Doing, Not Buying

There are a zillion organizing tips out there in the universe (at least 97% of which originated on Pinterest according to my very unscientific calculations), but there are very few that truly work, and even fewer that don’t require purchasing or making much if anything.  That’s why, even though I’ve never heard of Pure Wow before, their article on the 8 Secrets of People Who Don’t Have Clutter caught my eye.

Photo courtesy of

I stand by each and every one of these tips.  Read them for yourself, and then come back here to find out why:

  1.  I don’t keep gifts I don’t like, and I promise you I don’t feel any guilt.  I’m always grateful for any gift I receive, and make sure to tell the giver so (preferably via thank you note!).  And I can always see how the giver was thinking of me when they selected the gift, even if I don’t love it, and that touches me just as much as The Perfect Gift would. 
  2. Eeeeek… I’m still working on this one.  But I can tell you this: I have things I don’t love in my closet right now, and they’re driving me nuts!
  3. I have to admit, it’s easier to have an all season wardrobe living in a place like San Francisco, where the temperature is pretty much always between 50 and 70 Fahrenheit.  Still, pieces that I own for travel or special activities (think: heavy winter coat, riding boots, fancy hat for teas/lunches) still live in my closet rather than packed away.  It’s always easier to live in the closet you have (with minor feature adjustments like shelves and hooks) than to try to create additional closet space.
  4. Still working on this one too, but together my husband and I have just two small file cabinets that contain things that aren’t easily digitized or should be kept in paper format (home documents, taxes, old photos and letters).
  5. It’s not sexy but it’s true: a good garbage can makes ALL the difference.  In our old house, we used this Simple Human can.  I love it because it has space for both trash and recycling, and it’s sleek enough to leave out.  Plus, it’s easy to clean and contains smells surprisingly well.  In our current home, we’re really enjoying the slide-out bins the previous owners installed under the sink, much like the picture in the article. 
  6. Ok, real talk, I don’t actually wipe down all the surfaces in my home daily.  I’m not particular about a little dust.  But I do declutter said surfaces nearly daily, and my husband wipes down the kitchen counter every time he cooks.  The concept remains sound!
  7. My makeup collection and my closet are both at the one in, one out point, and I’m grappling with when to call it on my shoe collection.  This sounds limiting, I know.  But consider this: ten perfect lipsticks are way better than a jumble of 30 and feeling like you never have quite the right one.
  8. We do not have a junk drawer.  I know, it sounds crazy.  But there’s a logical place for the things that live in junk drawers.  Phone chargers?  Put all cords together in a drawer or basket near where you charge your devices.  Pens?  Put them in jar on your desk and maybe another with a notepad by your land line if you have one.  Coupons?  Create a file folder for those, or perhaps a small envelope bag you keep in your purse.

Photo courtesy of

As ever, this article proves that truly getting organized is about doing rather than buying, and about simplifying rather than complicating.  Be wary of any tips that tell you otherwise – especially if they come from Pinterest!