Decluttering FAQs

Q & A with Professional Organizer Dalit Rosin

  • What is the definition of a hoarder?
    Someone who collects and/or hides what they amass. The guarding of ones things.
  • Why do people hoard?
    People believe the item has value or will be valuable in the future. Attachment to things feels safe, and creates a status. Owning also makes people feel connected and important. Letting go can be hard. Obsessive- compulsive behavior is associated to hoarding and it can often be part of a mental illness.
  • Why is hoarding a stigma?
    The rap that goes along with hoarding is often an unfair one. The stigma association assumes the individual is lazy or dirty- laziness is not typically the reason for the mess. It can be many factors such as tiredness, genetic traits or the inability to make fast decisions (do I need this, will I use this, where does this go?).
  • Why has minimalism become a trend?
    In an age where we are learning about mindfulness- our living, our eating, our breathing and thinking has become second nature, so too has our awareness of what our goals are. One no longer wants to be blind to intention. The minimalist movement enforces intention so that we are removed from distractions and concentrate on value. The philosophy that less is more enables you to value what you do hold onto and lead a less materialistic lifestyle. You buy what you need, rather than what you want. In theory it enhances a stress free lifestyle.
  • What are the benefits of being organized?
    So many! Cost effective- know what you have so you don’t overbuy. Know where things are and where they live – easy to find/locate. Have peace of mind. Make cleaning a quicker process.
  • How often do you need to declutter?
    Children’s clothing very often- especially as they outgrow everything. Use vacuum bags to make easy storage and label accordingly (for example – girls summer 3-6 months).
    • When you see that drawers are looking stuffed or overflowing – time to go through it.
    • At milestones- children reach a certain age and are changing.
    • When families expand or get smaller i.e. someone leaves the nest or you need to make space for new members.
  • How do I declutter?
    Start with a drawer. Empty its contents on a flat surface area (table or a bed). Go through and see if you really need each item. Categorize things together – swimwear all in one place, or linens all together. Ask yourself- do I use this? Do I like this? Will I have a use for this? Does this go here? If you don’t use it or like it, tell your mind guilt doesn’t have control- I do and this is my space. (Alternatively donating is a way to rid guilt in paying it forward).
  • I love order but hate organizing. Help!
    Think of the end goal– that alone will give you motivation. Make sure you have eaten, drunk, are cool enough and have music as company to push you along the way.
  • How have I got to this state?
    Wasted question. Life is busy and challenging. Making time is subjective. Time to move forward and not dwell on the past. Time to make your home how you want it to be.
  • How can I manage and maintain?
    • Lists! Digital or written.
    • You see the oil is low so write it down for your next shop.
    • Be smart- avoid the marketing tricks to save you pennies by bulk buying and overspending. Your space is as valuable as your money.
    • Don’t be a martyr! Make a family schedule visible to all of who is responsible for what each one does. Hold a family meeting to delegate roles. Children are not slaves but should also be responsible for age appropriate tasks.
    • If your attitude is sooner rather than later this will help you to maintain the order. As you cook, try cleaning as you go along (food back to the fridge) to make the clean up a lot easier. 
  • What are the things that (western) men collect most?
    Generally speaking- tools, gadgets, wires and old technology.
  • What are the things that (western) women collect most?
    Beauty products, ranges of clothing (Shabbat clothes, weekday clothes, different sizes, head coverings- scarves, hats, wigs, winter things, coats and jackets etc…), home décor.
  • What are the things that (western) teenagers collect most?
    School books, magazines and comics, gadgets, collections, stationary, excess clothing, socks.
  • What are the things families hoard the most?
    Excess kitchen gadgets and equipment, toys, children’s clothing, random sports paraphernalia, books and reading material, Tupperware.
  • What do you do with gifts from relatives that you really don’t like?
    Physical space is extremely valuable in terms of affecting your mental space. You are entitled to pass that item on for someone else to enjoy. Don’t dismiss the item in front of them and remain considerate of their intention.
  • What do you do with your child’s artwork?
    Do you really need to keep every scrap piece they come home with? My answer is a definite NO. A memory folder/box with the best of the best (first drawing of their family, a tree etc.) to keep is not the same as saving everything. Discreetly dispose of the unwanted creations guilt free.
  • What do I do in order to make my session with a professional organizer efficient?
    The experience is an intimate one- you are allowing a stranger to enter your private space and go through your possessions.  The relationship should be one of trust and comfort, the organizer must respect your decisions and have a helpful disposition whilst being non-judgmental. The client should also understand that in order to organize the space, it is imperative that you part with items in order to create better spaces.
About the Author
Dalit has been in Jerusalem for ~10 years and is married with four kids. Her organisational skills allow her to successfully help manage people's spaces by decluttering and reorganizing. Her passions include travelling, good coffee shops, winter sun, and learning for the soul. In her spare time she manages an online facebook group called "Brand New Mamas"
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