52 Weeks: #4 Making Decisions

Hey all!  You guys are on fire to get organized.  I’m loving every minute of this especially when I see how excited so many of you are getting about it.  Yes!  I’ve heard many stories where once you got started you just couldn’t stop at one thing.  The trick, as many of you are finding out, is just to get started.  Some of you like Tracy from Mama Olie’s Musings are finding great comfort in doing a little bit at a time:

“I am an organizing fool!  I am having so much fun (really, I am) organizing different areas of my home.  I am getting rid of clutter little by little, streamlining process, making things work for me and enjoying the baby steps I have taken.  I have many more projects ahead of me but doing them week by week instead of all at once is really working!”

Tracy did some excellent kitchen shuffling last week to come up with a better system for her family.  Way to go!

A Real Housewife of NYC needed some counter space and was able to do just that by “finding” space for all her jars that had started to take over .  She added a small bookcase in the dining area on a wall that was otherwise not being used.

That’s what it’s all about!  Go at your own pace, do what works for YOU and before you know it you will be living uncluttered and chaos free!

Last week we identified our piles.  This week as you go through your sort and purge process you will come up against some easy decisions with what to do with stuff and some not so easy decisions.  Fight the urge to run away and hide.  You can do this!  Since clutter is often defined as procrastinated decisions, embrace your stuff head on by considering the following questions:

1.  Can I afford, in terms of space, to keep this item?
2.  Could the space that this item takes up be put to better use?
3.  What am I saying NO to in order to say YES to this item?
4.  What’s the worst thing that’s going to happen if I get rid of this item?

Remember you can’t say YES to everything if your space is limited.

Questions for the comments:
1.  Were you able to tackle one of your piles last week?
2.  Did you have to make some tough choices?
3.  Have you had a chance to put any of the tips from my book, Clutter Rehab, into practice yet?

Looking forward to the discussion in the comments.  Don’t hesitate to encourage someone today!  Thanks everyone!!

Also please feel free to link up to the linky below with any posts related to your 52 weeks of organizing journey or to a post of an organizing nature that you feel will help and encourage others in their quest to get organized. Please remember to link back to here though so we can reach out to as many people as possible in need of some inspiration. One other thing to consider: by including your link below you, you are giving me permission to use parts of your post including pictures as a spotlight in future 52 Weeks of Organizing posts. Proper credit and links will of course be provided. If you are not okay with this please do not link up. Thanks!

Filed under: 52 Weeks of Organizing, Organizing Basics


47 Responses to 52 Weeks: #4 Making Decisions

  1. 2
    Teresa McNamara says

    I’ve organised piles of recipes from books and magazines this week. They are now in one pocket folder and I was able to make some very ruthless decisions because there will always be more recipes!

    • 2.1
      Laura says

      Ruthless is awesome!

  2. 3
    Wendy says

    Piles are an issue here. I don’t “do” piles. It’s my husband. He works insane long hours, so I’m trying to be gentle. However, his piles of this and that are driving me mad!! And, no, he doesn’t like it when I clean them, move them for him as a “favor”.
    Please help!!!

  3. 4
    MonicaB says

    I finished organizing my pile of recipes. Now I have a lovely binder with everything in order. I also started organizing the recipes I find on the internet without printing them out. I saw this idea on another web-site (don’t remember where) but I’m giving it a try. Check out my post if your interested: http://questtoperfectimperfection.blogspot.com/2011/01/clear-clutter_25.html.

    Now I have to tackle the piles of “garage sale” stuff we have piled in the basement!

    • 4.1
      Laura says

      Way to go Monica! Delicious is very popular!

  4. 5
    The Bearded Iris says

    I’m sorting Legos… a surprisingly therapeutic project we began about 2 weeks ago. My plan is to finish the sorting this weekend, and then go to Ikea on Monday to shop for a storage system. The idea behind the project is that if the Legos are more organized (we chose by color), then the kids will be more efficient, productive, and creative in their building. But also, I want it to be an organized and visually inviting space so they’ll want to spend more time there and less time numbing their brains with the tv/computer/DS. Here is where I wrote about the start of the project: http://beardediris.wordpress.com/2011/01/19/lego-therapy/

    I’ll check back in with photos of the finished project in a few days (I hope!). Thanks for the inspiration Laura!

  5. 6
    Bibi says

    I’ve organized my desk….finally and it feels so good to know all my paperwork is organized now.

    I walked into my teenager room this morning and I decided this weekend we will be tackling his piles and his mess. I am going to remember and use the 4 questions. He need major help.

    • 6.1
      Laura says

      Yes definitely let him have a say in the process…you may be surprised at what’s important to him.

  6. 7
    Kirsten says

    Ok “clutter is defined as procrastinated decisions” is so on point. That is exactly my problem, clutter happens in my house because I’m always wondering what to do with things. Before you know it I feel like my entire house is closing in around me because I just didn’t know where to put that one thing, and that one thing seems to attract other things, and other things, and other things. In all reality I just needed to make a decision to keep it or get rid of it, instead of finding a place for it. Getting rid of it being the key point. Thanks for that epiphany!!!

    Anyhow all and all this week was a great organizing success. I tackled the PILES on my desk and the pile of tangled mess under my desk as well. Very liberating! Its not perfect but I’m finding systems that work for me. Now to tackle the piles inside the desk. Tax time so its time to deal with them anyhow.


    • 7.1
      Laura says

      Ahh yes tax time…..lots of paper sorting for that one isn’t there!

  7. 8
    Heather says

    Hello Everyone! My name is Heather and I just found this blog yesterday, so I am 4 weeks behind. However, I have been slowly tackling the house every week, so I am joining in now. Since this week is about Making Decisions, I guess my decision of the week is to START! I will go through the weeks from the beginning to play catch up. As far as piles go, I am about to identify the piles in my room that need attention first and start working through them. Check out my brand new blog, inspired by all of you. I hope to continue with this life change with a positive attitude and a healthier, happier, living situation.

    • 8.1
      Laura says

      Never to late to start, welcome!

  8. 9
    Dawn says

    We have wanted to paint our cabinets for awhile and had the money in the budget to do it this month. So now that I have the supplies, I have been deep cleaning the entire kitchen before I begin. It’s a lot of work, and I am trying to work quickly so my kitchen isn’t under construction for too long. But I am very excited for the end result!

    • 9.1
      Laura says

      Wow that’s a big job, I’m sure it will awesome when it’s done!

  9. 10
    Shrinking Mommy of 2 says

    This week i have been working on my storage room. Some of the stuff should NOT have come to our house after the move. I took a 4 bags of clothes (oh yea, went through stuff in kiddos room too) a few boxes of house wares and a large comforter I have been holding on too. I love that it is gone, but I still have a lot to go. My hubby is a saver and I, since being a mom & moving to our new house, am a tosser!

    • 10.1
      Laura says

      Keep leading by example! You go girl! 🙂

  10. 11
    Sarah says

    Were you able to tackle one of your piles last week?
    Yes! I tackled the growing pile of computer software DVDs and music CDs (before/after photo on my blog).

    Did you have to make some tough choices?
    I always wanted to keep the CD cases for my favorite artist whole with the inserts and the original case, but I thought about it some more and decided I never look at them and I’d rather have the space for something else. After 10 years for some of them, I finally gave them up!

    I love the list of 4 questions to ask yourself, especially #3 and 4. I think it will really help my husband. He asked me to gather all his memorabilia in one place and he is starting to sort through it, but has a hard time with objects that evoke memories. I’m going to write the list out in big letters on our chalkboard wall!!

    • 11.1
      Laura says

      Cool! And don’t forget to suggest taking pictures of the sentimental stuff….pictures can evoke memories too! 🙂

  11. 12
    Enjoy Birth says

    Piles are my biggest problems and I have many different piles of many different things! I tackled my Tupperware Piles this week. In order to do so I also rearranged bowls, pans, etc. But now I have a system that actually works! 🙂

    I am going to be buying Clutter Rehab today from Amazon! So I can incorporate the tips as I clean. I am loving this challenge. Especially taking before and after pictures. For some reason it makes it more fun!

    • 12.1
      Laura says

      It’s amazing how encouraging taking before and after pictures are. We are so hard on ourselves sometimes thinking we haven’t done too much when in reality we really have. Keep up the good work!

  12. 13
    katzien says

    A fresh start…how often do we get a truly fresh start?? We are redoing the floors in our house, and we are living in the one room with wood floors..the rest of the house is completely utterly empty. I moved everything out into a storage unit in our driveway…and as I was packing, I’d say to myself “I don’t want this back; I don’t care to see that again; this xyz is finding a new home etc.” I’m so excited o put my house back together soon, knowing that I can organize and set up each room for maximum space usage while minimizing the chance of future clutter. I lovelovelove your blog and the other smart crafty ladies you link to. 😉

    • 13.1
      Laura says

      Whoot! Loving the excitement!!

  13. 14
    MemeGRL says

    I used our snow day to work in our kitchen too. I fixed a cabinet door that had been driving me nuts for a long time, then thought, I should see what’s in here. And I thought about what we do and don’t use, removed what we don’t (some to the party supply cabinet, some to Goodwill), and realized we were WAY overdue for this when in one stack of Pyrex bowls there was a shattered one. That’s the universe’s way of saying “too much!” I also cleaned up the junk drawer. The best part for me was sharpening about 25 pencils that needed it–my pet peeve–and moved them to the homework area. I’m almost in disbelief every time I open the drawer and poof–just what I need is exactly where I need it. Some people live this way all the time, right? Here’s hoping I join them!

    • 14.1
      Laura says

      The best part is tackling those pet peeves….doesn’t it feel great to get it done!

  14. 15
    Lisa J says

    I organized by scrapbook supplies into plastic drawers and labeled them. now there is no excuse for anything laying out on the desk. 🙂 one step at a time.

    • 15.1
      Laura says

      You got it Lisa!

  15. 16
    Alexandria says

    I tackled one of my major piles this week! The top of my bedroom dresser looks sooo much better! To make sure everything stays organized, each week I’m going to make sure the previous areas that I organized are still organized and if they aren’t, I’m going to straighten them up again. So far, so good!

    • 16.1
      Laura says

      It’s all about maintenance….so much easier to do that before it gets to the overwhelming stage for sure 🙂

  16. 17
    Becky L says

    I took care of a pile in our bedroom. I’ve decided that if I don’t need something I won’t buy it becuz I can use it someday. About the only thing I do now is buy if it is useful for a gift for someone, and put it in a drawer for gifts. No more, I might need it someday! I let things go that I didn’t know what to do with. Some things I threw away becuz I really don’t see the value of giving clothes away that people aren’t connected to, like something I used to wear at work with the name on it or a club I used to belong to. I kept a work apron becuz I like aprons and don’t wear it at work any more, nor is it a size another female co-worker would wear. Tonight I’m going to knit more of my granddaughter’s sweater and get it out of here next week. Small sweater but time consuming to make but will afford me time to do other projects that take less time and less yarn in my house!
    I don’t have your book, Laura, but I do read your blog daily! Hugs! Check out my blog!

    • 17.1
      Laura says

      Loving hearing all this Becky…you really are doing a great job!

  17. 18
    Shannon says

    Questions for the comments:
    1. Were you able to tackle one of your piles last week? Yes, I tackled the piles on my desk at work
    2. Did you have to make some tough choices? Yes, I decided to discard a large pile of papers I “planned to read” someday and have realized that I never will
    3. Have you had a chance to put any of the tips from my book, Clutter Rehab, into practice yet? Not reading it (yet!)

    • 18.1
      Laura says

      Yes it’s amazing how the “planned to read” never really happens isn’t it. So glad you were able to free yourself!

  18. 19
    Beet says

    such a lot of great projects happening to check out! I’m not sure where to start lol

  19. 20
    donna says

    Wow! Number 4 under your procrastination questions is ringing in my head! So simple, yet so powerful! I can’t wait to get home this afternoon and start tossing all while asking myself that one little thing – “What’s the worst thing that’s going to happen if I get rid of this item?” Thank you!!!

  20. 21
    Martha (MM) says

    I’ve been making piles more than the other way around – getting ready for the upcoming move. I can’t wait to be in the new house working on the real organizing projects this summer!

    It’s great to see so many playing along Laura. You are making organizing as popular as you’ve made menu planning! 🙂

    • 21.1
      Laura says

      Thanks Martha, I love seeing this passion come alive for others. It’s very exciting!!

  21. 23
    Ruth Hill says

    I have been able to a do a lot! I finally added pictures. Thanks for the challenge!

  22. 24
    Daniel says

    I am making piles of my stuff and I like the way it’s done. My wife makes her own pile and I make sure that I don’t touch her clutter. It saves some arguments and makes everything organized in the process. Thanks for the link!


Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.