Tag Archives: hoarding

Lessons Learned from an Organizing Guru

joy of being clutter free

An expert in organizational design, Peter Walsh is a television & radio personality as well as the author of numerous New York Times best-sellers.

Peter has brought organizing into the public eye from his beginnings in the popular organization and design series Clean Sweep (Discovery’s TLC Network), on to his appearances on The Oprah Winfrey Show where he was dubbed the “Get Your Life Organized Guy” and now leading his own series, Extreme Clutter. He’s also appeared and continues to appear on hundreds of national TV programs and in thousands of publications across the world.

Recently Katherine had the pleasure of attending a talk by Peter and came away with lots of gems we’d like to share:

Clutter is anything that gets between you and your best life (the life you want to live). This means clutter is different for everyone. You must decide what is getting in the way.

Stuff has power.  We have brought it into our homes. Our society says that Stuff should give us something.  We are invested in the promises sold to us with Stuff. We believe owning the item will fulfill the promise. Fear of letting things go is related to fear of letting go of this promise – which was false to begin with!

Our instincts know that too much stuff sucks the life out of a space and robs us emotionally, spiritually, socially and even financially. Often, we feel the burden of the clutter, but don’t connect it to the accumulation of too much stuff.

If you’re feeling that weight and instinct it’s time to reflect: “Does the stuff I own create a path to the life we want?” If you don’t create the home you want, no one else will.

Start With Your Vision. When you first moved in, what was your dream?  What did you want from this home? What is the feeling you want to have when you open the front door?When deciding whether to keep something ask yourself, “Does this move me closer or farther away from the vision I have for my home?”

Stop using the word “later” – later is the best friend of clutter

Use this rule of thumb: Don’t put it down, put it away

Kids need limits and routines…we all need limits and routines

When dealing with memory clutter: pick only the treasures, the peak of the peak…treat them with the honor and respect they deserve…the rest of the “memory clutter” will fade away, they will not be needed if you have preserved a few choice items.

The role of a professional organizer is to be your advocate in helping realize the vision you have for your own life and space.

Being organized can change your life at a fundamental level. Peter reported that every time he decluttered a space where children were living, when they come back into the space, they danced!



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Filed under children, Decluttering, downsizing, General Organizing, Guest Experts, Memorabilia, organizing, Perspective, Strategies

AAckk! I don’t want to get rid of ANYTHING!!

How many black shoes are “enough” for one woman?

You are not alone if you’ve ever had trouble letting go of extra stuff in your life…if there is a critical  mass of it.  When you evaluate things individually, everything seems like it has value.  BUT, when you put it in the context of like items, it’s importance can change.

For example, if you’ve ever picked up a pair of black shoes off your closet floor and thought, “Wow, these are good to have!  They’re practical.”  But would you feel the same way about that pair of black shoes if there were 5 similar ones arrayed out on the floor?

The first step to lightening your load is to gather “like” items together.  Sorting items by type helps you see exactly what you have.  Grouping things lets you make contextual choices…making it easier to pick out what is the MOST relevant or the best items and to let the rest go.

Next time you have that  feeling that everything is precious or useful, pick just one type of item to purge.  For example, those black shoes…gather all the black shoes you own from your closets, your car, under the bed or anywhere else. Take a look at all of them and give yourself a reality check about which ones are really worth keeping.  If you’re still feeling stuck, make three piles – yes, no and maybe.  That way, at least you’ve made a conscious choice about most of them.

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Filed under General Organizing, Perspective, Reduce/Recyle/Reuse, Strategies