Even a Professional Organizer Needs to Purge: Getting Rid of Clutter

How to Declutter Your Home

by Lorraine Brock

As I was doing some cleaning and organizing last month, I came across various items that I knew I had not used in a long time, but still had not made the decision to purge.
There are a number of reasons why we hold on to things. Sometimes it is because we invested our hard earned money into them, and sometimes it is our heart that is invested. We think that time may change the fact that these items sit in our cabinets gathering dust. But more often changes in technology give us an opportunity to buy new and better things.

One particular discovery for me was a set of medical encyclopedias. I had referenced them many times in the past trying to determine what illnesses or infections my boys had when they were younger. Now I realize I have not used them in years and the large books are taking up valuable shelf space. Every mom needs a few hidden storage spaces, and giving up these books would open up some new space for me.

Another item that many of us have in our home is a Rolodex. In years past, between personal and my business contacts, I used the living daylights out of my Rolodex. Of course now all my contacts are stored in my phone. To make the transition easier, I sat down at my kitchen table and went through each and every card to be sure I had the information I needed. Then I trashed it.

My next cabinet clean out find was a phone book. While the book is up to date, I no longer let my fingers do the walking to find phone numbers. Now I go to the internet and enter the information in my phone. Using my phone for data storage and retrieval, I can get everything I want to know about anything at any time, and it takes up so much less space than a phone book.

The book purging continued as I contemplated the need for a physical dictionary. Another reference book that so many families keep on the bookshelf, this one was a little harder to let go. I tried to come up with a scenario when I would need an actual dictionary in my hands. The worst case would be if we found ourselves in a new age with no internet. I decided to take my chances and donate it.

The last thing I found in the cabinet was an outdated Mapsco. This book was given to me by my parents in 2000 so that I could easily find my way around Dallas. My deceased mom had written in the front of the book: “If you get lost don’t call Mom, I’m bad with directions”. This item was not a monetary save, but more of a heart investment. So even though I do not use it or need it, I decided that in a future without the internet or GPS, knowing where I came from, where I am, and where I am going, is more important than spelling correctly. So I put the Mapsco back on my shelf.

The purpose of scheduling time to do home organization is to determine if we are using valuable space for items we no longer want or need. I realized that even when I make the decision that I have no use for an item, I still may keep it. But if I keep it, part of the organizing task is to find it an appropriate home.

Now that it has been a few weeks since my purge, I feel no sense of loss for the items I decided to throw out or donate. The bonus was that I used the extra space to create a spot for my mailing and shipping supplies. I also learned to trust that time and technology will provide us with new and better ways to do things and when that happens, it is time to let go.


Lorraine Brock is a professional organizer, family coach, speaker, and founder and owner of Get Organized!. Get Organized! is a professional organizing company in the Dallas, Texas area. Get Organized! specializes in organizing and de-cluttering homes as well as implementing systems in the home for better family management. A popular media guest, Lorraine has appeared on Good Morning Texas, Good Day Fox, CBS 11 and has been featured on various radio outlets. Additionally she has been hallmarked in many local, regional, and national media, such as the Dallas Morning News, SheKnows.com, and Daily Candy Kids.  Most recently Lorraine Brock was featured as the local expert with stars from HGTV and the DIY Network at the The Great Big Texas Home Show. To get more information about Lorraine, visit www.GetOrganized.ws.



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