Eliminate Before You Organize

Organize quote: Simplicity boils down to two things: Identify the essential and eliminate the rest.

The question I get asked often from prospective clients is “Will you make me get rid of everything?” The answer, of course, is “no.” I won’t “make” you do anything. And, at the end of the day, it’s your stuff…not mine…and I respect that. But organizing your stuff, without eliminating what you no longer need or want, is only a temporary solution. Getting rid of things you no longer need is an important step in the organizing process because those items are removed from your space entirely. Less stuff means less to organize and less you have to keep organized once I’ve left your home.

My clients are very familiar with the questions I ask during purging sessions:

  1. Do you need this?
  2. If you went shopping today, would you buy it again?
  3. Why do you have this?

Do I Need This?

Organize quote: Wealth consists not in having great possessions but in having few wants.

NEED is very different from WANT. Asking this question will help you identify items that you no longer need to live your best life. Removing those items creates space for the things you do need and want to keep. 

If I Went Shopping Today, Would I Buy This Again?

SOS quote: Inexpensive is not a good reason to buy something, and expensive is not a good reason to keep something.

I find this to be an eye-opening question for my clients. And it’s also one that’s a little easier for them to relate to than “need vs want.” Here’s an example: We’re decluttering your closet, we’re pulling everything out and examining each article of clothing. As I hold up a blouse, I ask, “If you went shopping today, would you buy this again?” This means, if you went shopping today, would that blouse catch your attention? No? Let it go. Let’s say it would still catch your attention. Would you take the time to go try it on? No? Let it go. Okay, you’ve tried it on. Does it still fit? Does it still look good? No? Let it go. And finally, will you go stand in line to pay for it again? No? Let it go. But if you wind up with a series of “yeses,” then we’ll put it back in your closet. This question and answer session can be applied to most things in your home. Give it a try, I bet you’ll be amazed at the number of items you wouldn’t buy again. And be honest with your answers. Those gorgeous shoes that give you blisters? Come on…you would NOT buy them again.  😊

Why Do I Have This?

Organize quote: Buy Less. Choose Well.

This question is more thought provoking because you really need to ask yourself why you are holding onto all this stuff. Do all of the knick knacks on your end tables and bookshelves have meaning to your life? Or did you buy that vase or piece of décor because it matches your sofa and rug? Are you going to re-read all of the books in your home? Or are you keeping them because you want people who visit to think you’re a well-read person? Then ask yourself why that matters.  Knowing why you have what you have is important in moving forward with the decluttering process. Eliminating the excess frees up your space so you can truly see and enjoy and use everything you decide to keep.

As always, I love helping people eliminate the excess and organize what remains. Give me a call if you need a little help from SOS!

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