• Kelli Bastin

4 Organizing Tips from a Professional Organizer: Sort Support Indy

This is a guest post from my favorite local, professional organizer. Welcome Lisa Eckerle from Sort Support! (You can book a consultation with her using the link at the bottom of this post!)


The beginning of the year always lends itself to the desire to lose weight, exercise and go through your home’s belongings. People are ready to shed pounds, inches and the weight that can consume them when too much clutter surrounds them. The biggest obstacle to starting the purging process of your belongings is deciding what to keep. I can tell you right now that the decision of what to keep is an easy one. Most people want to keep almost everything. There :: done! Instead, I’m going to encourage you to ask yourself the opposite - and more difficult - question :: what should you toss? Here is how to get rid of your C.R.A.P.

The Benefits of Tossing

Why do you need to even go through the exercise of decluttering? According to a PRNewswire article from August 2016, 48% of Americans consider their homes to be at least somewhat cluttered with items they no longer use. 72% of Americans believe they would gain more space in their homes by purging unused items.

Not only is there the benefit of more space, there is also the benefit of less stress. Your body takes cues from your environment on how it should respond. When surrounded by clutter, your body responds as if it is constantly facing a never-ending to-do list and won’t put itself into relaxation mode.

Decluttering can actually help you meet your goal of losing weight :: wait, what?! Research conducted by Brian Wansink, director of Cornell University's Food and Brand Lab and published in a USA Today article from August 2014, shows that cluttered kitchens prompted people to eat 44% more of their snack food than a kitchen that was organized and decluttered. Snack on that!

Tips On What to Toss

Ready to improve your environment, mood and life by ridding them of your crap? Here are 4 tips to help you determine what C.R.A.P. should be tossed without hesitation.

#1 :: CHEAP

We have a tendency to place a higher value on items that we own than we would place on the exact same item that we don’t own. Try to overcome that thought and get rid of items that don’t really hold true value, are easily replaceable and that really don’t hold up to your quality lifestyle. Toss anything that is ::

  • Worn, tarnished, faded, tacky or that lost its shape

  • T-shirts

  • Jewelry

  • Serving platters

  • Linens

  • Made of cheap material

  • Scratchy clothes

  • Thin towels

  • Sheets that itch

  • Brittle plastic toys

  • Plastic food containers & serving platters

  • Pans that burn your food

  • Sample/free items

  • Toiletries from hotels

  • Gifts with purchase items

  • Trade show tchotchkes

  • Promotional items

  • Logoed items from a company you have no or an old connection to

  • Themed coffee mugs & reusable bags

  • Anything from a Happy Meal

  • Party bag goodies

  • All things ugly

  • Home decor items that no longer fit your taste

  • Cheesy travel souvenirs

  • Anything you can easily replace under a certain price point

  • Determine a price point that you’d be comfortable spending for anything that you may need down the road but that isn’t worth holding onto until that unspecified-may-never-actually-happen day. For example, instead of hanging on to a fondue pot that you may use for Galentine’s Day one day, donate it now, knowing that you are willing to replace it later - once you actually have the fondue night on your calendar ... in ink.


Chances are, you don’t need four ladles, five decks of cards or three pairs of snow boots. Do you remember the salesperson who convinced you that you had to register for 12 of everything for your wedding registry? Now is the time to correct that mistake. Decide how many you truly need and use of a certain item and toss the rest. Items that tend to accumulate include ::

  • Kitchen utensils

  • Charging cords

  • Picture frames

  • Coolers

  • Water bottles

  • Pens & pencils

  • Pillows

  • Wine glasses

  • Candles

Eliminate unneeded duplicate items- especially in your kitchen utensil drawer!


When you look at something and it instantly conjures up annoyance, a bad memory or a reminder of what you aren’t, it’s time to rid yourself of the item, the memory and the feeling. This includes ::

  • Clothes that no longer fit

  • Keep one favorite item for inspiration and donate the rest

  • Items that are always in the way

  • If you keep having to move it around without ever actually using it, it’s time to move it permanently out of your house

  • Decor items that are no longer your style

  • Design trends change over the years :: so should your inventory

  • Anything from your previous marriage or toxic relationships

  • Cookbooks and recipe printouts

  • If they are there juuuust in case you decide to one day release your inner Giada, then toss them and order Italian takeout

  • Perfume with a funky smell

  • It one whiff makes you scrunch your nose, provides an instant memory of a bad time in your life or your ex-boyfriend, then time to X the bottle

  • Something that you’ll one day get to

  • If it’s been a standing to-do for more than a few months, it’s time to-don’t

#4 :: PAST its PRIME

Most items are the opposite of a fine wine :: they do not get better with age. There is no need to hold on to stuff that is old, outdated or broken. If the item is any of the following, then toss without thought ::

  • Stained, faded or holey (clothing, sheets, tablecloths)

  • Expired (makeup, food, medicine)

  • Stretched-out (hair ties, t-shirts)

  • Pilled (sweaters, leggings, sheets)

  • Broken (small appliances, toys, zippers)

  • Missing pieces (puzzles, kits, games)

  • Rusted (tools, kitchen gadgets, pots & pans)

  • Chipped (plates, bowls, vases)

  • Slow (electronics, computers, small appliances)

  • Moldy or Mildewy (bath toys, clothing, old books)

Activation :: Motivation

Now that you know how to rid your home of its C.R.A.P., it’s time to take action. Start small with an easy space, like your hall closet or a junk drawer. As you gain momentum and confidence in your decision making skills, move to bigger spaces with trickier decisions. Leave the spaces for last that you know are filled with tough or emotional items.

Don’t feel like you have to tackle your whole house in one day, one weekend or even one month. Give yourself time, grace and maybe some liquid courage :: and if all else fails … hire a professional organizer to help coach you through the process and provide constant encouragement. Without the organizer having any attachment to your belongings, she or he can easily provide you an unbiased opinion, when asked.

If you are ready to invite a personal crap-clearing cheerleader into your home, you can book a complimentary phone consultation here. I will provide you honest feedback on what to toss with maybe a few laughs along the way. After all, reading the box of ‘love’ letters you’ve been hanging onto since the second grade and realizing your crush promised you his milk pouch at lunch in exchange for holding your hand on the playground for a full 60 seconds is always worth a good giggle … followed by a good toss.

You can also reach Lisa on Instagram @sortsupport or email at lisa@sortsupportindy.com

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