Clutter no longer needs to be a problem

Going to Wooster, Ohio is always a highlight. First of all, to visit my aunt and uncle. And secondly, to enjoy the beautiful countryside.
Next door to Wooster is Wayne County–a place where Amish families live on lush, prosperous farms snuggled amidst rolling hills. The county is known for its Baby Swiss cheese, and cheese factories and wineries dot the countryside.
Wooster also is famous for introducing Christmas trees to America. A young German immigrant brought the evergreen tradition to this country in 1847.
But most important, Wooster is known far and wide as the Rubbermaid capital. All of those handy boxes, baskets, and storage bins that make your kitchen and laundry so convenient found their beginning in Wooster.
It’s no accident that Rubbermaid has dominated the storage container market. This company does its research and knows its products help consumers attain their goals. A recent survey by the organization giant revealed our top consumer goals.
First, we want to have more fun in life. Second, to lose weight. And third, to be better organized.
According to clutter expert Michelle Passoff, “Clutter at home is a condition of our times.” And many people feel the things in their lives are terribly out of control.
Rubbermaid’s survey found the biggest messes in our closets. “People tend to pile up the boxes, making it hard to get at their stuff,” said Bill Hauser, the company’s manager of business development and research.
Much of the clutter is items of nostalgia. But, according to Hauser, “There is also less of a throw-away mentality today, with people saving items to reuse them.”
We all imagine that someday we’ll be skinny enough to wear those too-small clothes, or we’ll need those discarded kitchen items, or we’ll finally get around to fixing our broken watches and clocks.
For whatever reason, we simply have too much stuff and don’t know how to organize it.
In her book, “Lighten Up! Free Yourself from Clutter,” Passoff suggests organizing your stuff in two stages. The first stage she calls “detoxification.”
To begin the detoxifying process, sort through the items you have accumulated during your lifetime and decide what to discard. Determine what you really value and what will help you live a meaningful life today.
Be merciless in your cleansing. Remember this is your life you are detoxifying.
As you detoxify, remember the well known 80/20 rule. Whenever you choose to discard items, 80 percent of the value will come from only 20 percent of your items. So why not toss your 80 percent that’s junk?
In the second stage, you reorganize the stuff you’ve decided to keep. That’s when you decide what storage products–such as shelves, files, boxes, and other organizers–you want to buy.
This, according to Passoff, is the fun part and where interior design comes in. And, we might add, also why Rubbermaid is interested in her research.
Clutter is rooted in one problem–failure to have a specific place for each item. Once you have a home for every item, you know where to find it and where to put it away. And clutter is no longer a problem.
So, if your goals match those of the nation’s consumers–having more fun, losing weight, and getting better organized–why not start right now in your worst closet?
You’ll have more fun as you detoxify your spaces. You may lose weight with all that tugging and lugging of clutter. And you surely will become better organized.

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