How to declutter your closet and simplify your life
Some tips from the author of ‘The Clutter Diet’
By J.D. Lasica
One of the downsides of our consumer culture is that we simply have way too much stuff. What’s in your closet? Most likely, lots and lots of clothes you no longer wear and things you no longer use. Same goes for our garages, family rooms and yards.
January is “Get Organized Month” (or so declareth the National Association of Professional Organizers), so now’s a good time to ask: How should we deal with household sprawl? How to cope with those overflowing closets? Lorie Marrero has some suggestions.
Her eureka moment came when she realized that “getting organized is a lot like losing weight.” So she set about creating a program that’s “like Weight Watchers for your house,” she said by phone from her home in Austin, Texas.
4 steps to regain some material balance in your life
The program, like successful weight loss programs, applies some commonsense principles to reducing clutter:
1Motivation: First, you need to want to do this and commit to a less cluttered lifestyle.
2Prevention: “You have to stop the calories,” she said. “Don’t bring more stuff into your house. Be more intentional and deliberate.”
3Reduction: Begin taking steps to reduce the clutter in your home. Hold yard sales. Donate clothing and goods to Goodwill — here’s a directory of donation drop-off locations in the Bay Area. (And I have another suggestion: NeighborGoods is a cool free online community that lets you share items you’re not using with your neighbors.)
4Maintenance: You have to keep at it. Identify routines so that the clutter doesn’t begin to pile up again.
Achieving the decluttered life, one step at a time
Now that we’re in the first week of 2012, Lorie has a new set of tips — questions you should ask yourself about setting New Year’s goals for reducing the clutter in your life. See the video above.
Lorie has been blogging at the Clutter Diet Blog for more than a year, and we’ll occasionally run some of her video tips about the decluttered life here on Seismic Thrift. She was featured in Good Housekeeping magazine, and she’s appeared in more than 100 publications and television shows. In her videos, she said, “I always wear a piece of repurposed clothing, like an Ann Taylor shirt I got at Goodwill for $5.99.”
Why the surge of interest in the topic? “The economy has had an effect on people’s attitudes about their homes and how much stuff they’ve accumulated,” she said. “To some degree, we’ve been living in a state of excess, and we need to step back and consider when we have enough, and what really brings us joy.”
Lorie is an ambassador with Goodwill International’s Donate Movement, and you can calcuate the impact of the goods you donate to the people in your community there or at SF Goodwill (see the Impact calculator in the right sidebar). Here in the Bay Area, donations to Goodwill have diverted 20 million pounds from local landfills in each of the past two years.
Lorie sees the urge to purge our closets as part of the larger movement to simplify our lives. “The more we simplify and declutter our lives, the happier we seem to be,” she said.
What are some tips you have on decluttering your life? Please share in the comments!