Decluttering Tips, LIVE WELL, Organizing Tips

How to Tell If You Need to Declutter or Just Need Better Storage

When things feel overwhelming, most people tend to think they need better storage solutions for their stuff. So they buy. . . more stuff. . . bins, baskets, and shelves to organize it.

And while having the right storage systems in place can help, you can never organize your way out of too much stuff. The only answer is to declutter.

But how can you tell if you need to declutter or just need better storage? Let’s explore.

You probably need to declutter if. . .

  • You can’t sit down and sew without moving piles of things from one place to another
  • Your shelves, drawers and bins are bursting with fabric, projects, and other supplies
  • You would rather go to the store and repurchase something than try to find it in your sewing space
  • You have sewing items stored in many places throughout your home, and you don’t know what you own
  • Your sewing room feels heavy or like a burden
  • You don’t even know where to start.

But you probably just need better storage if. . .

  • You’re not storing like things together (for example: sorting fabric by color, designer, texture or some other method that helps you keep track of what you own)
  • You have deep shelves but aren’t utilizing most of the space
  • You aren’t using containers, drawer dividers, and other solutions to maximize the space that you have
  • You aren’t using vertical space that is available to you (i.e. things are on the floor that could be hung on the wall).

If the problem is that you don’t have a system for storing things in a way that makes them easily accessible (but you have the room to make it happen), then you probably just need better storage solutions.

Or, you might need both!

Sometimes the answer is a little bit of both. You might need to let go of things to optimize the space that you have. And then based on what you keep, you can determine the best storage solutions and organizing systems for your space.

One word of caution — don’t try to organize before you declutter. By buying storage containers before you pare down, you’ll bring more stuff into the space (in other words — more overwhelm) AND you’ll be purchasing containers before you know what you want to store in them (so you might end up having to buy things twice, which is expensive and not very sustainable).

Don’t be afraid to ask for help

One final word of advice: while it can be hard to ask for help, sometimes a fresh set of eyes on the problem is just what you need to solve your clutter dilemma. Whether it’s a friend, a family member, or a professional (like me), getting an outsider’s perspective can help you to see the forest from the trees (or in this case, the fabric from the floor). There is a cost to holding onto things you no longer need — what is your clutter costing you?