With the start of the new year, many people feel the urge to make some major life changes. Let me introduce the Home and Life Declutter Workbook, my latest product to help create order in your life.
I have been a Professional Organizer for almost 20 years. I love creating simple systems for my clients that help them feel empowered and in control of their surroundings. When I started this project, I wanted to create a practical, universal system that helps the average person organize themselves. I want this workbook to remind you of the basics of organization. But more importantly, encourage you to address the emotional aspects of decluttering too. This workbook is not intended to help you achieve perfection, it is meant to guide you through creating successful organizing habits based on my years experience of what works.
You will start by preparing your mind to address clutter issues. Then you will create a plan, declutter your spaces, and clean the spaces. I will challenge you to dig deeper and focus on your mental and physical well-being and its relationship to mental clutter and overall health. Next you will organize your paperwork, manage your digital world and maximize your time. Bonuses include a yard sale planner and challenges to motivate you into action. You will end with tips on maintaining your progress and skills to prevent your clutter from growing out of control again.
The Problem with Modern Organizing Trends
I am bored with organizing tips and perfectly staged pictures of organized spaces. I am tired of scrolling through Pinterest and Instagram looking at the same pictures of pantries and closets rehashed over and over again in different cities and towns. How can the average household live up to these impossible standards and not feel like a failure? I cannot accept that organizing pantries in rainbow order is the new goal. Who has time in a grocery store to find the perfect pink or purple snack to ensure your pantry wows? Showcase refrigerators, perfect built-in linen closets with only two towels and one pair of sheets or closets with thirteen pieces of clothing all in complimenting colors seem to be the norm if you believed these images were reality. These are the images that signify organized on social media, on magazine covers, on tv shows and in celebrity households.
Maybe if you have a team of people to help and you never live in your space you can maintain that kind of order. It is not possible in my household, nor many that I have worked in over the last two decades. How can a family of four only have two towels? I do not own only cream and gray clothing with a hint of blush pink. I cannot even try to stage photos like that in my average looking spaces when I try hard. The truth is those perfect pictures are not so perfect. The actual items stored in those spaces are usually pulled to the side out of the camera shot. It is not the reality of a most households.
Perfection is not the answer
We are living in a world with an idealized view of organization, but it is not a tenable lifestyle for most families. In fact, this newly defined way to organize makes people feel less proud of their homes, more fearful to have guests, and forces them to spend countless hours trying to “keep up” with appearances for fear that a friend might see that they actually fold laundry in their living room. People drain their bank accounts buying the trendy baskets, bins and labels, while finding it impossible to fit their items in a picture perfect space. They continue to feel like they just cannot get it right. They grow frustrated trying to keep it together as they balance their work and family life. This level of perfection is not what it takes to be organized and happy. It is only setting you up to fail miserably.
What does it take to feel organized and happy? How can a real household, that has a budget and big dreams of order feel content? I am a professional organizer for a living and I still struggle fighting my urges to reach for perfection. I understand. Think about the tremendous pressure I feel each time someone walks in my home and sees that the “professional organizer” is not perfect! I realize that what is practical always works better for my family. In fact, the majority of families need practical. This is the type of organizing that I advocate.
Practical gets us through busy weeks, last minute changes in schedules, and impromptu guests. Practical is how a family with young kids can keep order but still live comfortably in their own home with creativity and fun. Practical allows your spouse to still have a space to be messy when all you want is neat. Perfection gets you just as stuck as clutter.
Choose Solutions that Work for You
I named my organizing company Livable Solutions when I created it in 2004 because I wanted to ensure my clients found solutions that would fit their own lifestyle. If we create an organizing system that is unsustainable on a daily basis, what is the point of having it? How do I define a “livable solution”? Basically, its choosing an organizing method that honors the way your brain processes and creates habits, meets your personal and family needs and does not overcomplicate your life. Good organizing systems do not need to be overly detailed and pretty – they just need to work without causing you more stress. They are not one size fits all because we each have different strengths, attention spans and ways of processing information. We need to create livable solutions in our homes and lives to feel organized. I designed this workbook to help you find a way back to embracing practical organizing, remind you of the basic principles and customize a plan that works for you.
How this workbook helps
The Home and Life Declutter Workbook will guide you through the emotional and physical process of decluttering your space and mind. Feel free to skip around to sections when you need them. Each section is there to provide you with guidance on both physical and mental clutter in different areas of your life.
As a professional organizer, I could go on forever with tips to organize your space, but this workbooks focus is about the bigger picture. It provides you with tools to help you minimize what you have and organize your time. It deals with the emotional components and blocks that lead to clutter. It does not preach to you about perfection, but rather allows you to customize pieces of the entire decluttering process to fit your personal needs.
In the end, I hope this workbook helps you live a more fulfilling, simple life that continues to foster your passions and strengthen your relationships with yourself and others.
Kristin Vander Wiede is a Professional Organizer and owner of Livable Solutions Professional Organizing and Life’s Lists printable organizing labels, systems and activities.