Q&A with a Professional Organiser!

So today I’m sharing answers to some of the most frequently asked questions about keeping home organised and ordered. Of course, this is just a taste – I could write a book of them! But if you have any niggling or burning questions, pop them in the comments and I’ll answer them for you.

  • How common is it for people to keep hold of unused items “just in case I need it” when they’re decluttering? What do you think causes these worries?

I phrase I hear commonly is: ‘I might need it’ People feel fearful that should they let something go, they will experience real upset if the situation arises where the item would come in handy. I encourage them to think positively rather than negatively. They could give the item away and give someone else the pleasure of using it RIGHT NOW. And if they do experience regret in the future, the flip side is the joy of a clutter free house.

  • Which items do people tend to cling onto because they are worried about needing them? Any particular clothes/gadgets/kitchen items etc we always think we might need?

Fancy dress costumes! They are purchased for a very specific set of circumstances – one that is unlikely to occur again. But they are not cheap and giving them away seems frivolous. Also, kitchen gadgets such as popcorn makers, bread makers etc tend to hang around without being used. People often see the ‘fantasy version’ of themselves using these items but the reality is often that they have neither the time nor inclination to use or maintain them.

  • How can you overcome that tendency to keep hold of things “just in case”? What kind of questions should you ask yourself if you’re experiencing this during a clear out? 

Don’t ask yourself whether an item has a use but whether you are PLANNING on using it?  Ask yourself ‘what’s the worst thing that would happen if I let this go’ If it’s simply a pang because a small voice tells you that in the future you might need it, that fleeting regret is nothing compared to the frustration of a cluttered, untidy home. Don’t worry about a few mild regrets – living clutter free is worth it.

  • Are there any instances where it is sensible to keep hold of infrequently used items? What should you do with these items?

Just because an item is used infrequently, doesn’t mean it’s clutter. That’s why I don’t believe in imposing an ‘if you haven’t used it in 6 months, get rid of it’ rule.  For example, you may only wear a cocktail dress once in a year but it is still a valuable addition to your wardrobe. By all means, store infrequently used items (such as camping equipment) out of sight in a loft but ensure you can see what have in this space at a glance. Contain smaller items in boxes and label clearly.

  • How can you store things you do need but don’t use often (e.g. Sellotape, chargers, cameras, travel plugs etc) in a way that is tidy and organised? (For example, avoiding the ‘drawer of crap’ most of us have!!) 

Stick with the golden rule of ‘everything having a place’ but also with a secondary goal of ‘storing like with like’. So keep all travel related items in a box labelled as such. It’s fine to keep a roll of Sellotape with your gift wrapping equipment and a second roll in a kitchen drawer for other uses. In fact, this will make you more likely to return these items to their homes after use, given that they are being stored where you use them. Kitchen drawers tend to a magnet for all kinds of random items so use drawer dividers to be more intentional about what you keep there.

Thank you so much for reading!

A Tidy Mind

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