By Aly Finkelstein, Houzz
We’ve all been there. The cabinets are overflowing. There’s no more room in any closet. And the drawers are crammed so full they won’t close. Your stuff has outgrown your space. But instead of blaming your home for its lack of storage, maybe consider that you have too much stuff. That issue is easier to address quickly and doesn’t involve a whole home remodel. Remember: less is more.
The single biggest issue I face in my job as a professional organizer is abundance. Whether my clients are stocking up on food, clothing, beauty products or even personal memorabilia, too much is simply too much. People always ask me, “How do I know if I have too much stuff?” and “What do I get rid of?”
Here are three questions that I ask my clients — and you can ask yourself — to help with paring down to quality possessions.
1. Do you own multiple versions of the same thing?
Do you have three blenders because you got updated versions twice and have yet to get rid of your old ones? This is the kind of thing that creates clutter.
What to do about it: Start in one space, and go section by section. For example, in your kitchen open up all of your cabinets. Go from cabinet to cabinet, removing all of the items.
I recommend starting with small appliances. Lay them all out on the counter, and keep only the ones you use. Donate or sell the rest. Move on to the pantry, then the serving pieces, then the dishes and on and on around the room. The same rules apply for every section. Get rid of the things you don’t use.
Pro tip: Try and lose the guilt you feel from getting rid of any gifts you have been given (or inherited). It really is OK to pass along things you don’t use or love.
2. Do you feel stressed about having to find a place for all of your things?
Are your closets jam-packed? Do you find that you wear the same things over and over even though your closet is overflowing? If you answered “Yes,” you probably have too many clothes.
In an effort to try and live with less, you must eliminate the things that don’t serve you. This same concept applies to any space in your home that’s overflowing.
What to do about it: Take all of your clothing out of your closet, or take out certain categories at once (denim, sweaters, shoes). Ask yourself very honestly if you love each item and want to wear it. If yes, great, it stays. If no, put it in a designated spot for donation or resale. Ask yourself this question with each and every item you come across in your closet.
3. Is it hard to keep track of your belongings?
Are you constantly losing things in drawers, cupboards, bins or other nooks and crannies of your home? This is usually a sign of too many belongings.
What to do about it: Keep your things consistent. Use one wallet, one makeup case, one pencil case … at a time. Having one place where your items live reduces the amount of backup items you have.
The goal: These questions and the resulting work will take time. You won’t be able to just snap your fingers and magically have uncluttered closets, drawers and living spaces. Instead, set aside an hour or two every day or week this fall to tackle one area — or a whole room if you’re feeling ambitious. Regardless of how long it takes, you’ll appreciate the time you put toward living with less.