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The Importance of Clutter

from the archives: Sometimes clutter is vital and that’s why you’re keeping it. It’s not important because your house papers are in those piles somewhere, although that may well be the case. It’s important because it’s serving you well, cocooning…

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Showing Up Even When You’re Not Feeling It

I could try to put this in my own words for you...or you could just enjoy this beautiful post from the creator of Zen Habits while I work through the sleep restriction phase of CBTI. Back to regularly scheduled programming…

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The Simplest Clutter Challenge You’ll Find

As this pandemic drags on, I'm sure your inbox is as full as mine is with all sorts of improving suggestions about how to make the best use of our COVID time. If organization doesn't come naturally to you, these…

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How Will I Know When I’m Organized?

If clutter has been a long-standing problem for you, it can be tough to figure out when you're done. How will you know when you're Organized with a capital O? Organized You're Organized when you can use each room for…

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What Does Chronically Disorganized Mean?

The Institute for Challenging Disorganization defines chronic disorganization as disorganization that persists over the long haul, often making your quality of life worse, and is a constant in your life no matter what you try to do to fix it…

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What are you doing instead of decluttering?

Everyone wants to be organized but no one wants to declutter because it's overwhelming. You take one look at the guest room and you just want to close the door and make it all go away. You cede the space…

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How To Be On Time

Do you continually find yourself running late despite your best intentions? Here's how to make that a thing of the past. Side effects include improved friendships, feelings of being trustworthy and a decrease in overall stress. Your appointment with Polly…

an organized desk with a sprig of lavender, an espresso cup and a wire basket organizing some books

Are Professional Organizers Doomed?

As the country gradually starts to reopen, there's a big question hanging over the heads of professional organizers: will people be willing to let us in their homes anytime soon? We weren't seen as an essential service when the virus…

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Troubleshooting the Twenty Minutes

Twenty minutes decluttering a day is the slow and steady way to lasting change but sometimes it feels like you're spinning your wheels. When you start to wonder if it's worth it, check in with yourself and see if you're…

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How Long Will It Take to Get Organized?

When you hire an organizer after decades of accumulating clutter, it's reasonable to ask how long it'll take to sort it all out. You want to put a budget together, you want to set aside enough time to work with…

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How to Organize Even When You’re Sad

When the world stops making sense, it's hard to concentrate on everyday tasks like decluttering. There's a giant feeling of 'why bother?' hanging over everything and a feeling of terrible impotence. Anger turns inward to depression. So, the closet is…

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Organizing Without Decluttering

Being stuck at home shoves the state of your house in your face. If there's no rhyme or reason for where things go, the descent into chaos is swift and sure. "A place for everything and everything in its place!"…

cactus stored in basement during cold weather

Are You a Hoarder?

"Wow, look at all those cactuses. What a hoarder!" The word "hoarder" is thrown around a lot, never in a kind way. It's become a shortcut for a house that's stuffed to the gills, too crowded in the speaker's opinion.…

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Catalog Your Clothes

Coming up with the perfect outfit is too much brain work first thing in the morning. You keep meaning to set out your clothes the night before but by the time evening comes, all you really want to do is…

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Organizing Rules for Recovering Perfectionists

Which organizing rules are you trying very hard to follow? Do they help you or do they trip you up? Check out the new rules for coping with clutter without sending yourself over the edge. O.H.I.O. is Old School I…

two tall stacks of paperwork and files

What Can You Declutter Today?

If you're a minimalist, the sort who happily gets down to one roll of t-paper before heading for the store, you've probably started buying a little more lately. If you're more of a packrat, you've most likely struggled to find…

yellow gray blue t-shirts on hangers in an orderly row

Getting Unstuck

Carol's closet was full.* Although she adored clothes, she knew some of her favorites had become more sentimental than usable. She was eager to thin the ranks so she could find what she wanted. She worked enthusiastically for our first…

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Organizing With Pictures While We Wait

It's so easy to put off taking action when everything seems this uncertain but there's usually something you can do to keep the decluttering and organizing process going. This week, let's use our phones or cameras to organize. Something You're…

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Staying at Home Driving You Crazy?

This stay at home order has been hell on wheels for anyone who's been putting off getting organized. Tempers are frayed as the day starts off with a mad dash to sweep the dining room table clean before the online…

pile of sweatshirts (white, bottle green, yellow and gray colors) on a beige carpet

Step By Step Guide to Decluttering

You know how to get started with your decluttering project. You've eaten, you've used the bathroom, you have water with you and you've set your timer for twenty minutes. You've picked a category of things to work on and you have…

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How to Start Decluttering

Have you started your daily twenty minutes decluttering but been frustrated by how little difference it seems to make? You set the timer, head off to the attic and twenty minutes later you've managed to let go of one balding…

individual toilet rolls crammed into a bathroom cabinet jostling for space with over the counter medications

Now what?

You've got the sixteen backup packages of toilet paper from Costco. Disaster is averted (for a while). But where are you going to put those enormous packages? If your basement is ready and waiting, with a clear path to the…

wooden dresser stored in unfinished basement

Thing Purgatory

Are you still punishing your things for not being quite right? Instead of releasing them to find new homes or go to their final resting place, have you opened up a branch of Purgatory in your basement where the things…

stack of sweaters (oatmeal, pea green and red and white colors) on a closet shelf

Make 2020 Useful: Clothes Challenge

Last week: food There's something exciting about a new decade, a chance to really do things differently. Instead of treading that well worn path to the gym, how about making 2020 into the year you use things up? It doesn't…

rows of canned soup on a pantry shelf

Decluttering Food

Do mealtimes routinely find you standing in front of your full pantry feeling like there's nothing to eat again? Let's Play the Eat It Up Challenge Looking at what's in your cupboards, write down a menu for tomorrow's meals. Sounds…

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Be Kind

My father was reminiscing at the dinner table some forty years ago, searching for the perfect example to make his point. He leaned back in his chair and casually mentioned the epoch he was thinking of. "I think it was…

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Honest Labeling

If you're feeling overwhelmed by the clutter, consider easing into the organizing mindset by grabbing a sharpie and some blank labels. Take a look in the boxes and start making honest labels. “Wedding china I’ve never used but feel guilty…

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Sentimental Stuff

If you have trouble letting things go, you're not alone. Making decisions about our stuff is exhausting and difficult for many people. Each and every thing seems attached to us by a tiny invisible thread, and cutting those threads can…

jeans crammed on top of an overflowing laundry basket

Fix the Laundry Blues

On good days, there are overflowing hampers stuffed with dirty clothes and teetering piles of folded clean laundry on every counter, waiting to be put away. On bad days it feels like there's a perpetual carpet of clothes on the…

an organized desk with a sprig of lavender, an espresso cup and a wire basket organizing some books

When to Hire a Professional Organizer

New Year, New You If your New Year's resolutions once again include getting organized, professional help can let you finally cross it off the list. Which of these common stumbling blocks have stopped you in the past? Stumbling Block #1:…

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Keep Going!

It's mid January and those resolutions are starting to falter. Fear not, here's fresh inspiration to keep you going. Show Someone They're Wrong Don't underestimate the value of spite. We'll call it competitive spirit. They say you can't do it?…

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Coping With Anxiety When You Contemplate Decluttering

Hands down the most popular, most read, most shared Joyful Surroundings blog post. If you missed it, here's where I break down how to get started. Many of us would like to get organized and know the first step is…

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New Decade, New You

Tired of making the same old New Year's Resolutions about decluttering and getting organized? Let's make 2020 the year you start making your entertainment clutter earn its keep. What's entertainment clutter? The books we're going to read, the movies we're…

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Get Your Guilt-Free Gift Pass

How much of your clutter was given to you? Drawers full of unworn clothing in colors and styles that someone else picked out - pink fuzzy sweaters for people who love wearing sweats and a t-shirt. Athletic gear for people…

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Decluttering With A Goal in Mind

If decluttering your whole house seems way too overwhelming, consider trying to declutter your way towards something you want to access. It would take days to deal with everything that's in the room right now, but you really want to…

rolled up socks of all colors in a wire drawer

Sorting Things Out

It's time honored organizing wisdom: put like with like. All the socks in one drawer, all the t-shirts in another. It makes it easy to find things and to put them away. The trouble is, your creative right-brained mind doesn't…

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Too Good to Donate?

Do you believe that nice things can't just go to Goodwill or ARC but must go to a better home? That thrift stores should be humbly grateful for every item we graciously send their way? On the face of it,…

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How to Get Motivated to Declutter

Everyone knows they should declutter, but it can be so hard to find the motivation to get started. Take heart, I've boiled it down to two highly effective strategies. Strategy #1: Scare Yourself The crucial piece of this strategy is…

office desk and surrounding floor covered in clutter and two large houseplants

Clutter Speaks Out

Hello? It's me, your clutter. Listen, we need to talk. It's not like we really do much together anymore. I've been hanging out in the guest bedroom, and you haven't been in there for ages. To be honest, I've been…

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When Clutter’s Personal

A surprising amount of the clutter that fills our homes falls into the category of evidence that we're loved. Here are the notes and letters all my friends from school sent me.  I'm likable. I've kept every Valentine and birthday…

7 rolls of paper towels stacked on a table

Clutter Math

Clutter isn't always sentimental stuff you're holding onto from the past. Sometimes it's perfectly useful everyday items you unwittingly have way too many of. Like eager Eagle Scouts, many of us are trying to win the world badge for preparedness.…

two tall stacks of paperwork and files

Body Doubling

Do you get overwhelmed when you try to declutter and organize yourself, yet find yourself effortlessly sorting, purging and categorizing when someone helps you? It's frustrating, isn't it? Why can't you just do it yourself? Take advantage of a Body…

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Hopes and Dreams or Clutter?

As you look around at the clutter that fills your space, do you feel confused and puzzled about why it's even there? Consider the idea that everything you have represents a dream. It's not just a bunch of grocery coupons,…

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Decluttering is Not a Competitive Sport

Forget all the breathless posts on Facebook and Instagram. "Just dropped off 144 bags at my favorite charity on the way to volunteer at the soup kitchen. #blessed!!! [15 emojis]" Throwing yourself in a mad frenzy of decluttering feels productive…

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You vs. Stuff: Who Wins?

You are as important as your stuff. It sounds obvious, but few of us live that way. When you look around, does it look like you live there or does it look like you happen to share space with a…

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Professional Organizers Aren’t Perfect

Do you assume a professional organizer's house must be perfect? Not a teaspoon out of place, everything stowed in pristine Container Store finery at all times? After last week's blog post about living with a packrat, I heard from quite…

cluttered basement full of boxes and bags piled on top of each other

Living with a Packrat

Are you what FlyLady calls a "Born Organized" person? Do decluttering and organizing come naturally to you, so that although stuff comes in, you swiftly find a place for it and move other stuff out so that your place always…

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What’s a Sentiment Box?

It's a container, ideally light enough that you could hold it on your lap while you look through the contents. The contents are very special because we don't have twenty-five sentiment boxes, we just have one. The box is intensely…

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Solving the Decluttering Puzzle

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…

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