Sorting Tips for Decluttering Projects – Relocate Bins

In Newsletters on March 15, 2022 at 3:41 pm

When I go to a client’s house to help them declutter I bring multiple sized plastic sorting bins. There is one specific bin that always has the same purpose for every project. That bin I refer to as, “relocate”.

When you start a big organizing project and it involves decluttering and sorting it can be easy to get distracted when you have to relocate an item into another room. By having a relocate bin/s for other rooms you can worry about those items later. BUT! There are guidelines in order to efficiently use this system.

Rules for “Relocate” Bin:

  1. Label each bin for which room it will go.
  2. Be realistic with what you are adding to these bins.
  3. Don’t add anything that can’t be put away easily (You want to make sure you aren’t creating side projects by adding items in which a whole other organizing project is created.)
  4. Keep time and energy to make sure the bins are emptied.
  5. If the bins are growing too high. Take a break and empty them during the project so it isn’t overwhelming to tackle.
  6. Ask for help from a friend or family member if the items are easy to relocate and put away.

Example of how to utilize a relocate bin:

Imagine you are organizing your basement and you find some tools that you thought would stay in the basement. However, you have a tool chest upstairs in the garage.

If you are not sure where to relocate something because it does not have a designated home, put it as close as possible in the vicinity to items that it is related to. Think of your things as family and relatives or friends and acquaintances. Flashlights and headlamps are like family but a book light is more like a relative. They all serve similar purposes, but are used for different activities and may not live together.

This method is when you are trying to put away and relocate a pile of items at the end of a project. You may have limited energy left. It is important to put the items away with purpose vs. shoving it anywhere and forgetting about it.

If you have something like a book light and you don’t know where it should live, stick it with the flashlights in the meantime. You may decide later that it might be best to live with friends like the books you are currently reading on the side table by the couch, or acquaintances like books marks in your nightstand.

Happy Organizing!


How To Let Go When You Have An Emotional Attachments To A Material Object

In Newsletters on March 9, 2022 at 3:42 pm

I LOVE snowboarding! Many moons ago I bought myself a new snowboard. I outgrew it, I didn’t spend much on it but I had an emotional attachment to it. It provided me freedom, expression and fun during high school. Finally I realized that it was not getting any use and was sitting around collecting dust. I had trouble with the idea of letting it go. It was possible to turn it into a shelf or a bench or something creative but it still had plenty of life left. Someone out there would be thrilled to have it.

I live a pretty minimal life and I don’t prefer to have things sitting around if I have no use for it. It was hard to think about simply donating it anywhere. I came up with an idea to help myself let it go. There are so many people out in the world that would value our “junk”. I did not have a close friend or family member to give it to. That is an idea I would usually suggest to a client.

My solution was craigslist! I listed it on craigslist for free. I requested emails explaining why they would like a snowboard. I got a wonderful email from a woman who had a daughter in college that needed one. She was planning a trip with her friends to learn and didn’t have a huge budget to rent or buy. I met the mother in a parking lot and was able to pass my snowboard along. It fulfilled the emotional need in order to let go.

If you struggle with letting go, look for those who would value it and get better use out of it.

4 Attachments to Physical Clutter

In Newsletters on March 8, 2022 at 8:38 pm

If you have trouble decluttering this is for you! Every item in your home has 4 things attached to it.


4.Physical Space.

1. Energy

Everything around us holds energy. Too much energy can feel overstimulating. The energy of the things around us can affect our day to day lives in a negative or positive way, just like people. Quantum physics tell us that objects are made up of atoms that are spinning and vibrating all the time. Think about the difference of being in an empty room vs being in the middle of a room that is full of lots of stuff. We all know that there is a difference of how that feels. Think about an attic full of stuff above our heads or the junk stuffed under the bed where you rest. There is no right or wrong, clutter is a relative term. The boundary is physical and mental health and safety. Some of us get anxiety with too much stuff around. Others feel good being surround by their things. The reasons are complex but getting to know yourself is the starting point.

Let’s put this lesson into practice and start recognizing the stuff that has negative energy. The stuff that holds negative energy are the things that represent old habits, toxic relationships, old ideas or anything that doesn’t represent the better parts of you. Can you recognize the stuff that holds positive energy? A photo of a good friend, art, plants, your favorite colors or anything that is an expression of you now of who you are aspiring to be.

Have you ever heard of feng shui? Feng Shui is the practice of balance and good flow of energy within our environment. It commonly includes the elements of nature; plants, water, metal, fire, air, wood, minerals.

You may not always be in the position to get rid of the negative family member but, you have the choice to remove the objects that are draining your energy. Once you understand how you respond to the energy of an item then you can decide to keep it or let it go. The energy that you sense will trigger an emotional reaction and the next step from there is to then recognize and name that emotion.

2. Emotion.

We have emotional attachments to the things around us. If you can feel energy of the things around you then you will sense an emotion within. Are you able to recognize and name those emotions? An emotional attachment is an emotional connection or bond to an object or person. The boundary for an unhealthy vs healthy attachment is when we allow that external item to regulate our mood. The ideal is to be able to regulate our mood from within and not by the external world. Emotional attachment to material possessions is temporary. If we attach our self worth to materials, then what happens when we don’t have them anymore? You are just as valuable with or without those things.

Pretend you won a million dollars in this moment. You are still the same human with the same thoughts and habits. If you can embody the feeling of winning a million dollars, you are already rich! Thirteen years ago I moved from Florida back to my hometown in Pennsylvania. I stuffed everything I owned into my small car and sold the rest. I didn’t have a penny to my name, I lost my job and my current relationship came to an end. The stuff around me made feel valuable because my self worth was at an all time low. Good news! My life improved shortly after I moved. I started my professional organizing business and worked on my inner happiness. My strong dependency and value of material things began to fade.

If I asked you right now, “How do you feel?” Would you be able to name an emotion? I use to live in between happy or anxious. I didn’t understand that there was a range of emotions. Anxiety can also feel like, overwhelmed, worry and insecurity. Happy can also feel like joy, freedom or passion. Slowing down, taking many deep breaths is the path to knowing how you feel. If you struggle with identifying your emotions, search for tools and practices to help you get there. Don’t be afraid to seek help from therapists and friends.

While decluttering your home, ask yourself questions to evoke emotions. Do I love this? Does this add value to my life? Do I use this? Will someone else value this more? Is this something I could borrow instead of owning it? Will I even remember I have this when I need it?

Have you ever heard of a full body yes? It’s like when your at a clothing store trying on an outfit and you feel so good about yourself that you don’t care what it costs. Practice recognizing those moments because don’t you want your life to be full of full body yes’?!

When I am decluttering with my clients I asked them, “Tell me about this item”. I watch their facial expressions, their body language, and I listen closely. Then I just mirror back what I see. “Hmmm, it sounds like you really love that or ooohhh sounds like you have a lot of guilt about letting that go?” Sometimes we just need a sounding board. I still struggle letting go from time to time and will ask someone to help me talk it through. Practice asking yourself, “How do I feel?” on a daily basis so you can sharpen those decluttering skills.

3. Responsibility. Stuff you have to maintain, clean, replace batteries, fix, etc.

How much do you really want to care for your belongings? You might remember the classic story of the kids who want a puppy and continue to beg their parents for one. The parents respond sternly by explaining that is a big responsibility and that the kids aren’t ready. The lesson of getting family dog teaches children to take ownership and understand responsibility and commitment. What a great way to teach the life skills of thinking things through, and anticipating the responsibility attached to acquiring an animal or an object. See where I am going with this?

Whenever I make a purchase I ask myself, “What are the responsibilities attached to this?” There can be a lot: cleaning, dusting, fixing, protecting, fixing etc… When we overwhelm ourselves with clutter the care level has a tendency to drop. We are trying to stay afloat by keeping it all organized vs decluttering and honing in on those few things that we love.

Quality over quantity is the lesson. It’s like having a large group of acquaintances vs. having a small core group of really good friends. Next time you are out and about to buy something impulsively, slow down, take a moment to think it through. Do you have the time, energy and space to care for this?

4. Physical Space. Stuff takes up physical space, do you have the space for it?

Everything we own takes up space. Before you buy something do you ever ask yourself, “Do I have a place to put this?” Having awareness and good plan before you make large or impulsive purchases can keep you from getting backed up in your storage spaces.

“Out with the out and in with the new”, is the general concept. It is important to create habits and systems around letting the old stuff go when the new stuff comes in. There is only so much physical space available in a home. Be very aware when stuff starts to overflow cabinets, containers, drawers and shelves. When you define a category into a space, you will recognize when it starts to overflow its contained area. That is the visual cue that it is time to declutter that spot. For example: If you go out an buy new cups for your kitchen cabinet. When you bring them home to add them to your cabinet if they don’t fit, don’t cram them in, but get rid of a few olds ones to make space. Don’t just throw the old ones somewhere only to sit around and collect dust. Incorporate a donation box within your household and add them to it. Make sure you have an easy donation drop off nearby so the box doesn’t sit around. You can also look into donation pickup trucks. If you setup routine donation pickups then it can hold you accountable to get those donations out and ready! Think of it like putting out your trash for pickup.

Did you know that we wear 20% of our clothing 80% of the time? When you buy new clothes and bring them home get rid of the ones you no longer wear. Then you won’t need to do major closet overhauls if you are able to keep up with it. Do this with your pantry, electronics, toys, gadgets, and beauty products in the bathroom.

I challenge you to level up your decluttering skills by trying something new. If you can clear space in a cabinet or drawer, leave it empty. Try not to fill it right away. Give yourself more space for living and growing! The physical space around you reflects the life you want to live. Give yourself a clutter free space to grow and flourish. If you weigh yourself down with mental and physical clutter, then how can you be free to fly?!

Please remember that organizing is a life skill. It either comes naturally, taught by your mentors or learned by educating yourself and with practice.

Happy Organizing!