For a lot of people, getting organised can feel overwhelming; what your advice for them?
“It can be overwhelming. So my advice would be: start small; like really small, micro small; just do a drawer and see how it feels.
A lot of people are overwhelmed with organising because they think they’re going to have to throw a lot of things away and that’s terrifying. They think, how do I decide what to give away and what to throw away? It’s at this point where it can be really helpful to get a professional organiser in to get you started. To give you the confidence to say it’s actually ok to give things away and recycle things, send things to charity and if it’s completely broken and just gathering dust, to throw it away.
If people are worried about landfill, well it’s still landfill in your house! Whether it’s in actual landfill or sitting in your house, it’s still having the same effect! There’s the thought that “I might need this one day” – well probably not. “I got it as a bargain I can’t get rid of it” – well it’s not money anymore, it’s a ‘thing’ so forget the correlation with money.
There’s still a bit of emotion around scarcity and impoverishment. Particularly older people we’ve worked with who might have grown up through the depression and the thought of throwing away something that’s perfectly good is just unthinkable. We’re working with more people in that age group and they’re actually getting quite liberated which is exciting. “Mums” is another category where they want to keep everything every child has ever done. We suggest taking photographs of their artwork then you can make a book of all their art and give it to them, or make a screensaver out of their work because if they’re on a screensaver you can see more of them! You can negotiate with the kids that way.
The other thing we see a lot of is people storing their mothers or grandmothers treasures, which they can’t get rid of for sentimental reasons. You’re not actually respecting the items that belonged to your mum or the memory of your mum by piling them up in the garage. There’s a lot of psychology that goes into it – often all people want or need is permission to let these items go. When it gets to that level of overwhelm its time to call a professional organiser. It might be to do the whole project with you or just the beginning stage. People need to feel as though the process of giving certain items away is a positive experience not a negative one.”