Tips for decluttering and organizing your home

Thanks in part to Marie Kondo’s popular Netflix show and best-selling books, the latest fad sweeping the country is decluttering and organizing your home. Most Americans have way too much stuff and clutter can take over every aspect of our lives. However, the process can often feel so overwhelming that people don’t know where to begin. That’s where the professionals come in.

Carey Smith of Springfield has made a business out of helping people declutter their homes. Since 2013, she has used her business, Carey Smith’s Organizing and Decluttering, to work with people who often find themselves in stressful situations due to the condition of their homes.

“It’s an emotional process,” says Smith. “People find they have to face a lot of emotional issues that they don’t want to deal with.”

She suggests starting with items that you don’t have an emotional attachment to such as clothing, books or junk mail. It’s easy to purge these items and often clients find it gives them a confidence boost.

When sorting through your things, look at each item and ask yourself if it is important to you and is something you want to bring with you on your journey. If it is, keep it. Otherwise, let it go. And remember you don’t have to keep family things handed down to you simply out of a sense of obligation.

For those items you’re not sure about, put them aside and come back to them later. The important thing is to keep moving forward. The more you move forward, the easier it becomes.

The end goal is to find a place for everything in your home. Once everything has a place, it’s easier to keep your home clean.

Susan Van Dyke, owner of DClutterBug House Cleaning and Organizing, said for her, the satisfaction comes from seeing the look of relief on someone’s face. “You’re getting the monkey off someone’s back,” she said.
She tells people to focus on one room at a time, rather than the big picture. Start by getting rid of the largest items in the room and then work your way down to the smallest ones. This frees up space.

Set aside a block of time, whether it’s one day or an entire weekend. Start in the room that brings you the most tranquility. This is often the bedroom.

Walk through the space and categorize the room into groups such as clothing, material or keepsakes. This makes it easier to decide which items to keep or get rid of. Look at each item and ask yourself how you feel about it. You can always set an item aside and come back to it later. This is the hardest part of the process and can be emotionally taxing.

In the end, it’s worth it. It gives people a new lease on life. However, decluttering is only part of it. Finding storage solutions that work for you and help you stay organized is the second part of the process. People often have enough storage, but it’s not utilized efficiently. Here is where a professional can help you find the best storage solutions for your needs.

George Coontz and his team at The Organized Home, located at 2601 Chuckwagon Dr. in Springfield, design and install storage solutions for every room in your home except the kitchen and bathroom. In business for 30 years, he was at the forefront of the industry and has seen a lot of changes.

“We design around you and your needs,” he said, and works with clients to create a functional attractive space. He suggests that before you contact a professional, know how you plan to use the space, what your budget is and what your expectations are for the space.

One thing you don’t need to do is clean your house. Coontz says he wants to see the space the way it is to understand what your needs are.

His team sees usable space where others don’t and utilizes it so you get the maximum use out of it. They can lay out a room that works best for you using 3-D imagery. There are a lot of new products, options and finishes available, and The Organized Home also offers design services.

For those who feel overwhelmed and aren’t sure what to tackle first, Smith offers a word of advice. “Don’t blame yourself,” said Smith. “Just start where you’re at and move forward.”

Roberta Codemo is a freelance writer based in Springfield. She can be reached at

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