Clutter Clearing Tips that Work

Coping with clutter is rarely easy. There's more involved than just catching up on overdue housework, and staying focused and motivated over the weeks or months it may take to get the job done can be one of the biggest challenges. Here are some tips to help you stick with it until it's done:

1. "How do you eat an elephant?... One bite at a time!" That's a good way to approach clutter clearing: one "bite-sized" task at a time. An entire house, or even a room, of clutter can be overwhelming. Instead, focus on a single small area - one shelf in a bookcase or one drawer in the kitchen, for example - before moving on to the next.

2. Don't expect to get it done in a weekend. It probably took a long time for all that stuff to pile up, so make peace up front with the fact that getting rid of it is going to take some time, too. Plan to do a little bit every day over a longer period of time, rather than waiting until you have a large chunk of free time available to devote to clutter-clearing (which may never happen!).

3. Set time goals, not task goals. If you've decided to declutter the kitchen cabinets on Saturday morning, for example, but it's really an all-day job, you've set yourself up for failure. Instead, set a goal to work on the kitchen for three hours on Saturday. That way, when the time it up, you'll have met your goal even if the task itself is not entirely completed.

4. Use a timer to get over the "don't-wannas." Tell yourself you only have to focus on clutter for 5 minutes. Pick your bite-sized target (one drawer, one shelf, or one pile of paper) set your timer, and go go go for five minutes. When the timer chimes, you can stop? or keep going, now that you've established some momentum.

5. If you just can't make a "keep or toss" decision about something, put it in a "for now" box and plan to return to it later when you are feeling more decisive. Items that you do wish to keep, but that have no "home" in your home, go in a separate box with other things you need to make space for. This way you end up with pre-sorted boxes of stuff you still need to deal with, rather than leaving things where you found them (which is not where they belong, or you wouldn't have a clutter problem).

6. Be prepared to make more of a mess before things look better. You can't do a thorough job of clearing out a closet, for example, unless you begin by removing everything that's in there. That means you're going to create a big heap o'stuff while you are sorting and purging. Don't mistake the temporary mess for lack of progress; just keep doing a little bit at a time until you've gone through it all and made decisions about what to keep and where to keep it.

7. Get rid of the excess first, before you think about organizing and storage. One of the most common mistakes people make is to buy more storage containers before they've decluttered. Eventually, they end up with a home cluttered with boxes and bags and bins of other clutter. Sort and purge first, then tackle storage.

8. Reward your accomplishments, both great and small. Finished the hall closet today? Good for you; now make an appointment for that manicure you promised yourself. Plan in advance what treats you will earn as you reach your clutter-clearing milestones; knowing you have a specific reward coming will help you stay motivated to stick with the process until it is done.

Of course, the biggest reward of all is the joy and convenience of living in a home that is free of clutter. Don't wait another day to get started!

© 2005 Stephanie Roberts

GOT CLUTTER?!? Reclaim your space and your life with Stephanie Roberts' highly-acclaimed Clutter-Free Forever Home Coaching Program, which includes the Clutter-Free Forever ebook, weekly lessons, membership to an online support group and bonuses. Find out more at ClutterFreeForever.com.

In The News:

Beware of the "Easy" Way to Build Power. It Must Begin With Organizing.  TruthoutNone of us can afford to wait on “solutions” that postpone organizing.
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Organizing tips from Marie Kondo’s Philly-based comrades  The Philadelphia InquirerFeeling overwhelmed by your clutter? Philly's professional organizers have lots of advice.
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Organizing Your Garage  WJHL-TV News Channel 11Angie Hyche with ShipShape Solutions joins us on Daytime with some good tips on de-cluttering your garage!
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10 Most Popular IKEA Organizers and Storage Products - Ikea Closet Systems and Shelves  HouseBeautiful.comThese 10 products and series are among the top organizers and storage solutions Ikea has to offer, the pieces customers love and continue to be bestsellers in ...
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Iran Organizing Int'l Quran Expo in India's Hyderabad  IQNA (International Quran News Agency)TEHRAN (IQNA) – For the first time in Hyderabad, India, an International Quran Exhibition is being organized by the Consulate of Iran in the city, in collaboration ...
Family organizing search for missing Peoria woman  AZCentral72-year-old Mary Endreson walked out of her apartment Sunday afternoon. Police searched with canines and helicopters, Endreson's sister said.
Tatarstan condemns fitness trainer for organizing robbery of entrepreneur  https://en.crimerussia.com/The Bugulminsky District Court of the Republic of Tatarstan sentenced 47-year-old fitness trainer Andrey Kilmanov to six years in a strict regime colony for ...
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The organizers behind Boston’s Straight Pride Parade should concern you  ThinkProgressWhile Boston's planned “straight pride parade” has created a fountain of hilarious jokes, there is a serious issue at hand with organizers' close ties to far-right ...
Rochester youth organize peace rally  WXXI NewsSuccess Beyond Negativity (SBN) is a group of young people in Rochester who have lost loved ones due to violence. Their goal is to encourage people to.
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The Trump administration is really, really bad at organizing conferences  Washington PostYou might think that the Trump administration's foreign policy consists only of haphazard attempts at economic pressure. You could not be more mistaken.
Kamala Harris ramps up staff, organizing in Iowa: 'It's game on.'  Des Moines RegisterCalifornia Sen. Kamala Harris is ramping up her focus on Iowa, promising a caucus staff of at least 65 paid staffers on the ground by July 1.
Organizing patrols one way residents trying to combat rising tide of street crime in Thompson  Thompson CitizenWith headlines about stabbings, rocks being thrown at cars on the highway and arsons making local and national news, some residents of Thompson are taking ...
PHISGOC remains organizing body of 30th SEA Games: Cayetano  pna.gov.phMANILA -- The Philippine Southeast Asian Games Organizing Committee (PHISGOC) is the only official organizing committee of the 30th SEA Games, ...
MORE's organizing expert revamps Stephanie Kralevich's kitchen | More  KPTV.comWhen More's organizing expert Vicki Norris declutters a kitchen, she goes all out. Vicki spent 19 hours organizing Stephanie Kralevich's kitchen and Steph says ...
United Auto Workers Union Takes Another Shot at Organizing Volkswagen’s U.S. Factory  The Wall Street JournalThe United Auto Workers union is taking another shot at organizing Volkswagen's U.S. auto factory, holding a vote in June that could determine whether it will be ...
Nine Ways to Organize Your Garage  Yahoo FinanceERIE, Pa., June 5, 2019 /PRNewswire/ -- According to the American Housing Survey, 80% of all homeowners in the United States have either a garage or a ...
Celebrity Organizing Guru Says ‘Tidying Up’ Host Marie Kondo Ripped Off Her Method  The Inquisitr NewsLinda Koopersmith has helped stars like Chrissy Teigen, Khloe Kardashian, Jennifer Lopez and Serena Williams clean up their clutter for over 30 years. Now ...
The Trendy New Way to Organize Your Schedule: A Paper Planner  The Wall Street JournalShelby Abrahamsen, a 26-year-old lifestyle blogger with multiple social media accounts, lives much of her life online. Yet her favorite way to organize her ...
Organizers of Tbilisi rallies plan to stage motor rally to interior ministry’s building  TASSTBILISI, June 23. /TASS/. Mass protests in Tbilisi will be resumed on Monday. It is planned to stage a motor rally from the central Republic Square to the building ...
NH Primary Source: Biden campaign opens NH headquarters, steps up state organizing efforts  WMUR ManchesterFormer Vice President Joe Biden's campaign has opened a New Hampshire headquarters and is continuing to ramp up its organizing efforts in the state.
Residents in Montgomery County town organizing petition against proposed hog farm  CBS 4 IndianapolisLINDEN, Ind. (AP) — Some residents are organizing against plans for a nearly 9000-head hog operation near a rural western Indiana town. The proposal ...
Arihant Superstructures Limited - The Company Is Organizing A Conference Call On Tuesday, 04Th June, 2019 At 4:00 P.M. To Discuss The Audited Financial Result For Quarter/Financial Year Ended On 31St March, 2019.  The Hindu BusinessLinePursuant to Regulation 30 of SEBI (Listing Obligations and Disclosure Requirements) Regulations, 2015, we would like to inform you that the Company is ...
Funeral Arrangements for Organizing Pastor of Greater New Bethel Baptist Church, Pastor Earl Alfred Pleasant  Lasentinel*Service* information for Pastor Earl Alfred Pleasant is as follows: Memorial *service* is on Thursday, June 27, 2019, at 6:30 pm at Greater New Bethel Baptist ...
Beto O'Rourke staffs up, plans major Iowa organizing push  NBCNews.comStalled in national polls, Beto O'Rourke is doubling down on Iowa where his hyper-retail campaign style may provide the best chance for an early-nominating ...
Protesters in Georgia to organize new action  Trend News AgencyProtesters in June 24 intend to organize a procession from the Square of the First Republic to the building of the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Georgia on the ...
This summer, take a vacation from clutter with the organizing pros at Tidy Techs!  KEYE TV CBS AustinFrom cluttered to cozy, and disaster to delightful! You'll want to show the before and after pictures to everyone. Holly Maxwell joins us from Tidy Techs ...
Kamala Harris to organize on SC historically black campuses as inroad for 2020  The State2020 Democratic presidential candidate Kamala Harris will be organizing support at SC historically black colleges, or HBCUs, ahead of the South Carolina ...
NLRB Holds That Employers May Prohibit Non-Employee Union Organizers From Soliciting Employees in the Public Spaces of Their Facilities  JD SupraOn June 14, 2019, the National Labor Relations Board ("NLRB" or the "Board") issued a decision in UPMC and its Subsidiary, UPMC Presbyterian Shadyside, ...
Learn how to create and organize the workshop of your dreams  AOLMeet Johnny Brooke, a YouTube woodworking guru who organizes his workshop so that it's beautiful, efficient and a blast to use!
Local Democratic Party delegates prepare for state organizing convention  St George NewsWASHINGTON CITY — Washington County Democrats are beginning to get ready for the party's state organizing convention, which will include caucus ...
Searching for Milton's biggest tree Tree warden organizing contest  Milton IndependentPosted by Neil Zawicki | Jun 13, 2019 | News | 0 |. Searching for Milton's biggest tree Tree warden organizing contest. Milton Tree Warden Kris Dulmer is ...
Employers can bar union organizing on property open to public - NLRB  ReutersThe National Labor Relations Board has ruled that employers can prohibit union organizers from soliciting workers on company property that is open to the ...
20 Best Dorm Room Storage Ideas - College Dorm Organizers  HouseBeautiful.comYou're getting an A+ in tidiness this year with the help of these dorm room storage ideas, from over-the-door organizers to other products that will keep all your ...
The smarter way to organize travel on Android  ComputerworldGoogle Trips may be going away, but there's an even better tool for organizing travel on Android — especially for business users.
Moxie Space Shows Us Ways To Organize Kid Art and Mementos  KXAN.comWith school out, you might have kid's art, projects and maybe report cards. So, how do you keep these mementos organized? Well, Sara from Moxie Space ...
This Portland man is trying to organize a massive game of adult hide and seek this summer  OregonLiveElizabeth Merrill, 3, of Portland, plays hide and seek with her twin brother, Henry, along the haiku inscribed stones near the cherry trees. (Beth Nakamura/The ...
Carl Junction Fire Protection District organizing efforts to assist those in need in the county  KSNF/KODE - FourStatesHomepage.comThe American Red Cross is in Carl Junction, and they are staying until all the needs of the community are met. Julie Stolting, American Red Cross, says “We can ...
Record attendance for ribfest: organizers  The Beacon HeraldThis year's edition of Stratford Blues and Ribfest had the highest turnout in the event's 10-year run, according to event officials.“Definitely our biggest,” said Steve ...
Democratic National Committee launches college fellowship program to train organizers for 2020  NBCNews.comWASHINGTON —The Democratic National Committee is launching the first round of its "Organizing Corps," a multi-million dollar program it says will ultimately ...
MEK Organizing Global Protests for a 'Free Iran' - Washington Times  National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI)By Sedighe Shahrokhi. With Iran in the news daily as tensions increase in the Persian Gulf over multiple tanker attacks, the Iranian resistance is raising the ...
Organizers, racers focus on safety during triathlon in Verona  WKOWVERONA (WKOW) — After three triathletes died competing in races this month, athletes and race organizers say they're doing more to keep people safe.
Torch lit for 32nd annual 55+ BC Games, organizers seeking volunteers  Global NewsHundreds of volunteers are still needed for the games, which kick off in September this year.
Qatar 2022 organizers say French police yet to contact them  Federal News NetworkOrganizers of the 2022 World Cup in Qatar say they have not been contacted by French authorities working in the investigation that led to the recent ...
John Nichols: Democrats should organize debate with one topic: climate change  Madison.comThe Democratic National Committee is making a huge mistake by refusing to support single-issue area debates — especially on climate change.
Colorado Latino Festival rescheduled due to threat of ICE raids, bad weather  The Denver PostOrganizers of one of the largest Latino cultural festivals in the state rescheduled their event scheduled for Sunday due to the fear of raids by immigration ...
Best Refrigerator Organizers - Fridge Storage Solutions  GoodHousekeeping.comThe best refrigerator organizers and fridge storage solutions to keep your cans, eggs, yogurt, and more nearly organized with top-rated products from Amazon, ...
How to organize any space in your house  NBC NewsCreating an organizational system lightens your mental load, while saving you time and money. A professional organizer shares her 3-step plan to clean any ...
Float Fest organizers cancel 2019 event, plan to return in 2020  austin360Following a series of setbacks, Texas music festival and river-tubing event Float Fest won't happen this year after all.In January, Guadalupe County officials ...
Agencies organize elder abuse awareness event at Alameda County Fair  Daily CalifornianThe Alameda County Social Services Agency, or ACSSA, partnered with multiple elder abuse awareness organizations and offices to organize an awareness ...
City of Fort St. John Recreation to organize hiking groups for adults and youth  Energeticcity.caFORT ST. JOHN, B.C. – The City of Fort St. John Recreation, in partnership with Wild River Adventure Tours, is organizing summer hiking groups for adults and ...
Manowar Exit Hellfest 2019 Amidst Clash With Organizers  LoudwireThe band exited the event, claiming organizers obstructed the show they wanted to put on.
Connective Festival organizers, Sherrow, and Stay receive Citizen Recognition Awards in Oxford  Chester County PressA dedicated community volunteer, a post office employee who is particularly helpful and cheerful, and a hardworking committee that organized the first ...
Eliminate Stress With Organization – We Have Researched The Best Backpacks To Help You Organize Your Life  The Daily CallerCondense the belongings you need to take with you into a single bag and make it easy to transport with one of these backpacks!
10 Best Organizers and Storage Products at Target - Made By Design Organizers for Closet, Kitchen, Bathroom  HouseBeautiful.comThese Made By Design storage and organizing products have quickly become popular picks for Target shoppers. Here's how these organizers can help you tidy ...
Copa America organizers say attendances higher than in 2015  KSL.comSouth America's soccer governing body CONMEBOL says the average attendance at Copa America games in Brazil is 15% higher than four years ago in Chile, ...
Baylor LGBTQ student group seeks to address regents as alumni advocates organize  Waco Tribune-HeraldThough it is summer and the Baylor University campus is quiet, conversations about inclusion continue.
Added value: Organizers pride themselves on the number of performers and amenities packed into the weekend  Leader-TelegramYou can call the 33rd annual Country Fest a three-day country music and camping party. But while the event officially runs Thursday through Saturday, ...

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