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Little Lies of Organization

By Meagan Russell
In AskErin
Jun 30th, 2022

article by Erin Sharplin Love

Have you ever been organized but then look up after a few months only to discover that you are right back where you started? What you don’t realize is that there are clutter traps that sabotage you.  They creep in slowly and go mostly unnoticed until the accumulation of “stuff” is overwhelming.  Clutter can multiply faster than a pair of overactive bunny rabbits, so knowing and recognizing the traps is of utmost importance:

Are you currently drowning in clutter? If so, you might be wondering how you can be disorganized so often.  With all the marketing that entices us to buy the next best thing, it is no wonder we have too much “stuff.”  In some instances, advertisers are selling lies.  These lies make you believe you NEED an item to feel better about yourself or to make your life easier, but therein lies the problem. Buying so much stuff, however, is only making matters worse.  Instead of making you feel better or making your life easier, overbuying can sabotage efforts to clear out unnecessary possessions and to organize essential items.  Although it is all too easy to fall prey to the lies, it is also just as easy to recognize them and steer clear. Check out these tips (on opposite page):

I CAN FIND ROOM.Somehow every empty space in our home gets filled.  Empty rooms get furniture. Empty shelves get knickknacks.  Empty cabinets get glasses and so on.  So, in order not to fall victim to this lie, you must make sure you have a specific use and specific spot for an item before purchasing it.  If you want that new air fryer, for instance, but you do not have any more cabinet or counter space, you must refrain from purchasing it or get rid of something in order to make room for the new item.  Never tell yourself that you will “find the room” because it is more than likely to make more stress and clutter.  

IT ISN’T THAT EXPENSIVE. Admittedly, this one is the one that gets me the most.  The cost of an item is an important thing to consider, but no matter the material cost of an item, it also comes with a physical and mental cost.  Just because we can afford something doesn’t mean that we should buy it.  Carefully consider each item that you are purchasing before clicking “buy.”  List  ways that you will use the item and where you will store it.  If the answers work with the way you want to live, make the purchase.  Otherwise, don’t let yourself fall for the lie.  

I WILL USE IT.  This one is a little bit contradictory but stick with me.  Sometimes we tell ourselves that we will use an item so we won’t feel guilty about buying it. After all, that is one of the main questions that many professional organizers suggest asking yourself when choosing what to buy, keep, donate, and trash.  But let’s dive a bit deeper into this lie.  Okay, so you probably have more than one set of sheets for your bed, right?  But do you NEED more than two sets?  So, sure, you might USE the sheets, but you don’t need them.  You must decide whether an item deserves to take up the much-needed space that you currently have before falling for this lie.  

I MAY NEED IT ONE DAY. This one is my favorite, and the one I hear most often from my clients.  This lie includes new items that you might buy as well as those that are already there.  Some professional organizers suggest that you follow the rule that if an item costs under $25 to replace (when and if you ever need it), you should donate the item and not let it take up prime real estate in your home.  By rule of thumb, if an item has not been used in two years, it should be tossed or donated.  This rule applies to clothing, beauty supplies, garage tools, kitchen gadgets and beyond. And certainly, never purchase anything for “just in case!”  That day may never come, and that money, time, and space will have been wasted.  

IT WAS EXPENSIVE! Come on…how many times have you said this to yourself or someone else regarding an item in your home?  Many people find it hard to get rid of an item if it is “expensive” even if they do not plan on using it again.  It feels like a waste of money, I admit, but think long term.  How useful is this item?  Do you have the space to store something that will never get used?  Wouldn’t it be better to give it to someone else?  Or you might even sell it so that you don’t feel like it is a total loss.  Don’t let this lie keep something in your life that would be more useful elsewhere!

I NEED MORE STORAGE. Repeat after me: “You don’t need more storage.  You need less stuff!”  I have found repeating this phrase very helpful to my clients when they become disorganized again after I leave.  It is a reminder that something has gone wrong, and it will be easy to get back on track.  Do a quick sort and get rid of anything that hasn’t been used recently.  

Which lie have you been telling yourself?  Please share with me on social media or via email!  I would love to visit!  

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