When I tell people I am a professional organizer they often exclaim “Wow. I need you!” Next they give me a description of the room that is overflowing with clutter in their home. Master bedroom closets, pantries, and garages are mentioned most often, with kids rooms and kitchens following close behind.
Or, this new acquaintance proclaims how they won’t ever have the time to get organized. I smile politely and offer up a few words such as “oh, garages are often a catch all for clutter” or “oh we lead such busy lives these days.” and then give them my card. But what I really want to say is “you need to learn how to say no.”
So I’m saying it now, to all of you. And to get you started, here are four times to say no to clear your life of clutter.
Say no to the following:
1.The next time you are in a store and see something cute while in the checkout line
Stores place little inexpensive things we think we can’t live without there for a reason. 99% of the time these are things you just don’t need. Afraid the temptation will be too hard to resist? As soon as you hit the checkout line get your phone out and start reading something interesting on the Internet – or even play a silly app game – until it’s your turn to be checked out.
2. The next time you are in a store and YOUR CHILD sees something they want
This is a heavily loaded topic. Sometimes children do need something. Other times-if we are honest with ourselves-we are purchasing stuff for them to show our love, or to seem like the nice guy after we reprimanded them earlier in the day.
Don’t just take my gut feel for it. According to Parenting.com, toy overload can actually hurt children. So resist the temptation and save the purchasing for necessities, holidays and birthdays.
3. When a retailer is offering something for free
How many times have you been in a car dealership/gym/at a new store opening and they were offering something for free. Yet…you didn’t really need it and it wasn’t even that great but…it was free. Say no. It’s just going to end up as clutter. You have lots of water bottles, just because this one says Planet Fitness does not make it more special!
4. The awesome bogo/sale/Costco run
Everyone loves a good deal. It’s in our DNA. But is it really a good deal if you don’t need it or don’t have anywhere to store it? Stop shopping for, say, 50 rolls of paper towels at Sam’s Club. Resist the temptation. You don’t need to store all that in your home, and the hassle it will cause – where do you discreetly store 50 rolls of paper towels, in the garage, causing clutter there? – will take away any of the momentary joy of saving five or ten bucks.
Learn to say no and the clutter won’t even make it in your front door, so decluttering what you do have will be so much easier.