Picture of Sheila Chandra

Sheila Chandra

If your home or studio is a mess, where do you start?

This is a serious question, – one which can mean the difference  between success and failure when you organise.

How not to be waylaid by frustration when clearing your space

If you feel frustrated, there’s a huge temptation to simply find a place to shove all the stuff that’s in your way, and create a fast visual transformation. But if you clear like that, the chaos will reappear very very quickly. That’s because you haven’t considered why that stuff built up in the first place. It would be great if I could give you a foolproof specific and concrete plan to clear your clutter. But no single plan works for everyone. The key to organising so that the chaos doesn’t reappear, is to step back from that frustrated state and to use your brain a little.

Ask yourself some quick questions about what you want your clear out to achieve?

Which room or space is tripping you up the most? How much of your house do you want to organise? Is all of it in chaos? Are you motivated to clear the whole house out? Are you willing to learn a new system for keeping it organised or do you simply want some tips for specific places or issues? There are no right answers to these, but each of the answers you give will help you to determine what you most need or have time to put into place just now.

A huge secret to clearing without going in circles…

If you are serious about clearing and maintaining order in a single room or a whole house, then there is a principle which will help you enormously. Clear from the outside in… This is the trick that most people with clutter problems miss. On the surface it doesn’t seem logical does it? You are tripping over laundry, but start clearing the house by sorting out the attic! The reason why this works becomes clear when you look at why you are tripping over clean laundry.

The art of clearing space in order to demote things

Let’s say you’re tripping over it because you don’t have a place to put a linen basket and ironing board, where you can store clean laundry until you’re ready to do the task. In other words you don’t have a system for your laundry and a physical structure which supports you in maintaining that system. But why don’t you have that? Perhaps it’s because you don’t have the space. What items are currently taking up the space in which you might put your ironing board and laundry basket? Let’s say it’s a whole pile of things such as books, stationery, crockery, recycling, clothes etc in a large dresser in your utility room. Why are those things there when you obviously need a good work station for a task which you need to do weekly, and which is tripping you up? Well, there isn’t a good place for you to put those things, because there is more even less useful stuff taking up space in the bedrooms or store rooms or attic where they should be stored… Are you starting to get the idea? You can’t put things for your everyday tasks away conveniently, in high traffic areas, if those areas are full of junk. And you can’t clear that junk out until you have somewhere to ‘demote’ it to. And how do you find places to ‘demote’ it to? By clearing them out in readiness first.

This works on a smaller scale too. If you are clearing out your kitchen, it is best to start with the least used and hardest to reach cupboards and shelves. That way, when you want a place to put your best china for special occasions, you will have a good place to store it and you can get more frequently used items off the counter tops, by putting them in the nearby cupboards which used to be taken up with the best china. IIf you only have one counter top or corner which gets messy, then you probably just need an extra set of shelves or other storage solution. But most people with clutter problems find that clutter springs up perennially like a weed. If that’s the case for you there is definitely an underlying cause, and you need to trace it back until you clear the storage spaces at the root of the problem.

Clearing once but properly is the key

Setting up a system that will work day to day, and not leave you having another huge tidy up or clear out within a week is key to getting your space to support you properly. If you’re having problems knowing where to start, why not invest in some clutter coaching with me? We all need a space that will support the way we want to live…


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