Buying containers to get organized is just buying new stuff to put your stuff
Have you ever found yourself drowning in clutter, desperately searching for a solution to the chaos that has taken over your home?
You're not alone! Really, you're not, I promise.
It's easy to believe that the key to an organized home is to get the right containers, boxes or baskets. People think if they buy $100 of bins, it will magically organize them.
But it will not. It's just a distraction from the real problem.
The illusion of containers
Stylish storage bins or fancy acrylic boxes, they look pretty and give you a feeling of adulting because they project the illusion of order. All your things are organized in these pretty containers. Problem solved!
*cough* organized clutter *cough*
Tough love incoming (once again): The truth is that you still haven't done the hard work! It's just a temporary fix, masking the real issue of clutter in your home.
Yes, you can buy a nice container to hold 20,000 staples. But if you use three staples a year, do you really need 20 boxes of staples, even if they're all nicely organized?
You have to solve the underlying problem in your home.
Clutter is like the Blob
The more you feed the clutter, the bigger it gets. And buying organizing products often creates even more clutter in your home.
You buy beautiful bins, and for a while, it seems like a solution. You feel a sense of satisfaction as you put your chaos inside it. But as time goes by, you continue to accumulate more stuff because you haven't changed your habits or anything for that matter. Your pretty containers become just another part of the clutter.
Basically, you just put your stuff in more stuff, your home is still cluttered, the clutter is just in bins and baskets.
Letting go for an organized home
So, if containers aren't the answer, what is?
The answer is simple....wait for it...decluttering.
It’s crazy how much stuff we accumulate in the course of our live, stuff taking up the space not only in our home but also in our head. Decluttering allows you to make space for the things that truly matter to you, to get freedom from all the baggage you have accumulated in the past.
You should only allow the things that serve a purpose in YOUR life, and let go of everything that no longer does that. It's about simplifying and making intentional choices about what you truly need and love in and for your life.
Here's how you can start your journey towards an organized home:
1. Take it one step at a time
Don't overwhelm yourself by trying to declutter your entire home in a single weekend. It's just not possible. You are basically doing an inventory of everything you possess, of your whole life: It's going to take time and energy. Set realistic and achievable goals.
I recommend blocking some time in your calendar, and letting everyone know you will not be available and that this is a non-negotiable.
Also make before/after pictures to celebrate your progression. (We tend to forget how it looked like.)
One of the sentences I hear the most is: "I just don't know where to start"
Think about your home, is there a space in your house that urgently needs to get organized? Like if you could wave a wand and fix one thing magically...what would it be?
No such space in your home? Then do it like Marie! (Yes, Marie as in Marie Kondo)
Start with your clothes, then the books, paperwork, everything else, and then sentimental.
The idea is to break that big project (aka decluttering and organizing your home) down into smaller projects to make it manageable.
Go through everything you possess, build categories, then under category, then under under category. At this point, you don't need to think about downsizing (which can feel overwhelming), it's just about the inventory.
This step allows you to know exactly what you have, how much you have. This is how you reduce that overwhelming feeling when you look at the clutter in your home.
To help you with this step, I have created a decluttering checklist of all the categories and sub-categories. It will keep you on track without feeling overwhelmed. You can download it here.
4. Downsize, but be honest with yourself. Be realistic.
Now it's time to make decisions about what you want to keep and therefore what you are letting go. This step, the letting go part, can be liberating and because it helps you create space for things that truly matter, in your home and in your head.
Here are some questions you can ask yourself:
When was the last time you used this?
I am keeping this “just in case” or because of a “what if” scenario?
How many of these items or similar items do I have? How many do I realistic need?
Am I keeping this out of a sense of guilt, shame, or another emotion?
5. Containers as support, not solutions
When you've finished downsizing, it's finally time to reorganize the things in your home. That's the step where you are actually allowed to go ahead and buy new bins and baskets if you'd like to. I am not a monster!
But remember, organizing products should always complement your home organizing efforts, not replace them. There are what you use to create organizing systems, that will help you maintain, what you have achieved through decluttering.
To reorganize, follow these two principles: keep similar items together and give each group a home.
What do I mean by "give each group a home"?
You want to have a place for everything, a designated spot for each item in your home. This is crucial because:
1- you’ll always know where to find things
2- only when things have a home to go back to, that they actually go back to it.
Make it a lifestyle
Decluttering isn't a one-time thing; it's a continuous process. Yes, there is that one big bang at the beginning, but you have to keep on the good work because life happens. You're not a monk! (no offense to the Monks)
So go regularly through your things and make a habit of letting go the things you no longer need.
Remember, an organized home is about creating an environment honoring the items you love that supports the life you want to live. It's not about buying more containers to hide the chaos. Decluttering and simplifying your surroundings can lead to a sense of peace and clarity that no container can replicate.
So, the next time you feel the urge to hit the store for a shiny new container, try to pause for a minute and think about it: Do you really need it or should you rather declutter a bit?
And if you’re ready to transform your home into your happy place, take the first step toward a clutter-free life by scheduling a 20-minute complementary consultation with me. I will help you get freedom from the chaos in your home, simplify your life and free up all these beautiful brain cells of yours!
Until next time,