by KIM WOLINSKI
Do you have clutter and disorganization that takes your energy away from living a peaceful, Spirit-centered life? Does dealing with clutter leave little room for God?
It’s easy to feel embarrassed, angry, frustrated, and even afraid when you can’t find something, lose items or waste time, energy, and money running out to buy the same things that you already own, but can’t find. This kind of mental and physical activity limits our connection to God, making no room for His Spirit to work through us easily.
Getting organized doesn’t have to be hard, but it is a consistent and mindful activity to keep a home—your sacred space—decluttered and streamlined. Here’s a simple way to think about it: being organized means “being able to find what you need when you need it.” And, no matter how perfect a home may look, if you can’t find items, you’re still not organized.
In my 12 years of organizing in homes and offices across the country and teaching workshops on organizing, I find that there are just a few clear steps to set up, prep, and then do to get—and stay—organized for good. Follow these 5 keys and remind yourself while decluttering that this IS your spiritual practice! God is in the details and all space is sacred.
1. Choose one room and then narrow it down to just a corner or small, doable space in that room.
2. Schedule uninterrupted, exclusive time. If you don’t make this serious and schedule in the time, it won’t happen. Plan 30-90 minutes and more in some areas when you can. Shut off the phone and computer; tell everyone what you’re doing so that you are not interrupted. You might however stay focused and on-task by asking for assistance.
3. Set a timer. In order to not get overwhelmed, set a timer for increments of the allotted time so that you don’t feel anxious and quit early.
4. Collect your “prep” tools. Specific containers as listed below will keep you in the room and from zig-zagging around getting little done.
- Have basic cleaning supplies available.
- Sorting boxes/containers. Label them when necessary to simply remember what they are for.
- Trash Can: For real trash, i.e., if something can be used or donated don’t put it into the trash which goes directly to the landfill.
- Shredder: For paper that has important data that could be used against you if stolen.
- Recycle: For glass/paper/plastics.
- Reroute: When you find something in the room you’re working in that belongs in another room or to someone else, sort it into the reroute box. Then, when you’re all finished, or your time is up, take this box around and drop off the items where they belong. This box will really keep you in the room, otherwise, you know what happens; you take that little sticky note you found out to the kitchen and never come back!
- Garage Sale: Use only if you really have a lot of items and could make some good income from all the work it takes to put on a garage sale. Otherwise, put in the next box.
- Re-purpose/Donate: Unless an item is completely worn out or ripped, etc., give it to thrift and let them decide. They have very big trash bins to dump it there if they can’t use it.
- Gift and Re-Gift: Ahh, the fun box! You’ve received those gifts that are great, but—you’ll never use them, right? Put a note on the item of who gave it to you (so that you don’t re-gift it to them!) and then put in the box, ready to re-gift to someone in the future who might like it!
5. Dive in! I call this sorting activity “Chunk and Chip.” Take one “chunk” at a time, whether clothes from a closet, shoes, toys, paper piles, etc. and then “chip” away at it until you’re done. Don’t move onto the next chunk until you’re finished with the pile. This is very important because if you start zig-zagging around, grabbing from other areas and piles, you’ll easily feel overwhelmed and quit.
How much room for God do you want in your home, your sacred space? Even Jesus warns us about mistaking our material goods for our value and having too much in Luke 12:15, “a man’s life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions.” Realistically, you only use 20% of what you have, 80% you will never use or see again. You are not your stuff. Cull back closer to the 20% and really enjoy what you have, enjoy your home and life more, inviting others in to play and pray more often.
Kim Wolinski, MSW “Dr. DeClutter” is a stress, change and organizational skills expert, international speaker, professional organizer, lifestyle coach and the author of several books, including Letting Go With All Your Might, A guide to life transitions, changes, choices and effective redecisions; Burn Your House Down! And 99 Other Ways to Create an Organized Life; How to Organize Important Documents and others to help you let go of clutter on every level. Kim lives in Longmont, CO. www.DrDeClutter.com