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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…

stack of pretty turquoise storage boxes

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.…

white long sleeved blouse and gauze red and yellow skirt laid out on a chair

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…

a row of colored cups (line green, seafoam, kelly green, sky blue, royal blue) on a light blue background

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…

yellow porcelain salt and pepper shakers with smiling faces bright red lipstick

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…

organized living room with built in bookshelves, comfortable armchairs and flowers on a coffee table

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…

crowded garage full of old wooden chairs, moving boxes and a moving dolly

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…

homemade quilt in red, yellow, green, black and white colors on a concrete basement

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:…

two small organized floating display shelves against a red painted wall

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?…

young boy on the beach surrounded by seagulls

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…

jigsaw puzzle of the Rosetta Stone

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…

white and gold gift bag with gold ribbon and gift tag saying celebrate

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…

baby sleeping peacefully in a crib

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…

pile of tangled Christmas tree lights

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,…

moving boxes neatly stacked in the garage

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…

birthday card, letters with airmail stickers on envelopes

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…

pair of boxing gloves resting on a row of books in an unfinished garage

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…

a basket full of small travel souvenirs

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…

storage box decorated with colorful red and yellow flowers, on a blue and white patterned duvet cover

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…

jumbled puzzle piece from three different puzzles on a brown table

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…

handwritten yearly calendar on a bullet journal dotted grid

Get Things Moving

Ah, January! Month of fresh starts and hopeful dreams. If this is the year you’re going to get organized, honest and for true, consider making this a Year of Action. Instead of holding onto things for that yard sale you’re…

winding path with carved wavy lines and signs of recent rainfall

Do it Your Way!

I’ve been thinking about the old story of the landscaper who waited to see which way people walked over the lawns at a college before he chose where to have the concrete paths laid. I’ve always thought that story sums up the very…

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20 Minutes Decluttering, Decoded

What can I possibly do for 20 minutes that'll make a difference? The ground rules are simple: Set your timer for 20 minutes. Stop when the timer rings. Be kind to yourself about recycling. If wanting to recycle means stuff…

popcorn, snacks, taco shells and stuffing mix jumbled together on a pantry shelf

What’s Behind Your Pantry Problem?

If you don't have a pantry, it's tempting to think that having one will solve all your food storage problems. But until you take into account what a pantry means to each member of your family, you can containerize all…

cookie press box

Falling Out of Love With Your Stuff

When you first saw them, you simply had to have them - it was the perfect cookie press, and that was the best backpack possible. The sheer intensity of your longing blinded you to the fact that you invariably buy…

purple stuffed animal with a nervous expression

Therapy Can be The Missing Piece

Are you just too busy to get organized or is there more to it? I had a client whose garage was completely full. The first time we met, he was quite unable to decide what to keep and what to let…

little girl in white top and jeans putting ornaments on a Christmas tree

Clutter Free Gift Guide

If you’ve ever asked yourself what you can give that won’t just be shoved in the back of a cupboard or hastily regifted, this list of clutter free gifts ideas will totally change the way you think about gift giving. Give…

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