Take time to organize your
By Georgea Kovanis
Detroit Free Press
You probably don’t want to hear this, but it’s the truth —
most of us have too much stuff.
It takes up space in our attics and basements and garages.
Along with the lidless Tupperware containers, empty pickle jars
and leftover holiday cards, it spills out of closets and cupboards
and into our lives, cluttering our minds and making it difficult
for us to find time or space or anything.
“I think a lot of times it kind of makes us stuck,” says
Betty Huotari, who is 43, lives in Fenton, Mich., and works as a
professional organizer whose business Logical Placement ( www.logicalplacement.com
) has clients throughout metro Detroit.
“I’ve spoken with people who say, ‘I’m really
spinning my wheels. I’m not getting ahead,’” adds
Huotari, who also serves as secretary of the Michigan chapter of
the National Association of Professional Organizers ( www.napomichigan.com
), which offers resources on finding an organizer. “People
say, ‘I didn’t grow up this way.’”
But, explains Huotari, “Look at our homes. Typically our home’s
probably grown over the years. If we compare how we grew up in the ’60s
and ’70s, I’m sure the average home is probably larger,” which
means there’s more space to fill. Plus, she adds, “I
kind of joke around and say, ‘Have you ever seen one of those
storage places go out of business?’”
So, how to come clean?
Here are some tips from Huotari.
Think of getting rid of clutter as fun, fun, fun! “To stay
on task, you have to make organizing fun. If you go in with a good
mindset, it’s helpful. Sometimes you can play music. You can
invite a friend. If you don’t have the funds to work with an
organizer” — professionals typically charge between $40
and $70 an hour — “maybe there’s a friend who can
tag team. You can laugh and you can exchange. Having a reward … you’re
more likely to do it if you have a reward.”
Don’t allow yourself to get overwhelmed. “You have to
break it down to manageable projects.” Think about when it
makes sense to do specific chores. “A lot of people will do
paperwork in January, February. Not only are they preparing for taxes,
they have to make room for the new year.”
Remember that each room in your house has a function. “Visualize,
first of all, ‘What do I want this room to be?’ If you
think, ‘I want this room to be where I read, where I meditate,
where I exercise,’ those are the only activities we should
allow to be in that room. We have to remove the items that don’t
belong. We don’t want to have 10 or 20 different activities
happening in that room because we probably don’t have enough
room for that.”
Rid your closet of clothes that don’t fit. “We want
your closet to be clothes that feel good and fit you currently.” If
you want to keep some of the clothes that don’t fit because
you suspect you’re going to go up or down a size, store them
elsewhere. Also, take inventory of what you find in your closet. “If
you don’t feel that you love this item, donate it. What good
is it for it to stay in your closet if you know you’re not
going to wear it?”
Don’t keep your clothes in dry cleaner bags. They take up
space and it’s difficult to see what’s inside of them.
Plus, clothes should breathe. “Organize according to category
so you put your blouses together, your skirts together, your pants
together.” That way you’ll know where to find things.
Hang as much stuff as you can. It’s easier to see things when
they’re hanging as opposed to at the bottom of a drawer. Likewise,
it’s easier to keep track of your shoes if you keep them on
a shoe rack.
Store kitchen utensils you don’t use regularly. “You
have to ask yourself, ‘Do I use this every day?’ If I
use it every day, it might make sense to keep it on the countertop.’ Otherwise,
store neatly in a cupboard or a shelf in the basement where you have
easy access to it.
Think about the things that hold sentimental value. If you’re
saving Grandma’s teapot because it has sentimental value but
never use it, what’s the point? “Are you keeping it in
a box downstairs where you’re not honoring it? Use it. Would
Grandma be happy if you were using her teapot? Probably.”
Establish a routine. “If you’re bringing your mail in,
putting it in the same tray, the same shallow basket, so you’re
not dropping your mail on the kitchen table, the dining room table.
The next day it’s in the basement. That’s how things
Don’t stress about being perfect. “A lot of times, we
have to lower that bar a little bit and say sometimes we just have
to be organized enough. … If you have to look in two files
to find this paperwork, that’s OK. It’s better than having
to look in five drawers.”
Betty and Logical Placement
so call 810-348-1772 to schedule your organizing session.