Wednesday, January 6, 2010

New Year, No Clutter!

If your new year’s resolution includes saying so long to clutter, here are some tips to stay organized in 2010.

The Fantasy. Every purchase involves a fantasy. Every new item of clothing, fitness equipment, book, pair of shoes, perfume, and on and on, has a dream attached. When you decide to spend your hard-earned money on something, you have a vision about how it will make your life better. This year, avoid clutter by taking a second look at what you buy and if it’s fulfilling its promises. More often than not, people’s "good intention" purchases turn into clutter in a corner, making their organization goals even more challenging. Establishing clear goals—"less clutter," "more time," "pay off debt," etc.—makes for easier decision-making.

The House Beautiful Effect.
Professional Organizers encounter this dilemma a lot. We’ve seen perfect-looking houses that aren’t organized, or that have secret, clutter-filled closets and spare rooms. Just because your house doesn’t look like a photo out of a magazine doesn’t mean that it’s not organized. The point is: make organizing your top priority, and save the glamour of fine design for your second priority. This way, there’s less of a chance that disorganization will creep out into your beautiful decor.

Maintain, maintain, maintain. I haven’t found a system yet that doesn’t need maintenance. Sorry. If I could come up with one, I’d be rich! The key is to create systems of organization that work for you, so that you are motivated by the outcome to continue the maintenance.

First People, then Money, then Stuff. One of successful financial advisor Suze Orman’s mantras is “People first, then money, then things." She has helped thousands of people get themselves out of debt by realizing what is really important in life. As you make your clutter-free plan for 2010, remember that debt is clutter. You can enjoy things without owning them, and some of the best experiences are free. Find ways to enjoy the people around you and life’s simple pleasures without spending money or purchasing stuff. If you can do this in 2010, you’re giving yourself the best gift of all.