Reminder—The tasks for each day and the Area of Focus for the 15th to the 21st are in Monday’s post.

My planner
My planner

Does your home work for you? We eat, sleep, rest, and play in our homes. Are the places for these functions set up to work? Can you cook and eat in the kitchen? Can you find clothes that fit and are clean and in good repair in your closet and drawers? Can you sleep and rest in your bedroom?

  • Define the spaces in your home and what they are for.
    • We arrive and leave home through our entry and greet guests there.
    • We hang our coat and our guests coats in our coat closetIMG_0420
    • We visit with each other and guests, read, and watch television in our living room.
    • We store food, prepare food, cook food, and eat food in our kitchen. The kitchen is also a place for a cup of tea and a friendly visit. We may also entertain in our kitchen
    • We eat and study in our dining room
    • We sleep in our bedrooms and keep our clothing there
    • We wash, dry, fold, and iron our clothes in our laundry room
    • We store items that will not be damaged by extremes of heat and cold in our attic.
    • Within each space consider the furniture and décor. Is it what you need? Get rid of what does not contribute to a pleasant and workable space. Don’t accumulate, and accumulate, and accumulate. Subtract as well as add.
    • If stuff is stored around your rooms in bags. Go through those bags. When you arrive home after a shopping trip, put away your purchases. That is one reason I personally have a one in, one out rule. When I get something new, I have to release something—usually something of the same kind. If I buy a pair of shoes, I need to get rid of a pair of shoes. Obviously if you are just starting out and your possession are sparse, this doesn’t apply to you. BUT at a point in time you have to decide if your possessions are going to live in your home or if you and your family are going to live in your home. Don’t let stuff get in the way of a good life at home for you and your family.
    • Basic concept—When you are going through your rooms, each item is either a put away, give away, throw away, or return to original owner.
    • Some decisions are hard especially if the item has financial or sentimental value. Putting off decisions only prolongs the pain.
    • I placed my mom’s baby blanket in a shadow box. I tried but failed to arrange a dress from when she was 2 or 3, so I stored it behind the blanket in the box. The box sits on top of our DVD cabinet in the hallway upstairs.
    • Do not leave a room to take something to another room while you are cleaning. You will find another area that needs to be decluttered, organized or cleaned. Focus on one area at a time.
    • Our children had memory boxes when they were growing up. When the box was full and they wanted to add to it, they had to go through it and release anything they no longer cared about to make room.
    • Make a decision about what is enough. You do not need an endless supply of plastic containers, paper and plastic
      The organizer I use in my underwear drawer
      The organizer I use in my underwear drawer

      ags, pens, pencils, and twist ties.

    • When you have used the time you have allowed for decluttering, organizing, and cleaning
      • Empty the trash
      • Put away items where they belong or will belong. You will soon be working in that space if you persevere.
      • Put items to be returned to original owner in a basket by your front door, give them a call and make arrangements to drop the item off, or invite them for coffee in your home.
      • Keep a donations box and add items to be donated. When it is full put it in your car and drop it off on your next errand day.
      • Keep clutter out by not bringing it in, in the first place. Give up retail therapy and spend that time putting what you do have in order. Deal with things quickly as they enter your hoe.
      • Organizers can become clutter if you don’t use them. Wait until you have identified a need before buying an organizer, then bring
        The organizer I use in my underwear drawer with my underwear in it.
        The organizer I use in my underwear drawer with my underwear in it.

        it in and put it in place. A new bookcase arrived on Wednesday. I took it to where I knew I needed it before I ordered it and put the books on it immediately. It is full. I did need it.

Face the clutter, don’t avoid it. There is a lovely home under that stuff waiting to be found.




2 thoughts on “Friday, October 18, 2013–To Clutter or Declutter–That is the Question

  1. Mary, I want to declutter, but if I clear off surface space, it gets filled by the clutterer with whom I live. There is just no way that I can have an empty space and not have it filled by someone else. Happens every time, so I have to leave stuff out just in self defense! Any suggestions?

    1. I had that problem, too. That is why I started trying to make my surfaces lovely. The pictures in these posts are from my home and are the vignettes I created to discourage cluttering. Also, when someone leaves something on a decluttered surface I remove it and put it away. When the children were home, things left around went into “the box” Then the owner has to buy them back by doing a task geared for their age level. If they are in a hurry, well, next time don’t leave things where they don’t belong.
      To be fair, I would often give notice that the box was about to make its rounds and they could put things I left out in the box, too.
      Having a place for keys, mail, and other commonly dropped items helps, too. If someone walks in and leaves their keys on the kitchen table, I move them to the key rack by the door. When they begin to look for them, I tell them where their keys are. This is not to be mean spirited at all but to gently demonstrate where things belong. The message is– when everything is left out or dropped when we come in the door, our home will be a mess. Please help me make a pleasant home for you by putting things where they belong.
      Have a sense of humor, be kind, but be persistent. Through the years we have been on so many organizing binges, they often don’t believe we are serious but if we stick with it, things will change. I have been bowled over as Roy has bought in to some of my habits like keeping a washcloth by the sink and wiping it out after every use.

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