4 Steps to Getting Organized this Autumn


October is a deceptively busy time. For people with kids, the holiday season starts before Halloween and doesn’t end until New Year’s Day. If you’ve got college students, there’s homecoming and parents’ weekends, and if you were ever a college student there are a dozen weeks (at least) of football themed parties. And there is also the beginning of Gala season and kickoff parties. Two of my favorite Nashville events are right around the corner — The Conservancy Gala and Sunday in the Park.

We’re all going to be very, very busy for the next three months, and nothing — nothing — is more scary than trying to make big changes when you’re this busy.

But I have some news. You’re always going to be too busy. There will always be something in the way of making a new start. And I’d argue that it’s actually easier to make big changes when you’re busy. Let me show you how.

Four Uncluttering Tips for Busy People.


Every day is a special occasion.

“How is that a tip?” you’re asking. Well, chances are a lot of the clutter in your house are things you don’t use often. They fill your closets and cabinets while you soldier on using the “everyday” things you don’t care much about. But when you treat every day like it’s special, you can wear those divine shoes, use your beautiful napkins, and enjoy your special china. And because every day is special, all that everyday stuff you didn’t love can go right to Goodwill.


Say goodbye to summer.

I bet you have a few items that you’ve been seen in a little too often, so take them to Goodwill. (Hint: If it’s in someone else’s Instagram more than twice, it’s probably time to retire it.) While you’re at it, get rid of the summer napkins, the grilling accessories, and the pool toys you never used.


Go on a retail diet.

Do your best to get through the holiday season without buying one new thing for your house. It sounds impossible, right? Make a deal with yourself, if you find one shiny new thing you absolutely can’t do without, buy it — but make a rule that you’ll get rid of two old, dull things.


Think of family.

The holidays are about family, so use this time to ask the younger generations which of your treasures they cherish. If they complement the gravy ladle, go ahead and gift it with the gravy. Why wait? And if you discover that no one wants some of your most precious stuff, at least you’ll know not to leave it for them to bother with later on. You’ve given them love, but maybe not your impeccable sense of style.

I am in the fifth month of my new life in this rental house and I have got to tell you I have not missed a thing that is in storage. I thought about this move for a long time and I worried a lot about how much would I miss “my stuff.” But what I am realizing more and more is that it is just what it is — stuff. Just stuff.

I am not saying it is easy to rid yourself of things, but I cannot tell you how good it feels once you’ve let go. Take your time and make downsizing a daily habit, and soon you’ll be free of all that clutter.

Mary Spalding is a Nashville based interior designer with over 30 years of experience. She has overseen countless home revitalizations, renovations, and restorations. She can be reached with your projects and ideas at mary@spaldingway.com.

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