I was with some friends the other evening and we started talking about what we were up to. When it came to my turn, I breathed in deep because I knew what would follow.

“I, uh, I’m a personal organizer. And I love it.”

Endless chatter flowed for the next 30 minutes about clutter, children, husbands, shelving, small houses, big houses and time constraints. I nodded along and sipped my tea. I noticed that one woman kept drawing the conversation back to the topic and I pulled her aside when we all turned to leave. Young children and a full time job made it nearly impossible for her to stay on top of things. She talked low and quiet and I could tell it was embarrassing for her to admit that she needed help.

First of all, stop right there. If you feel that way or have felt that way, stop. It is not something to be ashamed of. We live in a culture and economy that drives people to buy. We live in a world where toys and gadgets are cheap and made to be thrown away. Every magazine, commercial and politician wants you to spend your money on stuff. Stuff is what drives economies and our generation has been pummelled with this message, more so than any other generation.

So stop. This is not 100% your fault. There is hope for you!

Here’s a few small tips to help you stop the wave of stuff taking over your home, your car or your office.

Start with one drawer

15 minutes. That’s all you need. Tackle the crazy serving utensil drawer in the kitchen. Throw away doubles, broken utensils or ones that you haven’t used in years. Pull everything out, wipe down the drawer and sort. Put only what you need and use back in. It will feel so good you might keep going. If not, do it again next week. You will be amazed how brilliant it will feel just to have ONE DRAWER.

Stop buying junk

“But it’s so cute! And cheap!”

Trust me when I say that I HAVE SAID THIS TO MYSELF. And made it feel justified. Then I brought it home to my tiny house and it didn’t do a dang thing.

When you go to the store, ask yourself if you need it. NOT could you MAKE yourself need it. Like really need it. If you don’t and you STILL love it, decide what you are going to get rid of in its place. And then actually do it. Let it go – it will feel amazing.

“When I have a bigger house…”

Don’t do it. Don’t say that. Two things I want to say about this: 1 – a bigger house will get filled with more stuff you don’t need in more places you can’t find. Live your best life in a small space. 2 – if you are thinking of buying a bigger house because you need more room to store your stuff, STOP. This, again, is our culture pushing it’s big hand down on your back. You do not need to go bigger (unless you have 5 dogs or 5 children and you live on the 16th floor of a one-bedroom apartment). Bigger isn’t always better. Bigger means higher electricity bills, more cleaning and inevitably, more that can go wrong. Being content in the place where you are is the most successful you can ever be (me preaching to myself).

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About the Author: Sara Verwymeren

Sara Verwymeren is originally from Long Island, New York and has been in Winnipeg since 2011. Her love of organizing transformed into a career after helping numerous friends and family members de-clutter their homes.