March 2007 Newsletter

This month’s focus: Conquering clutter, step by step                            

Tip of the Month: Four Steps to Eliminating Clutter

This past month I saw ads from IKEA with the headline Conquer Clutter. Their solution to the problem was, of course, IKEA’s wardrobes, storage boxes, hangers and organizers.

But this is often an ineffective way to deal with clutter problems – because it jumps to step 3 of a 4-step process. If you really want to deal with the clutter, the steps would be:

  • Develop a clear vision – not just of what you want for your home or office, but what you want for your life. It can be very powerful to put this into words or pictures.
  • Decide which items you want to keep, and which need to be sold, donated, recycled, or scrapped. Now here’s the reason for Step 1- the things that don’t support you in reaching your vision are the things you’ll want to discard.
    Another way I’ve put that is: does this item make you happy? Things make us happy if they are useful, if they appeal to our sense of aesthetics, if they make us laugh. Things that make us happy are going to be the things that support our life vision.
  • Get everything into its place.
    A. Figure out where and how to store the things you want to keep. Now’s the time to go to IKEA or wherever else you want to buy organizing products – if you need any.
    B. Actually get rid of the things you said you would sell, donate, recycle, or scrap.
  • Establish routines and habits that will keep things organized. Define the ways that you will deal with incoming mail, the children’s toys, and all the other normal clutter-creators.

Quote of the Month

It’s OK to hold on to one or two items of reasonable size that have a genuine chance of a future life. But let’s be honest. Is it really only one or two items? Or are you saving enough stuff to furnish a whole alternative universe in which a skinnier you uses that dusty abdominal crunch machine every morning before inserting all your photos into a new album and then dons that old wig you’ve been storing for a costume party you’re hosting at which everyone will be lounging in the extra chairs that have been languishing in your basement for the last six years?
— Peter Walsh, It’s All Too Much