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Advice

Organizational Tips with Megan from Go Simplified


Happy Monday, everyone! I hope you are all having an amazing start to your week!! Tyler and I just got back from a whirlwind trip to San Diego for a Jilly Box shoot. It was an AMAZING trip… but I did really miss being home with my family and also seeing my team. It feels SO good to be back (especially since our home is all clean and organized, thanks to Megan from Go Simplified). And, can you believe we’re already almost HALFWAY through Women’s History Month? 

In honour of Women’s History Month, I am sharing blog posts featuring some pretty phenomenal women that I have gotten to know over the years… and today I will be sharing one of those blogs!  

I’ve been working on this blog for a little while, featuring a very special guest… Megan from Go Simplified!! Megan founded Go Simplified fourteen years ago and, ever since, has been helping clients all over North America (and abroad!) declutter and reorganize their homes.

Jillian Harris's closet transformation with Megan from Go Simplified
Jillian Harris's accessories drawer transformation with Megan from Go Simplified
Jillian Harris's jewellery drawer transformation with Megan from Go Simplified

Since there was such a positive response to my last blog post recapping my experience with Go Simplified, I decided to reach out to Megan about sharing more of her tips for keeping a decluttered, organized household. So, without any further delay, here’s my conversation with Megan:

Q.  To start, Megan, I guess I’d love to know your thoughts on the importance of keeping organized. Beyond having a beautiful, presentable home, why should we organize?

While I was at an event recently at the Calgary branch of “Wine Women and Wellbeing,” I was talking about this very thing. Whether you live in a spacious house or a tiny apartment, everyone has to organize! And it doesn’t matter who you are; it’s a common and collective experience!

What was interesting at that speaking engagement was the conversation that arose about the cost of clutter—because there are costs! Clutter costs your energy, time, space and mental health. So, is it worth keeping that t-shirt you never wear? Removing and reducing clutter, like getting rid of toxic friends and relationships. The people and items in your house need to EARN the right to be there. Don’t allow things in your house too much freedom to occupy the space.

Q.  If people reading this are feeling overwhelmed at the thought of getting super organized, where do they start?

In order to get organized, you first need to declutter your space. It’s like a learner’s licence and a driver’s licence. Clutter is learners, and organizing is the driver’s licence. So, until you de-clutter, you can’t create these great organizational systems.

Q.  How does someone know what to get rid of and what to keep?

First is to be in the present and forget what your parents taught you about decluttering. In all honesty, you’ve probably been set up to fail by your parents because most people don’t know how to declutter effectively.

Next, is to go through your space, room by room, and ask these three simple questions with each item:

  1. Do I use this item?
  2. Do I love this item?
  3. If I lost this item, would I go out and buy it again?

*You don’t have to say yes to every single question in order to warrant keeping that shirt or book, or toy! It’s not a perfect science. But, from my experience with clients, if it’s not a firm yes, it’s likely a no. These questions really serve as a helpful guide to give yourself permission and wisdom to let that thing go because often we’re just looking for permission to let that item go. 

Jillian Harris's linen closet transformation with Megan from Go Simplified
Jillian Harris's laundry room transformation with Megan from Go Simplified

Q.  What mistakes do you often see when it comes to people trying to declutter their space?

What we as people typically do (which isn’t helpful) is this:

  1. We are perfectionists (I don’t want to get this wrong, so I’ll keep this item!)
  2. We can’t accept a bad purchase (I bought this, and it was a lot of money, so I can’t bear to part from it because I would feel too shameful about my bad purchase.)
  3. We are sentimental (Even though I don’t use this item, I will keep it because it’s meaningful.)
  4. We get caught up in the future (I may not need this item now, but I should keep it just in case! 
  5. We spend beyond our means (I spent a lot of money on this item, so even though I don’t use it anymore, I must hang onto it.)
  6. We lose focus of the real problem (My disorganized home is stressing me out, so I’m going to make myself feel better by going shopping!)

Q.  If someone reads this list and thinks, “yep, that sounds like me!” what would you suggest they do?

If you are struggling with perfectionism, the ‘I don’t want to get this wrong!’ situation, I urge you to trust yourself. And, remember, that worse comes to worst if you do eventually need to use the second ladder you’re considering getting rid of, you could always ask a neighbour or a friend to borrow theirs!

If you’re having trouble accepting you made a bad purchase or that the item cost a lot of money and you don’t use it anymore, this one has a tough answer: the money is already gone! You can’t undo the past. Adding more clutter to your home won’t make the item more useful to you or bring the money back. But you could sell the item and find it a great new home!

If you are feeling sentimental about an item, know that this one is a tricky one! We all want to hold onto memories and often project our memories onto items. My best advice for this is to take a picture of the item that’s sentimental to you. And, remember: the person who gave it to you wouldn’t want to burden you with the cost of clutter. The memories are in your heart)

If you’re struggling with the ‘just in case’ phrase, it’s good to remember that you’re not living in the present, and that isn’t serving you! As I suggested for those struggling with perfectionism, you can always borrow the item from a friend or rent it! If you are making these kinds of ‘just in case comments about a pair of pants that are too big or too small, hoping that you will manage to fit into them one day, this might be a really good opportunity for some self-reflection and actively working to love the body that you’re in just as is it right now.

If you find yourself overwhelmed by the clutter and resorting to shopping to ease that stress, unfortunately, shopping won’t avoid the clutter… it will only add to it! But, here’s the good news…

ALL of these decluttering tips take practice. Why is this a good thing? Well, once you start practicing decluttering, it’s contagious. You’ll want to live with less and less, and you may even find yourself feeling lighter and less stressed with less stuff to manage. How amazing is that?! Let’s try and capture this feeling of lightness!

Q.  If readers are feeling ready to tackle the decluttering and re-organizing process, how many hours should they expect this to take?

The first time when we were with Jillian, it took 100 hours with six people! The second time it only took 20 hours because we were at the driver’s licence stage (the organizing stage). So, expect it to take a long time to declutter an entire home on your first go. It’s a big project! My advice is to take it room by room and invite your friends over for some helping hands! But the good news is that, like with Jillian’s home, once you are in the practice of decluttering and organizing, it takes less and less time each time you do it.

Q.  What if people are feeling tired of the upkeep of decluttering and organizing?

Here’s a good way to think about it: every day you get dirty, does that mean you stop showering? No, of course not! You have to keep going and keep decluttering and organizing. Make it part of your routine.

Q.  You have been so immensely helpful in getting my house decluttered and reorganized for the year ahead. But, if people cannot afford a full organizational team to come to their home, are there any other tools they can access to support them?

Yes, absolutely! On my website, go-simplified.com, I have a calendar with a challenge for EVERY month of the year to segment the process and make it fun! I also have how-to guides as well as how-to courses (coming soon!) for each room of your home to simplify things for people.

Lastly, what I will say to anyone reading this is YOU CAN DO THIS, and you are not alone. 

We assume we will just automatically know how to organize, but like anything, it’s a skill! 

Well, that was my amazing conversation with Megan from Go Simplified! If you are eager to start your decluttering and organizing journey, be sure to give her account a follow on Instagram @gosimplified for more amazing tips and tricks. On her January story highlights, you will also find some of the helpful products (like clear organizational drawer dividers) that Megan used in my house to better set us up for success! 

All in all, remember that YOU are CAPABLE!!

xo,

Jilly

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