The best words I have ever encountered on this subject are:
Don’t live in a storage locker.
Isn’t it true and so perfectly motivating to look at your stuff in another life?
We hoard and keep things in neat little boxes, properly labeled, only to realize one day that all the organizing in the world won’t fix the situation, no matter how neatly it is presented.
The key is just to have less stuff.
There is no other answer.
The less you have, the easier it is to manage and organize.
I find it particularly hard to let go of clothes and things because I have all of these “What If” questions.
What if one day, I find myself with an opportunity to attend a proper tea party held outdoors, and I absolutely have the perfect dress for it? (I really do. I don’t plan on getting rid of it either. It makes me smile.)
Luckily, I have (now) pretty much every single event and occasion covered, and have no need to buy these things for these perfectly rare events.
You might have the same doubts with other things in your house — your cables and cords for all of your electronics for instance.
Goodness knows it wasn’t until I started realizing I’d need a whole new bag to hold all of the cables and cords, that I realized that it was probably time to start getting rid of those old, duplicate cords to those electronics which have long since been recycled.
Less stuff also helps you have a less stressful life.
You will see a counter that isn’t cluttered with stuff, and you will visual break from an otherwise cluttered, disorganized mess that usually crowds everyone’s flat surfaces.
Why do we love pictures of super clean, staged homes even though we know they’re unrealistic for everyday life?
It’s because it makes us feel GOOD to look at a clean, cleared space that signals to us:
You are in charge of things, you nailed it!
Wouldn’t that feel great?
How to get rid of stuff
Don’t start overhauling your kitchen one day and dumping everything on the ground in a huge mess.
Do one drawer at a time, and keep that organized & under control before you tackle another one.
Every time you touch a new drawer to declutter, get rid of as much as you can (within reason). Are you ever going to use it again? When? Why? How? …
If you bought a whole stack of party hats for a specific party theme, either have that themed party again or find another use for them, or donate them.
Do small multi-tasks.
I like to clean out things and organize my items while watching shows or videos. Maybe you’re the same.
Instead of just sitting around and watching TV like a couch potato, take one drawer and dump it out in front of you on the floor and start sorting as you’re watching the show.
You’re keeping your hands busy while multi-tasking with your brain and enjoying a great episode on television.
In between commercial breaks, you will get even more done and might end up being more absorbed in organizing your things than watching the show 😉
Don’t let more things in.
Try the one-in, one-out rule. This has worked well for me with clothes. If I run out of hangers, I need to get rid of something before I let something else in.
If I even get an inkling that I might like to buy something, I go immediately to my closet and see what I already have that I could use instead, rip up & DIY it into something cooler, or toss two items into the Donation Bag by the door to make room for it.
(The Donation Bag is just a plain cotton sack I fill with things I want to get rid of. I bring it to playgroups for other parents and children, and whatever is left, gets donated to charity.)