clutter challenge

Let’s say your husband is the kind of big-hearted guy who takes bags of kibble with him when he travels so he can feed stray reservation dogs.

And let’s say one of those dogs swept him off his feet with its charm and excessive politeness. That she batted her eyelashes at him as she approached the kibble, daintily ate just the right amount for her and then stepped back to let her pals finish it off.

And let’s say your husband then drove off but couldn’t get her out of his mind. And so he called a shoestring rescue outfit who couldn’t get back down there for a week but when they did, they found her and brought her back to Colorado. And then let’s say your husband casually lets you know he has an appointment at 9 am on Saturday to “go see the dog”.

Game over. You (by which I mean me) now have a new dog, who turns out to be 8 months old, street savvy and as rambunctiously puppyish as you might imagine.

Now let’s say someone accidentally leaves the brand new leash you bought for her in the brand new crate you also bought with the brand-new-to-you puppy on the ride home.

If you want to hold onto the puppy who’s street smart but not at all trained, you’ll replace that leash immediately. Yes, you bought it hours ago. Yes, it feels like a huge waste of money to get rid of something you just bought. But it’s worse than useless. It’s going to get thrown out eventually, so why not do it right away? While you’re at it, get rid of those cute toys the new puppy shredded on sight too. It doesn’t matter that you bought them today – they’ve already become useless and it’s time to get them out of here.

Let’s say your partner would never do this and no puppy is making it through your front door. I’m willing to bet there’s still something you’re holding onto that’s useless but it feels too soon to say goodbye to. Instead of ageing it in the basement or the hall closet, why not cut to the chase and make it your Send it away Saturday today?

meeting the puppy

© 2013 – 2019 Joyful Surroundings LLC. All rights reserved.

Need some help letting go of recent clutter? If you’re in the Boulder County/Longmont area, let’s talk. If you’re further afield, here’s how to hire a professional organizer.

Joyful Surroundings LLC – (720) 526-2114 –

This Saturday let’s find something to let go of that’s currently in a bag. Something like

  • an unread newspaper, still in the delivery bag,
  • that cute blouse from TJMaxx you got last month and haven’t taken out of the bag yet,
  • a bag of donations you’ve set aside to take to Goodwill,
  • a bag of trash, waiting forlornly to be taken to the cart,
  • a bag of discarded papers, aiming for the recycling bin, not there yet,
  • an old bag of cough drops you’re never going to use.

Let me know what you come up with!

P.S. Bonus points for creative thinkers who don’t have anything in a bag but still want to play: any extra bags you’ve been saving and never actually using. Newspaper bags, grocery bags, ugly or heavy handbags, that zippable plastic bag your quilt cover came in…which bag will you send on its way today?

© 2013 – 2019 Joyful Surroundings LLC. All rights reserved.

Too many bags and no idea where to start? If you’re in the Boulder County/Longmont area, let’s talk. If you’re further afield, here’s how to hire a professional organizer.

Joyful Surroundings LLC – (720) 526-2114 –

Living in a cluttered house is like sitting down to do a jigsaw puzzle. But you have three 1,500 piece puzzles mixed up in the box and only room on the table to do a 500 piece puzzle. Something’s got to give.

Sort out the pieces and find the edges. These are the things you absolutely need. There are three puzzles’ worth though, so some of them will still have to go.

Once you’ve set up the edges, it’s time to tackle the middle pieces. No matter how you look at it, there are still way too many pieces. To stretch our metaphor a little bit, some of these pieces belong to a puzzle you finished years ago. Some of them belong to a puzzle you hope to have one day. The rest are what’ll fit in today’s puzzle with the edges you have.

Let the decluttering begin! Remember, you can still like something and let it go. Yes, it’ll be hard. There’ll be a twinge. But how are you enjoying your space right now?

There’s no perfect situation in life, so choose your hard: will it be hard to declutter or hard to live in your space? Then choose your reward: will it be lovely to not have to make these decisions, to have everything you could ever conceivably need somewhere, whether or not you can find it, or will it be lovely to have just enough and some clear space in your surroundings?

What if you simultaneously want to keep all the pieces and finish the puzzle? I’m afraid that’s not going to be possible. If you despair of your clutter, but are unable to let it go, it may be time to bring in a therapist. They’ll help you get past whatever’s making your brain think it needs all your stuff for your survival.  I know it sounds silly, but on some level, part of your brain knows the prime directive is to protect you. It’s gotten the idea that saving all this stuff is doing that, so let a therapist help you untangle that data glitch so you can get the clutter out of your space.

What if you love all your puzzle pieces and you’d rather keep them all than complete the puzzle? That’s okay, let yourself accept that fact and enjoy your stuff. And if you realize that you actually quite enjoy endlessly trying to do impossible puzzles, why then your clutter is serving you very nicely indeed. It’s keeping you off the streets, giving you a good reason not to do other things, possibly keeping people you don’t care for away from your space. If this is you, please keep the pathways clear for safety’s sake and carry on trying to turn three puzzles into one to your heart’s content.

But if you want to do the puzzle and are having a hard time sorting out all the pieces, there are people out there who’d love to help. If you’re in the Boulder County/Longmont area, here’s how to work with me. If you’re further afield, here’s how to hire a professional organizer.

© 2013 – 2019 Joyful Surroundings LLC. All rights reserved.

Joyful Surroundings LLC – (720) 526-2114 –