Organization is totally on trend right now. With books, TV shows, and online influencers (myself included) showcasing Pinterest-worthy spaces, you may feel the need to jump on board. By why are these neatly organized spaces making you feel a sense of calm whenever you see them? Why do we, as humans, crave order in our homes?
The positive mental effects of organizing
Clutter can be very stressful to our environment so when you have things that are organized effectively, you are going to have the opposite effect, which is calming! That is why you find yourself feeling such a high after you do a giant declutter and put everything away in an orderly fashion.
The art of organizing
How can you feel that calm all the time? Only keep items that bring you
, or joy! But how do you determine which items bring you joy? That is going to take some work.
I always tell my clients that they have to start by listening to their inner voice. That inner voice is what is going to tell you if you like something or not. If you use an item or are just holding onto it "just in case."
That inner voice is going to be your guide to keeping only the things you love, cherish, or find useful. Everything else is considered clutter. And that clutter is weighing you down. Not physically, but mentally. Because that clutter is taking up space inside your head. Whether you know it or not. By removing the clutter, you are creating more order within your home. Which allows your brain to not feel stressed. It is a total win-win!
If you haven't heard that inner voice or you are just too overwhelmed with all the stuff piling up, pick up an item. Any item. And ask yourself these questions:
Have you used or admired this item in the past year?
Would you purchase this exact item again?
Are you keeping this item out of guilt?
Do you want to handle this item again?
These questions are going to give you an honest answer about your things.
Once you have cleared the clutter, you can start organizing your items. Because it wouldn't make much sense to organize clutter, right?!?!
When you are organizing all the items you use, admire, enjoy, and cherish, make sure you group items with like items when storing. You don't need fancy bins. Just store things like you would at a grocery store. That way you can find what you need in an orderly fashion. Plus, storing like items together helps you visually see what you have. Because you brain loves order and creating that helps it remember what you have and where.
So where can you start?
I get asked this question a lot, and I always suggest starting where you sleep. This means your nightstand, dressers, and closets. There is a lot of brain research that highlights how clutter can have a drastic effect on your sleep. Clearing that clutter can help you get a good night's sleep, which will help with your decision-making, which will help you choose which items you want to keep in your home.
But don't get discouraged if the decluttering process is taking you a while to get through. It is so important to truly focus on the items you want and not the other way around. Set a timer for 15 minutes every day to get through a pile. You will feel accomplished because you are taking small steps to tackle a large task!
Jessica Litman is the founder of The Organized Mama, a Chicago-based organizing and media company.