*This post was updated November 3, 2015.
I used to have a clutter graveyard. It was located in my home office. Whenever I didn’t want to deal with something – a box, paper, mail …anything … I would shove it in my office until I could get to it. Surprised? You shouldn’t be — pro organizers are busy just like everyone else and sometimes get caught up with life.
The difference between us and the average person is that we have weapons in our arsenal. We use specific strategies to get righted again, and because we have those tools, our spaces tend not to remain cluttered for very long.
This really is the key to banishing the clutter graveyard. Keep in mind that you can use a strategy, tip, or trick to get back on track when life throws the kitchen sink at you. That means finding the right set of tactics that work for you, your personality, and learning style.
Here are some things to you should think about:
Purpose of Your Space
Will your dining room function as a traditional eating space or will it double as a home office or child’s play area? Figure out the way you want to use the room before buying furniture, containers, or gadgets.
How Much Stuff You Really Need
If you want to build your graveyard, just keep adding stuff to it. If you want a more streamlined space, keep only the things you need in that space. You may need to see your favorite photo on the wall but do you really need four file cabinets? Keep the items that you must have to function optimally and pitch the extraneous stuff.
Your Personal Best
Pick the right solutions for you and make a plan for success. Test out a strategy you’ve read in a book or take the advice of a professional organizer. Then, try it on for size for up to 12 weeks (yes, 12). When you succeed, stretch a bit more and try top yourself. Sounds odd, I know, but sometimes it helps to have a mini-competition with yourself. After succeeding with 10 minutes/day on organizing and/or productive activities, try it for 15 minutes/day. Push yourself to achieve a little more than the best you can (currently) give.
Kissing the Clutter Graveyard Goodbye
The last time I gave a friend or family member a goodbye kiss, they were standing right in front of me. It’s easy to do the same with the clutter graveyard. Take a “before” picture and post it somewhere you can see it. Use it to remind you of your commitment to keep the dead, stagnant feeling — and look — of the graveyard as far away as possible.