When Clutter Goes Too Far

2020-09-29T00:55:11+00:00By |Categories: Organizing Chicago, Uncategorized|

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

Back to School isn’t Just for Kids

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

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

Is Life’s Noise Cluttering Your Brain?

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

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

De-Cluttering Your Sex Life

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

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

Clutter Free Shopping

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

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

De-Cluttering Your Calendar

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

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

Email De-Cluttering & Organizing

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

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

Creating Calmness in the Bedroom

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

Master BedroomThere are so many layers to the bedroom organization process because this space is so multifunctional. It’s a place to sleep, rejuvenate, and a place for passion.  It’s the space that determines how you start every morning and a home for ALL your clothes. Without digging too deep, I’m going to focus on the visual clutter today. Typically I see too many furniture pieces, Tv, artwork, mirrors, clothes hanging on the back of the door, and surfaces covered with paperwork, jewelry, perfume and odds and ends.

When you pull all these items into a single space it doesn’t really read tranquil or a space you to want to cuddle up in. My goal with organizing is to find a way to minimize the visual clutter. Removing 90% of what is on the surfaces.  By reducing bulky furniture – it typically means you need to reevaluate your current wardrobe to open up some space and curate the items that are needed to have out.

For me a TV is a no-no in the bedroom. We are already glued to our phones, tvs and laptops. I look at the bedroom as my little get away from anything that involves wifi or a plug. When I finally cuddle up after a long day I want to focus on clearing my head and reconnecting with myself and my hubby. Taking it back old school style and talking instead of texting. I understand for others a TV is a necessary part of the bedroom set, in these cases I look to position it so it’s not the main focal point.

I want the best for my clients and myself. Take a moment to visualize your dream bedroom. What color is it? What does your bedding look like…I bet your bed is made – is it dark and cozy or bright and fluffy?  Pull one word that describes your space. Now open your eyes and find simple ways to cultivate this feeling and look in your space. Here’s a hint, when you simplify you will create a space you love.

Quick Tips:

1. Pull any items that do not belong (old bills, workout equipment, leftover snacks…)
2. Downsize furniture, edit your wardrobe and any visual clutter
3. Find ways to cultivate calmness; scents, simplifing your bedside table, or refresh your bedding

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

Photo Credit: Home Adore Magazine

Office Supplies Overload

2018-10-29T20:14:14+00:00By |Categories: Organizing Chicago|

Office Supplies Overload

This is marketing at its best – making items like sticky notes, paper clips, and pens “sexy”.  And it’s just everywhere I look in stores.  I see well thought out notebooks, color plates created from pins, clips and staples and productivity planners.  Even someone that has gone 100% paperless will find purpose for these tiny tools.

You even see the trends of gifting stationary and office supplies as a great gift for any age.  If in doubt, just grab a journal and a pen, wrap it all up with an old map and you have the perfect gift for a wanderlust; wrap it in the comic section from last Sunday’s paper and you have a great gift for kids.  The options are endless but so is the clutter trail when it comes to excess in this category.

I did rant a bit, so let’s get back to the point.  Somewhere along the line this all becomes clutter.  Typically, when your drawers and bookcases start to resemble an office stock room.  It’s these moments you realize all the beautiful organizational tools hold no purpose in your life.  If you don’t journal be ok with that.  Allow this an opportunity to find new purpose for all the journals you’ve now collected or have been gifted.

The best way to address any problem is starting off by acknowledging you have an office supplies addiction, next detoxify, and lastly create structure around what is and is not acceptable going forward. Take a moment and learn a little about yourself and your habits in this area. Ask yourself questions like – why do you keep buying these items and what is this really “feeding”? stress? boredom? or has marketing taken over each time you step into Target?

Once you have a better idea of the “why” look to reduce your stock.  During the detoxifying step, looks to donate these tools to local schools and/or after school programs. There are plenty of places that will love and get real use out of your office supply treasures.  When you have less, you are more likely to use the items you have, this is my goal for all my clients. Simplifying to allow them to use the items the own and love.

Quick Tips:

1. Take Inventory, find all your journals, pens and organizing tools
2. Understand why you keep acquiring these tools
3. Detox, find ways to donate the items that don’t have a purpose … which allows you to use the items that do!

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

Pantry Organizing

2018-10-29T20:09:54+00:00By |Categories: Organizing Chicago|

Pantries of sorts have evolved over the past 100+ years. However, the thing we actually call a “pantry” only dates back to the 1900’s with a little company called Hoosier out of Indiana.  They created an all in one cabinet that was designed to hold your household staples like spices, flour and sugar.

The pantry has since evolved with many improvements like decorative bins, customized pullout drawers, and the infamous trend of labeling everything (which I have my own opinion on – for another blog post).

What I see the majority of the time is excess which quickly turns to waste.  Half eaten bags of chips, old crackers, and pasta (enough to feed a football team).  Many of these old snack packages are sitting in the pantry just waiting for someone to finally notice them and throw them out; in the meantime they take up valuable space.

We tend to follow in our parents footsteps – and having a stocked pantry means we are an adult right?  Well let’s deliberate a little, shall we?  Having can goods that you will never eat and pre-made mixes that are full of additives doesn’t sound like the most adult thing you could do.

Now understand if you have a stock of the foods you eat all the time and LOVE, don’t toss or change your process. I’m only talking about about individuals that continually find random items and say “Uh, where did that come from?”

I have a challenge for you – ready, set, go…

I challenge you to eat through your pantry once a year and dare I say your freezer while you are at it. It’s a great way to start fresh and to reconnect with what foods you like and which ones you can phase out.  Easy as it sounds, many will find this task difficult, so please let me know how you are coming along.  I’d love to hear from you.

Quick Tips:
1. Take a full inventory of your pantry
2. Make a master list – Items you use and want on hand at all times
3. Once a year eat through your pantry and freezer!

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

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