Simplify your life

Effective tips for organizing your space

Getting organized can seem like an impossible task to take on, but a few small steps can help you on your way. Photo by Aly Khan

Getting organized can seem like an impossible task to take on, but a few small steps can help you on your way. Photo by Aly Khan

Minimalism has been quite the buzzword lately, with nearly triple the interest this January compared to November of last year, according to Google Trends. Many people are resolving to slow down in 2017, by simplifying their lives after the demanding holiday season and negative bouts of consumerism. 

 “You have more time and brain space to focus on what you value and want to invest into,” said Indianna McMechan, a professional organizer of two years and owner of Room to Breathe, a professional home organizing company in Calgary. 

The vast amount of meaningless junk that can pile up in one’s home can be overwhelming, and often, the hardest part is knowing where to start. The trick is to start small and don’t overwhelm yourself.

“Choose an easy task that you are able to complete in less than an hour,” said McMechan. “This sets you up for success your first go around and encourages you to keep going as you see the results quickly.” 

A drawer is often a good place to start.

According to McMechan’s blog, it is important to be prepared when tackling the organization process. Be sure to have boxes and bags ready for donations, trash or anything else applicable to the space you’re dealing with.

Once you have decided where to start, it is important to get rid of the things you no longer have use for. 

During this stage Marie Kondo, author of The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing, suggests asking yourself whether or not the items in your home “spark joy.” 

McMechan said this is an excellent piece of advice. However, she feels this shouldn’t be a rule, more so, just a guideline, as there are many items in one’s home that may not spark joy, but are necessary. 

“Our home is a reflection of what is going on in our brains,” said McMechan. “Everyone is going to have a different level of minimalism that is his or her sweet spot.” Therefore, she doesn’t believe in rules that suggest only having a certain number of possessions. 

McMechan wrote on her blog that some good reasons to keep an item are: if you love it, you need it, use it regularly or it fits into your vision of your space. Don’t keep something just because you spent a lot of money on it, feel guilty, think it could be handy someday or that you might “need it in a zombie apocalypse’.” 

Don’t get stuck. McMechan suggests forming an “I-don’t-know” pile if you’re having a hard time deciding what to do with an item or you’re struggling to let it go. 

“More often than not, the answers will come more easily later in your session.” 

Go easy on yourself. McMechan wrote on her blog that if you need help, you could always hire a professional organizer. “Find a good fit for you, your lifestyle and your budget and consider it an investment in your peace of mind.”

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