Decluttering Made Easy

Is your home or workplace cluttered? For most people the answer is an affirmative yes!

For those getting an early jump on spring cleaning, I recently came across advice on the NPR web site about how to get it done effectively. Reporter Andree Tagle interviewed organizing expert Star Hansen who shared ways to organize without the stress. However, before you start clearing away belongings, she believes it is important to understand your clutter.

Hansen says everyone’s clutter tells a personal story. “What becomes clutter and where your clutter accumulates can say a lot about what’s going on with you.”

If you have unwanted piles of stuff accumulating around your house, ask yourself: “What’s making this hard to get rid of?” she says. “A lot of times, the trip-up is from holding on to the past or wanting a different reality than the one we’re living in.”

That blazer that hasn’t fit for years? Maybe it reveals a yearning for your former profession. Those 20 pairs of chopsticks in your kitchen drawer? Maybe they’re speaking to your guilt around waste and sustainability.

When you understand the reasons behind your clutter, says Hansen, it’s a lot easier to know what to keep and what to get rid of.

Hansen also cautions against being too eager to clear it all out in one day. The process takes time.

When it comes to organizing, don’t bite off more than you can chew, says Hansen. If you start off with too big a goal, you might get discouraged if the job takes too long.

So don’t try to revamp your entire garage in one afternoon. Instead, start with something less challenging, like your purse or one single bathroom drawer. Save more complicated items, like tax paperwork, or sentimental items, like family photos and memorabilia, for last. These kinds of organizational projects often take the most time and emotional energy, says Hansen, so you’ll want to build up your decluttering muscle first.

Read three more tips for expert decluttering on the NPR website.

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