By: Kay Patterson: The Organized Soprano
A study showed that the average American spends 55 minutes a day looking for lost items. And if you read our “Don’t Have Time to Work Out” post, you know that with only 5 hours of free time a day, 55 minutes is a lot!
10 minutes looking for your car keys, 5 minutes looking for your matching sock, 2 minutes looking for your cell phone, 20 minutes looking for your wallet. It adds up and creates little pockets of stress throughout your day and strains your relationship with your home.
Lately, a lot of us are spending a lot more time at home. During this time, millions of people were forced to deal with the one thing they may have been avoiding and that is...the state of their homes. Home improvement products became a hot commodity as Americans began to realize they had been avoiding this for months or even years.
It is time to confront the clutter in your home! Clutter is affecting your life in more ways than you realize. Clutter and disorganization can affect your mental and physical health and now is the time to clean up your space for good!
Becoming a professional organizer has been much more than putting items in rows or getting rid of things that were deemed unnecessary. It was about making homes comfortable as well as functional.
What was functional for me might not necessarily be functional for a client of mine and vice versa. I invite you to use these tips for inspiration and to adapt the concepts and philosophies to fit your lifestyle and your aesthetic. YOU are the one that will have to live in your space and be either comforted or frustrated depending on the state of your nest.
The State Of Your Nest
The environment in which we are raised, our lifestyle, personal aesthetic, and the need for form over function or function over form can determine how you keep your home. Maybe you need very few items in your home, while someone else may be comforted by the company of their things. The possession of items and the comfort of those items is not an immediate cause for alarm. It is okay to have stuff. Period.
The way your things make you feel is another phenomenon entirely. If the amount of items or your functionality within your home is causing you distress, then there is a need for action. If the items or functionality within your home is causing your family members or others whom you are sharing a space with distress, then again, there is a need for action.
There is real stress associated with clutter and disorganization that can be alleviated by making your space functional and inviting. There are so many sources of stress in our lives nowadays that the state of your nest need not add to this.
By removing the stress of a dysfunctional or uncomfortable home or space from your life, you can come home from work or school to a safe, comforting environment that takes care of you instead of a cold, disorganized jungle of clutter and dust. Caring for your personal nest is a very overlooked form of self-care.
So...if you are at home reading this...look around you? What is the state of your nest?
- Do you feel comforted or do you feel anxious?
- Do you have things around you that either function or make you happy or can you identify things that do not have purpose in your life or things you cannot identify at all?
- Do you have comfortable, inviting places to sit and lie down?
- Is it clean enough for you?
- Does it smell nice (or like nothing at all?)?
- Would you invite a visitor in if they were to come to the door right now?
- Can you find most items if you were looking for them in less than 5 minutes?
How did you do? If after having these conversations with yourself, you love your space more than you did before or you find yourself smiling peacefully, then you probably are happy with your space!
Chances are since you’re reading this article, you may be looking to improve how your space makes you feel. Whether it has to do with the way your spaces are decorated or organized, the first step in the process is to determine whether or not you feel dissatisfied with the state of your nest and why.
Start With One Simple Question:
When I'm with clients for the first time in their space I want to find out exactly how I can best help their space function. The first thing I do when I come to a client's home is ask one simple question and this can often create a great jumping-off point for people who aren't really sure where to start with their space that isn't working for them.
I will ask: "What is the problem you're trying to solve?"
This will often lead to some deeper dive questions about what is and isn't working for the space and what their endgame is with their home, but identifying the problem is often a breakthrough moment for the client.
Disorganization or messiness in your home is a symptom of a problem, but these are problems we can solve! Even if the space functions for you and your problem is you "just think the space is disorganized," then you can dive deeper. Perhaps the issue is that you do not like the way that things are displayed.
Once you identify the problem, you can focus on finding the right solutions for you. Just remember that images you see on social media are most likely not reality. Your space does not have to be picture perfect, it just has to work for you and solve your problem.
Consider Your Individuality
Lastly, I would like you to consider your own behavior and preferences before you decide on an organizing solution. For example, are you the kind of person that likes to see items or maybe you absolutely hate taking the extra step to put the lid back on the box after you're done handling it.
Asking yourself if the organizing solution you've come up with is something you can realistically maintain is often the difference between a successful system and one that creates new challenges.
It can be intimidating to begin to tackle a clutter and organizing issue in your home, but as long as you are kind to yourself, work in short bursts and are honest with yourself about what is and isn't actually useful and beneficial to you, most people can make excellent progress. Remember, there's no shame in asking a friend, a family member, or even a professional organizer to step in and help!