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  • Writer's pictureBret Yager

Organizing offers chance for new start during quarantine

With most people quarantined in their homes or apartments, spring cleaning is going to feel different this year.

But professional organizers and cleaners in St. Joseph believe the annual tradition of purging items and streamlining living spaces should still continue.

“It can help ease anxiety, ease depression. It gives you a new outlook on yourself that you should be happy with who are you and not the stuff you have,” Lisa Doyle, a counselor and organizer for Angel On My Shoulder Professional Organizers, said.

With people stuck indoors for a second month, the feeling can be to put cleaning off since the shutdown in response to COVID-19 pandemic will continue for at least the next few weeks. The goal should be to get it done now so people can feel like they’re accomplishing something.

“Instead of going stir crazy, get up and organize a closet. (It) makes you feel great when you’re all done,” Lacey Ingrim, owner of the cleaning and organizing company Maid For More, said.

If the mess around your living space is too much to take on, break it down to manageable daily tasks. Doyle suggests focusing on one area, even if it’s as small as tackling a cluttered desk.

“Don’t do the thing of emptying out your entire closet on the floor. That will overwhelm you and make you less likely to finish the job. Do a daily task that you can finish and keep at it every day,” she said.

Ingrim said she works best with making a list of all of the tasks she wants to complete, both inside and outdoors. Then she chips away at it.

“Every day, pick one thing off your list and get it done. Or start with the smallest task and work your way up,” she said.

For a family or place with roommates, it’s best to designate areas for each person to work on.

“You almost have to organize what everyone is doing. If not, it becomes a madhouse with items everywhere making you even more stressed out,” Ingrim said.

In houses overflowing with clothes, toys and gadgets, Doyle said people need to examine what’s worth keeping and has been put off being donated or thrown away. She suggests everyone try on their clothes and if they don’t fit or won’t likely be worn in the next year, donate or sell them. She also said there should be assigned boxes for each room to collect items to donate during the course of a month.

“Anything you come across that you can donate or sell, put it in the box. If it doesn’t belong in that room, put it where it belongs,” she said.

In a time when people are trying to keep their living spaces disinfected, making them less cluttered will go a long way in helping streamline that process. It also gives people a sense of control and peace, knowing they don’t have to deal with a constant mess.

“Cleaning and organizing in your home is one of the few things that we do have control over right now. It makes you feel good and your home looks good, plus easier to keep clean and disinfect,” Ingrim said.

As a counselor, Doyle said a cluttered home is often symptomatic of other things going in a person’s life.

“I sometimes clean someone’s house and they end up seeing me as their counselor next,” she said. “Your mind is going to be cluttered. Unclutter your environment. Keep your mind and hands busy while things you can’t control go on around you.”

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