Too much stuff dragging you down?

Save time, money and energy by getting organized.

By Jeanine Hanson

Are you struggling with too much stuff? Do you feel so overwhelmed you just don’t know where to begin? Is tending to your belongings keeping you from experiencing your best life?

The true cost of owning too many things is almost incalculable. It’s not just the original price paid for those things, but the cost of maintaining them: the time lost searching for items, the money wasted repurchasing misplaced articles, and the energy spent keeping everything clean, accessible, displayed or stored. Perhaps you have even resorted to paying monthly for off-site-storage.

Would your life change for the better without the “responsibility”of caring for all of that stuff? If you said yes, here are some tips to get you started:

1) CHOOSE YOUR TASK. Start with something small: a junk drawer or a bathroom cabinet. (You can move on to larger projects as you get the hang of it.) Write out your goal and post it. This may seem unnecessary, but a reminder of where you are headed will help you stay on task.

2) ARM YOURSELF. Gather a large trashcan, large recycling bin, large shred container, and boxes for donations and things to give away. I emphasize large, because when any of your containers are filled, you will feel you are finished. (Empty containers almost “ask” to be filled!)

3) DO A QUICK SORT. Make quick decisions about which things stay and which things go. Don’t get lost in reading, pondering, or thinking about your emotional attachment to each and every item; just sort what you can. If you aren’t sure, put it in the keep pile for now. You will have a chance to re-sort these items later. It is far too difficult to try to go from the initial project to a perfect finish in one pass. This quick sort is to lighten your load, leaving you with only the important items to organize. Try setting a kitchen timer for 20 minutes as a reminder to check your progress and move quickly.

4) CLEAR OUT THE EXCESS. Every time you finish a sorting session remove all of the trash, recycling and donations from the room. Better yet, get them out of the house – this will help you see the progress. (Bonus: Your containers are now ready to be refilled, keeping your project moving forward!)

5) FRESHEN UP THE SPACE. Wipe out or vacuum the drawer or the cabinet. For more impact, add a new drawer liner or fresh shelf paper.

6) ORGANIZE WHAT IS LEFT. Next, sort the items you have chosen to keep. Group like things together, and decide where they will “live.” Use any small containers you have on hand to corral small items. (Purchase new organizing containers later. Often we buy pretty boxes for organizing before we do our sorting, and these containers just turn out to be more clutter as we try to make our stuff accommodate them instead of the other way around.)

7) TEAR OUT THIS PAGE AND SAVE IT. You never know when the urge to purge and organize may strike!

8) WOULD YOU LIKE MORE HELP? Hire a professional organizer today! Use these tips to tackle any organizing dilemma, and see what a difference it makes in your life!


Jeanine Hanson, owner of The Organizers, has been helping clients clear clutter, redecorate and bring beauty and comfort to every room of their home since 1993. Jeanine holds a B.A. in art from the UW, is a graduate of The Western School of Feng Shui, San Diego, CA, a member of the Interior Redecorators Network (IRN), New York City, and a member of the National Association of Professional Organizers (NAPO). She has researched home feng shui across the globe. Jeanine was previously an owner of the Ovens of Brittany restaurants and bakeries for 20 years.

For more feng shui tips check my website Phone 608.441.8795, email

Published in Nature’s Pathways Magazine, August 2014