Having a home you love to live in means that you have a handle on keeping things neat and organized.
Or do you?
Let’s face it. We all have clutter and I’ll be the first to admit that I have areas in my home that need to be addressed. Sometimes I can easily close the closet door to eliminate it from my mind, but the old saying, “out of sight, out of mind” doesn’t always hold true.
How do you tackle the clutter and create good habits of living in an organized home?
Let me introduce you to Sarah Mueller.
I met Sarah in a Facebook marketing group and came to love her, along with all she stood for. Her easy tips and challenges are helping hundreds of people overcome their challenges of living in a cluttered home.
Sarah is creator of Early Bird Mom, lover of organized spaces, encourager to women and mom to four boys. When I asked her if I could interview her for you all, she graciously accepted my invitation to share her passion and wisdom.
If you suffer from “clutter”, take a read on what Sarah shares. I’ve also included a number of her helpful resources and ways you too can connect with her at the end of this post.
Let’s get to it…
How did you get into becoming a declutter | organizational expert?
I started blogging in 2013. I was passionate about organizing. Real friends were shy about having me come to their home because of their fear of judgment.
I attended a blogging academy and wrote a book in 47 days called “Step by Step Decluttering”. Soon after, I started the Declutter My Home group on Facebook which exploded after I shared a photo of my son in rain boots, captioned “People don’t need more toys, they need more adventures.”
[clickToTweet tweet=”Sometimes we suffer from ‘clutter blindness’. Sarah Mueller, Early Bird Mom” quote=”Sometimes we suffer from ‘clutter blindness’.”]
How do you approach a messy room?
One of my favorite Chinese Proverbs is “The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The second best time is now.”
And that’s how I approach any task.
Pick a target, i.e. your kitchen table, a drawer, a shelf. Focus on it for ten minutes. Be ruthless about your efforts as you go through and sort what you find. Decide what you can trash, keep or donate.
What are your top tips for helping others to get organized?
Group like things together and collect them into one location. You’ll be surprised and the amount of duplicates and triplicates you may find.
Label things to find them easily. Don’t worry about making things look pretty and perfect. For example, feeling the need to use a label maker instead of writing on a piece of masking tape could cause you to procrastinate, especially if you don’t own a label maker or are out of tape.
Use bins and baskets to group like things together.
Don’t be a perfectionist.
What’s been your biggest challenge?
Lack of storage once a room is decluttered. When a home isn’t equipped with adequate storage, you have to get creative.
What are a few end results of your decluttering projects?
After helping people declutter a room or a home, they can get emotional. People have cried. It’s amazing what a well organized space can do to someone.
Clutter is depressing. It creates anxiety.
No one ever says, “I wish I never spent time cleaning” because the benefits of a clean and organized area far outweigh the time it took to get there.
I’ve had clients tell me things like, “I had no idea it was going to be so easy.” “I wish I would have done this last year.”
When you have a home owner that’s overwhelmed, how can they get started?
The hardest part is getting started.
In my Facebook group, I started the “10 minute challenge”. It’s all about getting into momentum. You can set a timer if you tend to get distracted.
When you get into the habit of cleaning and straightening up, it trickles over into other areas of your home. People start to see opportunities where they can look at their “possessions” as things to get rid of.
Find a system that works for you, and just get started.
What are the benefits of an organized home?
There are many benefits. When you have an organized home, you’re able to find things easily; you save money and time cleaning; gain self control…just to name a few. In addition, you might even find money!
One of my clients found a check, after her husband passed away, in the amount of $10,000. Another lady found $3,000 in checks within her piles of mail.
You become more intentional and you’re able to say “no” more often.
You gain peace.
We live in a fast paced world. People are “on the go” all the time, it seems. When you come home to a place that’s clean and organized, it helps you unwind.
For people that suffer from ADD or ADHD, an organized home eliminates additional chaos and gives structure. And we all benefit from structure.
I’ve had clients that share with me that when they became intentional and consistent with staying organized, their habits started to rub off onto other family members. Their spouses started to embrace the same habits because they “felt safe”.
It’s also important for our kids to learn how to live and operate in an organized home. It’s a life skill that many overlook. When your children learn this skill, they’ll eventually know how to take care of a home when they have one of their own.
When you look at clutter, there are different types, i.e. home, digital, mental, calendar. Do you address all of these?
No, I focus mainly on physical clutter; the stuff found in our homes. I do have a good friend that deals with planner organization which helps with managing our time. I’ll be featuring her soon in my Facebook group.
Psychology of clutter. What does that mean to you?
Dealing with clutter is a mental game. It’s 90% emotional and mental; 10% physical.
I recommend to my clients when they clean and organize to not get attached to things. Look at each item for what it is. Is it something you can use, donate or trash.
Let go of guilt and remain curious. Ask yourself, “Am I a bad person if I don’t like this?”. Process all your feelings which can take time. Some people feel ashamed or guilty when they get rid of things, but there is a sense of freedom you feel when you get rid of stuff you no longer need or use.
Always remember, when you donate unwanted items, you can really help someone in need who might not be able to afford paying full retail.
Thank you Sarah!
Your tips and insights to a well organized home are so helpful.
I could relate to the “finding money” stories.
Our middle child, who will remain nameless, would try to cut corners in her cleaning efforts by stashing things in unexpected places. When we’d check, her room looked to be in order until we opened doors and drawers, and looked under furniture.
It drove me nuts because I love a clean, organized home, with minimal clutter of course. I do have some, especially in our home office which I share with my husband.
Anyhow, we “grounded” our daughter and told her she had to clean her room and couldn’t do anything more until it was done…and done right!
So off she went, unhappy about how her day was unfolding. She worked for hours on it and came outside with a huge smile on her face. “Guess what, mom?!” “What?” I asked. “I just found $700!”
She had stashed and forgotten about a bunch of financial of gifts she had received over the years. Cleaning out every nook and cranny of her room and closet helped her find those forgotten gifts. She was so excited because she now had the money she needed to pay for her rowing camp.
It was a true win and a huge lesson to her.
If you struggle from clutter and need help and encouragement, go join Sarah’s Facebook group Declutter My Home.
She provides a judgment zone, focusing on 10 Minute Challenges. Her members are engaged and so encouraging to others. I was impressed by the positive, healthy habits they are forming.
Be sure to check out her other amazing resources:
Where to Dispose of Your Clutter (if you don’t want to throw it out): Click here and sign up to her mailing list to get this fabulous resource.
Get started here: 10 minute decluttering challenges: Click here
Other decluttering products and courses: Click here
Before & After Hall of Fame: Click here
Cleaning tips: Click here
Organizing questions / tips: Click here
Decluttering School: Click here
Sarah’s Pinterest Boards: Click here
Here are some great quotes to end with.
Clutter is nothing more than postponed decisions. Author Unknown
The more things you own, the more they own you. Author Unknown
Collect moments, not things. Author Unknown
What’s one area that you’ve been wanting to get organized?
What other benefits can you share about the developing organizational habits?
If you found this article helpful, please “pin it“, share it and comment. I always love to read what you write.
Cheers to you and your home!