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Let’s be Real. Later Means Never

Written By Melanie McConnell as part of our Blog Collaboration

They say that all clutter is the result of delayed decisions. But actually, a decision was made---the decision was to ignore the need for action. I will deal with X “Later,” you say, but avoid making a plan for a specific time. And “Later items tend to congregate in one or more areas such as the basement storage room, the garage, and/or the guest bedroom now littered with items all over the bed and floor.

When exactly is “later”? Why is “Later” better than right now? How long will it take to deal with the item right then?

The trouble is that all too often, Later actually means in 10 years when you have to hire an organizer to fix 10 years of “Laters.” Most people make that call long after it has become embarrassing that they still have a 4 ft wide Playskool Kitchen toy in their garage when their child is turning 17 next week; meanwhile, they must park their car outside. The decision to not act in the moment is what needs to be fixed. Because the moment you decided to put the Kitchen set in the garage for “Later” instead of taking the action to get it gone is the moment you set yourself up for trouble. You are lying to yourself and are just creating problems for yourself down the road. When this happens over and over again with things large and small, you quickly find yourself buried in things that overwhelm you and cause daily frustration with your living space. So, before you put a Later item in your go-to dumping grounds, stop yourself. You must decide right then to act.

Donate it: Put it in your car and make a plan to go drop it off tomorrow. OR Put it on the curb

with a FREE sign on it. Snap a picture of it and post it on your local Facebook MarketPlace. This will only take 1-2 minutes.

I find talking aloud about it really helps. Ask yourself:

-How likely is it that I will need it?

-How can I get rid of it quickly?

If you intend to sell something, make sure it is worth your time and effort. You will need to take pictures, post an ad, field inquiries (if any), haggle over price, meet potential buyers. Is that worth the effort? Or is it better to just get it out of your life ASAP? More often than not, it is NOT worth your time. Your real goal should be to get rid of it as soon as possible, so the things don’t keep piling up.

Melanie McConnell is a Professional Organizer and the owner of Mello Spaces. She helps busy professionals and parents get the organized home of their dreams. Check out her website and follow her on Instagram: @mellospaces

Florena Davies is a Professional Organizer and Owner of Organize by Flo. She uses her experience as a wife and mother of 2 to create real life organizational systems and changes for work and home that allow our 2 worlds to co-exist and 'Flo" together. Check out her website at and on instagram @organizebyflo.

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