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5 Effective Ways To Curb Clutter

By Margarita Tartakovsky, M.S.
Associate Editor

5 Effective Ways To Curb Clutter For most of us, organizing is a chore. A big, scary chore we put off for weeks, months or maybe even years. We employ a variety of avoidance tactics. Some of us don’t go in to that messy room in our house. Or we throw random items in a closet and pretend they don’t exist (and neither does the closet). Or we walk a different direction so we don’t come face to face with a pile of paperwork, a buildup of boxes or a clutter of unused cords.

Why do we have such a hard time with organization? As Erin Doland, editor-in-chief of the widely popular organization blog Unclutterer.com, said, “No one is naturally organized — we aren’t born with day planners in our hands. Being organized is a skill we learn, similar to tying our shoes and reading.” And some of us learn more slowly than others. According to Doland, it took her years to learn to be organized.

The other problem? Plain and simple, some of us just have a lot of stuff. “The more stuff you have, the longer it takes you to initially organize and maintain your systems,” said Doland, who’s also author of Unclutter Your Life in One Week. Below, Doland shares five effective tips for getting and staying organized.

11 Comments to
5 Effective Ways To Curb Clutter

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  1. Something I’ve found that helps me, a parent with PTSD, who has a child with ADHD and adjustment disorder…is to buy storage tubs when I’m overwhelmed, and fill them with whatever I don’t need at my fingertips, or whatever my child doesn’t need at his fingertips, and when we have more time than usual, we go through one tub at a time to organize where an item belongs or if we even want or need the item anymore, it helps us both break it down into steps that are less overwhelming.

    • Tubs are a great idea, but please do have a time in mind for when you might get to them. I fell into a trap of putting Junk and other mail in a laundry basket…for 3 years before I could get the courage to go through it! Lost money on uncashed checks , bad credit, etc., what a mess!

  2. So true one size does not fit all,I have ME and find that around 6pm is my best time of day so that’s when I spend one hour organising washing and tidying.
    I used to sit for hours on end worrying about mess as I have OCD but what can I do when my brain says move yourself and body does not respond?
    I still have to have things a certain way though,I just can’t help it.
    A good article
    JK

  3. I know that when I “purge” I feel so much more free and less overwhelmed. I do have a tendency to let things built up and then I go on a purging fit. De-cluttering is a wonderful feeling – anyone who reads this make a point to do this now…it’s awesome!

  4. I must agree with the author when she suggests “buddy up.” I am a compulsive hoarder and come by it honestly (my grandmother was a horder – I found her 3rd grade report card when she was 80 years old). Anyway, my daughter buddied up with me last week to get things tidy in the house. She said as I went through papers, to just throw stuff in the shredding bag instead of looking at it, then shredding it. She was right and I was able to get through more papers that could be gotten rid of. Tonight, well maybe tomorrow, I’m tired tonight, I’ll do the ‘shred’ bag and then the next day start on another bag of stuff to be gotten rid of.

  5. Actually, VLT116, wasn’t it a treat to see your grandmother’s report card?/ That’s 1 of the difficulties of de-cluttering, we see things differently.
    Getting a buddy or coach, may be the most useful part once you’ve committed to change – just don’t get mad at your buddy! I don’t know if this is kosher, to recommend other sites,but the FlyLady site [http://www.flylady.net/index.asp] covers everything for those of us who never got it. The only off-putting thing there for me is that she is very religious- very Christian family-oriented, and we all do not share that. But her whole system is set up around getting habits established so that you can live a fuller life, be more involved with family and friends and have the time and energy follow your real interests.

  6. Oh my god…I thought I was the only one behaving like that!! Plus, I’m dealing with a moderate depression, which make things even worse… I was not like that…I used to be so organized. But thank you for your article. I’ll try to unclutter the clutters in my house..

  7. I am HOPING TO BE accepted into Elderly/Disabled housing, as my arthritis takes over more and more, and “clutter” makes my depression worse. The only things I have thrown out are some very nice clothes, which, as is customary, if you put them out on the sidewalk, neighbors go through and take what they want. As is true of my nicer clothes, many of which were almost like new if I had a car or someone could have helped me, (to the Salvation Army or Goodwill,) and many I could have taken to a consignment shop or at the very least donate them in person, (The neighborhood I now live in contains very few who could wear a size 2 or 4 petite! I gave away some lovely shoes as since I wear such a small size, probably didn’t fit anyone, as well as the dresses and suits I don’t wear as I have had a hip replacement,and the doctor avoided telling me I’d never wear heels again.. and I was already on Disability. Also so many good books, which I am fairly certain nobody wanted to read, I could have turned them into a second-hand bookstore as some were from college or highly required reading in school, but had no way to bring them there! All of these things were as if I had just thrown them away!!! I probably could have made $$ but the friend who helped me just wanted to know can you use this at all or not and I was so eager to have someone to help me, as it becomes overwhelming, I was grateful for. But some things could have been gotten rid of in a much better way if I had a vehicle. So, I think this is something people should think these things through about.

  8. Thanks for the info. I am looking for a group in the Denver metro area that deals with hoarding. So far, I have called many “resources” and no one knows of one. Help, please!

  9. Clutter is such an intimidating thing to me, I stare it in the face everyday and rejoice when I dent it once a month or so. I need work in the area, in fact that might be a great starting point, clear the clutter so you can see where to go?

  10. I really like the idea of a 15 – 30 minute declutter. This makes it all seem much more manageable. It’s a bit like the fung shui mantra which says – if your house is in a mess just clean/tidy one corner at a time. Will try the unclutters tip and see how well it works.

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