Tips for the Whole House

Some great ideas just work everywhere. If you’re trying to shape up the organization of your house, try these tips for controlling the “stuff” in your life.

How Much Do You Really Need?

This is the first question to ask when it comes to whole house organization. How many DVDs do you really need? How many toys do your kids need? How many earrings can a person possibly wear in a lifetime?

The first step in organizing a neglected, overstuffed house is to pare down. This can be extremely difficult, especially for certain people who either:

  1. equate “keeping” things with being thrifty, or
  2. feel strong emotional ties to physical items.

Being Thrifty

This is the “you never know when you might need this” mentality. Some people keep so much, it becomes a physical and emotional drain. Imagine a woman who keeps everything, “just in case.” She has an entire bureau where she keeps little things. Every drawer is stuffed with an accumulation of ribbons, buttons, safety pins, scraps of cloth, bits of paper, shoelaces, and used wrapping paper.

There’s nothing wrong with keeping a few ribbons on hand. And re-using wrapping paper is, from an environmental standpoint, an excellent re-use of resources. But how much wrapping paper do you need? A few sheets at any time? Maybe a little more for Christmas?

And if she can’t find the wrapping paper in those overstuffed drawers when she really needs it? Then it’s as good as useless. Our subject would be better served by donating most of the buttons to a sewing school, (saving a few for emergencies!), and giving the scraps of cloth to a school for a quilting project. Rather than letting the items rot away in a disorganized drawer, why not let them be useful? After all, an item is not useful until it is actually used.


Emotional Ties

This can be the most difficult part of paring down. Some people really struggle with separating themselves from physical items. You probably know someone who can’t part with anything because it reminds them of a certain time in their life, or a certain someone.

Are you are keeping lots of itemsĀ onlybecause they remind you of someone? This leads surely to a cluttered house. You can still think fondly of someone without keeping the “thing” associated with them. You will still remember your children, even if you get rid of their old toys, right?

The best way to deal with emotional attachments is to really look at each item. Ask yourself these questions:

  • Why do you want to keep this item?
  • Is this item beautiful to you?
  • Is this item useful to you?
  • What will I do with this item?
  • Where will I store this item?

If you have good answers for all five questions, maybe you should keep it. If you can’t give truthful, good answers to these questions, you need to let it go. Give yourself permission to let go of uneeded things, to be free of clutter and embrace a more organized life. It’s a wonderful gift to give yourself.

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