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Clear Out the Clutter

 
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couponqueen
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Joined: 14 Mar 2006
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Location: Utah

PostPosted: Mon Jul 03, 2006 12:49 pm    Post subject: Clear Out the Clutter Reply with quote

If you throw it out, you just might need it later, right? And besides, it's not harming anybody, is it? But, if you get rid of the chaos in your home, and you have a lot to gain: more free time and focus. Start now with these expert tips

Those are the excuses (and you know you have plenty more where those came from). But keeping clutter in your attic, your basement, or—heaven forbid—your actual living spaces can cause problems:

It's hard to focus or relax when the environment around you is a whirlwind of chaos. You lose precious time looking for lost items in the piles. Clutter collects dust and makes it hard for you to clean—not good news for allergy sufferers.

Keeping clutter can even turn out to be a great source of marital and family discord, says Naomi Drew, a conflict resolution expert based in Lawrenceville, NJ, and author of five books, including Hope and Healing: Peaceful Parenting in an Uncertain World (Citadel 2002). According to Drew, clutter can get in the way not only of our physical space but also our relationships. How?

Humans need to have their personal space honored, says Drew, not only in terms of physical proximity but also in terms of objects.

So how do you get motivated to make a break with your stuff? Recognize when the costs of keeping your clutter are greater than the payoffs. If you find you're losing important items or wasting unnecessary time sorting through piles to find a pen or pencil, then the costs may be outweighing the benefits of having all those piles around.

Once you've decided to clear out, get started with these clutter-cutting tips:

Start from the outside in. Before you tackle the basement couch that's disappeared under back issues of magazines and piles of old newspapers, develop a new habit every time you walk in your front door. "Instead of putting your stuff down wherever it might land," says Drew, "just take a minute to walk to where that thing belongs." Keys go in the same tray always, coats go in closets, and mail goes to an assigned bin or desk. Taking your belongings to their ultimate destination immediately gets you halfway to an uncluttered living space.

Make decluttering fun. Devote a designated time to take that first big step—then set it to music. Put on your favorite CD, and give yourself short, frequent breaks as you organize clutter into neat, labeled piles of related items. "This way, you give yourself the sense that you're supporting yourself as you're doing something that might seem overwhelming," says Drew.

Pick your battles with the kids. Set appropriate boundaries when it comes to the cluttered rooms of children. Teens especially need to feel a sense of empowerment and self-determination, which often manifests itself in bedrooms that could be labeled "bless this mess." To keep the peace, consider cutting a deal: If the kids agree to help keep the rest of the house clutter-free, then perhaps their rooms can stay the way they like, as long as that blessed mess doesn't interfere with homework or health.

Use diplomacy with your spouse. Clutter has torn asunder many a relationship, but the language of peacemakers can help you make headway into a partner's hoardings. Shift from accusatory "you" statements when you discuss the offensive piles, and instead emphasize "I" statements—as in "I feel annoyed by your growing collection of designer glassware/baseball cards/magazines." Take a deep breath before addressing the problem, so you don't just blurt out the first offensive phrase that comes to mind. "Tell the person honestly but in a non-aggressive and non-blaming way how you feel," says Drew, "then talk about what the solutions could be."

Finally, if all that clutter is actually yours, consider a little self-therapy. Don't be afraid to look yourself squarely in the mirror, and ask that most important, honest question of all: Aren't you driving yourself nuts with all this stuff?
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spoonrz
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Joined: 05 Aug 2008
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Location: southern Oregon

PostPosted: Tue Aug 05, 2008 10:10 pm    Post subject: Clutterbug - I know this is a disease and I have it - HELP! Reply with quote

Crying or Very sad Embarassed I have acquired more clutter than anyone I know and I cannot understand how I got this way. I have always kept things since a little girl. I do this with pictures as well. I ruin moments for myself always having to look at events through my camera lens. I don't know what's wrong with me.

I want to stop having to keep so much, but I feel one day I will use it, and seldom ever do. Some of it has real meaning to me. I have one entire bay of our four car shop full of my deceased (of eleven yr.s now) mother's things. I have to go through them and know by now most of it has probably gotten wet, eaten by rats or just no longer worth having. Sentiment plays a LARGE part of my life.

I have partial complex seizures and find I remember less and less every year. I feel having the items that I attach memories to will help me remember the moments when I cannot remember them on my own. I am only 44 and am now struggling with congestive heart failure. I don't want to leave all this junk for my poor family to have to sift through like I had to with my own mother's things when she died. Yes, this clutter is probably a bit learned and passed down as well, but it truly is a disorder. I can keep the main part of my home clutter free pretty much so friends and family can enjoy our space, but my house otherwise is total clutter. in my bedroom I can hardly get to the bed to flop into it. My clutter is organized believe it or not, but there is too much of it. My husband is now doing this and has his stuff thrown all over his side of the bed. It is dangerous to even go to his side of the bed to tuck the sheets in, which I leave for him to do.

Anyway, if anyone has a plan for me, I am open to it, and no, I will not just throw everything into a big trashcan and light it on fire like my grown kids threaten to do to my stuff. But I want to seriously de-clutter but don;t know where to start. I don't keep junk mail, it goes into the trash as son as I open it if I open it at all. I do put things where they belong and tend to be pretty organized, but I can't seem to let go of stuff, even if I don't really want it.

Thanks you for your time in reading my dilemma and I am very open to hearing anything non-violent from anyone.
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couponqueen
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PostPosted: Tue Aug 05, 2008 10:19 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Oh hun, I am right there with ya'. Have you ever watched that show 'Clean house"? I love it & it has been a great help for me.
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spoonrz
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Joined: 05 Aug 2008
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Location: southern Oregon

PostPosted: Tue Aug 05, 2008 11:22 pm    Post subject: show - clean that house Reply with quote

Shocked I have seen that show, but I shudder with even the thought of them coming to my home. I would never let them tell me what I can keep or get rid of. I would have to have a tarp for my keep items three times the size of my garage sale and trash areas. It is sad.

I am not there where I would allow them to come. No way, they are merciless anyway in my book. LOL It is nice to know someone else can understand though, thank you. A part from a miracle, which I do believe in, I don't think I will ever change. I do see the problem, and a need to change. But I can't seem to get past these realizations. Sad
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couponqueen
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Joined: 14 Mar 2006
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Location: Utah

PostPosted: Wed Aug 06, 2008 8:12 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Very often Mark gets upset at all the clutter we have too. We have a clean home, but it is piled up with never-ending buckets full of things we got free or close to it using coupons & great deals & sweepstakes, plus our old retail site.
And we got all this being picky at that Shocked
We've turned down a ton of freebie deals because we just couldn't use anymore. It's hard when there are so many great finds out there & if you don't get in on them when they're there, the deal passes on by. That's a real challenge because it's always been nice to have a stockpile ready for weddings & holidays. It's been a real life-saver.
So, I now only buy gifts I know will be used later on, that way I save without over-doing it (I'll now buy 3 of the same item instead of 10, unless I know I can give it away as a present or sell it easily).
I have a yard sale a month & advertise it. I also do a ton of donating throughout the year. I also focus on what specific type of decorating I'd like to do...before I had lots of cool things but no specific style, which made it look even more cluttered. So now I focus on 1 design per room, which means my gorgeous angel lamp will be replaced with a woods designed decor & that lamp will be going up for sale, if it doesn't sell after the first 3 yard sales, then it gets donated as well.
Believe me with all the narrow walkways full of buckets & stuff, I want to reclaim my home back, but still not get rid of my security for the holidays, so this has helped a little. I know first-hand how hard it is to give things up, I grew up in an extremely poor home, I have my abandoment issues & fear of loss, but we do have to take charge on some of the stockpiling. You are not alone my friend, so many of us are like that, but you do have to start to rebuild somewhere, I started with having yard sales & donating.
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