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7 Behaviors That Lead to Clutter According to Professional Organizer Nadia Arbach

7 behaviors that lead to clutter feelgood fibers Nadia arbach

Earlier this week, we introduced you to UK-based Professional Organizer Nadia Arbach. Here’s how Nadia introduced herself:

I am a professional declutterer specializing in creative workspaces. When I first opened my business, Clear the Decks!, in 2015, I worked with anyone who needed decluttering services. Then I realized I LOVED working with creative people, especially those who had sewing rooms! As a quilter and sewist myself, I really connected with my creative clients.  I also fully understood the clutter that can come with fabric, patterns, and sewing tools. So I started a podcast called ‘Declutter and Organize Your Sewing Space‘, which I’m currently turning into a book; and I’ve developed online self-study courses to help creative women make the most of their creative workspaces. I also coach creative women who need a push to get their creative work done! You can find me at Clear the Decks.


This week, we’re continuing our series about decluttering. Nadia will explain the seven behaviors that lead us to a cluttered workspace so that we can determine which behaviors are holding us back.

Nadia, decluttering can seem like a huge step for a lot of us, how do you recommend someone gets started?

I would recommend that if you’re looking to declutter for good, and not just tidy up and then find the clutter coming back, you need to look at your behaviours. You need to figure out HOW clutter is coming into your house, and then work on overcoming those behaviours. At the same time, it’s incredibly important to realize that behaviours don’t change overnight. So the key is to take it slow, forgive yourself for lapses, and overcome clutter-creating behaviours one step at a time. And also: remember that your sewing space doesn’t have to be perfect like a Pinterest photo. It just has to be functional and uplifting for YOU.

I’ve come up with a list of the seven behaviours that lead to clutter in a creative workspace. If you go through each of them and decide which ones you need to work on, that’s half the battle won!

Nadia’s List of the 7 Behaviors that lead to clutter:

1. Overspending.

Buying things because they’re on sale because they’re pretty, or because there’s a special offer, or spending more than you’d planned.

2. Scarcity thinking.

Keeping items because they ‘might come in handy one day’ or you ‘spent good money on them’.

3. Sentimentality.

Keeping items because they were given to you by someone you love, or handed down to you, even if you don’t have any use for them and wouldn’t have bought them yourself.

4. Sense of duty.

Keeping projects or materials out of obligation, even though you no longer are excited about them; also, doing sewing favours for others or making handmade gifts out of obligation.

5. Sense of identity.

Buying or keeping items that don’t really suit you because you’re trying to mimic someone else that you admire, or because you don’t fully understand your own creative identity.

6. Overwhelm.

Taking on more projects than you can handle because you want to do all of them, but not being able to choose between any of them (or even find them in your space!)

7. Disorganized thinking.

Not having a master list of projects you’re working on, and not having a method for storing all of your in-progress projects and materials.

Do you see yourself in any of these? TELL US BELOW which one(s) resonate with you, and how you might try to focus on being mindful of those habits in the days and weeks ahead!

In case you missed it, be sure to check out the first installment in this series, Meet Professional Organizer Nadia Arbach. And be sure to check back next week for our last installment in the series with Nadia, where she’ll explain how to make the decision to declutter.

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2 thoughts on “7 Behaviors That Lead to Clutter According to Professional Organizer Nadia Arbach

  1. Patricia says:

    Overspending plus disorganized thinking have combined to create my biggest problem: I buy fabric (or rulers) (or gadgets) without a plan for how to use them. Then I have to search for a pattern I like that fits the fabric yardage I purchased. This seldom works out. My plan going forward is to pull fabrics into groups that work for a quilt; pull neutral combinations that can be pieced into a backing; and destash the rest. If I can’t find a purpose for it now, what are the chances I’ll find a purpose for it in 3 years?

    1. FeelGood Fibers says:

      We love the way that you’re changing your thinking about your stash! These are all great points, and in the end will lead to a more creative and productive workspace! Keep us posted on how it goes!

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