De-cluttering 101


I recently spoke at NW Natural Gas to help the company downsize before a big move next year. This is the article that was written about the event. 


Professional organizer Michaela Santen offers advice on how to decide what to keep and what to toss during Cleanup Day at OPS

At a decluttering brown bag on May 3, Courtney Karstad from the headquarters project team pointed out that the new headquarters building will have smaller workstations and 50 percent less storage space than at OPS.

To help employees clear out unneeded items, The Move team invited Michaela Santen, owner of Simple Sweep Organizing, to offer decluttering tips at the event.

"The only thing worse than having too much stuff is having to move too much stuff," Santen told the attendees. And the fact is, the accumulation of stuff is all too common. The average home has 300,000 items.

"There are five times as many storage facilities as there are Starbucks,” she said. “That’s in addition to homes that are larger today with fewer people living in them."

This accumulation has financial and emotional implications, from money spent to replace items you can’t find, to the loss of functional workspace, to the inability to actually enjoy the things you have.

Three questions to consider

Santen suggested we ask ourselves the following three questions when deciding what things to keep and what things to take home, recycle or give away:

1. Why do I have this?
2. When did I last use it?
3. Does it make me happy (or at least help me in my job)?

She shared before and after photos of projects in which she helped clients reduce clutter in homes and businesses. And she also offered a final tip: “Start small. Take 20 minutes and focus on a drawer, or a shelf. And if you don't love it or use it, it's clutter."