Uncluttering the Zany Way

[ Prescott eNews is proud to launch a new column this week – Unclutter Your Life with the Zany Sage .]

How many towels do you need?  Does your schedule resemble a sardine can – every moment packed?  Are you 63 years old and pondering what you want to be when you grow up?  And how’s that chronic back pain? Migraines?

Hello!  Did my questions make you think?  If so, I want to talk to you because you, my friend, are dealing with clutter. My name is Theresa Winn Lode (say “Low-dee”) and I’m a professional organizer and certified life coach. I also have deep and abiding affection for dumpsters but I’m getting ahead of myself.

Clutter to me is more than a closet bursting at the seams. I see three distinctive types of clutter: home, head and heart. And when it accumulates, they can negatively impact your health. My approach to dealing with the clutter is a little different than the wildly popular (and absolutely adorable) Marie Kondo. Yeah, that’s not me.  In my experience, asking a compulsive shopper if an item “sparks joy” is dangerous because EVERYTHING sparks joy. And besides, I run on caffeine and am still childishly amused when someone breaks wind. Also, I speak fluent Sailor – especially when I get all the red lights driving through Prescott Valley.

Marie is Zen.  And I am Zany. But enough about me.

Let’s talk about clutter!  I’m going to unpack those three different types of clutter. I will help you identify them, equip you with effective ways to declutter and finally, empower you to create systems that will keep clutter from overtaking, as the poet Mary Oliver so eloquently stated, “your one wild and precious life.”

I’ve been a professional organizer for more than a few decades. And way before then, I was one of those annoying kids who entertained myself by organizing mom’s pantry – no small thing in a family with seven kids. My idea of a good time is tidying up my sock drawer too but I digress.

I realize this is not something that comes naturally to a lot of people and it brings me great joy to help them figure systems that work for them. The challenge has always been making sure the changes would last.

They would get organized…and then call me a few months later.  I realized that the level of organizing I was performing was similar to the “feed a man a fish and you feed him for a day” vs the “teach him to fish and you feed him for life.” How I could I help clients get uncluttered and STAY uncluttered? My answers were found when I finished my life coach training through Yavapai College.

After becoming a certified life coach, I shifted my organizing services to include a query-based approach. Meaning, instead of sorting and sifting physical items, I would, through asking questions, dig into the clutter BEHIND the clutter. I begin to see that the outward clutter was merely a reflection of inner clutter – such as feeling they would betray the memory of a loved one if they donated the inherited (but unwanted) garage contents.

I’ve also learned another valuable lesson. And that is this: You are the best organizer you will ever find.

The purpose of this column is help you discover this truth for yourself. You are the expert on your life and on what works for you and your family.  My expertise is to offer you a little practical guidance with a dollop of encouragement on top.

I hope you’ll join me and look forward to hearing any questions or comments you might have. Until next time…now go throw out something!

Theresa Winn Lode is the author of Badass Organizing and offers organizing services in Prescott or coaching services via the internet.  Find her at: www.theresalode.com.  Send your questions, flattery, and wine club memberships to thezanysage@gmail.om

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