Kay Morrison is a funky gal in New Orleans. She started a company called The Occasional Wife, to help busy people de-clutter their lives.
My profile of how Kay Morrison walked away from her 6-figure salary to start a sometimes-controversial business of her own was featured in More magazine. You can read it here: Wife for Hire. Some people (eh hem, men) think the business is a call girl service. It’s not.
That said ? , going to New Orleans to meet Kay Morrison and learn about how to de-clutter your life was inspirational.
Kay’s funny, kind, smart, sassy, and very energetic. Plus the houses she helps organize were absolutely gorgeous (and, um, not actually very cluttered!).
Here are some takeaways on how best to de-clutter your life, which totally work:
#1 Attitude is everything
Kay Morrison herself is a gal who likes a good martini and a funny joke. She says the number one thing to getting organized is to have the right attitude. “You must be ready to take this task on to make it work.” You want to de-clutter your life? Believe that you can and have the right attitude.
#2 Buddy up
Reorganize with a friend to make it fun. It also helps you stay motivated to have someone cheering you on. Or you can hire someone like Kay to do it with you. De-clutter your life with someone else who also wants to de-clutter and it will all go much more smoothly.
#3 Create a timeline
Make a plan and set time limits as you work. Don’t work until you burn out because then you’ll never go back. Instead, do a little at a time and set long-term goals. This will help you stay on course and focused.
#4 Take a photograph
If you’re afraid you’ll miss something once it’s gone, take a picture of it. You can look at it any time you like. The picture’s worth a thousand words, but doesn’t take up all that space.
#5 Organize what you have so you can find it when you need it
It’s so frustrating when you can’t find what you do own. Take time to label and sort your stuff. A tiny bit of organization goes a long, long way. De-clutter your life and organize it at the same time.
#6 Embrace bins
Bins of different sizes enhance your space and keep you organized. Use them for everything from baby toys to kitchen recyclables. And don’t forget to label them (see #5).
#7 Toss it or donate it if you haven’t used it in a year (cause you don’t need it!)
Donate your previously loved clothes to people who need them. Or have an abundance swap or clothing exchange and give them to your friends. If you haven’t worn it in a year, you won’t miss it. I promise.
#8 Don’t say goodbye to old things, say hello to a new life
There’s something profoundly freeing about letting go of things you no longer want or need.
Yes, it’s an emotional process. That’s why you need #1, #2, and #3. You might find it hard to do at first, but you’ll have more space, feel more relaxed, breathe better, and feel and BE freer once it’s done.
#9 Ask about happiness
Use the happiness test to decide what stays and what goes. Does the thing you’re holding in your hand bring you happiness? If the answer is no, get rid of it. Okay: full disclosure. I’m not sure this technique, which is all the rage right now, actually works. Because how do you know if it’s bringing you joy? That sounds like an existential question to me. Still, try it. It doesn’t work for me but it might work for you.
Published: April 20, 2010
Updated: January 7, 2020