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Archives for : Decluttering & Organizing

Decisions for Downsizing

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How to Make Decisions for Downsizing:

You have decided to organize your garage and you are so pumped to get this huge project done.  You go out there and look around, then panic a little inside.  Where do I start?  How am I going to get this done?  What should I keep and what should I get rid of?  Would anyone that I know need or want this stuff?  Where do I put it if I decide to keep it?  This is a very common process for anyone who is starting any purging and organizing job.

As a professional organizer you would think that every job is completely different, but even though the space and items are different the way people react to the situation is very similar.  I call these the five decision making barriers.  Yes, there are five barriers that everyone hits when it comes to making decisions but there are also ways to get past them.  Here they are:

  1. Fear of the “What If”:  This is where you run into an item and you are so afraid to get rid of it because “What if I need it” or “What if someone I know needs it”.  This can be paralyzing to many people.  The way to get past this one is to ask your self the worse case scenario if you got rid of it and can you solve or live with that worst-case scenario.
  2. Lack of Information: This is when you find an item and you don’t have enough information to decide if you should keep it or not.  An example is finding an old clock that might be worth something.  You don’t know at that time so you need to set the item aside and create a deadline of when you will find that information out.  If you don’t find out by that deadline you really don’t care and should just get rid of it.
  3. Lack of Confidence: Where should I start?  How can I get this all done?  Every consultation that I go on for a new job this is what my new client says.  Having the confidence to just do something takes a lot of practice and patients.  If a whole garage is to overwhelming for you then just look at one box in the garage.  Is that to overwhelming?  Can you complete one box?  You can and then you can move onto the next.  You will complete the whole garage by doing this method.
  4. Others Influence or Opinion: Having family and friends to help is awesome but sometimes it can add a few obstacles that you have to get over.  When I work with clients that lean more towards hoarders then the family can have a negative effect on the process.  It is your stuff and you are the only one who knows what is important to you and what is not.  Be confident in your decisions but still listen to your loved ones.  This can be a group effort where everyone can be happy with the results.
  5. Loss or Emotional Attachment: When a loved one passes or you have items with a strong emotional attachment to them it can be really hard to let those items go.  You first need to think about what your loved one would want for you life.  Then when you are going through the items talk about the memories and see if that item will achieve what your loved one would want for you life.  This one is the hardest to work through and will take the longest so be patient and take this process as a way to remember.

Those are the five barriers that everyone runs into when organizing and downsizing their stuff.  Each of these takes practice and can become an amazing skill.  Just take your time and you can get past all five barriers and have an organized home.


About Our Guest Author:

Sarah McKinney, owner of Sarah McKinney LLC, is an interior designer and professional organizer whose focus is creating solutions for your home or office, residential or commercial, that will improve your everyday life. With a degree in interior design and a lot of experience moving around the world, Sarah new that she had a unique skill that could help many others.  While completing her degree, Sarah noticed that in every project she would focus more on the functionality of the space before the beauty.  Her belief is that if a space functions then you will feel comfortable in it and will want to stay.  Function creates beauty.  Now she has worked with many homes and businesses to make them function so her clients feel comfortable and see the beauty.