No matter how hard we try to avoid it, stuff often piles up. If you have enough space in your home, you might not even notice it — until, that is, you finally do run out of space. Though paring down your belongings can provoke anxiety, it doesn’t have to be that way, says Lisa Zaslow, professional organizer and founder of Gotham Organizers.
Zaslow helps people declutter and organize their home or office. Baby boomers — a generation that, according to the Pew Research Center, is made up of roughly 75 million people born between 1946 and 1964 — can be good candidates for home organization and paring down belongings because many are empty nesters who are considering downsizing their home…or at least downsizing their stuff.
It can be overwhelming to parse through all of the stuff you’ve accumulated over the years. To reduce anxiety that the process can prompt, Zaslow urges all of her clients to take a very logical approach from the beginning.
“I start with the biggest things because that’s going to free up the most space,” she says. “Don’t worry in the beginning about things like photographs, which don’t take up much space and can be very emotional to go through. It’ll make it much easier if you start with larger items like furniture and work from there.”
Get Rid of Stuff You Don’t Use
“One of my clients has a third bedroom in her apartment,” Zaslow says. “She told me, ‘Oh, it’s our junk room.’ And I asked, ‘Why do you have a whole room for junk?’“
Zaslow doesn’t advocate a minimalist lifestyle because, she says, it’s just not realistic to think that everyone can drastically change his or her habits overnight. She instead suggests first thinking about how much space you have to work with. “I think it’s more about how much space you’ve got, and whether you’re using it effectively,” she says.