Is your home organized? Do you love coming home and being in your home?

In this episode, I share my insights about home organization.

I share my definition of being “organized,” what area of my home is a complete pile of clutter, and what I think about maintaining organization.

💥 Join Organized Life Academy while the doors are open. Use this link to get $100 off when you join before April 1, 2024. April is the start of a new quarter with a new project for Q2. You are eligible to register for our live event as well, and as a bonus, you will be included in the monthly VIP calls when you join now.

As a Professional Organizer for over 15 years, I have been in hundreds of people’s homes. I’ve seen it all. When I’m in a home with abundant stuff, I am overwhelmed. I could not get or stay organized with so much stuff. You have to start by reducing the amount of stuff.

There are three ways to reduce what comes into your home by becoming aware of your

  • Buying habits, 
  • Paper habits, and
  • Collection habits.

Your current home, cabinets, drawers, and closets are the “containers” you must work with. When reducing your things to fit in your “container,” start by choosing your favorites—the things you love and use often. Then you can move to the remaining items. This helps make decision-making easier. 

Our 3-fold approach this year in Organized Life Academy includes a monthly decluttering focus, a mindset focus to help you create an organized person’s identity and quarterly projects. 

Listen to the episode to learn more. If you are ready to make organizing your home and life fun and don’t want to try to figure it out alone, join us now in Organized Life Academy.

Your 15-year Home Organizing Expert,

Tracy Hoth's Signature

blue background with text overlay, "To reduce the amount of stuff that comes into your home, be aware of your 1) buying habits 2) paper habits, and 3) collection habits." from Tracy Hoth

Resources Mentioned:

Organized Life Academy – Join now with $100 off coupon
07 | Is Paper a Problem? Simple Solutions to Reduce and Organize Paper…
Dana White’s book

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Transcript with time stamps:

[00:00:00] As I’ve been jotting down notes for this episode, I’m so excited to share this. It is a sneak peek inside my own home organization – how I view home organization, what that looks like with me. I’m going to give you some tips on ways to reduce things in your home, and then also creating the identity of being an organized person in your home.

[00:00:24] My threefold approach to helping other people get organized. Plus, I’m going to be sharing a very exciting opportunity. If you are wanting to focus on getting your home organized and becoming a person who believes that they are an organized person who loves their home, who can come into their home, and it feels how they want it. It feels clear and clean and spacious, then I have an opportunity for you.

[00:00:48] First, let’s get into this episode. Are you ready to work less? Feel more organized and productive, streamline repetitive tasks and implement systems that allow your coaching business to run smoothly even without you. If so, you’re in the right place. Welcome to The Organized Coach Podcast, your go-to source for practical tips and solutions.

[00:01:15] I’m your host, Tracy Hosh, professional organizer, certified life coach, simplifying expert, and most of all, down-to-arth fellow coach just like you. No matter if you think you’re missing the organizing gene, have ADHD, or just love anything organizing, I’m here to help you become an organized coach with a business that works for you.

[00:01:36] Pull up a seat and let’s get started. Here we go. Okay, like I mentioned in the beginning, I have a special opportunity, if this is the time that you want to focus on organizing your home, organizing your life, becoming the organized person that you want to be and loving the home that you come home to, that you live in, you love it.

[00:01:59] If that is what you’re looking for right now, I have a program and some of you may not know this, but I have Organized Coach Academy where I help coaches organize their their business. I also have Organized Life Academy and I’ve been doing OLA, for four years now!

[00:02:17] Actually this year is my favorite year so far. I am loving the structure of it. I’m loving the guest speakers that we’re having. I just am so excited about it. The course is $497 a year. It’s a one-year program and, I think, that it’s the best deal ever. You get a planning call, a guest speaker, and we have had some, I want to call them ‘famous’ guest speakers, and a coaching call and a VIP call where we dig deeper and do an exercise in the mindset focus of the month.

[00:02:53] All of those calls are led by me. You get access to me, the 15 years of professional organizing experience that I have, and the certified life coach that I am and combining those two practical aspect and the mindset part of getting organized. Right now I’m prorating the price and you will get a hundred dollars off if you want to join us before April 1st.

[00:03:20] Four times a year, we do quarterly projects. So the quarterly project in the first quarter of the year was organizing our health. The second quarter, April 1st, we are going to start organizing our wardrobe and closet. Maybe you have this dream that you want to have a more minimal wardrobe or you want to have a style.

[00:03:40] I find that it’s easier to get dressed when you’re organized. You’re reducing decision fatigue in your wardrobe. when you go into your closet. Of course you’ll want to get your closet more organized so that when you walk in there, you love it. This can include your dressers, drawers, shelves, anything related to your closet. So that’s quarter two.

[00:03:59] We already have a guest speaker lined up for that who is going to come in and talk about steps to becoming more minimal in your closet and what that looks like. And if you want to join us in there, I’m opening the doors this week until April 1st to be a part of that. And it really does take a threefold approach.

[00:04:17] We focus on decluttering each month. We have a declutter calendar with a focus and it broken down. We have a mindset focus and then we have the quarterly projects. If you are interested in focusing on that this year and being a part of a community, you’ll go to SimplySquaredAway.com/ola for Organized Life Academy.

[00:04:42] If you get in before April 1st, you are eligible to join our live event that is April 18th through the 20th. So if you are interested in that, bonding with the other women that are in the program, and being part of a live event retreat/super-fun-time in Kansas City, jump in now.

[00:05:04] You don’t have to attend that. Not everyone is coming to that, but you have the opportunity to if you would like to. This is your invitation to join us in Organized Life Academy and to become the organized person who creates the organized home of life of your dreams. Okay, so let me get into a sneak peek inside my own home. How I view organization – the first thing that comes to my mind is that I am super down to earth.

[00:05:32] My house is not color-coordinated. I don’t decanter all my items. We don’t have everything in bins that are perfectly lined up and matching. I am just down to earth and I think I’ve mentioned this on other podcasts. My definition of organized is: I know what I have and I can find it when I need it.

[00:05:52] I love having clear countertops, clear spaces, everything put away where it’s supposed to go. That is part of it that I teach – that everything has a home. The one thing that I really think about when people think that they’re not organized, I’ve been in so many people’s homes, so I’ve seen everything. The thing that stands out the most is that people have too much stuff.

[00:06:19] Even I am overwhelmed by it. There’s no way to be able to maintain organization when you have too much stuff. There’s just not room to put things away because cabinets and spaces are jam-filled with stuff. Things are out because you can’t put them away and then it’s discouraging and you try to put stuff away, but it’s then going to require that you declutter that entire cabinet for the thing to fit where it’s supposed to go.

[00:06:50] Or it’s going to require that you make a new home for it or build new shelves for more stuff. It’s just so overwhelming because there’s too much stuff. That’s why this year in Organized Life Academy, we’re just focusing on decluttering. So many of the people in there want to downsize, want to not leave their relatives, kids, just a pile of things in their home.

[00:07:16] They will need to declutter. They want to reduce the amount of stuff that they have. Be encouraged if that’s you, if you know you have a lot of stuff, there’s nothing wrong with your ability to organize. It’s not that you’re disorganized as much as it is that you just have too much stuff. I think this is key in my home is that I can let things go and then I have space for things.

[00:07:40] I know there are spaces that are getting full because things just come into your house. You just buy stuff and if you don’t have a routine of getting the stuff out of your house, well, then it’s just going to build up. That’s the first thing I want to point out is I’m super down to earth.

[00:07:58] I’m not color coordinated, decantering queen. I just have homes for things and I have less stuff. It fits into the spaces that I have so I can put things away. I was thinking of three ways that people can reduce their stuff. Now obviously, you need to declutter to start with, right? But until we get that job done, and that’s why we’re focusing on decluttering each month, we pick a different room, a different area, and declutter it.

[00:08:29] There are three things you can do to reduce the amount of stuff coming in. 1. Watch your buying habits. What are you bringing in? Specifically, some examples are souvenirs. When you go places, do you always bring souvenirs home? I’ve seen families where their kids get a souvenir or two or three everywhere they go.

[00:08:51] Not just on vacation, but if they go to a fair, they come home with a giant stuffed animal. If they go to vacation, they come home with five new t shirts and there’s just so much stuff that they come home with. There’s little things you can do. Maybe when you go on vacation, you as a family, pick out a tree ornament or a plate or something specific to that location.

[00:09:17] I like that’s an idea. I know some of you are probably cringing because you don’t want to stop your kids from the joy of bringing something home. That’s not what I mean because the adults do it too. I’m just suggesting that you just watch your buying habits. When you go places, do you bring home anything free that’s available to you?

[00:09:33] Do you bring home bags of paperwork and things from fairs or, you know, those places you go that have booths and then you get, you’re given a bag and then you come home with a whole bag full of papers from each booth. Watch that kind of thing. Look at how you’re spending your money. Is it on buying stuff that you bring into your house?

[00:09:55] All of that is fine if you have a routine to get stuff out of your house. The first way to reduce is to just watch your buying habits. 2. The second thing is to watch your paper habits. Oh my goodness. Is this you? Do you have piles of mail that come into the house, tons of magazines or catalogs, tons of credit card offers, and so many things like that?

[00:10:18] I have a podcast episode on paper, I’ll link it in the show notes for you to listen to on how to reduce paper. There are some basic things I would recommend you do immediately, so listen to that episode to learn those. What else can increase paper coming into your home? Are you printing lots of stuff? Do you feel like and consider yourself as a paper person that needs to print stuff?

[00:10:36] I would try to stop that. Do you rip things out of magazines? Do you bring paper into your house? What about writing yourself notes or writing everything on paper and then have so much paper? Do you have 40 journals that you have things written in that are piling up that you need to go through and you’re, you know, in air quotes before you let go of it.

[00:10:54] Thinking about your paper habits, what can you reduce? Reducing the mail coming in is number one. Reducing printing, I would say, is number two. And then reducing other habits related to paper. 3. The third thing that I want to talk about ways to reduce stuff in your house going forward is watch your collection habits.

[00:11:16] Do you like to collect things? Now that means lots of different things to different people, but are you collecting things? This could be decor items, this could be books, this could be all sorts of things. Think about what you like to collect and be intentional about it. I’m not saying that you cannot collect things, but just understand when you collect them, they need to have a place to go.

[00:11:42] What I’ve seen, maybe like using the example of the Precious Moments collection – that was something popular that people used to collect. Now, people have all these Precious Moments that they think that they are (or maybe they are very valuable), but the spaces that they have to put those are full. They’re full of Precious Moments and then they have Precious Moments in boxes that don’t fit out on the shelves.

[00:12:05] Now they have to store those Precious Moments Keepsakes. They have these collections that can’t be displayed or cause a lot of clutter, more clutter than they even want at this point. But now they’re looking at how much money they spent and how valuable they are, and they’re not sure what to do with them. So think about that early on – before you begin collecting items.

[00:12:25] What are you collecting? What do you want to change about that or be more intentional about that? Okay, so those are some ways to reduce stuff coming in. The other thing I want to point out is to use your home and the space that you’re given right now as your container. I like to just think about that.

[00:12:43] This home is my container. I don’t need more stuff than what fits in my home. Now I know there’s some people in different situations. Maybe you’re in transition, maybe you have a storage Room or storage space because you’re in transition because you live in a tiny space and you need To swap out products and stuff from our things from your storage space.

[00:13:07] I’m not saying don’t have a storage space. I’m just saying think about your home and the size of the closets as well as the size of the cabinets that you have. What if you looked at it like that was the perfect amount of space that you need to live this amazing life and the stuff that you have should fit into those spaces?

[00:13:33] If you thought that and you were going to go about reducing the amount of stuff that you have, I like to think about using the favorites method. If you pick all of your favorite things, the things you use all the time, choosing the things that you couldn’t live without. What are those things in your life? These are the things you choose to fit those into your container (or home) first.

[00:13:53] Then you can look at things that you want to get rid of things that you want to consider getting rid of because maybe that just gives you a panic attack thinking about but now that you have your favorites in the spaces that you are given in your container that you have now it’s easier to say okay of these 10 remaining kitchen gadgets.

[00:14:13] Which one do I have room for? Which one or two or three do I want to add back into my kitchen? Versus keeping all of those. So using the favorites method is helpful as you get rid of things. But thinking about your home as the container, I like that concept. I first heard that from Dana White in her book and I’ll link that in the show notes as well.

[00:14:34] The other concept is creating this new ‘identity’ of being someone that’s organized – being a person that makes space in their home, being a person that can follow the organizing steps easily, because this is what I want to say inside my own home. We have what we call our ‘secret room’. I may have mentioned this on the podcast before, but it’s a little room or attic space off of our sons room. They used to share a bedroom and that was their ‘secret room’.

[00:14:58] In that room there is a bunch of junk. It’s a bunch of clutter which in my definition clutter is delayed decisions. It has a bunch of stuff in there that we are delaying a decision on. We are choosing to throw it in there for now and not make a decision to get rid of it at this point. The room is a mess. Things are just thrown in there, but I know that I can follow the organizing steps. My organizing steps spell the acronym, SPASM: SORT, PURGE, ASSIGN HOMES, SET LIMITS, and MAINTAIN.

[00:15:37] Those are the steps to organize absolutely everything. I know that I can decide when I want to do it. Go in that room, sort things into categories, purge the things that we threw in there without making a decision, and then assign homes to the things that we want to put back in there or put somewhere else and set limits by using shelves in there by containers.

[00:16:01] Like my kids each have a memorabilia container, keepsakes from their childhood. They don’t have houses yet, so I haven’t given it to them. They each have a container in there. Once that container is full, they can decide. Do I want another container or do I want to just go through some of these things, get rid of a few and fit the other things in that container.

[00:16:22] Setting limits and then maintaining what’s in there. Probably once a year we go in there and we purge, sort, and assign homes in that room. But in the meantime, we’re able to just throw some things in there that we don’t want to deal with, or someone redecorate, or we thought we needed to keep a few boxes, so we threw them in there.

[00:16:41] Or, you know, there’s just little random things in there, toys for our grandkids that we’re keeping. Those kinds of things are in there and it doesn’t stress me out because I know I can follow the steps. Do you have that identity – being able to organize? Do you think about yourself as someone who can follow the steps to get organized?

[00:16:58] If you have a closet that you wanted to declutter and organize, can you follow the steps? Do you believe that you can, that you can sort out the closet, purge? Go through each category in Purge and then assign homes to things, set limits using containers or shelves or baskets, and then maintain that space.

[00:17:20] If you believe that you could do that, you would practice the skill of doing it and then you would be confident that you could organize any space. Is that your identity? One of my guest speakers in Organized Life Academy was Amelia Pleasant Kennedy, and she is going to be on the podcast. I’m actually recording it in about 25 minutes with her.

[00:17:40] She’ll be on the podcast next month, but she taught us an exercise. When she was talking to us in the academy as a guest speaker and on our VIP call last this week, we went through the exercise. One of the things that we did was write our story about something that was hard to get rid of. We each chose something that we wanted to get rid of but either we haven’t done it or it has this special memory with it. We gave ourselves three minutes.

[00:18:13] I set my timer and we wrote about the item. I have these teacups that I don’t use. There are three of them and now I just got a fourth one as a gift from a group that I volunteer in. They don’t match. I don’t use teacups, and I don’t have a spot for them to sit out to look at. So they’re stuffed in the back of a cabinet. They were from my grandmother.

[00:18:38] One is mine and each of my girls also got a teacup from my grandmother. As I did this exercise and I wrote about those teacups and the memory that they held, I discovered some super interesting things. First of all, when I started writing, I couldn’t remember if I actually got those from my grandma. Did I get them from my mom’s aunt?

[00:18:58] I don’t even know. I was shocked that I didn’t remember where they came from. I do not have any memories of drinking tea with my grandma and the aunt I’ve met a couple times, but I don’t really even know her. So whoever I got them from, I don’t have memories drinking tea with either one. I don’t remember seeing these cups out at my grandma’s house.

[00:19:19] I do remember this cabinet she had with crystal, but I mean, I guess the teacups were in there. I don’t even remember seeing them. And so I thought to myself. Why do I even want those? Then I started writing and imagining about someone finding them at a Goodwill or somewhere similar. I imagined them finding them – maybe they’re on a hunt for these matching teacups.

[00:19:42] Or maybe there’s a group that’s having a mother’s tea and they’re collecting teacups. How amazing would it be for them to find these cute little teacup and saucers. As I looked back over that, and that took three minutes, and I had so many discoveries. Other women on the call were sharing their discoveries about this writing exercise that Amelia taught us.

[00:20:04]  I want to suggest to you that if you are a person that feels like they have a hard time letting go of things, take three minutes. Choose something that you’re considering letting go of, but it has this memory attached. I love how Amelia said it. The memory is in you. It is not in the item. Write the memory that is in you on paper.

[00:20:23] As we did that, we had so much discovery and it only took three minutes. Try that exercise if your identity is someone who holds on to things, who has a hard time letting go. Okay, so the sneak peek inside my home. Let’s do a little wrap up. Organizing is knowing what you have and being able to find it when you need it.

[00:20:42] It is not color coded decantering. I am super down to earth. Not only do I love a clean space, but I love things put away. I do have spaces that are cluttered, that are full of things that I haven’t made decisions on and I’m okay with that if they’re contained to a certain area because I know that I will set a date and go through this stuff using the organizing steps.

[00:21:05] If there is too much stuff, I, too, am overwhelmed. The key is to, to have less stuff. You will see that you are an organized person. You can maintain organization if you have less stuff. There are ways to reduce the amount of stuff going forward. Watch your buying habits, watch your paper habits, and watch your collection habits.

[00:21:27] Think of your home as a container and create the identity of being an organized person. That’s the mindset part of it. So my threefold approach is to declutter. We focus on that in Organized Life Academy. Declutter. Each area, one at a time, just pick one area, declutter that, follow the organizing steps, work on your mindset, and all these thoughts that you have built up over however many years of people telling you, even as a child, that you’re messy, you’re a collector, you can’t make decisions, it’s hard for you to let go of things, you have so many memories.

[00:22:05] You don’t have time. All of those thoughts, we work on the mindset so that you change into the identity of an organized person. In the Academy we do quarterly projects. So break it down. Pick one project to focus on. Okay? That’s all I have for you today. I’m curious about your thoughts. home organization. Do you feel confident about it?

[00:22:26] Do you identify as someone that’s organized or do you want to work on this this year? Join us in Organized Life Academy. You can go to simplysquaredaway.com/ola and you can get a hundred dollars off right now. Join us before April 1st. Okay. Have a great day. We’ll do some organizing.

[00:22:48] Wait, if you’re finding this podcast useful, you must check out the Organized Coach Academy. It’s my course where I walk you through every step to get your business organized to get yourself organized to save money and time to prepare to hire someone to do all the things that you want to do in your business with ease.

[00:23:09] Check that out at simplysquaredaway.com/oca. I’m sure you’ve heard this a million times, but I would love it – it’s my way of knowing that you’re enjoying the podcast – if you leave a written review, I have lots of freebies for you. They’re linked in the show notes. You can find him in my bio on Instagram at @TracyHoth and until next week, have a beautiful day.

smiling professional organized with orange background with text overlay, "An Inside Look at My Home Organization" from the Organized Coach Podcast with Tracy Hoth

Tracy Hoth