Want to learn how to organize your life and get rid of clutter? You are not alone, according to Lorie Marrero, a certified professional organizer and author of “The Clutter Diet.” In many ways, organizing your life and getting rid of clutter is like losing weight, a theory that Marrero subscribes to and demonstrates. Getting organized requires a program of prevention (not bringing in more clutter or taking on too much), reduction (getting rid of the excess clutter and obligations that you don’t need) and regular maintenance (periodically repeating the first two steps to keep the clutter from becoming overwhelming).
Stop adding to the clutter in your life. This means you should stop impulse shopping and stop taking on new responsibilities. You don’t have to say yes to everything. Consider what you tell your kids: you want that, you don’t need it. While you are in the process of getting organized, you don’t take on or buy anything more than exactly what you need.
Prioritize your environment. Clutter fills up the spaces because you allow it to. Cleaning out the clutter, such as the old clothes taking up space in the closet, the worn-out shoes hiding beneath the coats or the boxes of things that headed out to the garage to die is not enough. You have to prioritize each area so that you know what goes where: common items in easy reach and items used once in a great while tucked away in a cupboard.
Change your own habits. Organizing your life is about more than a clear-out. It’s about keeping it clean. It’s easier to clean and organize on top of clean and organized. Preparing a meal on the fly when you can reach for everything and everything is in its place is a lot easier than shuffling through a dozen cupboards looking for a colander because it never gets put back in the right place. You have to not only clear out the clutter, but also manage your choices going forward to prevent clutter from coming back.
Leave it better than you found it. Simply put, if you walk into the kitchen to make dinner, clear the dishes that are in the sink and wash up when you are done. Make it a rule for everyone in the house to do the same. Yes, it is easier said than done, but it’s a habit that takes time to develop. Constantly emphasize the need to leave it better. Don’t drop dirty clothes on the floor; don’t wait to transfer clothes from the laundry room to the closet. Organize the closet by color, by season or by type of clothing, but always hang the clothes in the order you want them. Leave it better than you found it so that when you go back to reach for something, you will know exactly where it is.
Learn to say no. The word “no” is a difficult one for moms to say, despite how often you may say it to your children. Learning to tell your children, your husband, your friends, your family, your child’s school and your neighbors “no” when you are overwhelmed is a key step toward organizing your life. Too often, moms bite off more than they can chew because there is just so much to be done. What gets neglected is mom herself and by extension her home. By learning to say no, you control what tasks you take on and reduce the chances of overwhelming yourself.