8 Surprising Decluttering Lessons From an Expert!
It’s a new year, and for many of us, it’s a season when it feels very natural to set new intentions and form new habits at home to draw more peace into our lives. 8 Surprising Decluttering Lessons From an Expert is not a laundry list of Pinterest-y tips to consider today and forget tomorrow just as quickly. Instead, I intend to GET YOU PSYCHED and encourage you to consider taking a few organization baby steps with me.
I am one of those cats in love with the IDEA of organization but who tends to struggle to maintain organization systems. So I’m stoked since this marks the beginning of something MEANINGFUL and HEALTHY in my quest for a greater measure of sweetness, harmony, and peace at home. These lessons were inspired by a fascinating new book exploring personality type and organization that I am encouraging everyone I know to buy immediately!
Why? Because the subject matter has the potential to significantly impact your lifestyle, grow your compassion, and enrich your relationships. TRULY! The Clutter Connection by organization expert and bestselling author Cassandra Aarsen had me hooked from page one and has forever changed the way I think about my potential to create order at home.
NO ONE ASKED ME TO WRITE PRETTY THINGS ABOUT THIS BOOK OR THIS AUTHOR’S IDEAS. I STARTED READING A COPY THEY SENT OVER, AND THE AHA MOMENTS KEPT FLOWING. I KNEW IT WAS SOMETHING SPECIAL AND WOULD HELP ME AND ANYONE WHO GIVES IT A CHANCE!
The author’s discoveries and their ramifications for helping each and every one of us to feel more relaxed, productive, and secure at home are something to shout from a mountaintop about!
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CAUTION: Are you someone who thinks some folks are just naturally organized and others are simply naturally messy? If so, brace yourself for a potentially transforming about-face!
8 Surprising Decluttering Lessons From an Expert!
Why this approach to home organization stands out…Aarssen’s mantra is elegantly simple and is the first decluttering lesson o’ the day:
Decluttering Lesson No. 1
YOUR’RE NOT MESSY, YOU JUST ORGANIZE DIFFERENTLY.
This powerful message has helped her rejuvenate thousands of lives. The Clutter Connectionilluminates the “clutterbug type” mindset with which we align and then guides us to develop optimal practices to become more happily and sustainably organized at home.
Another Caution. Aarssen’s message is not about warm fuzzies to get you in a sufficiently relaxed state for sock drawer organization 101. If simply chilling out was the answer to all of our organization unrealization, then DUDE! My trippy hippie dippie super chill friends would have Martha gushing. This organizing guru means it. We’re not messy, lazy, flaky or any of those unsavory identities we assume when we can’t for the life of us locate where we put the scotch tape or electric bill.
Decluttering Lesson No. 2
ORGANIZATION BEGINS WITH MINDFULNESS.
We CAN get organized…by becoming more mindful about the particular organization system which meshes with our personality type and sets us up to thrive! BONUS: It’s not complicated at all!
You know me. I am always up for growing in wisdom and learning new ways of being which lead to greater peace and harmony. So I’m excited about organizing my closets, drawers, and spaces now that I have this book,
The Clutter Connection, to guide me! Curious about why I’m so pumped? Under the impression I was an organization goddess based upon images you see of my tidy home plastered on the blog?
Get ready for: (1) me to reveal secrets and for (2) this author to demystify clutter and the obstacles we can move through to reach our goals.
(And yep, I’m weaving in photos of our home because we are a visual bunch, aren’t we!?!)
Interview With Organization Guru & Author, Cassandra Aarssen
HL: Who did you have in mind when you wrote The Clutter Connection?
CA: “Honestly, I had myself in mind … and everyone else who has ever felt messy, disorganized and overwhelmed with life. I spent the majority of my life living in chaos and clutter. The solution was so easy and so simple, it’s now my mission to shout it from the roof tops to anyone who will listen!”
Decluttering Lesson No. 3
MINDFULNESS DOESN’T MEAN IT’S GONNA BE COMPLICATED.
HL: As a professional organizer, what have you learned about the shame a lot of folks harbor about their perceived laziness and inability to get a handle on their stuff?
CA: “It’s amazing how a person’s perception of themselves can literally shape everything about their life. When someone who has always thought themselves as a “messy” or “lazy” person finally understands that they simply organize differently, this self awareness alone is often all it takes to transform their home and their life.
I’ve seen intelligent and hardworking individuals reduced to tears over their inability to adapt to traditional organizing methods. Clutter and disorganization can make them feel so out-of-control that they shutdown and avoid attempting to take control of their life, for fear of failure. Once they truly understand themselves and what WILL work with their unique organizing style, they can let go of the shame and start taking real action towards their goals.”
Decluttering Lesson No. 4
TRADITIONAL ORGANIZING METHODS DON’T WORK WHEN THEY ARE ONE SIZE FITS ALL…WE’RE ALL DIFFERENT.
HL: You write that ‘becoming the boss of your home gives you the ability to become the boss of your entire amazing life.’ How did organizing your home transform your own overall perspective?
CA: “For the first time in my life, I felt in control more than I felt out of control. Being organized saved me a lot of time and effort too. When my home was finally functional, I became more productive, less stressed and just a happier person. It was that shift to a more happier and productive person that impacted my relationships and my career in a really profound way. I truly believe that your outer environment really affects your internal environment.”
HL: Your approach to organization by focusing on the individual first is a breath of fresh air, and I appreciate how you de-mystify the process and help me feel empowered to dig in. Can getting organized truly become addicting as we begin to see immediate results?
CA: “Heck yeah it can! I always say that “if working out gave me the same immediate results as organizing, I’d be a size two.” I don’t want to work hard at something! I like immediate and long lasting results and I don’t like to spend more than 15-20 minutes at a time on things.
When you organize a drawer or declutter your closet, you can see IMMEDIATE results and the long lasting impact of your organization will save you time and make your life easier in the future.
Can 15 minutes of organizing really change your life? Totally! If organizing your closet saves you just 5 minutes each morning when getting ready for work, that is over 21 hours a year! Everything you organize is going to give you that immediate feeling of accomplishment, plus you’ll have the added benefit of life long time and effort savings! It is a very addicting feeling.”
Decluttering Lesson No. 5
15 MINUTES OF ORGANIZING EACH DAY WILL TRANSFORM OUR LIVES.
HL: How does identifying our clutterbug type save us time, headache, and money?
CA: “How may times have you organized or cleaned your home, just to have it become messy again a few days later? The reason you struggle to stay organized is because you aren’t using a system designed for you (and your family) and the way you naturally put things away.
Once you identify what Clutterbug you are, you can setup systems that are so easy to use, you don’t even realize you ARE putting things away. That is the secret, streamlining your home. When your home is functional and organized, you no longer lose items, re-buy items you already have or feel embarrassed and stressed about the state of your home.”
HL: The secret is out…you can be a Ms. Clean type who aspires to have the most tidy, clutter-free home, yet you may indeed be Ms. Disorganized. Why is that?
CA: “One of the Clutterbug styles, the Ladybug, is a classic hidey-hoarder! I am a Ladybug, so I can totally say that. I love having a clean and tidy home, but in order to achieve that, I used to shove and hide items in every hidden spot in my home. The result? I could never actually find anything.
My home may have appeared tidy and organized, but the truth was, the clutter was just hidden out of sight. My home wasn’t organized at all and I had to make a HUGE mess and spend countless hours looking for lost items, just to spend even more time shoving it all back into hiding when I was done.”
HL: The secret is out! I’m a ladybug too! I have always joked that you better put on a hardhat before opening one of my cupboard doors…I could care less about how things look behind closed doors. All of my energy goes into what lies outside of those doors and drawers!
Decluttering Lesson No. 6
A BETTER FUNCTIONING HOME IS JUST AS IMPORTANT FOR REDUCING STRESS AS MAINTAINING A TIDY HOME.
“This vicious cycle was exhausting and made me feel like a total failure. Now that I work with my tendency to hide clutter out of sight, I have fast and easy systems in all my closets that enable me to “toss” my things away, but in a really organized way, so I can easily find things again when I need them.”
HL: Yes! Tossing my things away is what feels right to this ladybug too. I crave open storage like baskets and big categories.
HL: Tell us about some of your more dramatic success stories where a client went from chaotic and cluttered to peaceful and organized.
CA: “Oh, I’ve had so, so many! One of my all time favourite success stories was a family on the brink of collapse. The mom wanted a divorce because she felt her husband wasn’t helping out with housework and the husband felt like nothing he did ever made his wife happy. They had three small children and everyone was just stressed out and overwhelmed.
The husband contacted me for help as a last ditch effort to see his family. When I visited the family for the first time, it was obvious that the mom was a Cricket and the rest of the family were total Butterflies. Crickets like detailed organization and prefer to have everything out of sight. Butterflies are the complete opposite! They need simple solutions and they need to see their items for fear of “out of sight, out of mind.”
The Cricket mom in this family was trying to force the rest of her family to adapt to her style and feeling disrespected and unappreciated because they couldn’t. When she realized that their apparent “messiness” wasn’t about her and it wasn’t their fault, everything changed. We setup systems that were more visual and much easier for the family to maintain. Everyone compromised and in the end, the family was stronger than ever. Four years later and I still get a Christmas card every year from that wonderful family.”
HL: How amazing! As I read your book, I could feel my compassion widening for the other clutterbug types I recognize as family members. All of the sudden, this shift in thinking began for me where I saw their organization needs as extensions of personality and not character flaws or limitations. There are so many families who need your revolutionary ideas!
Decluttering Lesson No. 7
LEARNING ABOUT CLUTTERBUG TYPES LEADS TO FRUITFUL DISCUSSIONS AND REPLACES FINGER POINTING WITH PEACE AND UNDERSTANDING.
HL: You now offer a course and train others to become expert organizers…is there a real demand for professional organizers in 2019?
CA: “Does the course help people learn how to become an Organizing Expert and start their own business? Yes, but the real purpose is to give people confidence in themselves. I designed the course to empower everyone to feel so confident in their ability to organize that they feel they could do it for a career.
Do I think there is a demand for professional organizers? Absolutely, but the real goal with my course is to turn the positive power of organization into a passion for everyone who takes the course. Most people are taking the course for personal reasons, but I think completing the course and becoming a Certified Organizational Specialist™ is that added boost they need to trust themselves and finally get out of their own way and become the boss of their own home.”
HL: I can’t wait to start the course and dig in. I’ll be sharing the experience on this blog for sure!
HL: Surely we all want to have a more organized nest. What keeps most of us from seizing the day and getting started?
CA: “Fear of failure. If you have tried to get organized in the past and failed, it’s an awful feeling. So awful in fact, you probably avoid going through it again. The truth is, most people try organizing based on “traditional” methods, like filing cabinets and even closets and drawers! If you are a Butterfly, hidden and detailed storage just doesn’t work for you…period.
Decluttering Lesson No. 8
YOUR PAST FAILURES WITH ORGANIZATION ARE IRRELEVANT AND NEED NOT HOLD YOU BACK FROM SUCCESS NOW.
HL: And if you’re already not feelin’ optimistic, surely social media insta-perfect images do little to help! I love how realistic and results-oriented your work is, Cas!
Knowing that your past failure has nothing to do with you being lazy or messy and having the knowledge of what WILL work for you can help you to overcome that fear and try again.
It’s about knowing yourself better and giving yourself a little grace.”
You are not messy, you just organize differently.
GET THIS BOOK! I’m dying to hear what type of clutterbug you are!
So grateful for this new resource and for the lessons I’m learning as I turn over a new leaf to get organized…I’ll be so thrilled if you join me on the journey because there is so much gold here!
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Peace to you right where you are.