Need Help Getting Organized? – My Top 5 Tips for Clearing Out the Clutter This Fall

Clearing out the ClutterDo you find yourself weeding through your inbox to find that important e-mail you were saving? Or perhaps it takes you forever to find something to wear in the middle of the clothes piled high in your closet?

With the days of summer dwindling down and back-to-school organization a must, I’m getting myself and my things in order and ready for a busy and exciting fall schedule.

As a family managing food allergies, we need to do a lot of planning ahead so we can be prepared for whatever may come our way. Clearing out the clutter in my mind and around us is key. But keeping things organized doesn’t come naturally for me. (Ask my husband!)

Too, keeping it simple isn’t what it used to be. Clear out the clutter around us with so many electronics, appliances and accessories? Complicated. Clean out our inboxes? Yikes. What used to be as simple as picking up the phone or filing papers in the desk now has so many moving parts: e-mail, text, voice-mail, iPhone, iPad, iCloud, camera, computer….

So this summer I’ve been getting organized. It feels great! I have five key things I’ve been doing that have brought me much less stress and all happen to start with “D”:

  • Downsize! The obvious first step toward simplifying things is to downsize so there’s less to manage. But what are we willing to downsize? Our house? Our stuff? Our closets? Our grocery list? Our lifestyle?

In order to make this simpler, we may need to part with some of it. We need to make room for the more important things so they aren’t buries and take center stage, where they belong.

  • Drop! Can we drop some activities? Get-togethers? Expectations? Responsibilities? Busy work? People? Obviously, we need and cherish the support of our friends and family, but we do need to make sure our relationships are positive, healthy and good for us.

Families today so often run from one activity to the next. We are so overbooked, aren’t we? Perhaps dropping an activity here and there is part of the answer. Children are so much more creative than I am when left alone to explore their own imaginations and the world around them! It’s brilliant and so fun to watch.

  • Delete! Deleting is a tough but essential one for me. The power of deleting is my number one tip for the summer.

I do a ton of e-mailing and texting. But while phone calls leave memories, e-mails and texts leave, well…more e-mails and texts. Make sure you are not saving things unnecessarily, as I was.

What’s that you say? You’re having trouble deleting the e-mails from your inbox? Okay. I’ll let you in on a little secret in one word: Boomerang! Boomerang does exactly what it says. It’s a G-mail program that allows you to send emails out and have them come back to you at a later date. This was one way I was able to really dig in and clean out my inbox. Too, if you don’t need to “Boomerang” more than 10 emails per month, its’ free!

  • Discard! Finally and perhaps most importantly, discard. Discard the baby toys if your kids are no longer babies. Discard old papers. Discard the old clothes, mamas. I admit this is another challenging one for me. I’m embarrassed to divulge that I had sizes 0 to 14 in my closet, along with maternity clothes. Seriously, my closet was packed with stuff I hadn’t touched since before I had my first child.

Discard the clutter. It’s liberating. It frees up space so I can more easily locate what I need and keep things in order. It definitely brings more peace of mind.

  • Donate! Of course, what goes hand in hand with discarding is donating. Donating makes it so much easier. Knowing someone will be able to use my old, cherished items feels so good! It makes it worthwhile.

Do your research. See who needs what in your area. It could totally make their day, their month, their life easier. I researched local shelters in our area and found a wonderful place that takes in single moms and their kids. They live there and are cared for until they secure a job and get their lives back on track. Wow, did I feel good giving them baby items, toys, baby clothes and my clothes.

It lets us focus on the new and more important things coming into our lives. Heaven forbid we get so bogged down in old stuff that we miss out!

Is it simple in the beginning? For me, certainly not. Initially, keeping things simple is not simple at all. But once you’ve homed in on the details of these five D’s this summer, it should give you a wonderful foundation for maintaining a more peaceful and less stressed house and mind.

Life will happen; you will be ready for it. You will have room for what lies ahead. Pretty simple, right?

Do you have some tricks that have helped your family stay organized? Are you good at keeping the clutter under control? We’d love to hear from you!

2 Responses to “Need Help Getting Organized? – My Top 5 Tips for Clearing Out the Clutter This Fall”
  1. Debbie Thorne

    I found many items that I couldn’t let go of because it had memories attached to them. My daughter gave me a great idea to let go of them. Take a picture of the item and then give it to the best non-profit organization ever…Salvation Army!!!

    • Alison Johansen

      Debbie, Yes! I love this idea! Thank you for sharing. 🙂