By: Rivka Slatkin
I just finished enjoying a 9 ½ month pregnancy. This pregnancy, I “nested” the
entire 9.5 months- cleaning and organizing almost every day, purging and de-
cluttering. For some reason I just felt this overwhelming urge to go through the
clutter we had accumulated over the past 5 years before this baby would be born.
I knew that a clutter-free home is the key to less stress and that’s the outcome I
The result of my 9.5 nesting a.k.a organizing and purging mania? I realized that
it was only the beginning! After all of that purging I realized that there was still
much more clutter to let go of.
Despite owning a professional organizing business since 2002 and running a
website solely dedicated to getting you, the reader, organized, I found that our
house was brimming with clutter I didn’t even know we had!
I came to realize that tackling clutter and purging is something that has to be
done hyper vigilantly. I don’t want to pressure you by saying that you need to
de-clutter every day, but I do want you to add it to your list of chores that never
seem to go away, such as laundry, cooking, getting dinner on the table etc. Does
that sound depressing?
I guess it all depends how you look at it. For me, it wasn’t too hard to part with
objects because I was excited for my new arrival. For one thing, I had an end date
(well two weeks after that end date!) so I knew my job had a deadline. Second,
I told myself that if there was something I got rid of that I regretted, I could
always get a brand new one. For example, the hand-me-down baby clothing with
stains? The old swing or even ladies clothing I no longer thought I’d wear post
pregnancy? I could get more of those. The toys my kids no longer played with? I
gave them away or consigned them to make a few extra bucks.
So, I didn’t become overwhelmed or depressed upon seeing how much work
needed to be done before my deadline. I think that all of my work was very
exciting and positive because I said “Yes” to being ready for my arrival, and “No”
to living in a house that was full of things I didn’t love or have use for anymore.
That conscious choice allowed me to sever the “strings of guilt” that might have
come up when I purged something I wasn’t sure if I should purge.
Many of my readers mention how hard it is to part with different objects. Or,
they are very good at throwing out one category of items but not another. If this
sounds like you, ask yourself- If I say “Yes” to this, what will I be saying “No” to?
If I say “yes” to keeping this particular object, I’m saying “no” to bringing in a new
You can use the Yes/No principle towards anything that requires a hard decision,
not only for tackling clutter. For instance, you can use the Yes/No principle
towards how to spend your time. Should I go to this business networking
event? Or spend time with my family? There is no right or wrong answer.
Make a conscious choice, to get rid of any “but I feel guilty” feelings, and say to
yourself, “If I say Yes to x, then I am saying No to Y.” In the end, you’ll decide to
do what you what you feel more pulled towards.
So, let’s wrap it all up. A clutter-free home is the key to sanity. Hands-down.
You’ll spend less time looking for things you lost, stuffing drawers and closets,
and running around like a mad woman. If that’s true, how do you get rid of it and
stay on top of it all? You de-clutter DILIGENTLY, as often as humanly possible. And
finally, how do you decide what to keep and what to purge? You use the Yes/No
principle. If I say “yes” to keeping this, I’m saying “no” to something else.
Rivka Slatkin specializes in cheering you on in your sometimes difficult job as a homemaker!
Sign up for her highly-acclaimed and miraculously free download, Shabbos Perfectly Organized,
and find out how to become a Confident, Capable, and Happy Jewish Homemaker from her