Become the Butterfly: Spring Cleaning Your Mental Space

Ah, Spring. Time again to clean out your closets, dust off your cobwebs, go though your stuff and purge. In fact, now is the perfect time to purge, because spring is a time for renewal, rebirth and growth. How can you blossom into a beautiful flower if you are still covered in last year's leaves?  Time to embrace the "out with the old and in with the new" mentality.

To that end, I'm going to shake up this blog post and try something new.  Recently I was invited to lead a talk on "letting go of what is not serving you anymore."  The feedback from that discussion has been incredible, and it has inspired me to shed my "how-to" and "pro tip" blog cocoon, and embrace the freedom and beauty of "truth bomb" wings.  This blog post is dedicated to you and your energy.

I believe that everyone wakes up with a given allotment of choosing power, and how we exert our decision-making energy has an incredible impact on our daily lives. Every decision made counts against our quota, and as the day goes on it becomes harder for us to make good and decisive choices. I know this to be true for me: in the morning my decision making power is at 100%, but by 6pm I'm having trouble figuring out what I want for dinner, and by 6:30 I'm reaching for the frozen pizza because I-just-can't and cardboard carbs are easier than making a decision, let alone a meal.  Not the best choice.  By 6pm, the bulk of my daily choosing power has been spent.

So what's the link between choosing power and letting go?  See if you can imagine the increased ease of decision-making with a clean fridge, a completely wearable wardrobe, and a guilt-free view -  and see if this average morning stream of consciousness sounds familiar to you...

The alarm goes off (for the second time), and you're awake.  What do you want for breakfast?

Eggs. I want eggs. Great, but do I have eggs? If yes, can I make an omelette, and if so are those peppers even firm(ish)? I thought I had butter- is that cheese still good? Bummer; the toast is moldy! Ugh. I'll just have cereal and pretend its protein.

Shower time.  You are met with three shampoos to choose from, even though you only ever use one.  But you feel bad because the other ones were expensive, and you don't want to be wasteful by throwing them (or the scrubs, body washes and soaps that have lain dormant) out.  And you get to remind yourself of this every morning.

You make it out of the shower and prepare to get dressed. You look in your closet and the anxiety is already starting to set in. You pick out a shirt - oh wait, can't wear that; the buttons is missing. The next one doesn't really fit right, the next you don't even like. The next one, oh, still has the price tag on. The guilt of buyer's remorse sets in; you look at how much you spent on it...

$65 on a shirt I haven't worn yet. Let me try it on and see if today is the day...nope, still doesn't work, but I liked it in the store. Oh my god, what time is it? How long have I been daydreaming and trying to find something to wear? Okay, whatever shirt I grab next is it. Ugh! This one has a stain - well let me put this scarf over it and maybe no one will see it. Now, what pants go with this lovely stained blouse? Well, not those; they need to be hemmed, and this pair is a bit too snug right now, and these have a hole... I'll just wear the ones I wore yesterday; no one will notice. Shoes: these would be great but wait, where is the other one? It has to be in here somewhere!

...after a minute or two you give up finding the matching set and wear the pair that hurt your feet, but you're really running late for work now, so they will have to do.

On your way out the door... Even though you haven't punched the clock yet, your subconscious is already working overtime. You pass your bureau on the right and see the paper clutter, and you think without thinking, "I need to file those away/am I ready to do my taxes? I have to shred most of that/where are those bills I need to pay?"  On the left, stacks of magazines wait indefinitely for the magic day when you will be able to sit down and read through them, "I wish I had more time." Flanking the magazine tower is your equally lonely knitting basket, "I need to finish that baby hat for my sister's baby...er...toddler." Under the catchall table by the front door, the last misc. box (from when you first moved in but never got around to unpacking) mocks you, but you almost don't even care anymore. "I will get to that this weekend...maybe." You reach your door just to realize you don't have your keys, and can't remember for the life of you where you left them. A few minutes later you locate them in a drawer in the kitchen, still clueless as to how they got there, and rush out the door. One minute later you return for your sunglasses that you thought were in your purse, but are actually hiding in plain sight on the kitchen counter. Finally you make it to your car, out of breath, starting to perspire, and thinking, "I can make up for lost time if there's not as much traffic on the 10 this morning."

...So much of what weighs us down from our waking moment is our tangible 'stuff' that shares our physical space. As the day goes on, decisions become more difficult as our power is drained.  So, if you can only make 'x' many decisions in one day, do 20 of them need to be about what you're going to wear? How do you really want to use your energy? Consider the purge in your spring cleaning and give yourself permission to let go of the things that aren't serving you anymore.  Eliminating the unwanted options will result in less decision energy spent.  So sweep out the cobwebs of last year and reclaim not just your space, but your energy.

 

 

4 Piles to Pitch: Win Back Your Storage Closet

Yes! Clean out that storage closet once and for all. I just helped a client do this, and I want to share a few things that might be useful for the closet you have been ignoring... and the skeletons inside.

My client had recently moved, and didn't have time to purge or organize before transitioning from old place to new.  As a result, her storage closet was riddled with random items (because it had a door to close and hide it all behind). Sound familiar?  Well, it happens all the time. Time to reclaim your space!

To get started, take everything out of the closet. As you remove items, sort them into piles with similar types of items - put like items with like items.

With my client, as with most clients, the piles looked something like this: the first pile was composed of packing supplies, including empty boxes, bubble wrap, tubes for posters, etc.  A second pile contained decor items that worked in her old place but didn't work in her new home, including items that needed to be returned. Off to the side, we had a pile of stuff that was to be sold on eBay and Craigslist, and finally, my favorite pile, the bag of bags. Over 90% of my clients have at least one of these piles:)

We also had piles of old makeup to go through, bedding to make decisions on, and office supplies to sort. However, the 4 piles I want to focus on are the four piles mentioned above: packing supplies, things that aren't working, stuff to sell, and the bag of bags. By just dealing with the items in these four piles, you will reduce clutter by half.  So, in no particular order, give yourself permission to let go of ---

1 - Items that are not working in the new (or current) space. This is often a frustrating endeavor, but it's time to realize that even alternative facts won't make your drawer organizers from your last residence fit your new space, and those pictures that looked great on your former living room wall don't catch the light in the same way in your new (or now) house. Yet, these items get tucked away in the storage closet in hopes you will find someone to give it to or eventually sell it. A big crutch in letting go process is the "waiting to give it to someone who will need it" crutch. We always want to help someone out (or in some cases, pass the obligation of the item onto someone else), but then the unwanted item ends up chewing up valuable real estate in your space for way too long. So go ahead, give yourself permission. Donate it. And those things that need to be returned that didn't work for the new space that got shoved in the storage closet to collect dust and be forgotten? Put them in your car with the receipt and make sure it gets returned before it's too late.  Or donate them. 

2 - The eBay and Craigslist pile. My client had fancy and pricey dresses; some still had the tags on them, plus other items she thought could be worth selling. Of course, I'm all for donating it. Too often the ideal amount you think you can get for a given item is a lot more then what you can actually get for it. With my client, we started looking up how much similar dresses were selling for online and found that they were going for $20 or $30, and some were being stolen at $10. So I ask, how much is your time worth? $10/hr? $20/hr?  Because the time you use listing the item, the time spent in sale limbo/haggling with a stranger, the time and energy physically exerted in shipping the item... is the sale really worth the trouble and your time?  I suggest establishing a minimum listing item price of $50 or more to make the listing worthy of your time. If you can get at least $50 for an item, then list it.  If not, donate it.

3 - The pile of packing supplies. It will be easier to let these items go when you realize you are donating most of the stuff you thought you were going to sell. The act of breaking down empty boxes from deliveries alone (ahem...amazon) will reclaim a significant amount of space.

4 - The bag of bags, or should I say the whole closet, considering how they seem to fill up space like some magic growing jello. Like many people, my client was keeping every bag that was ever given to her, and all the ones she paid for like the ones from Ikea, etc. We looked through them all, and kept a select few that were in good shape.  We used some to bag donation items, and, get ready, donated the rest.

How many shopping bags does one household need? If you go shopping and use about 5 recycled bags, then keep that amount in your car, and get rid of the remainder.  Rest assured, more reusable bags will come into your life; someone is always giving away a free bag. Oh! And if you get paper and plastic bags every time you go to the grocer's and keep them for trash, then take one bag and fill it up with other bags; whatever doesn't fit in that one bag, you recycle. You will keep getting more every time you go shopping; have faith that you will not run out.

By focusing on items in these 4 piles, and not worrying about the organizing part yet, we saw a huge difference in reclaimed closet space. My client even had drawers in the closet that (I didn't know she had) she could never get to, now ready to be filled with items worthy of storing. 

So, what can you donate today to win back your storage closet?

 

 

 

 

 

 

Setting Goals for the New Year

With the New Year, comes the resolutions. We've all made them and we've all broken them, sometimes the very next day.  I believe that a lack of planning and reflection are the most common reasons for "Resolution Rejection;" most often, people don't give enough thought as to what they really want to change, and how to go about doing it.

If you truly want to change something about yourself or lifestyle, it has to be more then just a declaration. Change requires action, and successful action embraces strategy and planning. Set yourself up for goal-setting success with some tips and strategies to help you rock your resolution:

  • Write down your resolutions and put them up where you can see them. You are 75% more likely to follow through with a goal if you write it down.
     
  • Focus on one change at a time. Some people are like, "I'm going to quite smoking, lose weight and get out of debt!" Wow! That would be great, but statistics show that if you are making too many goals at one time, you will likely not follow through with any of them.
     
  • Visualize where you want to be when you accomplish your goal for a few minutes everyday. What will your life be like?  How will it be better?  If you can see yourself there, you are more likely to actually get there.
     
  • Find an accountability partner. It is so important to be able to check-in with someone on your progress; if you find yourself floundering, your partner can encourage you through the rough patches, and you can do the same for them. Teamwork makes the dream work. 
     
  • Get organized around your goal! Want to lose weight? Clean out the fridge and pantry of all undesirable foods. Growing your business? Clean off your desk, and organize the drawers and files. Want more family time at home? De-clutter the living room and dust off the games and cards.

After the holidays, it's hard to feel motivated to do anything. I know that's how I'm feeling today. So maybe the only goal you make today is to pick the day you want to get started on your resolution.  Why does it have to be January 1st? I'm starting my goal on the 15th, to give me the time I need to make a solid plan (for better nutrition and consistent exercise).

You survived 2016, so give yourself the gift of bettering your life in a way that works for you.  And if part of that bettering needs organization or design assistance, you know where to find me.

Have a Happy and Successful New Year!

 

 

 

 

 

Going 'COLD TURKEY' - Getting Rid of What Isn't Serving Me Anymore

I've been thinking about this for a while now, "what in my life is not serving me?"  I've come up with an answer that I've wrestled with ever since its discovery, so I wonder if I can ease into the 'letting go' process.  When I did my 30 days of 'no drinking' challenge in August, I was surprised how easy it was, so could I give up (dun dun dun!!!) TV for 30 days? But then I was plagued with another thought - what is 30 days anyway? Does it change anything in the long run? I mean, I'm drinking a glass of wine right now... I'm going to say "no" for me. I'm skipping the 30 days on this one, and saying goodbye forever! 

I've decided to sell my TV. It's just not serving me anymore. 

I will miss it like any bad habit or relationship. I will mourn the hours and hours of time we spent together. I always had my TV to turn to when my friends were with their significant others, or I was sad and needed a pick-me-up, or I just got off work and was really tired and all I could do was put my comfy pants on and sit on my couch, and think, "I'm so happy right now."

Some of my favorite nights were in front of the TV with Prosecco, pizza, popcorn, and if Dancing With the Stars was on, I was in heaven. Ha, those were the nights. Some days I would look down on myself and say, "I need to stop this time-sucking behavior; it's not the way I want to live."

Apparently I'm not alone, because the average American watches 5 hours of Television a day. That's 35 hours a week. That's just about where I'm at. Man, what I could do with an extra 35 hours.

Wait, what would I do?....Well, I want to learn Italian, take more design classes, take salsa lessons, travel more, read, listen to more positive podcasts, and go to bed earlier. I'm thinking with an extra 35 hours a week I can start checking things off my list.

Yesterday it started to become real; I cancelled my Netflix and Hulu accounts. This morning I cancelled my cable. With my extra time not binge watching DWTS, I did the math - I will be saving $1427.76 a year!  I guess I will have the money for those salsa lessons after all; there goes that excuse!

I feel a tightening in my chest just knowing that in a few days, I'll be coming home, and my TV will be gone...gone! The person coming to buy it will be here, hauling it out of my home, and I imagine myself saying, "You better take care of it or I'll kill you! That's my best friend you're holding onto there, be careful!"

Ugh! How can I handle this? Ok, ok, just make a list of all the things I want to do, and make a plan...We all saw Silver Linings Playbook! I need to have a plan in place!

Oh, who am I kidding, I don't know what's going to happen; all I know is that I tell my organizing clients all the time that they should get rid of what's not serving them anymore. Now I'm taking my own advice. I feel the resistance with them in the beginning, and I feel the resistance within me now. How can I give advice if I'm not willing to take it myself?  Silver lining...is when I see the success in their lives unfold, and they tell me how much their situation has improved since they were able to rid themselves of the things that were holding them back.

If you're still reading this, and haven't labeled me 'crazy' for rejecting the entertainment rectangle, I challenge you to take a look around your space, and see what is it that is not serving you. Whether it's a TV, old textbooks, or even a job or a relationship, if it doesn't serve you anymore, take the leap and let go.  And after, if you experience regret or enlightenment, then feel free to email me... I'll have plenty of time on my hands to answer you back. 

 

Closets are Not the Only Place to De-clutter

Happy Halloween! With the holiday season creeping up on us, it is the perfect time to get organized. Most of the time we start with the closets, usually thinking about our clothes, but what about that cold closet in the kitchen? You know, where you store the perishable and the perished things, the things that spend most of their time in the dark, until you open the door to gobble and guzzle? Of course, I'm talking about your refrigerator.  We know how it goes - cartons, condiments, and containers full of sometimes-scary-stuff get pushed back on those shelves so deep that they may never see the light of day for months.

I remember house sitting for my mom when she would holiday in Italy for a few weeks, or even just for a weekend in upstate New York. Right after the hug good-bye, the first thing I would do is clean out her fridge. I would get excited because, for me, the messier it was, the more fun it was to organize! As I think back on those times, I realize more and more that it has always been my calling to be a Professional Organizer.

Anyway, I could never understand why there was always so much food in her fridge; who was going to eat it? And when? With only her and her husband living in the house, when would they possibly consume a full pound of grated parmesan cheese? And was that mold? Why, yes it was. So the answer to that question was...never. 

Ok, ok, my mom would be upset if I kept talking about her moldy cheese, so let's talk about how you can get your fridge ready for all the good eats coming your way for Thanksgiving.

The best way to start any organizing job is to take everything out first, so go ahead and empty that fridge. As you are removing all the perishables, begin to put like items with like items: all your condiments together, vegetables, sweets, sodas/drinks, leftovers etc. While you are doing this, check all the expiration dates. Every time I'm helping a client, we find a handful of condiments that are way past their expiration date; it's just something you don't tend to think about. Have a garbage bag handy, and start throwing out anything that has seen better days. If you can recycle any bottles and packaging, please do :).

Before and After 

Before and After 

That is the first step, and you will find your contents slimming down. Next is the leftovers. We all start with good intentions. None of us like throwing food away, so we put the leftovers in tupperware for the next few days... and often never eat it... sometimes it even gets pushed to the back of the shelf, and by the time we open it again, we can't even recognize what it once was! The rule of thumb with food is, "when in doubt throw it out." For me, the best leftover solution is this: after I make a nice meal, I portion out the leftovers into one-cup plastic containers and freeze them. This way I'm not eating the same thing for 3 days in a row, and when I need a quick meal, I have something ready to go.

Finally, toss anything that you know you and your family are not going to eat. Maybe you were on a diet last week and now won't go near that cottage cheese, or your kids wanted to try the latest fruit drink but they didn't like it. Go ahead and get rid of it; it will eventually go bad, and since you won't consume it, why wait? Also, make sure to check for flat sodas, old wine, bad juices, and anything else that hasn't been tasted in a while.

Since everything is out of the fridge, give it a good scrub; you never know when this is going to happen again;)

When you put everything back, add some organization.

1 - Keep all condiments on the door or use a lazy susan

2 - Keep like items together; cheeses, sweet stuff, yogurts, etc. Use these bins to help keep these similar items together. I also like to keep my wines, olives and mixers on the bottom shelf on the door, or you can use these holders for wine.

3 - Pick one day a week to do a quick scan of the items in your fridge, and throw out anything that is about to go bad. Preferably, do the scan right before you go food shopping, so things don't get out of hand.

4 - If you have leftovers, try to write the date on it with an erasable marker, a marker with masking tape, or these labels, so you don't have to remember when you stored it.

You have three weeks before Thanksgiving. The countdown is on! See if you can set a few hours aside and clean out the fridge (and be ready for all those leftovers and pies).

Happy Halloween and Happy Organizing!

Being More with Less

Last Tuesday I made the Los Angeles journey from Mid-City to Santa Monica for the Tiny Wardrobe Tour. NAPO (National Association of Professional Organizers) Los Angeles Chapter was promoting the event, "Project 333: Be More with Less." that was featuring a minimalist fashion challenge created about six years ago by Courtney Carver, who was looking to simplify her life in every area - including her closet. 

I was pretty skeptical about this concept of living with a wardrobe of only 33 items for 3 months (Project 333, get it?), which includes jewelry, accessories, and -gasp- shoes! I even felt justified in my quick judgement as the speaker approached the front of the room clad in a plain, white, v-neck tee and simple black skirt; I was thinking I would have wore something with more pizazz for the presentation. During part of her talk, Courtney mentioned that most people really don't care or notice what you wear, which in that moment, did not ring true for me - just earlier, as I was coming down from the parking garage, I got a complement on my shoes from the woman in the elevator. Not that I get dressed in the morning for compliments, but they're always welcomed, and my fellow lift companion certainly did notice what I was wearing, and was inspired enough to share with me.

It also didn't help my willingness to embrace the presentation that there was a woman in the audience who was loudly and emphatically determined to be a minimalist; she was pushing desperately to get rid of everything in her home. The zealous-like energy and the extreme minimalist mentality upset me and put my guard up.  For me, having nothing is just as bad as having too much. It is said that you shouldn't define yourself by how much you have, but I say don't define yourself by what little you have either.  

As Courtney was speaking I was stuck thinking, "This 33 thing just can't be possible." I work with a lot of clients that purge so much stuff, and are still left with way more than 33 items. I started tensing up as I imagined my own closet, and envisioned getting by with only 5 pairs of underwear and maybe 2 pairs of socks, to at least allow for some variety of shirts - or what if I went commando and just wore sandals?!? It came as a relief as she explained the project in more detail and revealed that sleepwear and workout clothes are each counted as one, and you don't include undergarments.  Phew. 

As Courtney went deeper into her story, the tension knot between my shoulder blades eased, and I couldn't help but be inspired by the way her health and happiness had improved, how her family downsized from a house that was too big for them into renting a smaller and more functional unit, and how they are debt-free and she is earning a living by doing what she loves: teaching and inspiring people all over the world. And by now, she's right; I don't care that she is wearing a boring white tee. Courtney inspired me. 

I had to investigate my own wardrobe. The next day, I had a friend come over and we started cleaning out, what I felt was already, my paired-down closet. I tried on every dress, shirt, pants, and even every pair of underwear, just to ensure nothing was in my wardrobe that didn't make me feel good or didn't fit properly. I work with my clients on this de-cluttering step all the time, and yet I still had unwanted items lurking in my space. (Skeletons in my closet? No?)

After removing the pieces that did not serve me from my space, I am lighter and freer.  I even took inventory of everything that remained. Since Courtney had encouraged us to tailor the project to fit our individual needs, I came up with this: if I group my shoes, outerwear and jewelry as one each, then I can get the number close to 33. Well...ok, maybe not that close, but certainly closer at only 74 items, and if I had a garage or basement to store my off-season pieces, then it would be more like 60 items. Courtney said 33 may not be the number for everyone; 60 is a doable number for me. Instead of dwindling down my wardrobe to 33 items, I actually got rid of 33 items, and it felt great! 

In the end what it comes down to is this: love yourself more, and love your stuff less, and always make room for new things to come into your life. Always make space for love. 

Stay Organized in Your Bathroom & Take Back Your Morning

What would you do if you had extra time in the morning, without having to change your wake up time? Would you make yourself a cup of coffee with extra care, and actually have the time to enjoy it?  Would you write that friend you don't see often enough?  Would you journal, meditate, yoga, or even catch a few more precious Zzzs? Like in any area of the home, having an organized bathroom will save you time and money.  A well-planned bathroom will also reduce anxiety in your morning routine while saving you time, so you are set up to have a good morning, every morning.

So let's take our mornings back!  And let's start with the first stage of organization bliss: de-cluttering. To get started, and I can't stress enough, you must de-clutter first. Go through every individual item, pull what you use and need, then get rid of everything else. Most people tend to collect and hold on too many products, especially makeup. This is usually done with the best intentions; we don't want to be wasteful and there is a chance we might use the product again. I'm guilty of this...I think I might want to wear that purple eyeshadow for a girls' night out or Halloween. Of course, I bought it about 3 years ago, and I haven't worn it once; so, in the trash it goes. It's also good to keep in mind that makeup has a shelf life of about 3 months to 2 years; check out time frames in this article at popsugar.com; you'll be surprised how soon you should be ditching that liquid eyeliner. 

So you've de-cluttered; now it's time to organize what's left. Since we were on the topic of makeup, these are my favorite acrylic drawer organizers from The Container Store. Measure the drawer in your bathroom to find the best fit and arrangement. I also recommend using grip drawer liners to help the acrylic organizers stay in place.  I love these drawer organizers because they can be used for so many different bathroom items...your toothbrush, toothpaste, dental floss etc., and if something spills or leaks, you only need to take out one caddy for easy cleaning.

Let's take a look at the sink area; bathroom counters are a prime spot for clutter. Cluttered Counter Syndrome usually occurs because we like to keep out what we use everyday to get ready in the morning. On the whole, CCS makes sense, but I like to give my clients a basket or bin, and the morning routine goes inside, so things like body lotion, deodorant, hair gel etc., are not lingering on the counter tops. I recommend storing the basket/bin under the bathroom sink, so you can grab the b/b in one motion after your shower, get ready, and then tuck the b/b back under the sink when finished, and, voila! No CCS. 

Now, the under-the-sink area can get a bit cramped, so I've become obsessed with these Like-It modular drawers, because they take full advantage of usable vertical space.  With these modular drawers you can store items with double or even triple the space, and with the variety of sizes, you can find one or two that fit even in the smallest of under-the-sink spaces, and still have room for your morning routine b/b.

So take some time to invest in taking back your morning, and save yourself future aggravation. 

Happy organizing:)

 

 

 

4 Ways to Minimize Clutter

I can't tell you how many times I'm working with a client, and we are organizing under the bathroom sink, and we find 10 tubes of toothpaste, 7 sticks of deodorant and multiple shampoos and conditioners.  They start to get mad at themselves for letting their toiletry supply get out of hand. The truth is, it's hard not for it to get out of hand, and here's why...

First off, many people buy things in bulk. You may be one of those people. "But it was such a good deal" you say, as we are throwing out the oversized, expired containers of ketchup. Here's something to consider when buying at a wholesale/warehouse store: say you like tuna, and you eat it about once every one to two weeks, so you buy the package of 24 cans and get a great deal. But here's the rub: those cans will be in your pantry for the next 6-12 months. You may have the space for the tuna, but for larger bulk items this starts to max out the pantry in no time at all. For items with a shorter shelf life, you may be wasting your money in the long run, and for the average household, many sundries are unnecessary in bulk.

Solution - When buying in bulk, ask yourself how long it will take for you to consume the whole thing. Will it expire before you use it? Do you have the room to store it? 

Example two: you receive monthly orders of hair and beauty products delivered right to your door. For instance, from my own personal experience is Wen hair products and Cindy Crawford Meaningful beauty. I remember being excited to start using these products, but come a few months later I was surrounded by enough cleansing conditioner and under eye cream to last me over a year. So I called to cancel and they did everything in their power to persuade me not to. After another month of smaller shipments, I finally stood my ground and canceled, knowing I could always start up again if I wanted to. However, some of my clients don't realize that they never canceled in the first place, and are still paying for and receiving products they don't use anymore. This extends beyond beauty products; another client had water delivered faster then they could drink it, and giant jugs were swallowing the living room. Don't forget about those magazines you're not reading. Sure, a magazine doesn't occupy that much real estate, but I bet I don't have to tell you that they stack up quick.

Solution - Keep like items with like items; that way you realize how much you have and how much you're using. If it's too much, then call and cancel the subscriptions. The convenience of automatic delivery is not always the best.

Common-clutter-maker #3: You don't know what you have, so you keep re-buying things you already own. You frantically search for something you know you probably have, but give up after 5 minutes and remember that Amazon Prime can get it in your hands the next day. I can't stress enough that everything in your home needs to have a home. When every item has its place, then the next time you need it, you can find what you're looking for in the first place you look. It may seem daunting, but go through ALL of your stuff; decide what to keep, what to donate and recycle/trash. Then choose the best home for your items, so the next time you need that specific hair tie or food dehydrating tray, you know right where it is. Pro tip: hiring a professional organizer can greatly alleviate the stress of de-cluttering your personal inventory. ;)

Solution - Find a home for everything in your home. This takes time but in the long run you will save yourself time, money and aggravation.  

Lastly, and perhaps the hardest, you don't want to throw out something you paid a lot of money for, yet you don't like it and will never use again. It's hard for my clients to put that piece of clothing in the donation pile that still has the hefty price tag on it, or throw out the expensive makeup they only used once but wasn't their color. At the time of purchase it was a good idea, but now it is a good idea to get it out of your space. If you don't love it, lose it; whether you donate, recycle or sell it, you will not regret letting go of things that don't serve you.

Solution - Don't hold onto things because of their monetary value. Know that every item in your home holds energy, and items you don't love could be costing you a lot more then they're worth. 

The silver lining to this is, while working with my clients during the de-cluttering stage of organizing, they start to visualize their spending habits vs. their consumption habits. After this, they are changed forever. Now, they make better decisions about what to buy in bulk; they know not to buy another white t-shirt because they know where the 7 they own live, and they can better choose what periodicals actually need to show up at their doorstep.

Stop the clutter before it starts.

Or start stopping the clutter.  

Thanks for reading and happy organizing:)