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Forget Forty Bags in Forty Days: What If I Told You That You Never Had To Declutter Again?

About this time of year, I see a lot of Decluttering Forty Bags in Forty Days kinds of posts and groups. I am all for anything that inspires you to live the life you want. However…

Our culture has kind of latched on to this “decluttering mania” and “throw out forty bags for lent” kind of mentality that can lead to a big sense of failure. I don’t want that for you.

Forty Bags in Forty Days—How to Stop Decluttering

You may, in fact, want or need to pare down your stuff. Declutter. Purge. Whatever word you want to use. But if that’s all you do, I promise that you will be back in the exact same spot next year, wondering why you are always overwhelmed and still trying to get organized.

I’ve started introducing myself as the organizer who wants you to stop decluttering. By that, I mean I don’t just want you to get better at decluttering. I want you to get better at stopping the clutter before it starts.

It doesn’t matter how many bags you send out the back door if you are still bringing just as much stuff in the front door.

If this is you, then try something different this spring. Here are some options:

Stop clutter before it starts by putting things back at the store before you get to the checkout register. Or do a buy-nothing month and use/eat/gift only things you own. Breaking the shopping habit is going to go a LOT farther to helping you stay organized than any other strategy that you can try. Less coming in means less to go into a trash bag later.

Don’t just try to declutter. Look at what you own and why. Did you buy seconds because you couldn’t find the first one? Or is the space not laid out well? Or did you just put something aside because you didn’t take the time to put it away?

Get more organized. Set aside $40 a day (or maybe just $4 a day or $40 a week or whatever works for you) for forty days to upgrade your closets. If you need new shelving, hangers or lighting, just a few weeks of saving for it could make it a reality.

Organizing takes time. Try forty minutes for forty days. We all have a LOT of space in our homes. No, really, we do. But if you never take time to put things away, you’ll constantly see it. So instead of chucking stuff, only to re-buy it later, take forty minutes each day of lent to put things away. You might still toss a few things, but mostly by putting things AWAY, you’ll get organized, bit by bit.

Are you ready to stop decluttering? Check out the book that will get you there.

This post originally appeared on Heart Work Organizing. It has been reprinted with permission.

Darla DeMorrow is a certified professional organizer (CPO®), decorator, personal photo organizer, speaker, and owner of HeartWork Organizing, LLC, based in Wayne, PA.  After twenty years in corporate and small businesses, she is having more fun by combining two loves, making homes more beautiful and meeting interesting people…because boring people don’t need organizing. With two active kids, and a busy blog, she’s perfecting the art of “good enough” if it leads to a full night of sleep. Find her on Facebook!

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