Summer is fast approaching, but this one definitely feels different. Not only are temperatures rising in much of the US, but many counties and states are opening up from COVID lockdowns for the first time. The excitement is palpable. This summer will be exceptionally sweet for those who are now venturing out with family and friends.
Decluttering and organizing had a banner year: the media wrote countless articles regarding individuals who spent their lockdowns decluttering. I worked virtually with individuals who became increasingly bothered by old stacks of paper, home office disorganization, and general disarray. Even my go-to donation centers consistently close earlier than advertised because their trucks fill by early afternoon. For those who could handle it, decluttering became a coping mechanism to wrestle back some control in a year that lacked so much of it.
Virtual clients not only reached their goals but also addressed underlying causes, navigated roadblocks, and began using organizational systems that supported their lifestyles. Before working with me, some had neglected one of many critical components of organizing: they didn't carve out enough time in their busy lives to do the organizing.
Professional organizers are prone to say, "the clutter didn't appear in one day, so it most likely won't disappear in one day." It takes time and consistent effort to replace old habits that don’t support our lifestyles. Some ask for my guidance due to situational disorganization, such as dealing with a large volume of items that come with having a baby. Most, though, have struggled with clutter for many years. It is not a magical, quick-fix situation, so one must be willing to devote sufficient time to the task. That time needs to be held sacred, or it will fall by the wayside when urgent matters pop up.
As summer rolls around and those of us in lockdown venture out into the world, we look forward to more social gatherings. It is only natural to want to pay attention to enjoyable activities rather than decluttering, especially during the beginning of the process.
If you successfully carved out weekly decluttering sessions during the last year, it is crucial to hold those time slots sacred. As we venture out, there will be an increasing number of temptations vying for our time and energy. It is best to think of decluttering sessions in the same way you would a doctor's appointment that you would not think of missing. You will enjoy newfound freedom, but not at the expense of your organizing progress that you deemed important enough to commit to in the last year.
If you schedule sessions on a recurring time date and time, you'll have an even higher chance of sticking to them. In the past chaotic year, clients have cleared space and solidified organizing habits to ensure that new relaxing environments endure; the results have been nothing short of amazing. Multiple individuals have purged papers dating back 40 years. We have created such user-friendly filing systems that some have even remarked that they now actually enjoy filing. We pruned closets, created more functional kitchens, made living rooms ready to receive company; the list goes on. If you had similar success, give yourself the gift of working your new social calendar around organizing sessions. Those sessions made your home much calmer, enjoyable, relaxing, and supportive of your life goals. By this time next year, you will not only feel uplifted from social interactions but also feel amazing when you return home to recharge your batteries.
Author: Judith Dold
Musings from yours truly about all things organizing.