If you’re so bent on keeping your home immaculate that you’ve got no time to actually relax and enjoy life, then you have a problem.
That’s the opinion of New York-based professional organiser Amanda Sullivan, who thinks some of today’s extreme and perfectionist decluttering philosophies are over the top. She’s the author of the alternative decluttering book, Organised Enough: The anti-perfectionist’s guide to getting – and staying – organised.
Chatting to Hope 103.2’s Katrina Roe, she said being organised is a means to an end and shouldn’t become a second job.
“You want to be able to find what you need, you don’t want to buy duplicates, you don’t want to pay your bills late, you want your home to look presentable and be comfortable,” she said. “But you don’t want to spend your whole life organising.”
7 Tips for Staying Imperfectly Organised
Amanda’s philosophy is that everyone’s unique, and we all need a different level of tidiness-versus-clutter. She uses the word ‘FLOW’ in her approach to organising, an anacronym that stands for:
F – Forgive Yourself
Forgiveness will help those of us with perfectionist tendencies. “People are really hard on themselves,” says Amanda. “We have unrealistic ideas we get from magazines and TV shows that our home should look perfect.”
L – Let Stuff Go
Let go of your attachment to things that were useful five years ago but no longer serve a purpose. “People have a lot of fear, about ‘I don’t know if I’ll need this piece of paper’, or ‘Oh but my child made it’,” says Amanda. “I’ll say, ‘Yes but your child also made these other 50 things that we’ve agreed to keep. You don’t have to keep it all’.”
O – Organise What’s Left
Recognise that a degree of organisation is important. “When we’re single and young we’re fine,” says Amanda, ”but then we get kids, we get married, we’ve got a lot going on, there’s people in and out of our house, you have to have a system.”
W – Weed Constantly
Have a regular routine of ‘weeding out’ things that are unnecessary. It might only take five minutes to ‘weed’ out the forgotten gadgets in your kitchen drawer, or the empty bottles in the bathroom cupboard, but it will make it easier to find what you need, when you need it.
Other tips include:
When you’re at the supermarket or department store and you’re tempted to add yet another vanilla-scented candle or teal-coloured throw rug to your trolley, ask yourself: ‘Do I really need this?’
Keep Things Moving
Don’t let things arrive in your house and then stay there forever. “I want people to think of their home like a body,” says Amanda. “Things come in, things go out, it’s not stagnant.”
Invite Friends for Dinner
Invite somebody around for dinner and book it in in two weeks, as a motivator for getting organised. You’ll be surprised how quickly you can get that much-neglected spare room looking tidy!