One of the many things I have learned over the past 4 years working as a Professional Organizer is that every individual has their own definition of clutter and organized. One person’s categorized piles is another’s clutter nightmare. This is what led to my tagline, “Unique solutions for an organized you.” Every client needs different solutions and strategies to feel better organized and to feel he/she has reduced or eliminated clutter.
That being said, my favorite definition of clutter is one provided by Barbara Hemphill, one of the first professional organizers: clutter is the result of delayed decision-making. Some of you have heard me talk about this definition before, but I believe it is well worth repeating.
Take a look at the piles of paper on your desk, the stack of mail on your kitchen table, or the pile of old clothing or toys taking up space in your closet or attic. Most likely, you have looked at the contents of those piles, picked up and inspected each item, and then placed it back in the pile to “deal with later.” That, my dear reader, is delayed decision-making.
So next time you bring in the mail, print or bring home documents, or try on a piece of clothing you feel indifferent about, TAKE ACTION. Break the habit of placing the item aside to “think about later”, and make the decision NOW. Ask these simple questions:
- Will it take me less than 1-2 minutes to take care of this item/task? If yes, do it now.
- Does this item have a home? If yes, take the extra 30 seconds to put it in its home. If not, decide where it should be kept & make a note to create that home in the very near future.
- Could this item be better used/appreciated by someone else? If yes, donate.
- Can I identify a specific use for this item? If not, let it go! Recycle, donate, or throw it out.
Remember, whatever your definition of clutter, it is often a result of delayed decision making, and that is a habit you can change.