Deadlines Help With Decluttering



Have you ever had a deadline help you with decluttering? I know I have. Think about this for a moment.

Remember when you were having the family over for a holiday dinner or birthday party? How did you prepare for it? If you’re like most people you planned the food/menu for the dinner or party. Hopefully you shopped for most of the stuff ahead of time leaving just a few perishable items to buy last minute.

But what about cleaning the house? I always find it amazing that when I’m preparing for company I notice all the clutter laying around. I know the stack of magazines has been there for awhile. But now it looks real messy. The DVD’s and video games are overflowing the shelf under the TV.  How long have they been a chaotic mess? And when did the empty cups and dishes start accumulating on the coffee table and end tables? I didn’t realize the cat and dog (or kids) had so many toys laying around.

You get the picture. We become blind to everyday clutter until we know company is coming over. Then we start looking at our house through their eyes. 

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Tools to Control Paper Clutter – Part 3

In this three-part blog series I’ve covered many of the tools I use to help me control the paper clutter. Setting up a system with the right tools will make the difference between being organized or having paper piles all over the place.

In Part 1, I talked about how I use folders and a mail organizer.

Then in Part 2, I talked about how I use file drawers and file boxes to contain the folders full of papers. In other words, I containerized them.

Now in Part 3, I’m going to show you the tools I use to actually reduce the amount of papers I save for those file folders.



Printer/scanner      Printer/scanner


You don’t have to have a printer/scanner to save digital copies but I find it much easier than taking a photo of a paper. A flatbed scanner works best because it allows you to scan different size papers. You can scan a business card, copy of a check,  or multiple receipts. …

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Using Different Decluttering Methods

Have you used different decluttering methods over the years? I have.

I was like a surfer that would try wave after wave. Sometimes I had success. Sometimes I didn’t. But each time I tried a new decluttering method I learned a little more about what worked and what didn’t for me.

Some methods didn’t work at all me. While some worked fairly well, at least for awhile. Then for some reason they just didn’t work anymore. I don’t remember if I got bored or some lifestyle change happened.

It didn’t matter what the reason was, I still beat myself up for being a “failure”. Fortunately, new methods came along as my household grew (children and pets) right along with the clutter. …

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Is It Clutter Or Just A Little Mess?

I read a interesting article this morning about how the author learned to accept the clutter in her home as evidence of a life well lived. The article made me think about what is the true definition of “clutter”. So I looked it up in my trusty old Webster’s New World College dictionary.


Clutter: a number of things scattered in disorder; jumble.

Then I decided to look up the definition in The New Century Dictionary I have, last copyright date of 1952. Clutter has been around for awhile. That definition is:

Clutter: noun – A disorderly heap or assemblage; litter; hence, confusion or disorder. Verb – To heap together or strew about in a disorderly manner.

With all the TV shows, articles, and books on clutter I think we have lost the meaning of what real clutter is. We either have a total huge disorderly heap of things all over our homes or it’s magazine perfect. There’s nothing in between.

As a result of this kind of thinking we’re always setting ourselves up for believing we’re failures. Yes, there are those who have “perfect” homes but they are usually either highly focused, high energy, or obsessed about keeping everything in order. Then there are those people who live in total chaos and probably need to address the underlying issues with professional help.

Temporary Messes

Which leaves the rest of us. Some of our “clutter” is really just messes from everyday living that haven’t been picked up yet. It’s in a state of temporary mess or disorder.

Last night’s dishes left in the sink aren’t clutter if they are cleaned up the next day. Just a temporary mess.

If the last couple of day’s mail is still on the kitchen table, then you have a temporary mess that needs to be taken care of.

Those dirty clothes on the floor from the last day or two would be considered a temporary mess.


It’s when a temporary mess starts to become a permanent fixture in our homes that we have to look at the mess as clutter.

When last week’s dishes are still in the sink and all over the counter, then there is a clutter problem.

If there are piles of mail from the last six weeks waiting for you to decide what to do with them, then there is a paper clutter problem.

If you can’t walk into the bedroom without stepping on dirty clothes, then that’s another clutter problem.

We need to learn not to be so hard on ourselves. We also need to learn the difference between a little mess from everyday living and true clutter. The key is to establish some routines that keep those little everyday messes from becoming clutter.





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