Step 1 to Decluttering and Organizing

I’ve enjoyed reading Marie Kondo’s The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up, and have gleaned some interesting ideas that I'd like to share in this and future blog posts.

Today, I want to start by addressing Marie Kondo’s idea of beginning by visualizing the space you wish to organize and declutter to see it as you'd like it to be. Visualization—and examining your motivation—are important first steps in the organizing and decluttering process.

One of my clients explained that her primary motivation to declutter and beautify her space was that she wished to entertain in her apartment. When I asked her to explore why that was so motivational for her, she realized that she longed to spend time with her close circle of family and friends. She felt love and support for these people, and saw the potential for inviting them over and cooking for them as a way of bringing happiness to her life.

Another client who was an artist felt that clutter was inhibiting her creativity. She believed that, by organizing her creative space, she would be able to find the materials she needed, thereby using her artistic energy to create, rather than hunt for things. I have worked with quilters, painters, singers, and jewelry designers, and I recognize that the energy used to create is not the same energy that is used to organize and create order. All the artists have reported benefiting from organizing their creative space.

Several older clients have been downsizing as they move to a senior’s residence or a smaller home. These people tend to be motivated to part with non-essential items, and are especially happy if they have children, grandchildren, or friends who are only too happy to take their china, crystal, books, etc.

It can be helpful to ask yourself why you want to declutter and organize a certain part of your home—or your entire living or working space. Keep asking the “why” question until you arrive at the heart of the matter. This can help you remain motivated and focused as you work—either on your own or with a professional organizer like me.

As Marie Kondo writes in her book, “The whole point in both discarding and keeping things is to be happy.” There is a beauty in parting with things you no longer use which can bring joy to others.