Most of my life, I've been an incredibly messy person. The best way to describe it was similar to a puppy who is starved, then can never get enough food (stuff) later in life, no matter how much you give them. No matter how big a space was, I would find a way to fill it. Because I would do things like:
• Buy things I forgot on a trip because I was too busy to pack/ couldn't get my brain together to pack.
• Pack twenty 'cute' dresses then no sneakers (for something like a hiking trip with one night out)
• fall madly in love with a completely obscure thing that I didn't need on the front page Etsy (remember that?!?), and convince myself I'd suffer endlessly without that thing. Then buy 10 of that thing, in case I ever ran out.
• Decide I wanted to re-do my whole house's furniture because I was going to sell the old stuff (three years later...)
• Go on a book/makeup/food/clothes/candles buying bender.
• Fill every crevice, nook and cranny
• Buy all the organizer things "to get organized"
And I'll save you the long story but basically, organization and cleaning is very simple.
I cleaned up my life + biz by:
1. Realizing everything I had was a sunk cost. Meaning, that money was already spent and accounted for. It wouldn't be coming back to me whether I kept or donated that object/piece of clothing. So I started getting rid of everything I didn't use.
2. The only way to stay organized is to have a place for EVERYTHING. Everything. For serious.
3. In order to have a place for everything you already have, you can't buy new things. This. Is. Hard.
4. If you are a mild to severe shopaholism sufferer (guilty), you need to figure out (a) the source of your impulse to shop and address that, and (b) figure out what you like to do that doesn't give you the temptation to shop. For me, that is spending time outside with horses (<no not free, but this has been a part of my life since I was 9 and much more fun than shopping), hiking, walking, calligraphy and graphic design.
5. Putting things away, whether virtual or not, RIGHT away. No, you cannot wait until after you get another cup of coffee. DO IT NOW! Or else you'll forget and end up with a desktop buried in files.
6. Outsource my organization to Shoeboxed (for documents and receipts), Steadfast Bookkeeping to clean up my books, and many hourly assistants to get and keep everything else in order.
If you want to learn more about organizing and cleaning up your life, you can learn from my teachers:
Lauren Bowling of LBee and the Money Tree (a personal finance blog) taught me all about saving money.
Shelby Steckbauer is my organizational mentor, and can coach you to organization online and off.