I’m not sure what it is about clutter but it takes a toll on my mind. Several years ago I hired a professional organizer to help clean out our garage. Then she returned to help with the basement. Months later, we retained her again to work with each of the kids and their room. She gave them a one-on-one lesson in organization and helped them go through their belongings, throwing out what needed to be out, giving away what would be used by others, and keeping what needed keeping, although in a more organized way. She is tremendously valuable.

I’ve had this discussion with clients. We walk by the dining room several times a day and begin to not consciously notice the stacked papers, unfinished work, and piles of things we’ll get to some day.

While we may not consciously notice it, we notice it–clutter. The thought of getting to it someday consumes energy, weighs on us, and it demotivates us. There is help.

I found our organizer, Holly on the National Association of Professional Organizers. There are people that thrive on helping others with this demotivating work. There is quite a variety of professionals out there. Some are teams that clean out whole basements and garages, some work with paperwork, bills, tax returns, and small business needs. Some are all encompassing and others have their certain niches.

Whatever your need, get help. After our four or eight hour sessions, Holly would show me three piles of belongings.

  1. One for giving away. She would bring thing out of our homes forever and find someone that greatly needed the things we no longer did. Receipt would arrive within a few days.
  2. Another pile was for throwing away. Sometimes we threw them away. Other times she would drive them away herself–what a relief.
  3. Homework came with the remaining pile. She would say, “You’ll need to spend some time and go through these things.” Just like I do with my clients, I got homework. What were these things in the last pile? Photos, letters, yearbooks, and other memorabilia.

I happily wrote the check for her services and was motivated to get to that last pile. I also knew, I’d be calling her again when I began to feel overwhelmed with the accumulation of stuff I no longer needed.

Over time, I’ve seen her less. I’m learning new habits about collecting things, giving things away when their usefulness is over, and knowing the difference between needs and wants. I’m more careful about getting only the things I need. I’ve found when there are fewer piles or messes in my home and office, I’m more upbeat about life in general.

I’ve also recommended her to my friends and clients. In fact, last week I heard from a client of mine that he was excited about getting going–first on his home office!!

Do you have questions about getting rid of memorabilia? It’s not an easy task. In fact, it’s very hard work for some of us. My clients tell me stories about going through their parent’s home after their passing–a very painful process.

Here are some tips about organizing:

  1. Read this blog post about downsizing memorabilia by my wife Robin on her site; BigRedKitchen.com.
  2. Research which type of organizer is most appropriate for your need.
  3. Retain a professional organizer for yourself.
  4. If you are in the DC Metro area, call Holly.

Get organized and begin living confidently, Dan