Imagine two women, let’s call them Rachel and Sarah. They’re each setting up their very first home.
Sarah is very independent, but gladly accepted gifts at her housewarming party. Rachel already has a complete household of everything she needed thanks to her parents and boyfriend.
Sarah went about it the smart way. She spoke to everyone who was invited to her housewarming and let them know what she needed. Radical huh?
That way she wouldn’t be burdened with things she didn’t need or want or even like. She will never have to haul gifts around each time she moves because she feels bad about getting rid of them.
You know what else she did to set up her new home?
She only bought what she needed right at that moment. And she bought the best she could afford so they would last.
She sorted through all the things that she owned so that she would only bring the things she needed and loved into her new space. She donated the rest, and felt really good about it.
She assigned a Smart Spot in her new place for everything she owned.
She was organised. She was tidy. She had enough. She was blissfully happy. Her home was efficient and looked good. It was super easy to keep tidy and clean.
She had storage space that was organised, with lots of room between things, so it was very easy to find what she needed.
Sounds heavenly doesn’t it?
Are you waiting for the other shoe to drop?
Hanging out for that “But then….”
Here it is…
But then… she had kids.
DUN DUN DUUUUUNNNNNNNN.
During her first pregnancy she thought, “No problem, it’s just a tiny baby, it’ll be so easy to stay organised!”
Ha! When her eldest turned 2 1/2 and she became pregnant for the second time, she’d been living in her house for 5 years.
The cupboards were full. Nothing was where it was supposed to be. She was exhausted and couldn’t stay organised. There was nowhere to put anything!
No matter how hard she tried to fend them off, people kept bringing her baby stuff.
Bags of preloved kids clothes, of all ages.
Gadgets, toys, and other useful things were left at her door.
The grandparents were competitive gifters.
And she knew that it would happen all over again with the next baby.
Being exhausted and overwhelmed didn’t help.
She thought back longingly to the early days with her first pregnancy. The baby’s room was so simple.
A dresser, a changing table, a bassinet and a comfy chair for feeding.
Now it was crammed with SO many toys. They had more storage for clothes than she could believe. Kids clothes were in every storage space around the house. She bet she wouldn’t need to buy clothes for her kids for decades. And they were REALLY good quality clothes too.
But people kept giving her more! And the next baby? The presents were already starting!
Rachel’s home after 5 years was also overwhelming her. She couldn’t understand how it happened. She and her boyfriend tried really hard to not spend too much, but somehow their house was full of stuff!
They hadn’t gone crazy. But over the years they had slowly, and carefully, both bought all the stuff that came along with their interests:
Sports, camping, and all their accessories.
Crafts, of every kind.
Cushions, pillows, quilts and linen, in every colour.
All the clothes they fancied, until their wardrobe was busting at the seams and had overflowed into the spare room.
They’d kept slightly broken things, with an eye to fixing it when they had time, or the right tool. When they upgraded something, they kept the old one “just in case”.
They couldn’t find what they needed, when they needed it. So, they bought it again. It was faster and easier than digging through stuffed cupboards.
They had run out of room and were thinking of taking on a bigger mortgage so they could get a bigger home. Obviously they “needed” more room, right?
Their current mortgage rate had just increased, and the thought of paying even more made them feel a bit desperate!
They were both really frustrated with how disorganised they both felt. And they really didn’t want to spend money on something they knew they had, somewhere!
Both Sarah and Rachel thought to themselves…
“There must be a way! There must be a way to be more organised! And there must be a way to just feel better.”
In the last year both of them had bought more storage.
They’d added drawers, cupboards, boxes, cute baskets and shelving units. They thought these things would make everything better. And for a little while they helped a bit.
It gave them an opportunity to sort things out and make a place for things that had no home. Ahhhhh they felt more organised immediately.
But wait… now it wasn’t working.
Why did they feel just as bad as before?
Their new storage was stuffed full. What ever was in the bottom of all those cute baskets, might as well have been on the moon. They couldn’t get to half the stuff in the cupboards because there was so much stuff piled up in front of it.
The rooms in their houses were starting to feel smaller.
Both Rachel and Sarah (not their real names) were clients of mine.
They’d had enough, and emailed me to help them get sorted.
This is where I let them in on the Pro trick I’m going to share with you right now.
Yes you guessed it!
They needed to declutter!
But not just a woosy little declutter. Oh no, NOT if they really wanted to see and feel a difference.
They needed to get back to where they were at the beginning of this story. Not back to pre-baby and fun interests. Back to the philosophy of Enough.
Plus… they needed to learn how to keep it that way.
We went through their homes like an old fashioned dose of salts. They both wanted to feel like they did when they first set up their homes.
We sorted and chose what was to stay and what could be donated. We cleared out all those extra cupboards that had been added. We found things that had been lost for ages. Treasures were discovered and carefully put to one side.
Multiples of things bought in desperation were eye-rolled at, sorted, and donated.
More and more space was being created.
On top of general decluttering of every room in their homes:
Rachel and her partner sold their old sports gear, making room for the things they were interested in right now. They put the old “just in case” things and “we’ll mend that one day” stuff on their local community Facebook page. They met lots of great people who were so happy and grateful to take away things that they could fix.
In Sarah’s house a modest selection of clothes for the babies to grow into had been stored in the babies room. A radical change from the old way of overflowing storage in every room. It all turned out to be 8 big black bin bags of clothes that she donated!
Instead of too much and too many, more and more things shoved in gaps and poked in spaces, piled up and toppling off…
Things were folded.
Easy to see.
Easy to find.
Easy to put back.
They had exactly what they needed, right now.
And they were determined to keep it that way.
(Less stuff, equals more organised.)