By Janet Flint

Ever asked yourself “How did this room, closet, or space get so out of control?  Many of us are attracted to clean surfaces, seeing the lines in the room and furniture.  Even so, surfaces will become workbenches, then storage areas. No judgement here; it’s just that there is a gap between how we imagine living and how we roll most of the time. That’s what I love about having company over; it helps me reset, tidy, and redesign to the best my place can be, bringing attention to the space, objets d’art, mood, food, and people.

Let’s consider why we let clutter cling to surfaces:

  1. We don’t have a specific place to put it.
  2. Storage spaces are full.
  3. If we aren’t sure exactly how we will use it next, it gets caught up in the “what-ifs”.
  4. We have attachment to the fate of some items once we let go of them.
  5. We think we might sell it on ebay, Craigslist or one of those new apps.

Sell it? Some people do make money on ebay – it takes time to research value, take photos, write up something and then you pay shipping or have to meet someone. Remoov is definitely the easiest way out of that maze.

Spaceandtimeorganized  sell masks.jpg

Marie Kondo wrote that brilliant little book “the life-changing magic of tidying up”. One jewel I use often in my work as a professional organizer is this, she said: “Storage should reduce the effort it takes to put things away, not to get them out.”  I find that if tidying takes too long, we are less likely to do it every day, so we end up with things in piles again. With that in mind let’s consider these strategies for organizing and decluttering.

Storage space. (That’s not the kitchen counter.)  One way to get started is to look at all your storage space and make a map of what you want to keep where, then make labels, for example, “reserved for games”. That way when sorting other areas, the games have a place to go AND you can tell when the dedicated space is full. You already decided that’s how much of your valuable space you wanted to devote to games, supplies, collections, tools, whatever.

The “what-if” is interesting. If you find yourself saying “I might need that someday if…”, get specific. How will you be using it? What activity will you be doing? Is that activity on your bucket list? We only have so many days on this beautiful planet! What do you want to be doing, and will those items help you get to them?


Most organizing projects follow the path of a gross sort, assess the volume of a category, storage decisions, then finer sort and purge to fit the reality of that dedicated space. The gross sort should have a few broad categories so that the work goes quickly.  Once you have “like-with-like” you can make sound decisions about how much to keep and how the category is serving you. The work gets easier with a little practice like going to the gym. The first few workouts seem excruciatingly long, but the more familiar the task, the faster the time seems to fly.  Tip of the day – when sorting a pile take one item at a time and make a decision about where it goes. Don’t set it aside in a new pile of undecideds.

What is the fate of the let-go items?  Organizers understand how important it can be to know that those things you are letting go of not go to the landfill if they are still usable, and it can be important to recover some value. While I have a good eye for art and antiques, I don’t pretend to know their value, so I rely on experts like Remoov. It’s important to keep the process moving or sometimes the entire project gets stalled. If we call Goodwill or Salvation Army and they take 3 weeks to arrive then refuse some of the stuff (usually the big stuff!), the items are in the way that whole time and blocking energy and the satisfaction that comes from a freshly cleared space. Remoov takes everything you might find at an estate sale, and makes responsible decisions about what sells, donates or goes to recycling and the landfill.  Thank you to Luis Perez and the team at Remoov!

Janet Flint is the owner of Space and Time Organization.