October 25, 2010

Requesting Your Help...

This is a photo from an earlier post. It was my scrappin' area from a year or so ago.  It's also a beautiful portrait of my cat named Mouse. 

Here is another photo of my old scrappin' area, before I moved downstairs:

Now, I show you these photos not to remind you of what my scrappin' space used to look like.  Nor did I include this link to remind you what my new scrappin' space looks like.

The reason why I'm showing you this is because I am overwhelmed, overrun and overpowered by clutter.  Not just in my scrapping area.  In fact, I must admit I've been doing pretty well at keeping that particular clutter at bay.  Not perfect, mind you, but pretty well.

My problem is... I have clutter everywhere.  I can't seem to get a hold of it.  I need HELP!  Can you... will you... help me?

Here are my "issues" with clutter:
  • I work 2 jobs and have a few extracurricular activities so most weekdays I am gone for 12 hours or more.
  • On weekends, I occasionally work Saturdays but other than that if we don't have company over it's spent being lazy (because I've done so much over the week).
  • Tables are my weak spot.  I just drop things on tables and it stays there.  I detest this about myself because I love a clean table top with just a nice little centerpiece.  That is "never" in my house unless company is coming...
  • Floors are another weak spot, especially in my bedroom.  Things get dropped on the floor (e.g. shopping bags, shoes, books, etc.) and they stay there.  Forever.
  • I don't believe myself to be a hoarder, because I do throw away "crap" ... as in garbage... but... I have a hard time throwing away anything that someone else has given to me, even if it is useless.  For example, my "kiss me I'm 40" pin that has a light flashing in it.  Hello?  What should I do with that?  Or... old knick knacks that were my mothers.  I don't want them, but because she is gone, I feel I need to keep them.  For what?
  • Crafting stuff that is a) not in my scrapbooking room but should be, or b) not scrapbooking related, but crafty related and I have no place to put it (i.e. my quilting and sewing).
  • When I am home, I prefer sitting on my laptop wandering the internet, emailing, blogging and other fun computer-related festivities to cleaning house...
I have more issues, but those are the biggest.  So, I'm asking you, all of my favorite online blogging friends... HELP ME!  Keeping my particular issues in mind, PLEASE leave a comment and tell me your tricks and tips to keeping the clutter from overwhelming you.  How do you do it?  What works?  What doesn't work?  PLEASE share with me.  I need you....


  1. Having a lot of stuff is such a blessing and a curse at the same time!

    How about making a goal to find a place for just 5 things every day? You could have 3 bins labeled "keep" "toss" "donate". Then pick up a handful of stuff and sort away! If you do only a little at a time it shouldn't seem quite so overwhelming. Good luck!

  2. oh I feel your pain and agree with the above comment's suggestion from melissa.

    one thing i noticed when visiting organised websites is they say you have to have a space for everything in your house. It encourages you to put it away in the right place. We recently bought an expedit (google it!) bookcase from ikea with lots of storage, and you know what it makes me want to put things away nicely because it is so beautifully organised. Too often I've "made do" with old biscuit tins for my stamps, but honestly having a functional space for everything helps me so much.

    I would try and time yourself to do 15 or 30 minutes a day to try and rid your house of clutter, even if it takes from now to christmas, the feeling of relief when it is clear will help you soo much! good luck!

  3. I'm the kind of person who needs a target and reward system ie after I clear the pile of ironing, I will sit down with the laptop and a cup of coffee and relax for half an hour! I try to invite friends over for a Saturday at least one week in 3 which makes me give the whole downstairs a thorough tidy and also gives us a good social life! Our bugbear at home is the breakfast bar, things get dumped on there and then we have a blitz and all the papers go upstairs to the study where ... um ... they sit in a different pile for a while until my husband has a filing hour! Making all my files and folders look pretty in the bookcase by making new labels definitely made me want to use them and get it all tidy in there.

  4. i have been playing along with the 20/20 clear up problem website the past week or so which does lil bits at a time. the idea being that u dont overdo it all on one day.
    love the new scrapbooking room by the way. wish i had a good sized space my self.
    Jo xxxx

  5. I totally get the working hard, and I totally get the feeling entitled to rest and relax. But your clutter is not only bothering you - it is affecting your mood, your concentration, and your happiness levels! I ran into this same issue awhile ago and blogged about it here: http://cheriandrews.blogspot.com/2009/06/clutter-sucks-life-away.html

    Highly recommend the book I was reading!

    When dealing with clutter, set yourself a timer for 15 or 20 minutes (like Kate said) and pick one area of the house to work on. Have three containers handy (like Melissa said). I recommend a rubbermaid tote for the "Keep" items, a trash bag for the "Toss" items, and a bag or cardboard box for the "Donate" items.

    Set the timer and begin to work. Pick up one item at a time. Look at it. Ask yourself: Do I LOVE this item? Is it beautiful? Does it make me Happy? Do I USE this item? If you can answer yes to one of these questions, put the item in the "keep" bin and find a home for it later.

    If the item makes you feel sad or guilty (or brings up any bad memories)or it's ugly or you have no use for it, then it goes in the trash bag or the donation box.

    When the timer ends, move the trash bag to where you store trash and the donation box to the trunk of your car. Then reward yourself with some down time - tv, the computer, reading, whatever suits you.

    If you can do 15 or 20 minutes on Saturday and Sunday, it will take awhile, but eventually you'll get the clutter under control. You may also find the satisfaction of moving that stuff OUT makes you want to do more.

    “Have nothing in your house that you do not know to be useful, or believe to be beautiful” William Morris.

    Another site to check out: http://unclutterer.com/

  6. Putting things away as soon as you've used them is the only thing which seems to hel in this house.

  7. I think the above suggestions are good, and I know you have done the "15 mins" thing in the past. I would try to start when you get home and don't sit down until you have at least a little bit done. That is always my biggest issue. As soon as I sit down to rest or just take a quick break, I usually don't get back up to do what I need to do.

    I have also started opening my mail or going through all those annoying door hanging bags as soon as I bring them in, and I do it by the trash can/shredder so I can immediatly get rid of what I don't need. I don't sit it down on the table or it won't move from it.

    Just throw away the stuff you don't need. If you aren't going to scrapbook or keep that button from your birthday, toss it (I wouldn't have known and wouldn't feel bad if you did). That is a type of hoarding and you don't want to go there.

    As a last resort, you could always bribe your friends with food or something to come and help out. :)

  8. The interesting thing for me is that the clutter in my house is not my issue...I'm a putter-awayer...but not my boys...NONE of them, not even the big one...THEY are pilers. I hate piles...hate them. I'm a pile nazi...always and forever, never let it slip, pile nazi...put it way. Now. Don't wait, don't think you are saving yourself time, don't think you will get to it later. When you tell yourself you will get to it later, you lie to yourself...and its not nice to lie. SO, my rule..when you come in the house, put things where they go. End of story. It doesn't actually take any more time. Its not actually any less convenient. Start where you are, now...just put things away when you walk in the door, take the few moments and do it. Since piling isn't my issue, I'm often found saying, "Put your shoes in the front hall please. Now put your jacket on a hanger, please. Now put your books in the book case, please. Yes you may be excused, put your trash in the trash can please. Now put your dishes in the sink, please." You could do this with yourself if it would help. "K, put your shoes in the closet please. Put your bags in the trash please." etc, etc. I found with my hubs that the clutter sort of cured itself this way: One day, he put his shoes away as requested. THe next day, he wore a pair of shoes that were in the middle of hall. When he got home, he put those away instead of dropping them into the middle of the floor. The next day, he was looking at a book that had been left on the coffee table and he put it into a bookcase when he was done...magically, one beautiful piece at a time, the piles shrunk and my house became pile-less...and now its just maintenance...and a lot of "Please" es.

  9. I can really relate to this post, and was very interested to read the answers. I don't think I can add anything to the advice above really - I was going to suggest that you just give yourself short bursts of sorting within one particular area, and that you time yourself - just do 5, 10, 15 minutes (whatever time limit you choose, but keep it short) then 'reward' yourself with something, such as some time checking out your favourite websites.

    As for the things you can't bear to throw away, try to be ruthless - as Cheri said above, is it beautiful or useful? If not, then it should GO! If it's proving too difficult then can you get hold of some boxes to store the 'maybe' items in, just for now? If they stay in the box without you even thinking about them for, say, 1 month, then the whole box can go.

    Good luck - let us know how it's going xx


I love hearing what you have to say. Thank you for sharing yourself with me!


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