When I was a student in the Hotel/Restaurant Management Program, every chef would always teach, “Clean As You Go”. Every time I was working on a meal this concept became habit forming. I was thinking that I need to teach my clients how to “Organize As You Go” through life.

Recently I have been helping many people move or simply de-cluttering folks who have not followed the “Organize As You Go” principle. And what has transpired for them is an overwhelming chore that many homeowners simply cannot do by themselves.

As their hired private organizer, I am not bothered by their volume of possessions but they are bewildered on how to get started and how to get rid of it. Of course I’m happy to help but for all you DIY people out there reading my newsletter (Do It Yourselfers), know that this can be prevented if only you take the time to de-clutter as you go through the seasons of life or even quarterly as they present themselves to you.

Here are some examples of when it’s time to de-clutter as you go…

  • When clothes no longer fit; whether it’s because the person has gotten taller, heavier, leaner or any other reason.
  • When the possessions are from someone who has left the home over a year ago. This could be the passing of a loved one or a child who has graduated from college and moved cross-country. Or even a foiled business adventure that’s deposited equipment and office supplies.
  • When gifts (untouched for months) reside in the home simply because we know who gave them to us.
  • When after remodeling, the previous pieces of furniture, lamps, rugs, accessories and decorations are held in bondage such as the attic.
  • When student papers, artwork and supplies from previous academic years can be found in your desk.
  • When the media you still own can’t be played on today’s technology.
  • When you have a collection of things you used to collect but no longer have a passion for such as Hummel’s, matchbooks, stuffed animals, butterflies etc.

Time marches on and as it does we need to take an honest look at our space and wonder, “When was the last time I went through the _____?” You fill in the blank: the bedroom closet, the bathroom medicine chest, the crawlspace, the Christmas decorations, the kitchen cabinets, the linen closet…Basically any piece of storage in your home that has space you can fill!

Here’s the bottom line, if you don’t incorporate organizing and purging into your normal cleaning routine:

  1. You’ll create a huge project instead of a minor task. This will be stressful, paralyzing and procrastination will probably win you over.
  2. Someone else will be going through your stuff and make the decisions for you. This happens way too frequently to most senior citizens.

To me there is nothing sadder than watching perfectly good things go to waste just because people never took the time and energy to make decisions on them. If you no longer want something, take the time to get it out of your house and give it to someone who does.

Cleaning up is not just for household messes, it’s for residential material accumulation, so please, “Clean and Organize As You Go” through life.