31 Days of Organizing Tips: Day 3 (De-cluttering) | From Overwhelmed to Organized: 31 Days of Organizing Tips: Day 3 (De-cluttering)
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Wednesday, October 3, 2012

31 Days of Organizing Tips: Day 3 (De-cluttering)



Welcome to Day Three of the 31 Days of Organizing Tips series!  I'm so glad you've joined me.  Throughout this series I'll be sharing organizing ideas that I've found around the web that I love and that will help you on your journey from overwhelmed to organized.  

You'll find a complete list of all the posts in the 31 Days of Organizing Tips tab above, or at the end of this post.


Now that you've created a list of organizing projects, picked one or two to get started on, and planned out your project, it's time to dive in and start organizing!

The first step in organizing is to de-clutter.  We live in a culture that is crazy about "stuff" and we accumulate a lot of it!  Before organizing what you have (and definitely before buying any storage containers!), take some time to assess what you really need and use.  Chances are you have a lot that you didn't know you had or rarely use, and maybe even some things you don't like that much.  The popularity of shows on hoarding and de-cluttering show how much of an issue this is.


I could go on and on about reasons why we have so much stuff, why it's important to reduce clutter, and how to prevent clutter from creeping back into our lives (there's a lot written about these topics!), but today I just want to highlight the issue and get you started.

{Note: you can check out my "De-cluttering Tips" board on Pinterest if you need more inspiration in this area.  Make sure you follow that board too because I'll be adding more to it soon.}

The person who inspires me the most when I'm de-cluttering is Peter Walsh so there's no better tip I could give you than to point you in his direction :)

Source: http://www.peterwalshdesign.com
Peter has been on TV shows such as Clean Sweep and Extreme Clutter  and is also a frequent guest on a variety of talk shows.

I hear Peter's voice when I'm deciding whether or not to keep something.

"Does it fit the vision of what you want this space to be?"
"Is it being honoured and respected where it is now?"
"Do you need, use, or love it?"  

Note:  read those questions again with an awesome Australian accent because that's how I hear them in my head :)

Peter has written several books on getting rid of clutter and they are all fantastic.  Here's one of them:

Get "It's All Too Much" on Amazon here!
Here's what he says about this book:

You want a life built on a solid foundation, but you can’t even see the floor beneath you. You want to lose weight, but your kitchen is overwhelmed with appliances you never use. You want to build your career, but your office literally makes you feel ill. You want to change? This is where it starts: your home. Where you live, breathe, rest, love, and create. Forget the self-help books. Get rid of the clutter. Get organized. If you do, I promise that every aspect of your life will change in ways that you never imagined possible.

Doesn't that sound great?!

I still have a ways to go in de-cluttering my home but I'm working at it slowly but surely.  Let me tell you, I love the freedom that comes from having less clutter!  It's hard work sometimes but it's worth it in the end.  I'm also working on not letting clutter come into my house which is a big step too.

Now, if the thought of reading books about de-cluttering is overwhelming then I recommend following Peter on Facebook or Twitter.  He posts de-cluttering and organizing tips regularly and also updates when he will be appearing on TV so you can watch him in action.  You can also check him out in action on YouTube.

If you have difficulty parting with things because you think you may need them "some day", then here's a tip to get you started.  Put the items you're not sure you want to part with into a box for a set period of time (a month, a season, or whatever seems appropriate).  If you haven't used the items in that amount of time then get rid of them.  It will help take the pressure off initially but you'll also have the freedom of not having those items cluttering up your drawers, shelves, or cupboards in the meantime.

For Day Three, choose a space in your house and de-clutter it.  If this is new for you then don't start with a huge project like a garage, attic or basement!  Pick something small to start with (ideally something that doesn't have a lot of sentimental attachment).  Choose something that you can manage in a short amount of time.  You can build up to a bigger project.

Tomorrow I'll be looking at other steps to help you get organized.  As the series progresses, I'll be sharing tips for various organizing challenges.  I look forward to going through this series with you and hearing your tips too!

Have you de-cluttered areas in your home?  What was the most difficult part?  What was the biggest reward?  Do you love Peter Walsh as much as I do?  What is the best organizing tip you've implemented?

Have a great day and happy organizing!




Here are all the posts in the series:








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8 comments:

  1. Hilda, these tips are amazing! I use the "box" a lot with my children's toys. If they don't dig it up in a few months, chances are they are done with these toys (I do leave this box in their room). And you're right, life with less clutter is so much better! We get too attached to stuff...

    I look forward to your next tip :)

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    1. Thanks Kristina! The box trick for toys worked well when my kids were younger but they've got LONG memories now :) It's hard not to get attached to things but the more I de-clutter the better I'm getting at not allowing myself to get as attached in the first place. It's a process!

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  2. The most difficult part (for me) is PAPER!! That stuff multiplies faster then dust bunnies and drives me bonkers sorting through it. *pulls out her hair*

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    1. LOL Helen! Don't pull it all out :) I'll probably do a whole post on tips for dealing with paper clutter because we all need help with that!

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  3. Great tips Hilda! I love Peter Walsh too! I love the question to ask yourself whether it is "being honoured or respected where it is now". Such a good way at looking at things we just keep stashed away in a box in the attic somewhere.

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    1. Thanks Susan! Glad I'm not the only one :) That question is from Peter and it makes so much sense. It really helps when getting rid of stuff that we hang onto because we feel guilty getting rid of it. If we're keeping it hidden away somewhere and if it's causing us stress to have so much clutter then it's not honouring the items or the people/memories they represent to us. Really helps me keep things in perspective :)

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  4. This is where it starts: your home. Where you live, breathe, rest, love, and create. Forget the self-help books. Get rid of the clutter. Get organized. If you do, I promise that every aspect of your life will change in ways that you never imagined possible....profound.

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    1. Definitely Leslie! That man has a way of putting things that just make sense.

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I love hearing from my readers! This is a great place to ask questions, answer questions, and share your organizing tips. Thank you so much for commenting! I look forward to getting to know you better :)