Making Room

Making Space

When you talk about de-cluttering, most people envision a stressful process of giving away important things. Nothing could be further from the truth! Getting and staying organized isn’t about pain, it’s about freedom.

Here’s a story to illustrate my point. One time I dropped in to visit a friend. She invited me into her living room to sit and chat, and without a thought she deftly moved some newspapers and magazines off the couch and into the trash can. In other words, she made room for me. In that moment, she decided that making space for her friend was more important than keeping the old newspapers. And THIS is why we clear away clutter: to make room for what matters.

Organizing is all about prioritizing. It’s about letting go items which are not enhancing our lives today so we can free space for all the things that do. Here are a few examples:

  • Discontinuing subscriptions to magazines we really never read so can focus on reading the 1 or 2 magazines we love most.
  • Donating clothes that don’t fit or flatter our current figure so we have space for the items we love to wear.
  • Pitching/deleting photos in which we don’t like the way we look, so we have space to save or frame the ones that make us feel good when we look at them.
  • Donating books we started, but lost interest in, so can free space on the shelf for what we are enjoying right now.
  • Removing the toys our children don’t play with so they have space to store and use the toys that they enjoy the most.
  • Clearing out the remnant supplies from old hobbies so we can dedicate convenient storage for the hobbies we are enjoying right now.
  • Shredding or recycling paperwork that we don’t need so we can both efficiently access current paperwork and store the papers we may need to find reliably in the future.
  • Throwing away broken items that we can’t seem to get around to fixing and instead buying working replacements.
  • Clearing away expired or unwanted food items so we can easily store and access the foods we are eating today.
  • Eliminating volunteer commitments that perhaps are not a good fit so that we can fully serve in the areas to which we feel well suited.
  • Letting go of boxes of our children’s artwork and keeping, framing, or photographing the ones that mean the most.
  • Minimizing the number of items we are keeping “just in case” so we can use the majority of our space for what is happening right now.
  • Selecting only a few items of memorabilia to keep in an accessible container for periodic review and reflection rather than keeping boxes and boxes of memorabilia that gets stuffed in a remote place and is never enjoyed.

*     *     *     *     *

De-cluttering is about living in the present… about allowing yourself to allocate the majority of your space and time to what matters to you today.

What are you willing to eliminate to free up space for a current priority?

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34 thoughts on “Making Room”

  1. Great post! It is amazing that people are willing to move stuff rather than get rid of them. I think it has to do with the unwillingness to make a decision. As a PO, I see this a lot. As me as a person, I pick different times in the year to get rid and overhaul a space, like right before vacation, I use all the food as well as, clear out items in the fridge that have expired. Thanks for bring this to light.
    Sabrina Q. recently posted…10 Ways A Father Helped His DaughterMy Profile

    1. I do the same thing with the food in my fridge… “eat it down” before we go. I totally agree that it is the pain of having to make a difficult decision that keeps people from purging. The problem is, they underestimate the pain they create by having too much stuff, what I call the “carrying cost” of ownership.

  2. Making room for what’s important at the time, that is the highlight of every organizing job. It is not toss thing into the trash or give them away just for the sake of reducing belongings. The core of organize is living a life we enjoy having our stuff in control and making a proper use of what we have, not letting them to control us.
    Wonderful topic Seana.
    Nacho Eguiarte recently posted…Liberando El Apego EmocionalMy Profile

    1. I love this comment, Nacho! It really isn’t about shedding just to have “less” but to improve our quality of life and enjoy our belongings and spaces more:)

  3. Love this! It’s truly about prioritizing and making what’s most important stand out. I love that your positivity inspires us to find and hold the best!

    1. The process is so freeing and positive that it makes me sad when people express anxiety or apprehension. We can all do this and make our lives better:)

  4. I’m pretty anti-clutter, sometimes even to my own detriment! For instance, I’ll throw away old sentimental things only later to realize I probably shouldn’t have lol. Can’t stand clutter and only keep things that have value to me right now and are useful. I also love donating, recycling or selling old stuff. And most importantly, I don’t consume or buy as many things! That’s how it all starts 😉
    Nina recently posted…How I Failed as a Mom… and Why It Wasn’t as Bad as I ThoughtMy Profile

    1. So true, Nina. It is always easier to avoid bringing the stuff in than to make the decision to let something go. I think the whole idea of learning to be content with less is growing in popularity. At the same time, keeping a few sentimental items is important… it’s all about boundaries:)

  5. I love to read, but as time goes by I find myself more and more selective about the books I consume. It used to be that if I picked up a book and it didn’t appeal to me, I’d put it back on my shelf for another time. Now I stop and ask myself how likely I am to want to read it in the future. Sometimes I’m just in the mood for something different, but other times I find the print too small, the book is old and smells funny, or the storyline doesn’t really interest me. In that case, I set it aside to donate or give to someone else who might enjoy it.
    Janet Barclay recently posted…Very Inspiring Blogger AwardMy Profile

    1. That sort of intentionality is very productive, Janet. Learning to resist the urge to just stick something back to think about later can be a major step in the de-cluttering process. This way you don’t feel overwhelmed by a room’s full of items, but can deal with a few things at a time. Thanks for this comment!

  6. Cassidy is currently on a Konmari kick (do you know that reference) so the clothes were the first to go around here. That felt good, and I already want to do it again.
    Then the magazine subscriptions come next! When you build up a pile because you can’t seem to read magazines when the come, it’s time to let go!
    Tamara recently posted…Currently, Lately.My Profile

    1. Yes, Marie Kondo is “hot” right now! Her technique is similar in many ways to what most Professional Organizers espouse. I say, whatever gets you going is good. Love your magazine comment – you will smile when you see my next Polly cartoon!

  7. Seana~It’s funny because I love reading other organizers blog posts to provide as much content and advice I can for my readers. However, when I read your blog I always find that I relate to it on a personal level. Everything you are speaking to is what I am in the process of doing in my own home. I can use your post as a checklist! Such wonderful advice! Thank you!

    1. Thanks so much, Autumn. Your kind words mean a lot:) After all, I blog with the hope of passing along some useful ideas! I’m affirming you from out here in CT as you make room in your own space. Knowing you, it’s going to be terrific when it is all done!!

    1. Been there myself, Andi! Often we just get into situations because we had good intentions or a friend asked us to help, but if it isn’t working, it is time to change the situation.

    1. Great minds think alike, Kim:) I’ve certainly found that quote to be true in my life. It got me thinking about some other quotes of mine… maybe fodder for an upcoming post!

    1. Thanks, Dana. It really is about making “today” the top priority, and then once those needs are filled, then allocating time & space to other things.

    1. That would make me feel terrific too, Marcia! I always tell people that “runners high” is nothing compared to getting organized:)

  8. Great post Seana, I hadn’t considered the volunteering commitment angle, I feel that way about email contacts, which I have been purging lately. Another you mentioned about clearing out books. I realized a few weeks ago I had a shelf full of books that I haven’t looked at in decades, they are art books I collected in my early twenties. Time to let go I think.
    Jill Robson recently posted…Organizing the household tool bag!My Profile

    1. Email contacts – great addition! Those sure do pile up and we lose track of them. I need to do those as well… I’ve had the same personal email address forever:) Yep, art books can go for sure!

    1. That’s a tough one, Karen. It’s so common for one spouse to be organized and the other a bit more “casual”… and then throw children into the mix and it is typically roughest on the tidy person. Try to carve out some space that is just yours, that you can keep clutter free and escape to when it is getting to you!

  9. I totally agree. I have a quote on my wall at work (one of many). It says if you keep holding on to the one who treats you like an option, you’ll never find the one who treats you as a priority. Sometimes if you free up a little space in your home, your schedule, or your heart, something wonderful comes along to fill that space!
    Adrian recently posted…10 Cleaning Products for LAZY PeopleMy Profile

    1. I love that quote! I just passed it on to my teenage daughter:) And I so agree, it is the same principal.. opening the space for what will bring the most joy and fulfillment.

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