Friday, January 9, 2015

Declutter First, Then Organize

This thought comes to me once in awhile: Declutter first, then organize. And then I saw someone else say it on another blog today. The person was describing how they had researched and pinned posts about storage for pot lids. Before she ended up getting any sort of pot organizer she happened to clean out and declutter where she currently stored them. In the process she got rid of several pots and lids, and lids that didn't have a matching pot. And then discovered, there wasn't a need for an organizer any longer because there was plenty of space! Isn't that cool?

We don't need bigger closets or more cupboards, we really just need less stuff and when we have just the right amount it seems to organize itself to some degree. Have you noticed in blogs or in magazines that they don't show packed cupboards? They show closets with items evenly spaced and space between things on a shelf. It looks better to me anyway.

I do wonder though if that works with paper?! I guess I will have to get back with you on that.

I did do more paper purging. Three more tax files, which were pretty easy. The harder part is shredding the stuff I'm not keeping!

Then there were college files, and a file of our wedding receipts, among other sentimental type stuff. I thinned them down, but all those files still exist. As I was looking at the wedding receipts my husband did say it was okay to keep sentimental things. Wasn't that sweet? He didn't say that when I gave up my wedding dress earlier this year. Instead he said it looked creepy all laid out in the preserved box! I donated the wedding dress to an organization in Texas that makes them into Angel Gowns for babies that die during or soon after childbirth. I have zero regrets that was the right thing to do. The one receipt that amused me most to keep was the one for my 'wedding hair'. I paid $58 plus tip to have my hair done...and I didn't really like it! Makes me laugh and cry at the same time.

Back to the college file. I narrowed about eight term papers down to three. I tossed all the semester grade reports since I still have the official college transcript with the same information. I also tossed Dean's List letters, but kept two certificates indicating the same thing (which the transcript shows as well). So I still have a college file, but it is thinner. And still full of enough sentimental clutter for me.

After I'm done shredding, I hope to pick through a few more files. I am going to avoid any sentimental ones if possible!

Would you consider any of the paper you are holding onto sentimental clutter? And what do you think about the Declutter First, Then Organize idea? Does that make sense for you? Does anyone have a good example of it in their home?


  1. Yes I agree. Before I do any shredding I put envelopes/any booklets found into the recycling.
    I haven't got a good start on my daughter's room but when I do I will get rid of any rubbish, recycling or ripped/stained clothes first.

    1. I do the same thing, some things just don't need to be shredded. Sarah, if you feel up to it some time I'd love to see a picture of your daughter's room. If you share, you can let us know if you need any advice or ideas. No pressure, I'm just curious!

    2. I will put up a picture soon of the manic chaotic room. I'll pre-warn you: it's really bad.

  2. Declutter first and then organize. Always always always. I follow a blog called A Slob Comes Clean, and she talks often about something called the "container concept". You only have so much space for stuff, so much space in each drawer, box, shelf, etc, and you only can have enough stuff to fit in the designated spaces. Sure, organizing may help, but the space you have is finite!
    I keep sentimental papers (though I have gotten rid of quite a few - that I wish I hadn't!). Things like journals or wedding receipts in your case...those are things worth keeping. Things like college papers or notes of recognition, those are worth keeping - they could be added to a scrapbook/memory book even!