DECATUR – Many paths can lead to an organized home, but the first step in all of them is the same: You have to purge.
That was part of the message that Becky Rogers of Organize My Clutter delivered to about 30 women Saturday who attended the “Clear Your Clutter” class. The free event was sponsored by the Macon County Association for Home and Community Education and hosted at the University of Illinois Macon County Extension office.
“The only thing that's not replaceable is your memories, and those aren't going away,” Rogers said.
Rogers detailed several methods for sorting and organizing items, the most detailed of which is an action-based strategy that she and the organizers of her Clinton-based company use to help clients.
A decision must be made about every item, either to toss or recycle, donate or sell, place it elsewhere or keep it.
“You have to be brutally honest with yourself,” she said.
She advised getting rid of items that produce negative feelings, such as the dress from a first wedding or gift from a friend who has caused pain. If you're unhappy with how an outfit looks today, chances are that you'll never be happy with it and should let it go.
You have free articles remaining.
Items that cost a lot of money but are no longer useful, such as entertainment centers, should also be bid farewell. They've served their purpose.
And, Rogers said, “if you are keeping things for your kids, guess what? They don't want it.”
Every item should have a home, with those used most frequently stored between hip and eye level for easy access. A good system is crucial for maintaining organization.
“It's a state of mind. It's a process. It's a lifestyle,” Rogers said.
One of the attendees asked Rogers how to deal with the emotions related to keeping and discarding items. Rogers acknowledged that the process can be a difficult one. If one item is creating a stir of feelings, she advised moving on and coming back to it later.
The more you discard, the easier it gets, she said. And the benefits are clear: increased efficiency and productivity, lower stress levels and even saving money.
Carol Ropp, co-president of the association, said its 111 members were asked to choose topics for the year's programs. “Clear Your Clutter” was the most popular selection.
Carol Bork of Oakley said her biggest challenge was encyclopedias and textbooks, which she did not want to destroy. She hasn't been able to find anywhere that would accept those types of books as donations, and received tips Saturday about how to recycle them.
Bork said she enjoyed the workshop and appreciated the information. “Everybody has clutter,” she said.