Karen has been writing how-to articles for 25 years. She has written chapters in manuals (environmental area and law), articles for various publications and has written 7 how-to books. None are published, but she uses excerpts from them in her teaching, public speaking and workshops. As an outcome of creating her workshop, Homes in Transition, she will produce an ebook that people can use as they complete the difficult work of clearing out homes in times of change, grief and loss. The articles here will be lifted from her books and her work in Organized Change.

Sort Clutter: Find Yourself Sorting belongings and deciding to keep, donate, sell, upcycle or toss items can be simple. Until it’s not.

Through the years, I’ve worked with clients and participated in the process of clearing stuff from homes and spaces. I’ve watched them work and proceed smoothly. And then stop. Their faces changed, and they’d either sit down, walk away or simply stare at something.

It could be anything: a gravy boat or a pet’s toy. An old book or a candlestick.

We keep stuff for a variety of reasons. As we try to sort through our belongings and figure out why we have so much stuff and why we can’t get rid of anything, we get frustrated. Understanding ourselves and the events of our lives can simplify the process.

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Bainbridge Island DeclutteringOver 20+ years, I’ve seen people struggle with clearing homes in times of deep crisis.

We all love our homes and our stuff and want to stay there until we either decide to move or pass on. People make careful plans to be able to live at home throughout their lives.

Significant life events can change this careful planning.

Consider the following examples.

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Organize Your LifeAll decisions that you make originate as a concerted actions in your body and brain. Your brain is the computer: hardware, software, wires and connections. Your body interprets your brain’s signals. Researchers now postulate than thinking is not solely a brain activity. Your organs think too. Their thinking is different from brain activity, but it produces results that are sent to the brain.

The decision to clear clutter happens after after a series of events have taken place in your brain and body. After a period of time of living in your home, you develop patterns of behavior, interactions, patterns and non-doing (puttering). Your status quo is how things are.

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Seattle Professional OrganizerWhen people find out what I do for a living, they tell me stories. I hear “suffocating,” “drowning,” “overwhelmed” and other descriptions of how they feel about their homes. Some dread going home.

After hearing similar words for years, I decided that the realities I heard were present for many people. So I drew mind maps of people’s relationships with their homes and then drew mind maps of how I thought people could change those relationships with their homes. The change all boiled down to one factor: stuff.

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