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Spring Decluttering and Organizing

Organization Pending's logo - a turquoise square with a gray house divided into four parts: books, balanced rocks, blocks that spell out "OPG", and silverware in trays.

February 2024 - Organization Pending Newsroom - Upper Arlington, Ohio

close up of flowers on a tree with a blue sky and clouds in the background

Welcome to Organization Pending's Newsroom, February 2024: Spring Decluttering and Organizing edition.

This month, we're focusing on how to declutter and organize sentimental items, with a YouTube™ episode recommendation for making smart decisions more easily, a podcast episode recommendation on being satisfied, and a toxic reason to declutter receipts. Don't miss the highlights on local Upper Arlington and Columbus Spring events!

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Columbus Spring

Franklin Park Conservatory is celebrating the 30th anniversary of Blooms and Butterflies, starting Saturday, February 24 - July 7. Stroll with exotic butterflies in the Pacific Island Water Garden, and see new butterflies emerge daily at the Metamorphosis Lab!

Save the Date for the Columbus Fashion Academy Art Gallery & Fashion Show

Mark your calendars for the Columbus Fashion Academy Art Gallery and Spring Fashion Show, Sunday, March 10, 1pm - 4 at the Columbus Museum of Art! Explore the art gallery of young artists' upcycled and sustainable designs from 1pm-3, and make sure to grab your seat for the 3pm runway featuring over 50 Academy students and their designs.

Have you supported Columbus Fashion Academy through Organization Pending's donation partnership? See your donations transformed on the runway - Tabi and their family love seeing their items upcycled in creative ways!

Upper Arlington Civic Association's Easter Egg and Bunny Trail is Saturday, March 16 at 10am - if you haven't gone before, children are separated into age groups with the basket/bag they brought from home, and they race at the sound of a horn to grab as much candy as they can in a giant circle.


Spring Cleaning: How to Declutter and Organize Sentimental Items

Last year, we talked about how decluttering is an essential first step to spring cleaning, discussing some of the best ways to start in low emotion or small areas of the home.

Organization Pending social media post "How to...declutter and organize sentimental items"

In 2023, garages, basements, and other storage areas were the most popular areas for Organization Pending's decluttering and organizing services. These types of areas will commonly hold sentimental items, and Tabi encourages clients to gather all sentimental items from everywhere in the home before looking at everything sentimental as one project. Sentimental items can be the hardest items to let go of because of the memories attached to them - working on other decluttering and organizing projects in the home first can help us build decluttering muscle, allowing us to take on emotional items when we're more equipped to sort through them. Leaving these items until last also allows us to see what areas of the home that could be used to display sentimental items, fully enjoying them instead of storing them.

Need a tip on decluttering and enjoying non-photo sentimental items?

  • Implement a sentimental container for each family member, living or deceased. Revisit these containers every 5-10 years, decluttering items that no longer hold meaning, and reincorporating favorites into your daily landscape. - Tabi loves rearranging the tops of their short bookshelves with their sentimental items!

Organization Pending social media post "How to...declutter and organize sentimental items"

Ready to start decluttering and organizing your photos? Take a look at these tips that Tabi the Organizer used to sort through their mother's collection after her passing, including incorporating family photos as household decorations.

  • Declutter blurry photos, unimportant landscapes, duplicates, and photos of unknown people or pets. If you wouldn't be able to write a caption for it, it can most likely be let go.

  • Look for timestamps or handwritten dates, writing the month/year on a sticky note, and start organizing! Working on a large project? Use envelopes instead of sticky notes for quick storage.

  • Declutter kids' artwork yearly, asking them what their important pieces are. Consider digitizing this curated collection as a graduation gift, or use them to create unique personalized gifts through Vintage Solutions!


Tip of the Month: Receipts

Many people, young and old alike, enjoy or find use in keeping receipts. This habit, however, could have toxic side effects. Reports from the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency, McGill University, and Ecology Center reveal that thermal paper contains BPA, which can be absorbed through the skin. "The chemicals have been shown to be hazardous to reproductive systems in humans and animals and are linked with obesity and attention disorders." (Minnesota Pollution Control Agency)

faded background of an organized filing drawer, with March 12, 2024 and National Organize Your Home Office Day imposed on top - Organization Pending's information is across the bottom

The Ecology Center recommends using paperless methods - many retailers offer to send receipts to your email, or check their return policy to see if a receipt is required - if it is, write on the receipt the last day you would be able to return the item. Unable to get out of keeping a thermal paper receipt? Designate a small envelope or box for those receipts, and use gloves to declutter receipts past the return date when it fills up. Tracking expenses for your budget? I like to keep a spreadsheet available on my phone to track expenses easily in real time. Paperless options work double duty, keeping you from needing thermal paper receipts, and aiding you in your decluttering journey - stopping clutter before it comes into the house.

March 12 is National Organize Your Home Office Day - use it as an excuse to schedule time with yourself to start clearing out!


Tip of the Month: YouTube™ Video Recommendation

screenshot of How to make smart decisions more easily

Decluttering is decision making. And decision making can be difficult and fatiguing. TED-Ed's video, How to make smart decisions more easily, explores decision fatigue: "This kind of cognitive exhaustion occurs after a period of extended decision making, and it can make people more impulsive and less confident while making choices."

In a 2011 study, researchers looked at how parole decisions were made by judges - and found that the time of day had "a remarkably large impact." How much energy is required of us for decision making is based on the frequency, complexity, and novelty of the decisions we're making - choosing what to eat is an expected decision and limited by what's available, while your car unexpectedly breaking down includes a variety of replacement options in a variety of locations, with several features to choose. Avoiding decision fatigue can be difficult, but along with spreading out decision making over a week instead of a day, and trying to relax about smaller decisions that don't matter as much, TED-Ed also suggests pretending you're giving advice to someone about this decision, as this can be less draining.

While it can be tempting to carve out a single day to tackle a decluttering project, the reality is that most people experience decluttering decision fatigue after two or three hours. While I'm working with clients, we get to a good pausing point and take a break. Stepping away from the area for 15 minutes to eat and drink water is essential for regaining the motivation to finish for the day. Working without support? Be kind to yourself, have water on hand, and focus on small sections at a time, decluttering trash and donations before starting to organize. Scheduling realistic, short amounts of time to tackle projects in steps will help ensure against burnout as well.

Ready to get started but you're looking for a professional's guidance? Organization Pending offers two budget-friendly virtual options to help you meet your goals! Schedule three-hour Body Doubling sessions for one-on-one support throughout your decluttering and organizing journey, or schedule Structured Support services, meeting for two half-hour sessions before and during your project, with a free 10-minute follow-up.


Satisfaction and Unsatisfiability: a Podcast Episode Recommendation

Tabi Berkey

screenshot of We Can Do Hard Things episode 239

Glennon Doyle's We Can Do Hard Things podcast invited writer, musician, podcaster, and pleasure activist Adrienne Maree Brown to talk about Why Are We Never Satisfied? for episode 239. Starting around minute 26, Brown, Doyle, her wife Abby Wambach, and sister Amanda Doyle discuss the concept of being satisfiable in a consumer society that sells products based on the idea that we are not enough and that we don't have enough. As Doyle puts it, "You can't ever get enough of what you never really needed."

When a professor asked her, "Are you satisfiable?", Brown starting asking herself: "When do I feel satisfied? And if I'm not feeling satisfied, why not? What is the texture of my dissatisfaction? Is it from inside me, or is it from someone else's narrative of my life?"

"A lot of satisfiability is just even sitting and considering the question, 'Could you be enough? Could you consider that you're already enough and that there's nothing to fix about you? There might be places that want to grow, but that's different than there's something fundamentally wrong with you that you need to go purchase a way out of." - Adrienne Maree Brown

Drawing from their personal lives, the hosts and Brown discuss being satisfied, societal judgment, feeling "enough", and the messages they received to create an unsatisfiable hunger. Talking through some of the ways they're unlearning messages and relearning how to be satisfied in the present, Brown discusses how she realized feeling satisfied was in the small moments during the day, with or without others. At times she even makes future simple plans with her similarly introverted friends, knowing that the plan could turn into them texting each other to cancel the plan, but still having a moment of connection, satisfied with that moment.

As a home organizer, when decluttering with clients, I often tell them we're not making space in their homes only for the things they enjoy most, but also making space for the people they love most. Part of being satisfied in a home is the wanting to come home - is this a space you want to be in? Is this a space you want to invite people into? Are you able to find the things you want, when you want to find them? If you're unsure if you have an item, do you have one or two places it should be if you do have it? Creating decluttered and organized spaces not only lets you and your home breathe, it also allows you the space and time to do the things you want, and create the life you want.


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