Decluttering Your Space in 15 Minutes a Day

“Owning less is far more beneficial than organizing more.” -Joshua Becker

Decluttering is all about the edit. The National Association of Productivity and Organizing Professionals (NAPO) found that 80% of items we keep are never used. This may sound like a daunting statistic, but use it as confirmation that it’s ok to let go!

It’s important to set realistic expectations when it comes to the editing process. If peace is what we want, we must remove the excess. If we’re seeking connection, balance and more free time, we must get clear on what serves us and what doesn’t.

While social media can be a source for inspiration, it’s important to keep proper perspective. A single image of perfection is not real life. I strive for ‘progress over perfection’ with my clients. Proper storage is important, but what really matters is what we’re storing and why we’re holding onto it.

Start the decluttering process with these 3 basic steps:

Set the intention by selecting an area. It can be as small or as large as you feel comfortable with. I find that starting small sets you up for more success down the road. You can tackle larger areas as you gain more confidence.

Set a timer for 15 minutes. Allotting a specific time helps you stay focused and boosts productivity. The goal is to continue repeating this process in small increments until the area is completed. A single step in the right direction has the power to transform.

Grab a box for items that belong in other areas. In today’s fast-paced world, it’s easy for things to get shuffled around, but by having a designated bin you stay contained and focused on the task at hand. This will save you time and limit distractions.

By implementing these practical processes, you’ll start to form healthier habits that will help you reduce and maintain a decluttered lifestyle.

Quick Tips
1. Set the intention within a designated area.
2. Start a timer to stay focused.
3. Progress over perfection.

Sarah Parisi — The Clutter Curator Chicago’s Premier Home Organizer

2021-02-22T12:40:48+00:00By |Categories: Organized, Organizing Chicago|0 Comments

Reflect, and Maybe Forget 2020

New Year Resolution

At the end of every year I enjoy reflecting on the lessons I’ve learned. This year provided many, but here are the top five biggest takeaways I’ve encountered in 2020. 

  1. Redefine home

Our homes became everything this year — shelter, work, school, gym, play etc. It was intense, but it put a spotlight on our priorities and the importance of our homes. Understanding how influential this space can be to our mental and physical state is the first step to simplifying our lives. We can’t control everything, but we can make authentic changes to control clutter and open up space for what really matters. 

  1. Create boundaries

Regardless of the size of your home, we realized how versatile these spaces need to be & how difficult it is to create order when we’re suffocated by our possessions. The energy is stagnant and confines us in more ways than one. Living with less allows you to implement a key principle in life — adaptability. It helps minimize frustration when you have to maximize space to serve multiple functions. 

  1. Be vigilant

Accumulation can feel like it happens overnight. Stay intentional to keep material possessions within manageable levels. Consistently maintaining organization requires a personalized system that works with you. My role is to bring objectivity, insight and awareness to the “why” you hold onto things, give you a jump start on the process and equip you with the right tools that will bring you continued success.

  1. Begin anywhere

It doesn’t have to be picture perfect to create an impact. Decluttering is an ongoing process. Where you start is not important. Make realistic goals, set a timer, start small — but start somewhere, anywhere! Each small step you take will provide you with more energy to continue the process and remove the excess.

  1. Remove fear 

The fear that surrounds a pandemic is undeniable. It will forever leave a lasting impression on us all. Preparing for future emergencies is wise, but be realistic. Resist the urge to hoard. Life is too short to live in fear and be weighed down by “what if” purchases. Focus on creating safe, clear spaces that will aid in building resilience.

In these unprecedented times, it was beautiful to witness all the innovative ways that people stayed connected. I want to express my gratitude to each and every one of you for supporting my purpose and giving yourself (or gifting others) with the gift of less. I truly believe it’s one of the highest forms of self-care and achievable for all. Thank you. 

 

Sarah Parisi — The Clutter Curator

Chicago’s Premier Home Organizer

2020-12-14T17:46:22+00:00By |Categories: Organized, Organizing Chicago|0 Comments

In The Spirit Of Giving

 

If you celebrate Thanksgiving, you know this is traditionally a holiday intended to give thanks. Seemingly, it presents an amazing opportunity to express our sincerest gratitude amongst our closest family and friends. Sounds great, right? 

Unfortunately, the holidays tend to spark up all kinds of emotional and physical clutter for many. We are programmed to believe that in order to show our appreciation for one another, we must have something to show for it. However, this cultural conditioning and commercialism can lead to unnecessary stress, pressure and debt.

Giving a gift out of obligation will never carry the same heartfelt sentiment as a gift given freely. With that in mind, try to focus on expressing your love in more meaningful ways that don’t compromise your mental wellbeing or bank account. The most precious gift you could ever give someone is your undivided attention and time.

The things that bring us true joy simply aren’t for sale. It is the value of our experiences, not our possessions, that increase over time. Even a holiday story gone wrong can stir up laughter for years to come. I guarantee you won’t remember all of the gifts, but you will remember the time ‘Uncle John’ dropped the entire turkey right before dinner! These are the moments that stay with us and enrich our lives. Innately, we know these statements to be true, but it’s easy to lose sight of. 

I realize challenging the gifting tradition may not receive a warm welcome by most. So, it’s important to note that you can accept the love and effort that went into a gift and still release it from your life if it does not serve you. Every item you allow into your life carries an energy with it. If the gift feels like a burden, it will carry that same negative energy. The intent of a gift is not to weigh you down. As the recipient, you have the power to say if it stays in your life or if it goes.

My core mission is to help you open up space for the things that truly feed your soul. The things that money can’t buy — a hug from a loved one, laughing so hard you cry or receiving a handwritten note from a distant friend. When our material possessions carry guilt, fear or obligations they drain us of our time and energy to experience all the beauty and joy that life has to offer. Make the choice to live with less and I promise that you’ll have so much more in the long run. 

Quick Tips

  1. Remember that our most precious gift will always be our time.
  2. Our experiences hold more value than any material possession.
  3. Give thanks, but don’t be afraid to let go of a gift if it does not serve you.

Sarah Parisi — The Clutter Curator

Chicago’s Premier Home Organizer

2020-11-09T15:22:39+00:00By |Categories: Organizing Chicago|0 Comments

When Clutter Goes Too Far

Clutter is often the physical manifestation of an underlying problem within ourselves. 

Despite our best efforts, it’s unrealistic to assume that we’ll never buy anything new after we make the decision to declutter. This is why it’s so critical to establish healthy consumer habits. It’s easy to maintain order when we become intentional about purchases and create a concrete organizational system that works for our lifestyle.

Great changes take place when we prioritize self-care and self-reflection. It’s normal to have some attachment to the things we surround ourselves with, but it’s important to know the role they play in our lives. Our belongings are intended to serve us in positive ways. They may be a reflection of who we are, but they do not define our worth.

However, clutter may be more serious if you:

  1. Compulsively buy and keep an excessive amount of belongings in your home
  2. Incorrectly assign value to material possessions without properly caring for them
  3. Have extreme difficulty removing items due to sentimental reasons

The American Psychiatric Association classifies hoarding as an actual mental disorder. These people are typically paralyzed by perfectionism; consumed by their possessions where chaos reigns. Hoarding prohibits them from using their home in a functional manner. Unfortunately, this disorder can lead to unsafe living conditions and detrimental consequences that extend far beyond their physical space.

My consultancy tends to double as mini-therapy sessions. I carefully listen to the “how” and the “why” to determine the level of emotional attachment you have towards your belongings — only going as deep as you feel comfortable with. In doing so, I’m able to cultivate solutions that will transform your space, and ultimately, your life. 

The good news is, there is light at the end of the tunnel! Acceptance of the problem is the first step to freedom, but you don’t have to take this step alone. If you have hoarding tendencies or are ready for a change, I’m here to help. No judgement. Together, we can co-create order and lasting change. Let’s take back your power.

Quick Tips

  1. Get honest with yourself and remove the excess.
  2. Appropriately assign value to possessions.
  3. Seek professional assistance if needed. It’s not a weakness to ask for help. 

Sarah Parisi — The Clutter Curator
Chicago’s Premier Home Organizer

2020-11-09T15:21:50+00:00By |Categories: Organizing Chicago|0 Comments

Back to School isn’t Just for Kids

Back to School

 

 

I strongly suggest the entire family takes this time to reset and revaluate how they want to end 2019. That’s right folks it’s September and there are 3 months left to check off those resolutions you set back in January. 

New School Year. New Routine. New You.

Start with making a plan on what you want this year to look like. Note the things that worked during last year’s school year, what didn’t work and what items you are ready to offload and delegate to others (the nanny, your kids, your spouse). Your time is money too and sometimes bringing someone else in is well worth the investment. 

I know your Pinterest page and instagram stories are saturated with home command centers, and interesting cubby ideas that will surely get you organized this year. (Cough cough) Did any of these things stick last year? Or does your white board still read “September 2018”. The key is to find something that will work for you and your family. Something that you will actually use and find helpful. 

As always, start simple. Use the freebie calendar that you’ve had since January and fill out the next 30 days worth of activities. Color code the activities: Green for Kids events, Blue to Parents Events and Pink for family events.  Stick it somewhere you look everyday and see if you actually look and find it helpful. If you find yourself using this for the next month or so, continue through November. Congratulations you have hit the three month milestone, go out and buy a perfect whiteboard and make that space a Pinterest worthy command center. The important step here is trying it out before investing in the space. I know the thought of if I buy all the “things” and make the space “perfect” then I will surely use it and finally be organized. But I find more times than not it has the opposite effect, we put all the energy into creating the space without creating the habit first. 

You have to build a foundation before you can build the home. 

Quick Tips

  1. Start Small.
  2. Use existing items.
  3. Reward once you establish the habit. 

Sarah Parisi – The Clutter Curator
Chicago’s Premier Home Organizer

Image Via Element5 Digital on Unsplash

2019-09-23T16:23:29+00:00By |Categories: Organizing Chicago|0 Comments

Is Life’s Noise Cluttering Your Brain?

Stressed WomanWhile living in New York City I was accustom to noise clutter each and everyday. Walking to work, in the office, on the train, and just sitting in my apartment. I was surrounded by noise. But my favorite time would be a Sunday morning as I walked my two little dogs along 22nd street in Chelsea. It was quite, calm and free of distractions. I would be able to breath and take in the beautiful city that I loved. The silence allowed me to appreciate all that I had; and take in the architecture of the buildings.

Noise clutter is underestimated in how much it negatively impacts our mental health. Do you ever notice when you eat in a loud and busy restaurant its hard to enjoy your food. You may notice you eat faster than normal or have a hard time tasting each flavor. Personally noise clutter has a huge impact on my mood and how I interact with others.

Take a moment this week to be present and listen to the noise around you. Sit at your desk, close your eyes and take it all in, be aware of your surroundings maybe for the first time. Actively looking for silence throughout your days gives you a moment to reconnect with yourself and your environment. It allows you to take back control of your environment and remove the clutter to refocus you on the task at hand.

This is a hard one for me, but sitting in your home without the tv on and just be. Some may see this as a meditation but I want you to take in each sound and process whats going on. I want you to remove digital noise so you can reconnect with your breath and space. Our homes have such an impact on our wellbeing. It’s where we start and end each day.  Ask yourself – when is the last time you really just connected with your space to ensure it supports with your goals.

Quick Tips:

1. Take 5 minutes each day to take in your surroundings

2. Breath, become aware of the noise around you and how it is affecting your mood.

3. Find ways to mute the sound to create calmness throughout your day.

Sarah Parisi – The Clutter Curator
Chicago’s Premier Home Organizer

Imagine via Pinterest

2018-10-29T20:13:52+00:00By |Categories: Organizing Chicago|0 Comments

De-Cluttering Your Sex Life

HandsIs your sex life cluttered?

I find clutter in ALL aspects of life. Clutter comes in so many different forms and once you identify it as clutter it’s easier to phase it out of your life. Clutter could be a lack of communication, too much communication, overcommitting and not allowing space in your schedule for sex, letting old stories tell you that you are not sexy (sex and mental clutter, a bad combo!), too many partners?, too many distractions?, Kids, physical clutter in your bedroom, cluttered body language between you and your partner?

I love working with couples to de-clutter their homes. Now I only bring up communication clutter when it’s appropriate, as I know this can affect a couples sex life, and when I know they are open to my suggestions. Let’s just say most sessions don’t head in this direction, but I truly believe it’s an important topic that is generally swept under the rug. When I have the opportunity I take it and run… It’s so rewarding to open up my clients eyes to the nonphysical clutter in their home and watch their relationship transform. My dream clients not only have a beautiful home after the process but have learned to de-clutter their life, opening up space for experiences and a lot of good beautiful sex!

During a girls weekend I dared each woman to send a sexy photo or message to their partner. You could see the fear and stress set in. One had never sent a picture to her husband so she snapped a quick selfie of her at the bar. She laughed thinking he would think it was strange. Within moments, he’s text poured in, asking how the night was going and raved about how beautiful she looked. It’s not about sending something over the top or ultra-sexual, sometimes it’s just about doing something outside of your personal comfort zone to remind the other person you care. One of the other girls was even picked up as a surprise at the airport by her partner. He had a huge bushel of flowers for her, which was something that was not typical for her. All of these stories make me so happy! Small acts of love go a long way in a relationship and in the end will energize your sex life!

Seemingly simple tips towards a less-cluttered sex life, take a moment to hold your partner. Try a 60 second hug, make out – bring it back to middle school days… and don’t feel like you have to have sex after. Understanding your love language and your partners is another great way to evolve your sex life. If he likes touch and you like words of affirmation you want to make sure you are giving your partner what they need and desire. Don’t let cluttered thoughts discourage you from trying something new. It may be uncomfortable at first but you are in this relationship to grow and find the depths of what feeling worthy and loved is…right?

It’s Wednesday better known as hump day…which means that you have the rest of the week to de-clutter your sex life and maybe find a new level of passion.

Image via Pinterest, artist unknown

Sarah Parisi – The Clutter Curator
Chicago’s Premier Home Organizer

2018-10-04T19:29:16+00:00By |Categories: Organizing Chicago|0 Comments

Clutter Free Shopping

Shopping BagsShopping is what makes the world go round, sparks simple happiness and fills the many voids in our lives. Fashion has transformed over the past 25 years going from two and four seasons to 52 seasons. Yes, you read that correctly fashion companies are putting new items out every week to aid our toxic habits. Fashion is no longer something you use for life, it’s something that if it’s lucky gets used once. Our world is made up of excess and disposable products. If it’s cheap we wear it once and forget about it. If it’s too expensive we hoard it and never let it see the light of day.

I discuss many ways to adjust your habits to reduce the amount of consumerism waste while increasing your bank accounts. These small changes create space and funds for real life experiences.  As we shop we are looking for that high; the power to say “Yes, I’ve earned this” or “Yes, this is the key to making me happy.”  I find when the package arrives the joy is lost, and the items pile up with all the other “power purchases”, so in the end what’s the purpose? We are on a hamster wheel going nowhere, adding zero value to our days.

I encourage you to take a look at the items you purchased in the last week, month or year and ask “Would I buy this again?” And continue with “what was I avoiding when I purchased this?” When we take a moment to dig a bit deeper, we get to know ourselves and better understand our habits. It’s an eye opening experience and will cultivate the clutter-free lifestyle that you so desire.

Clutter-free is a lifestyle not a crash diet, each day we have the opportunity to choose what’s best and what is worthy of our time and energy.

Quick Tips:

1. Recognize when you are emotional shopping. Take a breath and discuss how this piece will add value to your life before heading to the cashier.

2. Shop with a plan, understand what you have and only buy items that add to your wardrobe.

3. Challenge yourself to a 30 days retail detox, get to know your habits around shopping and find ways to make adjustments to better serve you.

Sarah Parisi – The Clutter Curator
Chicago’s Premier Home Organizer

Photo Cred: bagstowear.co.uk

2018-10-29T20:28:02+00:00By |Categories: Organizing Chicago|0 Comments

De-Cluttering Your Calendar

Yes, overbooking yourself is creating life clutter. I look at clutter in a holistic way ensuring my days are light and clutter-free. This gives me space between clients to reduce the world’s unneeded stresses.

What’s your week look like? Does it reflect your ideal life? Somewhere along the line our schedule no longer is in our control. We have bosses, friends and over commitments that take precedence, leaving us without space to breath or just be. I find it a bit funny because it’s our time yet we allow others to take control.  We are all guilty of it.

Take a moment and visualize your best work day. Write out what this day looks like.  Ask yourself what time do you start?   And then what would you accomplish? Did you take a walk at your lunch break? Did you make time to connect with a co-worker outside of the daily minutia?

Now — how can you build in small habits to cultivate this ideal day? I find the key is saying “no” and having boundaries. Just because your co-worker needs you right now doesn’t mean it’s your problem. You were hired to do X,Y,Z and don’t let someone steal your time to better suit their day. This one is hard, so understand that not every day will look the same.

Quick Tips:
1. Dream up your ideal day
2. Find ways to build in boundaries to maintain your “dream day”
3. Make small daily goals to cultivate change and balance

Sarah Parisi – The Clutter Curator
Chicago’s Premier Home Organizer

Photo Cred: Fox Hollow Studios Calendar

2018-10-29T20:11:37+00:00By |Categories: Organizing Chicago|0 Comments

Email De-Cluttering & Organizing

Ok… let’s be serious here.  How many emails do you get a day outside of your work email?? It’s crazy, right?! Let’s talk about where to start, questions to ask before unsubscribing vs. deleting, and how much time are you really spending deleting emails. 

When I left my cushy sales job in New York I was on a mission to simplify my life. I started by selling and donating all my furniture and home goods. I took a real look at my wardrobe and shoe inventory and paired it down substantially. Now the months before leaving New York to save as much as possible I lived with my dear friend Michelle Baker, in a great junior studio… yup that’s right two ladies, two wardrobes and one studio apartment. We made it work, kept is simple and forced us both to downsize. Even as my bank account was growing I didn’t spend a penny on new items. My eyes were on the prize of traveling for the next 10 months and carrying all I owned in a backpack (and a large suitcase). 

Now the final step in this process was looking at my digital clutter because at this point I owned next to nothing.. which was LIBERATING. I looked at the constant stream of emails coming in about the next best sale, the product “I can’t live without”, or the best thing to simplify your life… funny because this digital clutter is doing quite the opposite. 

So how did I do it?  Well, I did it…I removed all the digital clutter in my life. I’ll be honest it’s going to take some real effort on your part. 

Step 1: Unsubscribing to any and all spam and daily emails. We have so many sources to learn about new products, my Instagram and Facebook already know me well and are always pushing marketing of products. Removing them from your email is the one area you can control, so go ahead and take control! I promise if you are supposed to have this product it will find its way to your news feed some way somehow. Also, as you unsubscribe make sure you read the fine print.  A lot of sites will prompt you to click a button which actually puts you back on the list, tricky tricky. Note, this can take up to 30 days to be removed from the subscription so don’t get discouraged along the way.  

Step 2; Sorting what’s left over. I have a number of different folders within my mailbox (Travel, personal, Coaching Clients, Organizing Client, Expenses.. ) This way I can eliminate any clutter in my inbox that doesn’t have a task associated with it. I treat my inbox as a to-do list and look to have zero on a daily basis. 

Step 3: The one that typically gets forgotten, changing your habits. Going forward when signing up for a new membership or when you buy a new product make sure you aren’t subscribing to their promotional emails (unless these are something you feel are worthy of your time). Creating new habits will make maintaining a zero inbox possible and dare I say it easy. 

I hope this is helpful and I’ll be praying for you all to have a zero inbox like myself. It’s a great way to start each day fresh, clutter-free and focused!

Sarah Parisi – The Clutter Curator
Chicago’s Premier Home Organizer

Photo Credit: Wikipedia

2018-10-29T20:34:41+00:00By |Categories: Organizing Chicago|0 Comments
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