Posts tagged clutter

The Psychology of Clutter

A very thoughtful piece about why we hold onto things we no longer really need and more.

Shop In Your Own Home to Declutter

Often, when I work with clients, and even sometimes in my own life, I buy something new, when I already own it. I’m talking about things as mundane as tape, Qtips, and lip gloss. 

Before shopping at the store, take stock of what you have. The best way to do this is to take everything out of a cabinet and take stock. It could be in your pantry, your bathroom, or closet. Often, you will find duplicates, or near duplicates of something you already have. Those duplicates can be labeled and stored, or tossed, so you can better find the things that you need. Maybe you only really like one of five mascaras. You can toss the rest.

How to Get a Messy Purse Under Control

You’ve had it! You can’t find a darn thing in your purse because there is so much stuff in it: 3 lip glosses, 7 pens, wallet, a pound of change, old receipts, trash, lotion, sanitizer, random business cards, a book, another book and so on.

It’s time to reign all that junk in and be able to find things again.

1. Take it all out!

Remove everything from your purse and place it on a clean surface. Now the work begins.

2. Throw out the trash

Take all of those old receipts and little scraps of paper and toss them out.

3. Only the Essentials

Put away anything you don’t need every day. Leave yourself one lip gloss, instead of three. You need your wallet, phone, keys, a book and a pen. Anything else is just clutter. If you have a mini hand lotion or hand sanitizer put those in side pockets.

4. If you have a lot of purses…

If you have a lot of purses and you change them every day, go to the container store and get one of these handy purse organizers (The Container Store has several to choose from):

Now you can find the essentials in your purse!

The Psychology of Clutter

This is a great article that talks about the psychological aspects of clutter and how it can negatively effect your life. It also contains some very good suggestions about how to battle clutter.

Part Two: Childhood Things

So I went to this storage space and got all of my childhood things.

They are in clear plastic bins in my living room now and I’ve decided that I’m going to make a memory book out of most of it. I’m going to photograph everything, besides old writings and notebooks and make an album out of it.

Making it into an artistic project will feel very satisfying and then I can discard the physical items without feeling sad that I’ve lost them.

How do you deal with old memorabilia?

Tip #2 Paperwork: What to do with all of it?

Paperwork is the bane of our existence. It seems there is a never ending supply of bills, junk mail, product information, etc.

I have a few strategies that work for me:


When I get my mail, I throw out or recycle all of the junk mail in the mail room before I even enter my apartment. The same can be done in your house. Don’t let it land on a table. Dispose of that stuff immediately. If you can find it online, you don’t need the physical copy.


Sort the mail into several neat piles: bills, health bills and pharmacy receipts, coupons and sales information, receipts, as well as any other correspondence.

  • Put the coupons and sales information in an envelope or accordian file that is clearly labeled, or label a ziploc bag and toss them in. Make sure and go through them periodically, as they expire.
  • Bills should have a colorful rubber band around them to show that they are priority items.
  • Receipts should have their own file or neatly labeled container. That should be sorted regularly too.


I highly recommend investing in a good scanner that reads text (OCR) and convert important documents into a digital format, so that you don’t have to keep the physical copy. NeatDesk is pricey, but it is probably the highest quality system on the market.


It’s very important that you set aside a block of time for yourself to sit down and sort through your pile of papers. Pay the bills and go through receipts and coupons. If you do one thing at a time, it will go faster and be much more efficient. Converting bills to paperless online, will also substantially cut down on the actual paper you accumulate.


Scanning and regular sorting, makes it much easier to save important documents like tax documents and health insurance statements. I have several notebooks where I store older papers that I want hard copies of. Every year or so, I go through them and toss things I no longer need and put in other documents. At some point, I plan on scanning every document, so I have a copy at the ready.

However you decide to file things, make it fun and pretty. It sounds silly, but a bright colored filling system, or colorful notebooks is a great way to make organizing pleasant and pleasant to look at.

All of this work deserves high praise. Pat yourself on the back and have some hot cocoa and a cookie. It’s time to party.

Series: The Emotions Behind Clutter Part I

Sometimes the reason we hold onto things, or allow the house or office to get really messy, has to do with stress. Our emotions get the better of us and we can’t seem to get started. At a point like that, advice is not what is needed. Support is needed.

I’ve been there. Dishes in the sink and dirty laundry tossed near the hamper, but not in it. I was giving up because of how I was feeling inside. Once we acknowledge that our feelings have something to do with it, we can take care of ourselves. The mess will straighten itself out once you do some self-care.

Take a bath, or listen to some music you like. Get out of the house and take a walk. Maybe it’s a good time to call a friend and share what you are going through. It may seem silly, but it’s not.

Just remember that it’s not unusual to be overwhelmed. You are not alone. Everybody has days when enough is enough.

Honor your feelings and don’t be afraid to reach out.

There have been times when I have had to discard oodles of old makeup and styling products that I don’t use anymore. What are your best strategies for decluttering your bathroom?