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« 5 Biggest Time Challenges | Ask the Expert: Lorie Marrero »
Tuesday
May292012

10 Clutter Solutions

Clutter can infiltrate all areas of our lives or just a corner. We can be comfortable with our clutter or completely overwhelmed by it. Are you looking to make some changes? Below are some of the most common areas that clutter collects and some simple strategies to manage them.

1. Paper Clutter – Be honest. Do you have to keep as many papers? If released, could you easily replace them IF you needed to? Statistics show that we only retrieve 20% of the papers we file.

2. Clothing Clutter – Be ruthless. Clothing clutter management begins with asking good questions. Does it fit? Do I feel fabulous wearing it? Does it look good on me? When was the last time I wore it? Can it be donated, consigned or given to a friend?

3. Toy Clutter – Less is easier. How many trucks, dolls, super heroes, balls or magic wands are enough? Less toys means easier maintenance, better organization, and less overwhelm for you and the kids.

4. Electronic Clutter – Establish boundaries. With 24/7 potential access and availability, setting limits about how much electronic noise you allow during the day is essential. Protect yourself and your time by turning off beeps, taking “tech-less” hours, and minimizing the sources of digital input.

5. Mind Clutter – Release thoughts. Our minds can feel as cluttered as our spaces. Too much activity “upstairs” can make us lose focus and feel frazzled. Try a brain download by transferring thoughts onto paper, computer or voice recorder.

6. Calendar Clutter – Evaluate schedule. The “too busy” syndrome is often a function of saying, “yes” without considering how that affects our stress level. If you’re overwhelmed by overscheduled days, consider these questions: What is on my “yes” list that I can convert to a “no?” What can be delegated? How much downtime do I need or want in a day?

7. Gift Clutter – Move on. Receiving gifts that we don’t like, want, or have room for is another source of clutter. You do not have to keep them. Let go. Remove the guilt and the clutter by permitting those gifts to move on. Exchange, donate, or re-gift.

8. Handbag Clutter – Quick sort. An assortment of things collects in our handbags from empty wrappers to expired ticket stubs to receipts that need to be filed. Take 5 minutes at night to do a quick clutter check. Remove all items that are expired, no longer useful, or belong elsewhere.

9. Space Clutter – Reclaim control. Excess clutter can cause stress. It’s no fun to hunt for hidden items, trip over paper stacks, or negotiate through overflowing closets. Pick one area to begin organizing and de-cluttering. Determine use for that area. Re-route items elsewhere that don’t belong. Be ruthless about remaining contents. Release what isn’t useful, you no longer want, or has overstayed its welcome.

10. Someday Clutter – Don’t postpone. Keeping things because you “might” need them someday are a source of clutter accumulation. When you hear yourself uttering the “someday” phrase, ask these questions: Is it worth the space? Is it worth the mental energy? Is it likely I’ll actually need or use it? Is my focus on “someday” preventing me from fully living and enjoying now?

Taking action and working on just one of the cluttered areas can greatly reduce your stress and restore some balance. What area is calling your attention? Share your thoughts, tips, or other clutter challenge areas.

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Reader Comments (6)

Great list. Very helpful to divide things into groups and work out where the problem is (or problems ... as in my case). dividing the issue up makes it less overwhelming. Like you say - taking action in one area will get you started. Success in that one area will provide the motivation to go on to another area. thanks Linda. Great as usual! sarah xx

May 31, 2012 | Unregistered Commentersarahwaldin

Hi Sarah! Welcome back. Just love that you found the list a helpful way to approach your clutter challenges in a manageable way. You've identified something so important. Starting in one area and experiencing success, provides the motivation to move on to the next area. Take that first step and you'll be on your way!

May 31, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterLinda Samuels

Nice article! Getting organized and reducing clutter is great stress reliever. I agree with you that picking one spot to focus on at a time is the best method for managing organization problems; the best place in the house to start is usually the garage. Take a look at my website www.RhinoShelfCarolinas.com for some great ideas on getting your garage organized.

June 5, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterJosh Tunstall

Hi Josh- Thanks for stopping by to remind us about the clutter that can accumulate in our garages. I KNOW this all too well. There's nothing quite as satisfying as de-cluttering a space like that, which collects all kinds of things. I appreciate you sharing the link to your website. I love those big shelves. They make great use of the wall space.

June 5, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterLinda Samuels

Great reminders of how much stuff "creeps" into our lives and how aware we should be to keep it tamed! Love your tips on how to identify and tackle each of them!

May 4, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterHelena Alkhas

Hi Helena- You are so right that clutter can "creep" into our lives. In preparation for a tag sale, I've been spending some time going through drawers and closets to release those things that I no longer want. They have served their purpose and I'm ready to let go. I'm hoping that others can now enjoy them. The collection includes things like jewelry, dishes, books, CDs, and even some organizing supplies. It feels wonderful to release.

May 4, 2013 | Registered CommenterLinda Samuels

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