Does the sales floor of your shop look picture-perfect at all times? Meanwhile, do places customers never venture into resemble a post-cyclone zone? Do you struggle with the muddle of clutter not knowing where (or how) to address it, keeping you overwhelmed and stuck? Although much has been written about the importance of decluttering a home, not much has been offered about clutter in a retail environment. It goes beyond saying good riddance to slow moving inventory with clearance sales. It means purging, organizing, relocating, and rethinking the use of space. It also means confronting the subconscious deeper meaning behind messes.
Clutter might be out of sight, but truth is, it’s never out of mind. Even tidy shops may have clutter fluttering somewhere, but most likely not in customers’ sight. Maybe the backroom packed with extra bags; a desk that hasn’t seen the light of day; a basement jammed with shipments to be displayed.
Clutter multiplies like rabbits when it’s banished to an area no one sees. By decluttering, you’re shifting those vibes and customers will feel the difference even if they don’t see it.
Benefits from decluttering are vast, physically and psychologically. It relieves stress by providing a sense of control and accomplishment. Most importantly, since clutter is an energy zapper, decluttering can actually make you more productive!
People who live in a state of chaos are often prone to procrastination and may have a difficult time committing. They get anxious and overwhelmed with change, and often give up before even starting something. Needless to say, they may feel bad about themselves. Does this describe you in some way? Keep in mind that everything interconnects, so, if you’re not taking care of the clutter in your business, you may not be taking care of yourself in some way either. Here are five decluttering ideas to help organize your shop:
Speak to it
Imagine all areas of your shop symbolizing parts of you, each reflecting something going on subconsciously. Have an honest conversation with those areas to find out what they’re expressing to you or the world. For example, a desk piled with paperwork might be saying, “Help, I’m overwhelmed and have no idea how I’ll ever catch up with these bills. I need someone to rescue me!” Then, ask probing questions about why you believe you’re powerless and need others to save you from messes. If emotions come up during this process, allow them to be felt since sometimes the truth hurts. Even though clutter works against us, we choose to keep it around because it’s “comfy” and predictable, like staying in an abusive relationship.
Choose one area to tackle, prioritizing based on the severity of the situation. Set aside enough time to complete the task before moving to the next area. Perhaps create a decluttering challenge game, like “beat the clock,” to make it feel more like fun. Before you commit to decluttering a large area, start with small projects to prime the pump. It’s less of a burden to confront one drawer, one shelf, or one corner of the room and will give you a feeling of accomplishment. Set a timer and work for 15 minutes, undertaking as much as you can. Taking baby steps can eventually lead to big changes in your clutter quotient. As part of their spiritual practice, monks clean in the morning to create a “breathing space for the mind” and “to have a pleasant day.”
Professional organizers suggest having three piles: Tossing, Keeping, Storing. This method forces you to make decisions item by item. Once you’ve arranged things this way, determine a place to put away the “keep” pile, a way to store things like plastic bins, and whether to recycle, trash or donate items in the “toss” pile. If you have scads of unsold merchandise you’ll never put out to sell, donate it, or have a clear the clutter sidewalk sale. Keep like things together and store items close that you use frequently. Make sure to label those boxes and bins and don’t use them as just another way to keep your clutter. Scan important documents for a digital record, then shred the rest. Store older files, such as taxes, in a bin you don’t need to access often. Designate a space for important mail or things you need to act on soon. Add shelving above things you’ve been putting on the floor. Install hooks inside the door to hang things. Take advantage of vertical space, even utilizing ceilings or rafters.
In the KonMari method of “tidying up,” Marie Kondo likens organizing and cleaning as a spiritual, self-inquiry, meditative experience. She advocates “…carefully communing with each item as to whether it sparks joy, conversing with oneself through the medium of possessions.” Imagine or visualize the space as you want it to be, how Zen it will feel. Write down what you desire with details, exploring all your senses. The more details the easier it will be to create your intention.
What’s Your Excuse?
Clutter can symbolize not wanting to change or not wanting to face something. For example, you may not want to know how bad your financial situation is, so you toss bills haphazardly to avoid the truth. There might be other passive-aggressive tactics expressed through your cluttering, so take a look. Write a list of 20 things you need to do but are ignoring. Post it somewhere in plain sight. A visible, written list helps empower completion. It might be tough clearing out clutter, and even tougher to keep it that way since “nature abhors a vacuum,” as they say. Doing a little bit at a time really helps.
However, if clutter abounds again, don’t beat yourself up! Realize how much better you’re doing and acknowledge your progress… or have a nice chat with those excuses!