Collections. Everyone seems to have them. A group of like items that tend to serve an identical function. You're not living until you have 15 or 20, or even 60 matching things, right? Most people are natural-born collectors, whether we care to admit it or not.
Tank tops - 35 different shades, that keep your drawer from closing. 40 pairs of old, ratty jeans (I NEED extras for painting in! I need my "fat" jeans!) 100 pairs of shoes (that are guaranteed to come back into style, right?). 25 really expensive water bottles (we drink a LOT of water in this house!). Cookie tins, decorative trinkets, old books, tupperware, china, toys, clothing, spices, tools, frames, toiletries, throw pillows . . .
The list goes on and on. One thing I know from so many years of making things "just so" as my husband Brian calls it, is that you cannot organize chaos. How can one expect to organize 60 vases, or 22 scarves, or 17 similarly sized pots/pans? There isn't enough room in your house for duplicates. We tend to want to save and save, and save some more. Why do we need to hold on to so much? What are we afraid of?
I often urge clients to get rid of their (multiple) duplicates. Say there are 5 people in your family - stick to 5 of your favorite water bottles. Are some of them personalized? Were others very expensive? Whatever the reason you hang onto so many of the same item, ask yourself: "What purpose does this serve me today? In three months? In a year?" Would you ever walk around with 2 water bottles at once? Or 5? You cannot organize chaos.
Another area for improvement tends to be:
The closet! Overstuffing since the beginning of time . . .
The idea of the closet was a very good one. I can't seem to find who invented it, but we can thank them, whoever they are. The problem with a closet is that it closes - which means that your items become "out of sight, out of mind."
One of my favorite things to do is go through my own closet. Usually every 6 months I ransack the thing, looking for items that I haven't worn. I am quick to get rid of things - quick to pass it along, because there is absolutely nothing worse than looking at chaos like the picture above. When I work with clients in their homes, it comes down to the age-old question: Keep it or get rid of it? (Hint: I usually say "get rid of it!").
Currently I have 9 summer/fall shirts, and 9 summer and fall dresses. I have 2 pairs of jeans, 2 pairs of shorts, and 2 pairs of sandals. It makes life much easier when I'm looking through my closet. As I mentioned before, you can only wear one pair of jeans at a time right? The other million pairs are just vacationing in your dresser drawer.
Having so much clutter in your home not only takes time to find anything, but it can negatively effect your brain function. From the New York Times in 2013:
In a study published last year titled “Life at Home in the Twenty-First Century,” researchers at U.C.L.A. observed 32 middle-class Los Angeles families and found that all of the mothers’ stress hormones spiked during the time they spent dealing with their belongings. Seventy-five percent of the families involved in the study couldn’t park their cars in their garages because they were too jammed with things. http://www.nytimes.com/2013/03/10/opinion/sunday/living-with-less-a-lot-less.html?pagewanted=1&_r=1&hp
Easier said than done, but who really needs 12 sweatshirts? You can only wear one at a time. Save two, or even three. If the shoe (or clothing) doesn't fit, GET RID OF IT. If you have 2 or 3 of the same thing, pick the best one, and leave the rest behind. You cannot organize chaos.
Give yourself the piece of mind you deserve in your home. Streamlined closets and organized drawers. Piece of mind that you know you have exactly what you need, and you know exactly where it is.