Clutter Control Intro

What are the differences between these pictures?
What does this image evoke?
What is the major difference between these two set of images?
What is the cause of that difference?
While these are drastic, doctored images they do get us thinking as to what is going wrong in some homes and right in others.
Messy, dirty, untidy, chaotic, cluttered, disorganized
Calm, order, clean, hygenic, neat, elegant
It is my belief that all this boils down to one major problem: CLUTTER
1. What is clutter?
“Anything unfinished, unused, unresolved, tolerated, or disorganized.”

Anything that crowds any part of your work or home space or your broader life. Particularly if it’s something you don’t really need and/or duplicates something you already have.’’

“Any out-of-date object, space, commitment, or behavior that weighs you down, distracts you, or runs down your energy.”

Clutter is nothing more than unmade decisions.

Clutter not only refers to physical objects, it can include mental and emotional clutter.




2. Where does clutter come from?
There are a number of reasons for our over-accumulation.

a) Overbuying and bulk buying
b) The paperwork and mail never stop coming in.
You don’t have a place to keep everything in an orderly manner.
You don’t have a filing system.
c) Moving into a new home or out of the old
d) Changes in your life that are affecting your space and stuff
(divorce, moving, family illness, job loss, new job, downsizing)
e) Overstuffed basements, kitchens, attics, garages or any room in your home
f) Recreational shopping creates an overload of unused, unwanted household items. Hitting the mall just packs your house and empties your wallet.
g) Other people’s stuff.
Such as all those boxes you’re “storing” for your kids/grandkids, friends, and next year’s charity’s auction.
And the cradle and highchair you’re saving for your daughter’s first child.
Plus, the duplicate garden tools that somehow found their way onto your premises.
h) Not letting things go.
Are you afraid of not having what you need when you need it, you never know when those pants are going to be back in style!
You might hang onto things, as well, out of love or nostalgia.
i) Then, add in any projects you begin but never quite finish.
j) I personally believe that the biggest clutter source is not putting things away.
I’ve noticed that most of the stuff lying around cluttering up every room in the house are things that simply didn’t get put away.
Things like clothing, shoes, jackets, papers, toys, toiletries, tools, etc.
Why don’t we just put things away in the first place?
Well, perhaps we were just being lazy or perhaps we were tired or sick, or really busy. One main reason I noticed recently is a break in routines.
Something happened and the normal routine went out the window for a couple days, and chaos took over.
And then we are too tired dealing with the chaos and simply didn’t feel like picking stuff up.
3. Where does it go?
No Home for Things.
“I don’t know where it goes.”
That’s one of the kids’ favorite excuses for not cleaning up after themselves.
But they certainly have a point.
If something doesn’t have a home, it’ll likely float around until you give it one.
Every day new things come into our homes from the groceries to the mail to the latest pair of shoes, toys or gadgets we bought.
And they all need a place to call HOME to be put away in when they’re not being used.
These things that need homes may be newer things, others are things that lost their home while making changes in our living space.
Once those items get a home and get put away, along with all the other stuff that didn’t get put away the house will look pretty tidy.

4. How does it affect us?
Most of us have a little clutter here or there and some of us may have a more than just a little! These ‘’things’’ that are found around the house definitely affect us. Of course it depends on the amount of clutter that you have lying around but the fact remains that it definitely drains us in more ways than we think.
TIME: People often think of clutter as an energy drain, but it also drains us of our time.
People in cluttered homes spend extra time every day looking for lost items such as keys, money, shoes, tools, etc.
Even when we’re looking right at the lost item, it becomes difficult to see it when surrounded by clutter–and the extra time it takes to search through the mess quickly adds up.
MONEY: When we don’t have bills and financial papers organized, bills can get lost, causing us to pay late fees.
Replacing lost items, and buying duplicates of those we didn’t realize we already had, can also carry a cost that adds up quickly.
STRESS: The most obvious toll that clutter takes is added stress on one’s life. Here are some examples of stress clutter can cause:
• Having guests over becomes an embarrassment, or an event that takes all-day preparation.
• Each room becomes a visual reminder of all the work that needs to be done in the way of cleaning.
• Using your home for your hobbies or activities like scrapbooking or yoga becomes difficult or impossible without taking significant time to clear the space.
• A cluttered home, rather than a haven from stress, is a big stressor in itself, and intensifies the frustration and exhaustion that an already-stressed person feels.
When you live surrounded by clutter, it is impossible to have clarity about what you are doing in your life.
When you clear it you can think more clearly, and life decisions become easier to make.
People treat you the way you treat yourself. So if you value yourself and look after yourself, people will treat you well.
If you allow the junk to mount up around you, you may attract people who mistreat you in some way because subconsciously you will feel that it is what you deserve.

A cluttered home is a visual and psychological drain.
All that stuff makes you tired.
Simply put, too much stuff is overwhelming and we can’t handle it all, so we throw our psychological hands in the air in frustration.
This leads to that hopeless, it’s-all-bad feeling.
This brings us to an important slogan that I really believe in – LESS IS MORE (discuss).


5. How do we deal with it?
The first thing in getting control over clutter is recognizing your role in creating it.
Taking a hard look at how and why your house has gotten cluttered helps you get it under control and from becoming cluttered in the future.
Do you over-shop?
Do you keep things out of guilt (it belonged to Tante Miriam!)?
Do you have to buy in bulk?
Are you afraid to throw things away?
Try to make a change to your habits like going shopping during lunch or letting junk mail stack up instead of throwing it out.
Try to change one habit a week
Then you will need to concentrate on dealing with your present clutter.
To start clearing clutter, take some time to walk around your home and take care of putting things away and giving items a home.
Now, as you pick up each item ask yourself the following questions:
Is this something you love?
Is this something you use?
If you have answered YES to any of these questions then this is something worth keeping.
A definite NO gives you your answer right there!
Deal IMMEDIATELY with the item.
Recycle when you can, throw away, donate, or sell the rest — and at EVERY opportunity, it is an ongoing activity.
Once you get things in a little better order, you can set aside some time to declutter that excess stuff that you simply don’t want, need, or have room for.
When clearing clutter, you need to consider your space.
You can only put so many books on the allotted book shelf, or so many clothes in the closet. Basically you can only fit so many things in a house of a certain size.
It’s a matter of space.
Therefore, what’s left over that you don’t have room for must go.
This is where you can decide what you want to keep and what you want to part with, but you need to keep in mind how much space you have and what’s realistic to keep.
The difficulty with clutter is managing both the past and the future.
Too often people are tied to items because of the past (it was a wedding gift, it was Uncle Yankel’s) and the future (what if I need a shoe buttoner again?).
Yet clutter causes you problems in the present because you can’t find what you’re looking for or you have things you don’t really need or want.

Other problems from the past include items we’ve inherited.
Many people feel like they have to keep everything passed down from their loved ones.
It’s a tremendous burden of guilt.
Remember that things are not people and it is okay to let things go.
To feel like you have to hold on to the possessions of your loved ones who are no longer around is to have to build your own life and hang on to their lives, too.
It makes for a crowded house.
Keep just a few items that you especially love or that you’ll use on a regular basis.
Or better yet take pictures of all the articles before giving them away.
This way you can make a special photo album for memories of a certain person.

Thank goodness we live in good times – no famines or Great Depressions.
We do have a ready supply of food available at Delhaize and Grosz.
Clothing can be bought at Zara and H&M for an affordable price.
There will be enough and you can always get more if you need it.
You need to keep these facts in mind when you are trying to de-clutter.

People hang on to so many things because they don’t want to be wasteful; like holding on to a shirt with a stain that won’t come out.
Or that half box of Thai rice that did not come out that good but you feel bad to throw away.
We have to learn that some things need to be disposed of so that we can have more space for ourselves.
When all your available space is filled with clutter, there is no room for you to live today.
Your thoughts tend to dwell in the past, and you feel bogged down with problems that you have been avoiding for some time.
Clearing your clutter allows you to begin to deal with your problems and move forward.

6. Cleaning clutter is an ongoing activity
It is very important to understand that keeping de-cluttered is an ongoing process.
We can’t organize our home in one weekend and expect things to stay that way forever.
Just as with pulling weeds from the garden, they always come back.
So we must maintain our gardens and continue clearing clutter in our homes regularly.

It does not matter what it is but if it is not put away it’s messing up the house.
The simple act of going around the house and putting everything away would make a significant dent in clearing clutter and cleaning up, making the house feel organized again. You’ll be amazed what you can accomplish in 15 minutes!

Get the kids involved in putting things away.
Unfortunately I have no magic solution for making this happen but I do know that teaching by example is the most powerful tool.
So be the example for the rest of your household by putting your things away when you’re done with them.
Make it a habit – use whatever it is, and then put it back.




7. What does a clean, organized home do for you?
Imagine walking in to a room where the tops are cleared off and there are no papers and mess scattered about.
How does it make you feel?
That’s the AAAHHHH I feel good, I feel in control feeling!
Firstly, you have stopped spending unnecessarily on unwanted things – more money in your pocket.
But it also makes you feel like a ‘million bucks’!!!
Suddenly, order appears in your world.
You can find things, and you don’t have this continuous feeling of being overwhelmed.
You can look forward to things; life is sweet again.


  1. Oh wow. A big project and good for you for taikng control of your life.First thing is to get the task framed up in your mind. This isn’t going to be a one-weekend project. It’ll likely take several weeks of steady going. Work on one room at a time start with the part of the house where you spend most of your time so you get to enjoy the benefits of your work right away.Second get firmly onboard with the idea that you’re not going to keep most of it. You’ll have five basic catagories:Recycle bundles of old magazines and newspapers, clothing that can be used as rags, recyclable plastic, recyclable metalTrash broken things, stuff that’s gotten wet or mildewed or mouse chewed, everything that’s been laying out in the weather that can’t be recycled. Don’t kid yourself that you’ll get around to gluing together the broken china it got broken 20 years ago, and it’s broken Get rid of projects’.Donate clothing/shoes/toys/household goods in very good condition that Goodwill or the Salvation Army would wantGift stuff that may have sentimental value to family members; anything they don’t want goes in the Donate catagory.Keep the smallest catagory: those things that you use regularly or want to see every dayYou’ll want to set up a way of keeping stuff separate as you organize it. Go ahead and rent a small dumpster. I know it’s hard. But a bin with a lid gets the discards out of sight (and out of mind).Get a pile of boxes just as if you were planning to move.Plan to haul out the Donate and Gift boxes as quickly as they fill. That will clear floor space.I acknowledge that going through 30 years of stuff is likely to be a journey through memories. Keep your task firmly in mind there’ll be time to savor the precious things you choose to have in your life when you can do it in the peace and calm of your newly tidy home.

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