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The Prescott Daily Courier | Prescott, Arizona

home : features : inside & out September 15, 2014

3/29/2014 6:00:00 AM
Decluttering: How to start... and keep going
Special to the Courier

Q: It seems I cannot clean, organize or declutter unless I am in the mood. Is there a way to get motivated when things feel overwhelming?

A: The answer to that is yes and no. Staying organized is really a daily habit. It is not something that should overwhelm you but something that's achieved and then maintained.

As far as de-cluttering and cleaning, it is important to be in the mood. Try picking one or two small tasks to conquer at a time. Say to yourself, "Today I will vacuum or clean out the linen closet" instead of "today I am going to declutter and clean the house." Doing just a couple of tasks every week is less daunting and therefore more gets accomplished.

Q: How does one keep a home decluttered?

A: The important thing is to be set up systems that will work for you. Just because something works for someone else does not mean it will be right for you. I have a paper day planner. People laugh at me, but I refuse to start using the calendar in my phone or anything else electronic. Why? Because I know that I will remember something when I write it down, but it does not stick in my brain if I type it in. It's the same thing for any system. If you create one that complements your organizing style, then it will become a habit and a natural thing to do - something you won't ever have to think about.

Q: My organizational dilemma is how to sort through clothing. How do I part with anything? I always feel like I need someone there to say, "Toss it, keep it."

A: You are not alone in this dilemma. Many people can't bring themselves to part with their clothing for various reasons. I know women who still have their wedding dress taking up 3 feet in their closet! What you need to do is create piles: a) keep b) give away c) not sure. Put your keeps away. Bag up the giveaways, and then get serious. When going through the "not sures," try everything on. When you are wearing it, ask yourself questions and be brutal about the answers: Does it still fit properly? Is it comfortable? Does it flatter me? If you answered no to any of these questions, the item should go into the giveaway bag. If you answered yes but are still wavering, ask yourself: When is the last time I wore it? Why am I still holding on to it? Often we hold on to clothes because they were expensive or they have sentimental value. Just remember that someone else will love to wear something you keep sitting on a shelf!

Q: Can the clutter in my house have a negative effect on me?

A: Most people have no idea how much their clutter affects them. Here are a few examples: Clutter can zap your energy and make you tired. Holding on to things can keep you hanging on to the past. Too much clutter can cause you to procrastinate more.

Think about how good it feels physically, mentally and emotionally when you let something go that has been holding you back... you have now answered your own question.

Tracey Shadley is the owner at ORGANIZE A-Z in Northern Arizona. She specializes in custom closet design, home staging and decluttering. For more information or to submit questions, visit www.organizeatoz.com.

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