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An Excruciatingly Opinionated Guide to the Shoreline

January 27, 2020
Tips & Tricks / Ellen's Tips 2020

Color Coordinated Bookshelves Will Not Spark Joy and Other Truisms From A Decluttering Doyen

decluttering doyen

By Ellen Madere

New year – new decade – new you? Right?! The holidays are now behind us, and you are surveying the scene in your home, thinking HOW can I get this joint into tip-top shape – aka organized? Of course, YOU can do it, but YOU must be realistic. All of us find real pleasure looking through publications and online stories that depict absolute, unrealistic perfection. Picture perfect, they call it. These sites, books, and magazines are our guilty pleasure. Time to be realistic, and set organizing goals that are attainable, not objectives that immediately set us up for failure. Here are a few practical tips that all of us can accomplish – happily:

1. A Little Goes a Long Way: Break down the areas in your home that you want to address and chip away at them a little at a time. If you lump it all together, you will be inclined to close the door and never deal. It is too daunting otherwise. Pick an area – your makeup or junk drawer, for instance. Set a timer if necessary – 15-20 minutes – and go to work. You will be seriously satisfied. Create time that you can/will devote to restoring order. Don’t just put things down; take them to their final destination point.

2. Set realistic goals: The “perfect” photos that bum you out are styled – most of us do not live that way. That said, think about what works for YOU – what is right for your lifestyle. Addressing your problem areas will be liberating – there isn’t a person who undertakes these tasks who doesn’t feel this way.

3. Donate: One Man’s Trash is Another Man’s Treasure. As you excavate the areas of your living space, keep in mind that many things in your possession can live a life elsewhere.

If you are not sure where to take these gems, a Google search will provide you with the answer. There are numerous sites out there and consignment shops for your clothing, BUT don’t kid yourself for a second that anyone is interested in yours or your parent’s brown furniture or china. The world is overrun with this stuff, and our children simply are not interested.

4. Paperwork:  our downfall. Stop placing it everywhere in your house – get yourself a basket and give it a designated spot. When you are ready to deal with the contents, take it to that area of your house where you face this pile-up and get to work. Recycle, categorize – catalogs, bills, charitable donations, membership renewals, etc. Bills are your first priority; we need to pay for the services we receive. And…for the papers that you are going to keep, file, not pile!

5. In the words of Queen Elsa from FROZEN “Let it go.” Ownership is overrated. The idea of owning something in order to enjoy it is bogus. Much energy is expended cleaning, moving, storing, maintaining, and possibly insuring.

If it’s all just too much and you’d like some in-person guidance from the mess goddess, browse all of Ellen’s service offerings, which go well beyond organizing (including downsizing, eldercare management, archiving collections and more) at: 
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