Track what you let go of like my client Monica

Keeping a list of the items you’re decluttering can serve as a helpful reminder that you are making progress in your space, even when it feels like you aren’t.

Last week I was organizing with my client in Houston, continuing a system that really excited her from my last visit. Monica has a spacious, beautiful home that, to the casual visitor, looks pretty organized. Lurking behind closed doors though were three rooms that had become repositories for clutter. (We’re down to one!) Letting go does not come naturally so I pull out any array of tricks that come to mind. She has it in her though. Upon letting go of about 45 T-shirts in one spilt second decision, I said, “Who are you and what have you done with Monica?!” As items were going out on my last visit in June I decided to itemize exactly what she was donating. She loved watching this list grow as the donations bin filled.

We certainly made a visible dent in that two of the three rooms are perfectly presentable now, but in moments where it feels like space isn’t being made fast enough, it helps us both to turn to this list as proof that big progress is being made:


It’s the second time that I’ve used a list of outgoing items to motivate a client. Back in 2012 I posted this on the fridge of a home where we were measuring progress in big black contractor’s bags! I was thrilled that she kept adding to it in-between sessions:


You may remember back in June that I wrote a post called A simple coding system for big decluttering projects. That was also from Monica’s Houston project. Click here to read how we used two colors of sticky notes to calm her mind when walking into a great big "work in progress" room.

In 2018 I worked in Portland, OR three times and Houston, TX twice. Is your city next? I love to travel to organize. It’s nice to dig in and have a stretch of concentrated time on a single project.  I know they have many fine options closer to home when choosing an organizer, so it’s always an honor when they feel I’m the best match. Learn more about working with me outside of the DC area here

119 Circle

Office Organizing Expert Kacy Paide loves to do what most people hate: organize offices & paper.

She works with folks who are desperate for a more functional, more beautiful, more inspiring office. Kacy has been a Professional Organizer since 2001 and has worked with over 500 clients. Call her crazy, but she loves a good mess and wants to fix yours. Learn her time-tested solutions in her eBook, The Inspired Office: Organize Your Life One Paper at a Time. Based in Silver Spring, MD, Kacy is nationally available for consulting & speaking.