As a self-proclaimed pack rat, I was more than eager to meet with June Saruwatari, organizational coach, inspirational speaker and author, to discuss her new book Behind the Clutter: Truth. Love. Meaning. Purpose ($22). I must admit I wanted to meet Saruwatari to pick her mind in hopes that she'd have a solution to my "things" problem. Lucky for me, she did.
Holding on to too many things is quite common, says Saruwatari. People who suffer from a cluttered life often feel de-energized, argumentative, dread coming home and enjoy travel and the feeling of staying in a clean hotel room. (Check, check, check, check.) But don't let that long list of clutter symptoms get you down. There's a way to escape! Saruwatari preaches a four-step approach to cleansing your life:
• TRUTH: What is the truth of my current situation?
• LOVE: Do I absolutely love this?
• MEANING: What is the meaning of this for me?
• PURPOSE: What purpose does this serve in my life?
By knowing the truth behind the clutter in your head and heart, you can learn the real meaning behind the clutter in your life.
Know Why You Hold On
Saruwatari sees clients holding on to things for several reasons. Some of the top reasons for clutter are:
• Sentimental reasons
• "Just in case!"
• Monetary reasons
Learn to Let Go
Once you establish which of these categories your clutter falls under, you're halfway through the battle of decluttering.
• If you're a sentimental hoarder, Saruwatari says the root cause of your clutter is holding on to memories via things. To rid yourself of this, you must ask yourself the truth behind the item. Are you holding on because it reminds you of someone? "How many items d you need from this person or time in your life?" Saruwatari asks. She adds memories live in the heart not in things.
• If you have a fear you just might need that lime green onesie one day, Saruwatari warns you're guilty of "assigning value on future purpose" and creating an "ideal fantasy." Holding on to something just because it "might come back in style" isn't an excuse to find a home for it in your closet or life. Living in the here and now can relieve your life from a lot of stress—and clutter.
Now that you know the reasons behind your clutter, where in the world do you start to get rid of it? Simple: one space at a time. Saruwatari recommends only tackling one room and space at a time. She warns against buying organizational items before you begin and getting stuck on being perfect. She advises setting a timer and "creating a home for an item based on its purpose or function."
Starting with your closet? Ideally, you would start with a completely empty space. Decide what the intention is behind that space and move back in asking yourself the "truth, love, meaning and purpose" behind each item you put into that zone.
For clothing, it's essential to decide which pieces are authentic to your or simply an ideal version of yourself. "If you put it on and go, 'It doesn't feel like me,' chances are it's not for you," says Saruwatari. If you wear an article of clothing and don't feel like yourself, get rid of it. Chances are it's not authentic to you and you won't wear it. And as always: Remember having fewer investment pieces is better than many trendy or unauthentic pieces.
If your closet or vanity now feels like a clutter-free zone, keep it going with some of our favorite organizational pieces.
Bigso Pippi Drawer Organizers, $8 each, at containerstore.com
This playful design is not only a mood-maker, but the different sizes allow for a customizable drawer organizer.
Sherriblossom Icebox Wide, $415, at sherrieblossom.com
An investment piece for sure, this minimalist drawer set is ideal for finding homes for any and all of your beauty necessities.
IKEA Fjälla Box with Lid, $11, at idea.com
Stylish storage for sentimental items? We'll take it.
Get more organizational and decluttering tips from June Saruwatari's new book, Behind the Clutter: Truth. Love. Meaning. Purpose ($22), out now.