On January 13, the Sippican Woman’s Club held its monthly meeting, which included a rather timely presentation on a familiar topic: clutter at home.
As we begin a new year, many of us will have this to-do at the top of our resolution lists. But how does one begin, just where is the jumping off point and then, what steps should be taken?
Kristi Santilli of Organized by Kristi gave an hour-long presentation that outlined the dos and don’ts for successful removal of “stuff” no longer needed or used in the home. Santilli began by saying that a positive result from decluttering is a “… better quality of life. Clutter creates stress and you end up cleaning more because stuff is in the way.” Children are also negatively impacted by a cluttered home, she pointed out.
The process is not a one-size-fits-all either. Santilli said that, “You just have to get started, first by separating things into piles. Like items with like items, throw away, give away and keep.”
Santilli said that many people believe their belongings have value and therefore want to sell them. She stated that people aren’t willing to pay what you may think an item is worth and so it’s held onto while waiting for the right buyer. That kind of thinking not only slows the decluttering process but makes removing items from the home more problematic.
Santilli suggests you ask yourself these questions to kickstart the decluttering process: Do you wear it, do you like it, does it fit, is it your color and does it go with something else you already have?
The mechanics of decluttering is actually rather simple. Santilli uses the word SPACE to spell out the steps. S represents Sort. Establish a staging area, sort items by category and resist returning items where you found them. P represents Purge. Make decisions for each item, placing them in piles for keep, trash, donate, recycle, consign, sell and gift. A represents Assign. Where will kept items live and have three levels of storage, primary (everyday stuff), secondary (occasionally used stuff) and cold (like Christmas decorations – infrequently used stuff.)
C is the fun part, Santilli said. This is where all the stuff being kept finds its home. C stands for Contain. Keep things safe and dust-free, mark with easy identification, repurpose what you have and be consistent with the size and style of your stuff.
Last but not least is the letter E, which represents Equalize. This is the maintenance stage. Now that you made everything neat and tidy and clutter-free, keep it that way.
Here’s what Santilli suggested: Set a plan of action for each day, taking 10 minutes or so to strategize your day; schedule specific times of the day for important calls and emails; prioritize your three most important tasks of the day; do laundry as soon as the hamper is full or pick a specific laundry day; don’t leave dirty dishes in the sink; assign everything to a home; pay bills online; before going to bed, check your schedule to prepare for the next day; pick-up anything around the house that isn’t in its home and put it away and don’t leave a room without something in your hand.
As Santilli joyfully explains, “Eliminating clutter from your life can be overwhelming but making the leap from chaos to calm can be life changing.”
For more information on membership opportunities with the Sippican Woman’s Club, visit sippicanwomansclub.org
By Marilou Newell