned. Do yourself the favor and declutter first, then go wild and crazy with cute organization bins, if that floats your boat. But really, don't go on a shopping spree for new organizational products and containers until you've finished your work. Once you have sorted and categorized, you don't know how much you will have or what type of storage is best for you, or you can opt to reuse what you have.
If you enjoyed this article and want to learn more about in-person organization in the Santa Cruz and Bay Area regions, say hi! If you're from far away, many Professional Organizers, including myself offer virtual services. If you're a DIYer, check-out my course on how to go from Stressed Mess to Clutter-Free Happiness.