The Truth About Clutter

The truth is - the main reason that prevents people from getting their home and lives organized is that they have TOO MUCH STUFF.  Clutter contains negative energy, wasting precious space in your home and lives. We fight the clutter bug everyday in our kitchens, living rooms, bedrooms, garages and offices, leading to frustration in our lives and more than enough wasted time and energy.  How much time do you spend on a daily basis trying to find car keys in your purse with the black hole, putting away the kids' toys, digging through stacks of paper to find an important phone number that you wrote down, or going out to eat because your dining room table is too full of stuff to put away?

Clutter also puts an enormous amount of stress in our lives and in our relationships. 

Let's admit it, don't you hold onto this stuff because you think you might need it again someday?  What about clothing?  How many of you have said to yourself, "I'll hang onto this.  I know I'll be this size again."

(Note to my 80' buddies:  no matter how thin you get, the stirrup pants and Flashdance sweaters will never come back in style - please burn them!)

Common clutter excuses:

  • I might need it someday.

  • It's still in good shape.

  • My mother-in-law gave it me.  She'll look for it if she comes over.

  • I paid a lot of money for it - I can't just give it away.

  • It was an heirloom.

  • It's tight now but just WAIT until I lose weight!

  • It's broken but I'll get around to fixing it.

  • Everything's in stacks - what's so bad about that?

  • I'm saving it for when I have grandchildren.

  • It's not clutter - it's 'Shabby Chic'.

Examples of Clutter:

  • Items in the wrong place

  • Anything that's broken

  • Dead batteries

  • Stacks of newspapers and magazines

  • Spare parts and cables from installations

  • Old mints and gum in your purse that are covered in lint!

  • Sample gifts and little bottles from cosmetic-counter bonus offers

  • Pens with dried-up ink

  • Sock without a mate (give it up and buy a new pair!)

  • Fabric that you never had time to make anything out of

  • Old paint

  • Unopened mail, flyers, junk mail

  • Expired coupons

  • Old makeup and hair products

  • Candles and potpourri that never smelled good to begin with

  • Overstock of food containers that don't stack properly

  • Clothes that don't fit, are out of style or you never wear

Where to Start

Now that we’ve identified common excuses for clutter and some examples, it’s time to get started on releasing the unwanted items.  Customers have told me that they get so frustrated by all the piles around them, they don’t know where to start.  The key is to focus on one small area or task such as a kitchen drawer or shelf.  Here are just some of the steps to get started:

  • Grab a notepad and do an initial walk-around your entire home, jotting down not just the rooms but the areas within the room that you want changed.

    1. Once you have your list, write down next to each entry the time it will take to complete the task.  Be sure to allow yourself enough time for any packing, waste removal or a drive to the donation center.

    2. Prioritize your list.  What area or space is the important to change or that gives you the greatest amount of stress? 

    3. Set small goals for easy gratification.  “Today I will spend 30 minutes throwing away all of my dried up nail polish and old makeup”.  If you set your goal too high and don’t accomplish it, it’s tough to keep going.

    4. When sorting, always keep 3 bins or bags in the room.  One each for toss, recyclables, and donate/consign.

    5. Get your family involved!  Let them know about your goal and set aside time in the evening or the weekend to engage their help.

    6. When considering storage containers, always sort and purge first before purchasing bins.  You may not need the quantity or size you initially anticipated.

    7. Clean as you go.  Have your cleaning supplies and vacuum on hand as you move from space to space.

Retaining Organization

Now that you have your home organized, it will be a lot easier to keep it that way.  To be sure, establish new rules for yourself and your family.  If you use something, put it away.  Create a schedule for filing paper and paying bills.  Also, have kids bring their school papers directly to their rooms after school.