I heard a commercial on television asking “how will you be remembered”. I started thinking about that and things I remember about certain people in my life.

From the time I was about 6 years old until I was 12 we would pick raspberries every hot summer in my uncle’s berry patch. The adults would chat back and forth as we made our way down the rows of prickly berries. The wife of my uncle who owned the berry patch didn’t work in the fields. She evidently was cleaning and de-cluttering her house.

I would hear my aunts say her kitchen floor was so clean you could eat off of it. When I would go in her home I would look at the floor and think how shiny it was but I still wouldn’t want to eat on it. (I didn’t know then it was just an expression). She was an expert on clearing clutter in every room in her home. It looked like a model house—absolutely no extra things anywhere.

This same aunt knew how to declutter by getting rid of her daughter’s clothes as soon as she grew out of them before they had a chance to pile up. This was a plus for me except everything was red and I got sick of red.

I think of my grandmother in her little tiny kitchen and I see now that she knew how to declutter out of necessity because her kitchen was so small. I remember one night waking up during a thunder storm when we visited her in the summer and my aunt, mother and grandmother were canning fruit. There was fruit, canning jars, sugar, lids and bottled fruit on every available space. Things were everywhere, but in the morning all that was left of the clutter were beautiful bottles of fruit. No matter how weary they were they put everything away. That is one secret on how to declutter—it is to put things away when you are finished with a project so clutter doesn’t built up.

Before becoming a professional organizer I was a child abuse investigator. Many of the referrals I was assigned to were because the homes were unsafe for the children as there was so much clutter in the rooms. When children were removed they could not go back to live until the clutter was cleared and it was safe again.

It is interesting to me how we can live in the same home with someone and think we are teaching our children how to organize and how to declutter yet they all assimilate it differently. My one daughter who at the time was going to work in Africa in the Peace Corps was packing to leave and her room was a disaster. She said it was because I hadn’t taught her how to organize. We laugh at this now because she is organized and doesn’t like it when others aren’t organized.

I remember losing things and my mother telling me to put on my “thinking cap” so I could remember where I had put the thing I thought was lost. Even now I could use a thinking cap sometimes. No matter how organized we are and how much clutter we don’t have there are still some things that get misplaced from time to time. KnowwhatImean?

We all have our favorite ways to declutter, such as putting things away after we use them, getting rid of things we never use, not keeping things we don’t love, things that don’t light us up and stuff we simply don’t have room for. Re-gifting items we don’t use but know someone else can enjoy.

How will you be remembered? Will you be remembered as someone who had balance in their life, someone who could find things when they were needed or wanted and didn’t have to remove clutter before guests could sit down? If not, maybe now is the time to declutter.

Author's Bio: 

Marilyn Bohn is the owner of Get it Together Organizing, a business dedicated to developing practical organizing solutions that help individuals and business professionals live clutter-free and productive lives. She is the author of "Go Organize! Conquer Clutter in 3 Simple Steps".

Marilyn takes the often stressful subject of organizing and breaks it down into a simple, easy to understand system. Her methods are both eye-opening and encouraging! Visit her website http://www.marilynbohn.com