Clutter Control: Is Too Much 'Stuff' Draining You?
Get your clutter under control, and your attitude and health just may improve, too.
Clutter Control: Start With a Vision
Instead of handing his clients a to-do list and a schedule to get the
clutter in control, Walsh first asks his clients to ask themselves: "What
is the vision for the life I want?" That becomes the criteria for what you
decide to keep.
For example, do you want the bedroom to be a calm, restful place to spend
time with your partner? Then you may need to put the computer or the TV in
another room. Instead of asking, "What do I need for the house?" ask
"What do I want from this space?" suggests Walsh. You'll soon figure
out what's clutter and what's not.
Clutter Control: The Decision Dilemma
Work on your ability to make a decision, and you're on your way to clutter
control, Townley Ewer tells WebMD. "What clutter is, is ducking decisions
or refusing to make them," she says. So when the mail comes in, for
example, decide right then to keep a piece or toss it.
"Do bills online to cut down on clutter," suggests Ewer, who wrote
Houseworks: Cut the Clutter, Speed the Cleaning and Calm the Chaos. Toss
old magazines, and allay your anxiety knowing you can look up an article online
or even trek to the library if you really need it later.
Basically, make a pact with yourself. When something comes in, something
must go out. If you buy new clothes, part with some old ones. Ewer did that to
combat her "twinset habit." She vowed that if she bought one twinset,
one of her favorite clothing items, she would donate two old ones. "Once I
started doing that, I stopped buying them," she says.
Clutter Control: A Little at a Time
Cluttered clients often think they have to clean the entire house in a fell
swoop, but clutter control isn't all or nothing. "Create a pocket of
order," suggests Cindy Glovinsky, MSW, a psychotherapist and professional
organizer in Ann Arbor, Mich., who wrote Making Peace with the Things in
The key is to start small: Tackle one room or even one bookshelf at a time.
Cleaning the clutter from drawers? "Don't dump the whole drawer," says
Gilberg, "it's too overwhelming." Instead, take out items that can be
thrown away, then things you can donate.
Deciding what makes the cut can be tough, but making a list of parameters
can help. For instance, when cleaning closets, you might decide to throw out
anything stained or torn, to donate clothing you haven't worn for six months,
and to organize the rest.
Once you've learned how to get rid of the clutter, shift to maintenance
mode, organizers advise. Make an appointment with yourself for clutter
maintenance, Gilberg says. "Literally write it on the calendar." If you
keep your calendar electronically, enter clutter control as a recurring