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Organizational Freak: The Top Five Ways to Declutter

Do you like things neat and organized? Then you are my kind of person! I am an organizational freak. I will organize something and then organize it again. I am sure there is a diagnosis for this, but I do not believe in labels. I just like things in their place. When my kids would ask where something was, I knew exactly. We did not have to spend a lot of time looking for anything.

I am not one of those people who cannot find their keys, passport, or important documents. I recently had a friend call me in a panic on his way to a place where he needed his passport. He lost it and had to jump through hoops to get it replaced. Listening to what he went through made me realize I might be in the minority. I just could not imagine ever losing my passport. I know where it is at all times because when I am not traveling, it has a safe home. When I return from a trip, the very first thing I do is put my passport in its home.

I do not ever want the hassle my dear friend dealt with. It sounded just awful, running around trying to get an appointment at the passport office and having to go to a different state to get his passport replaced. I felt anxious just listening to his story!

So how can you stay organized? If you want to know my secrets, keep reading. I have routines that have served me well, and I can speak on this subject very confidently. The reason my ninety-day program works so well is probably because it is very organized, specific, and easy to follow. The hardest part of adopting any new program is following it consistently.

Here are my secrets for getting and staying really organized:

1. Less Is More

Stop accumulating stuff that needs to be organized. I am laughing right now because I am thinking about the time I went to Oregon to see relatives I had never visited before and immediately felt an energy of chaos and clutter in their home. Have you ever walked into someone’s home and immediately wanted to organize it? I had this overwhelming urge to put on dish gloves and start tearing through their kitchen. There was stuff everywhere. Because I am so intuitive, I just knew there was expired food in the fridge, and I lost my appetite.

I believe people get sick due to how they live in their own environment. Their habits dictate the way they feel. My relatives’ home was a great example of an unhealthy environment. Their house was beautiful and on a great property, but inside, every room was filled with chaos. In the bathroom, every drawer was filled to the top and there was stuff all over the counter. Who actually needs so much stuff? No one.

Organizing is not stuffing things into cupboards. Here is how you declutter. Start with the room you spend the most time in. For most people, that is the kitchen. Empty one whole cupboard at a time, and go through the contents item by item. If you have not used or looked at something in over a year, put it in a pile for disposal or donation. Keep only what you need and use. Check expiration dates, and get rid of everything that has expired.

2. Do Not Shop

Before going shopping for kitchen supplies or groceries, clean out the cupboards and refrigerator and take stock of what you already have. Tempted to shop for clothes? Go through all your drawers and closets first. You might find you do not need to buy anything after all.

3. Write Everything Down

Most people do not write a list before they go grocery shopping, so they buy stuff on impulse. As I often say in my blog, writing is such a useful tool for organizing your thoughts. Organizing your kitchen and making grocery lists before you shop helps you avoid buying items you do not need.

4. Have a Vision

What is your vision of what you want your home, your sacred space, to look like? Try to create it with what you already have. Start moving furniture around and trying new arrangements. Is it time to move your bed? In feng shui, the placement of your bed has an effect on how you sleep. Have you ever walked into a room that made you feel safe, comfortable, and happy? You can even feel love in certain homes. You can create those feelings in your own home, with lighting, plants, clutter-free space, cleanliness, and love.

5. Think about Your Five Favorite Items

Identifying your five favorite things is a great way to find inspiration for your vision. I love my water feature and the sound of water in an otherwise quiet home. I love (nontoxic) candles and the serenity they bring to a room. I love plants and caring for them. I love my faucet-water filtering system. And I love a cozy blanket to curl up in. See a theme? I like an environment that balances wellness and coziness.

If you would like help creating a vision for your sacred space, I am available for a complimentary call. If you are wondering what makes me an expert, I used to clean and organize people’s homes. Plus, I have moved twenty times. Nothing will teach you organizational skills faster than moving.

Stop living in chaos. With my guidance, you can create a space that brings you joy and comfort. When you have an environment that is sacred to you, you think more clearly, sleep better, and get more enjoyment out of the space you work so hard to have. I do not know about you, but I like taking pride in everything I have worked so hard for. I also work from home quite a bit, so my space needs to help me do my best work.

I have a friend who is relocating and considering moving into my building, so I took a video of two available units. I was blown away by how filthy and cluttered they were. I was shocked that people live like that. Despite my warning that the units had not been cleaned yet, my friend could not look past the mess. That kind of chaotic energy is why people burn sage and bring in spiritual healers to cleanse their space before living in it.

In Jewish tradition, bread and salt are the first items brought into a new home, then books, then a charity box. Jewish people also place a mezuzah on the doorway of the home to show the home is blessed. Why do some people have these traditions? They establish the character of the home.

What I love about such traditions, whether they involve burning sage, sprinkling salt, or bringing in a Peruvian shaman, is that you are taking time to appreciate your home with gratitude, be it a studio apartment or a mansion. I have been in both and can tell you that a studio apartment can feel like a more loving and caring space than a mansion.

The next time you walk into your home, take off your shoes, as is tradition in Japan and other parts of the world. Do not bring the dirt, dust, and bad energy of the outside world into your home. Having lived in Japan, where it is very disrespectful to wear your shoes in other people’s homes, I find this to be a beautiful tradition and practice it to this day.

By now, you have realized that I am indeed an organizational freak. I say that in fun, but when I take people through my ninety-day program, one of the first steps we will take together is getting serious about clearing out the chaos.

There is no better time than now to create a space—and life—that you love!

Deborah Driggs

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