Category: How to’s

Inspire your creativity: five steps to better spaces for productivity and relaxation

Guest bloggers share secrets of decluttering

As promised last week, I’m delighted to present this guest post from my friends, Gretchen Moen and Lynda Reider, decluttering and organizing geniuses. Together they are Cut the Clutter RVA, serving clients throughout the Richmond, Virginia region and sometimes beyond. If, like me, you could use a little more organization and a little less clutter, especially during these days of staying closer to home, then read on. And if you’d like to contact Lynda and Gretchen to ask a question they didn’t answer in this post, please drop us a note in the box at the end of this post. We’ll make sure they get it. Now, without further delay, here is this week’s…

Guest post by Lynda Reider & Gretchen Moen, Chief Clutter Cutters with Cut the Clutter RVA

Time to create a great space

We’re grateful for this opportunity to share some decluttering and organizing techniques with you! 

Many people are struggling to find balance and joy with their belongings, especially now that we’re spending so much time at home. 

God has put many things on pause right now. Your calendar is now open to so many new opportunities for you to explore within your home. During this pause, we would encourage you to spend time making intentional choices about what you need and don’t need in your home. 

And here’s why: we often see a major transformation in people who start living a more organized life. When your physical space is clear, your mind is more clear. Making decisions about your belongings and deciding what to keep and what to part with allows for easier organization. You are creating physical and mental spaces ripe for both productivity and relaxation. 

So, how do you start? Here it is in five steps:

1. Start easy

We all have belongings with strong emotional ties – maybe you have boxes of heirlooms from your Grandma’s farmhouse or files with letters from your parents when they first met. We recommend that you work up to whichever categories are most emotional for you. Decluttering is like a train leaving the station—you’ll start slowly and then gain momentum once you experience the calm and clarity it brings. So, choose a small area to start in. We’ll use Lynda’s desk as an example.

2. Take everything out

Begin by taking everything out of your small space. In the case of Lynda’s desk, she removed all of the pens, paper clips, papers, gum and more. 

3. Sort and categorize

To really see what you have, group like items together. As you’re sorting, you will come across things you no longer want. These easy decisions can be thrown away, recycled or set aside in a “go” pile. More on that in the next step.

For Lynda’s desk project, she sorted items into piles on the floor. To save your back, you may want to use a table or other raised surface for your sorting. 

We also encourage you to incorporate like items from other parts of the room into your sort. For example, Lynda had a coffee cup of pens on a bookcase and some pens in a backpack in her office. She sorted those with the pens from her desk. Think of it as a mini scavenger hunt—once you know what items are in your desk, search the rest of the space for like items. Gathering all of the like items will significantly help with the next step! 

4. Purge and re-home

Once Lynda saw that she had 14 red pens (before the sort, she thought she only had three!), it made the decision to keep, donate, or trash much easier.

The more you purge, the easier it is to keep organized. If you’re not a huge fan of organizing projects, that’s okay; think of it this way—the more you remove from the space, the less frequently you’ll have to spend future time on this kind of project! 

Three key questions

So, how do you make the decision to let something go? Ask yourself these three questions:

  1. Do I remember when I last used this item?
  2. Do I like this item?
  3. Would I buy it again?

In general, if the answer to any of these questions is “no,” it’s time to let go of the item.

And, what should you do with the items in that “go” pile that you created? Keeping things out of the landfill is a great goal. Whenever possible, try to recycle or re-home them. 

There are so many people in need, especially right now. Once you know what items you have to donate, do some research to see who needs them. In the case of Lynda’s desk items, she can offer them to a teacher friend to use in her classroom. Or drop them off at SCRAP RVA (https://richmond.scrapcreativereuse.org/), a Richmond-based nonprofit organization whose mission is to inspire creative reuse by providing educational programs and affordable materials to the community. Many nonprofits aren’t currently accepting donations, but they will need them once the pandemic passes. Consider holding onto your donations in a guest room or other storage space for now.

5. Reload and enjoy

And now for the fun part! It’s time to reload your items back into the space. Think about which items you use most frequently and place those in easy-to-reach spaces. We are big fans of using what you have—in the case of Lynda’s desk, she used that same coffee cup to organize pens on her desktop. If you have bins, baskets or dividers, use them to help keep your items in their distinct categories. Now, sit back and admire your work. You did it! And doesn’t that feel good?

We’re here to help!

Still not sure what to do next? Stuck on one of the steps above? That’s okay. We’d love to provide you with advice on how to organize your space. We are happy to listen, and we never judge!  We help you find solutions to simplify your life. Drop us a note to this blog via the comment box below with your questions and we’ll follow up with you.