Secrets of the Organized – Secret #1 {Series}

Today I am starting a new series I have planned for you. Many of you desire to get organized. You might even think there are some magical secret tricks organized people have to stay organized … Well, we do have tricks, but the magic only exists in the follow through.  Here is one of our secrets.

Secrets of the Organized - Secret 1

People who are able to organize their homes and keep them organized usually have something very important in common.

Secret #1: HAVE LESS STUFF.

You could be thinking “duh” or you could be thinking “I thought organized people just had pretty containers and clever ways of storing all the junk”. Whatever you think, I am here to tell you it is true: The less stuff you have, the easier it is to get and stay organized! 

Clutter causes what is really important to get lost in the sea of unimportant. If you have a stack of papers and most of those papers are unnecessary or trash, and then inside of that stack of papers are super important documents like birth certificates and social security cards. All of the unimportant stuff makes the whole pile seem unimportant and it is hard to find the good stuff. What can also happen is that the few valuable items gives the entire pile of trash a false sense of importance. You may find it difficult to get rid of the pile, because you know there are a few important things inside.

Remember: There is an actual cost associated with everything you keep — monetarily, physically, and mentally. Consider that you are paying ‘rent’ for the valuable space all of your belongings take up. These belongings also rob you of the peace you could feel with a clutter-free life.

The truth about too much stuff:

  • Clutter slows down productivity and causes stress. It is hard to focus with so much competing for our attention!
  • Clutter causes sickness. When your home has too much stuff, none of it gets the cleaning it really needs, which leaves dust and germs around to wreak havoc.
  • Belongings become confused with relationships, which then diminishes our relationships.

Be honest with yourself.

“Maybe in an alternate universe you’ll finally go camping with the tent in the basement, whip up a scrapbook with your stash of 10-year-old craft supplies and reread every book on the over-stocked shelf. But what about right here, right now? ‘Holding on to things ‘just in case’ provides comfort and a sense of security, especially when so many have lost so much in these uncertain economic times … But think about what you’re sacrificing—kitchen counter space, room in the garage for the car, a ready-for-company living room. You’re swapping your quality of life for some imagined future.’ Instead of worrying that you might miss an item, think how relaxed you and your family will be amid all the free space and order that you’re creating in your home.” (Meredith Janson from Family Circle Magazine)

William Morris - Functional and Beautiful

One last thing. Why does getting this secret right helps with so much else? —-

Less stuff means less housework! The clutter and mess you need to clean up is limited to the quantity of what you own!

What do you think? Did you already know about this secret? I can’t wait to share more with you!

Spilling Secrets,

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43 thoughts on “Secrets of the Organized – Secret #1 {Series}

  1. This is so true! All that stuff just feels like weight holding you down. It does create a false sense of security, which is the allure of holding on to it all. Less is truely more! Thanks.

  2. When I read the sentence about not getting rid of a pile of junk because you know there are a few important things in the pile – I knew that was me! My brain never articulated that thought before though. Thanks!

  3. I am so in this same situation as so many people out there but just don’t have the help I need to clean out and sort through the boxes after moving last year. I have decided that I am going to find a friend or hire someone to help me sort out what can be sold or donated. I hope everyone is inspired as well.

    1. Lyn, good luck. I’ve done this without help, if you have too much, call an estate sale company to help pare down. Sometimes there comes a time when you just can’t do it and the big guns have to come out.

  4. I am a firm believer in a clutter free home. You can have a little dust and dirt but clutter makes a clean house look dirty. I still have way too much stuff but I have a rule about clutter.When my kids were small they had to pay part of their allowance to get back the stuff they left out.Everyone knew where we kept the scissors ,the nail clippers, ect. No clothes on the floor ever! Now I help organize others. You can have stuff but you need to have a place for it. I am guilty of having boxes of memorabilia but it is well organized. And I purge once a year.My house has magazines and books but not over four months old. I ‘m guilty of some recipe books even though I know I can get them online. I stopped buying books when I got my Kindle.But I’ve kept stuff for years because I paid good money for it.

    1. I know how you feel. I am an organizer, but I struggle with all of these human impulses just like everyone else. I find it so helpful to remind myself of the “keeping rules” and I often say “what would you tell a client?” That usually does the trick. :)

  5. I always feel sooooo good after I declutter, deep clean, organize a space. Just did 2/3 of my nasty pantry. No time to finish, well, maybe Sunday afternoon, after church council meeting. Will be sooo good to get THAT monkey off my back. Have made great progess in not aquiring anything new, well groceries, lol, unless it meets the useful/beautiful rule. That has saved me tons.

  6. This sounds so easy but for me it isn’t. I have to detach fr my stuff so I can get rid of stuff! I need to do this !!! Thank you !

  7. I have heard this do many times and I believe it is true, but every time I make some progress on getting rid of junk I get stalled before it is done. I think I start to feel guilty about throwing out things I bought. We are planning to move across the country in two years (once I’m done with school). I am looking forward to taking the bare necessities and starting over.

    1. Look at you go! Go with the motivation while you’ve got it, but don’t expect yourself to sustain this level the whole time. If you start to feel yourself burnout, just step back and do the simple daily tasks. :)

  8. I have a whole dang room in my house that I avoid because it’s where all the clutter goes when people are coming over. I really want to turn it into a functional, pretty, and calm guest room and den. I’m full of hope for the next 91 days!

    1. Yes, that is difficult. Will you bring this up in the Facebook group? I think people could help brainstorm ways of working through this. :)

  9. So…would this be the right time to mention that my social security is temporaily hiding somewhere in my house? So glad I signed up for the 91 Day Declutter.

  10. Thanks for this. Where do I find more secrets? I searched your blog, but didn’t find anything. Or is this the big one-and-only secret?! (Cuz I’m cool with that, too! Less for me to correct that way!)

    1. Ha! The rest of the secrets have been an eBook in progress. I am basing this on a presentation I often give at public speaking gigs. I need to find the time to finish that eBook!

  11. Mary – just found your website – LOVE IT. I used to live in NWA myself and work at WM corporate. Miss the area. Anyway – just wanted to tell you that I recently started with this idea in mind. I am the one who keeps the scrapbook supplies I bought 10 years ago when I as pregnant with all the great plans in mind (Ha!) and the other “stuff” I think I will use again one day. I’m starting to declutter and following your challenge. Thanks for writing an interesting blog and ideas. So wish I was still there in NWA, I could hire you to come help!
    Barbara

  12. This article really hit a nerve for me. I have a storage unit that I use to store stuff for my business….. plus….I need to go through and get rid of it this year!!! Am hoping with your system, you can help me with your 91 day plan. I am soo motivated. Snow is about the only thing that is holding me back right now. Thank you in advance.

  13. After cleaning my living room after Christmas and loving how clean and open and clutter free it is, it’s my favorite room in the house. I need to just get rid of things but it is difficult to let go. I’m going to work on this!

  14. I love how you get right to the point. I could have read an entire 300 page book that says what you just did in a short blog.

  15. Any advice for art studios? I don’t thrive creatively with clutter…have been working on donating, trashing, instead of organizing clutter. It’s been a challenge. .I get stuck in the “perfect?” Place for things. But am gaining confidence in what I’ve done so far.

    1. Last year I converted our guest bedroom into my studio. I am so excited to show it on the blog during the craft room week. That may give some ideas, but since I’ve noticed every artist is so different in their medium, I can’t imagine any art studio would be cookie-cutter. Honestly, I go through what you go through. I am constantly re-arranging the “stuff” in my studio, not the furniture, but the “stuff”. I think this is normal, though, and actually fuels me creatively, because after my rearranging sessions, I always have a surge of creativity. Maybe it is a way of being reminded of all the different things I have to work with that it allows something to spark my interest. I do think there are methods of organizing studios that allow for this re-arranging without having to constantly buy new containers, etc, and I will show that in my tour. The most important thing for me, and it sounds like for you too, and I think for many artists, is to get out the extra stuff!! I can’t feel creative in clutter either.

      Sorry for my very unhelpful answer, but hopefully the tour coming up in a few weeks will help. :)

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