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3 Clutter Buster Tips

First of all, what is clutter? What does it look like to you? My definition of clutter is a jumbled mess of miscellaneous stuff that has accumulated as a result of indecision and inaction. It’s piles of mail, heaps of clothes, and a tangled mess of adapters and earbuds. So how do we get rid of it?

Clutter buster tip #1

Reclaim order often and ask yourself two questions:

  1. What decisions do I need to make in order to get rid of this clutter?
  2. What actions do I need to take to reclaim order?

Reclaiming order is the process it takes for us to create order after we’ve made a mess of things. For example if all the laundry was clean and put away, how long would it take for more dirty laundry to appear?  Less than one day, right? That is natural disorder. We wear our clothes and get them dirty, and then they need to be laundered. Those three steps create the organizing flow (see diagram). The more often we complete the organizing flow circle, the less clutter and mess we have to address. I’m not recommending we do laundry every day, but I am recommending we do it often enough so it doesn’t become an overwhelming task. This organizing flow circle works for all areas of clutter, mail, clothes, cosmetics, tech paraphernalia, email, and the like. The key is to reclaim order in a timely manner so clutter doesn’t have a chance to grow and take root.

 

Clutter buster tip #2

Stop - Do not enter sign

Say No! and use gatekeeper questions.

A very effective way of reducing clutter is preventing it from coming into our homes in the first place. This is often easier said than done, but there are things we can do to stop clutter at the door. One option is to get removed from mailing lists, both electronic and snail mail. Use the national do not mail list. Another option is to see what makes up the piles of clutter and figure out who brings it into the house. Is it clothes, books, paper, or toys? Have the person responsible use a list of gatekeeper questions before bringing anything new into the house. These questions help determine the usefulness and practicality of items. Some examples are: Why are we buying you? What value will you add to our household? Where do we have a place for you? What will happen if we don’t buy you today? The point of these questions is to make you stop and think about what you’re bringing in before it gets to your door.

Clutter buster tip #3

tiny house key Adopt a return-home-routine.

Give yourself 5 to 10 minutes when you return home to take care of anything you brought home with you. I mean anything. Put your keys and handbag in a specific spot. Hang up your coat and put away your shoes. Take care of receipts, mail, and other items you carried in with you. Find a destination for any new purchases you bought. Do this every time you enter your home so it becomes a habit. This helps prevent piles of clutter from growing. We need to be diligent and have a do-it-now attitude, because clutter is a social creature and will attract other clutter if we let it.

 

©January 2020  Janine Cavanaugh, Certified Professional Organizer®  All Rights Reserved

Calendar Preparations

Organizing tipMake time in your schedule for 2020 calendar preparations. Use this time to mark special dates, write monthly bill reminders, and note meetings. Birthdays and anniversaries are the first thing I jot down on a new calendar, then work meetings, appointments, events, monthly bills, and tax payments. I also add reminders for events that require preparation. For example if I’m giving a class I give myself a one week and two week event reminder. I find this very helpful in keeping me organized and prepared.

pile of gifts

Best Gift Ideas Ever

Presenting Organizer friendly gift ideas
Give experiences and consumables instead of stuff
(*** = list of my favorites)
gift
Share the gift of live entertainment
   A cultural experience to a play or theater***
   Tickets to a sporting event
   Movie passes or movie night
   Tickets to a concert or musical performance
Share a gift for the whole family to get active
   Membership or passes to a museum***
   Involvement in nature clubs, groups, or organizations
   A zoo*** or aquarium*** day pass, membership or program
  Create and share digital photo books
  Sign up for clubs, classes***, or lessons
  Plan a fun family outing*** (skiing, skating, sledding)
   Fitness Membership or classes
Share a gift of kindness
   Volunteering at a food bank, homeless shelter, hospital, etc.
  Perform an act of kindness to share with recipient
   Gifts of time or a financial contribution
   Donation to charity*** in recipient’s name
   A useful automobile related gift, car washing or detailing
   Shopping for charity***
   Gifts of your time and memories
   Assistance for necessities
Share a gift of pampering
   Salon treatment or spa day
   Food in any form (chocolate, tea, restaurant gift certificate)
   Books or music for electronic devices
  Housework assistance (laundry service, window cleaning)
   A dose of nature, cut flowers, floral arrangements, or wreath
   Gift certificate for my services
©2019  Janine Cavanaugh, CPO  All Rights Reserved

2 Most Important Questions to Ask When De-cluttering

Organizing tipWhen de-clutering there are two important questions that will help you create order quickly and effectively.

  1. What decisions need to be made about this clutter?
  2. What actions need to be taken in regards to this clutter?
one dollar bills

Buy Wisely

Organizing tipBuy what you need and use what you buy. This is a simple straight forward directive, but can be challenging to do. I use shopping guidelines and gatekeeper questions to help me buy wisely.