Monday, June 22, 2015

Haul in the Dumpster: I need to DeClutter My Mind, My House, My Car...

by Pam Hillman

Our houses are filled with clutter. Our cars look like dumpsters, our computers are fragmented. And don't even get me started talking about our minds!

Decluttering sounds easy, but when our time is even more cluttered than everything else, how do we get a grip on it all?

Let’s start at the end of that list. It seems to me that our minds get cluttered—fragmented—when our STUFF is cluttered. We become sluggish. We can’t find anything, and we become frustrated. But once we declutter our surroundings, we become more efficient, and our stress level goes down. So, the less clutter in our material world, the less clutter in our brains.

Janet Dean agrees with me. “I can’t relax in clutter. I can’t abide littered tables. If a picture is hanging askew or the sofa pillows are in disarray, I must straighten them.”

I knew that woman was smart! But who has time to declutter?

Small Bites

Mary Connealy says, “I look at clutter and see BIG things I don't know what to do with or that aren't mine...and I get frustrated and quit.”

So, start small. Look for only the mess that is your fault. Get your stuff under control. Own your own part of the problem and leave nagging your husband (and kids) to get rid of their junk after all your stuff is handled. Way to often, when I ignore a few big things and deal with my own stuff...the mess is gone when I'm done with all my stuff.

Around the House

Mary continued, “Start by opening a closet and saying, ‘I’m going to throw away, or otherwise deal with, ten things. I can stick with this for ten things.’”

Then get two big black trash bags. One for trash, one for the second hand store or goodwill or wherever. There is a boys home and a girls home near me. I once donated six 30 gallon trash bags full of clothes (you know those six 6 jean skirts I would never EVER be able to wear again?) to the girls home. They were thrilled.

Stuff to keep is either tidied in place or put aside to put back when the easy tossing is done. And for these items, Mary, Janet, and Sandra all recommend the rule of time. If you’re unsure if you want to keep something, box it up and store it out of sight. A closet. The basement. A storage shed. If you haven’t needed anything in that box for six months to a year, then get rid of it. If you’re really brave, don’t even look inside before you toss it. Ha!

Ruth Logan Herne was forced to declutter during a remodeling job. That’s one way to get the job done! “Our decluttering began by force: We needed a new roof, so everything had to be pulled out of the eaves, behind the walls. I realized the only thing that should still be stored back there was our Christmas stuff... and so it began. One room, then one closet at a time. I have one room left, and my goal is to have that done by Christmas this year, sandwiching it between working and writing and enjoying life! One room, one closet, one dresser at a time: and in a year or two, what a difference you've made!”

Don’t sweat this. I made a very nice head start in the spring between writing deadlines. We had a dumpster at the house for some work on the tractor shed, and I cleaned out a closet and a bathroom. It wasn’t much, but it was a start, and I felt tons better.

Computers, Email, Junk Mail, Tax Returns, etc.

Myra Johnson controls email “clutter” by creating filtering rules and “Smart Mailboxes” in her Apple Mail program. Myra has more than 10 different mailboxes set up, including separate ones for her personal mail, website mail, e-bills and banking messages, writing loops, Facebook, Twitter, and the email addresses she uses strictly for shopping online. This way, Myra can tell at a glance what needs to be handled and what can wait.

Great tips for managing email, Myra. Unsure what to do about some emails? Or emails that are important for the short-term, but after a week or so can be deleted? Create a folder called “Temporary” and stick them there. Eventually, you can delete those completely. Sometimes I’ll check that folder for that interesting email and realize that the topic no longer interests me. Delete!

Janet tucks important papers and business cards in plastic folders with sleeves so she can find what she wants quickly and easily.

Sort snail mail immediately. Put bills in a secure spot. A box, a file slot, a basket. Toss junk mail on the spot. Everything else…if you’re unsure, stack/store it away from your important mail, and every few days, check it again. When you realize that sale at Kohls was LAST week and you missed it (drat it!), it’s time to toss the flyer.

Store tax returns and receipts in sturdy labeled bins or boxes. Seven years is the recommended time to keep them. Every year shred the oldest year. Or shred all accompanying paperwork and just keep the actual return if you prefer. Scanning paper records is becoming more and more popular. Saves space and is easier to find.

Photos, Momentos, and Heirlooms

This is the one area that’s dicey. Janet says, “I have oodles of albums and boxes of photos. I’m sentimental so struggle with what to do with all those pictures and grandkid’s drawings.”

Janet, I think we’re all like that. See my oldest’s finger paint from 1993? It’s still on the refrigerator. Sentimental a bit? You betcha!

But Mary has a wonderful solution….
Give each precious 'keepsake' or thing that 'might be useful someday' the 'CRANAPPLE JUICE AND SHATTERED GLASS TEST.'

Simply put, you look at each item you think you should keep and ask yourself, if this thing was soaked in red juice and embedded with shattered glass...would I try to save it. Sometime’s it's yes. Great-great grandma's walnut clock. Baby pictures of your kids. That first hand-lettered card that says, ‘Happy Mother’s Day, Mommy.”

But for many things the answer is NO. If the answer is goes. It's neither precious nor valuable if you wouldn't try to save it from such a fate.

As you declutter, purchase a sturdy tub for each child and sort their stuff into those tubs. There will be time enough later to scrapbook them if that’s your bent.

Our Health

Ruthy’s advice about decluttering our homes applies to our bodies as well. Take it one day at a time. We didn’t get in this shape (or lack thereof) overnight. Crash diets don’t work in the long run any better than crashing a bulldozer into your house does. Stock up on fresh fruits and veggies, healthy proteins. Strap on your FitBit or your iPhone to track your steps, then dive into that closet for thirty minutes. Declutter-multitasking x 2 to the rescue!

The Time is NOW!

I related to Mary when she told me, “So often getting started is the stumbling block. But then I forget about my 'ten things' rule and just keep tossing, donating, tossing, donating. Occasionally keeping things.”

Also, Mary offered the following excellent advice. When you throw something away, you wait until someone asks for it. Then act confused. "Wow, I have no idea where that is." [Pam again. I could answer this truthfully because I would have forgotten after a few days anyway.]

Mary continues, “Only in extreme circumstances do you admit that you have BURNED SOMETHING TO A CRISP AND LAUGHED THE WHOLE TIME!”

And the best tip of all was Sandra Leesmith’s advice to just MOVE!

Of course it’s a little hard to move out of my mind.

So, the floor’s open, and the dumpster is ready and waiting. Tell us your best decluttering tips and strategies!

CBA Bestselling author PAM HILLMAN was born and raised on a dairy farm in Mississippi and spent her teenage years perched on the seat of a tractor raking hay. In those days, her daddy couldn't afford two cab tractors with air conditioning and a radio, so Pam drove an Allis Chalmers 110. Even when her daddy asked her if she wanted to bale hay, she told him she didn't mind raking. Raking hay doesn't take much thought so Pam spent her time working on her tan and making up stories in her head. Now, that's the kind of life every girl should dream of.


  1. I need order around me to feel free to concentrate on production. Clutter is a distraction I can't ignore.

    I think the hardest place for me to declutter is the closet. It's so easy to start, but then I think I just MIGHT wear that thing again, and it doesn't get eliminate--like it should.

    Now to declutter my mind and get back to the wip.

    Coffee's ready for morning.

  2. Hi PAM. Thanks for the thoughtful post.

    When I'm writing I keep my desk clean and organized. Order is mandatory in my workspace or I can't think.

    The rest, well...let's just say the dogs are clean and combed. The kitchen is sanitary. And after I finish a WIP, I do an all-house clean and LOVE every minute of it! Sounds strange, I know...

    And at this house, it's not decluttering.

    We call it SHEDDING!

  3. My house could use a good decluttering. We have a very small house and just not enough room for everything we own. I go through things every few months but I need to do it more often.

    Smiles & Blessings,
    Cindy W.

  4. I am blessed to be able to work in chaos. A long time ago I saw a Readers' Digest article about a mom who raised amazing kids... Academics, church and sports topped her list. Housework ranked last. I still believe that to this day. Kids first, always. No one will ever put "She kept a great house!" on my tombstone and that makes me happy!

    BUT... I love decluttering because I hate to see kids go through the agony of it when a parent passes away! So I'm doing it now. That way when I die (or move, LOL!) all that's left are clothes, Christmas, kitchen and stuff on the walls.

    We sorted boxes and boxes of pictures this spring and I gave each of my kids (and some other family members) their boxes of memories.

    TWELVE BOXES GONE! YES!!!!! This way they have them to look at and see if Susie or Billy looks like mom or dad at age 7! Perfect!

    I have over 8,000 unread e-mails in one account, and 12K in another.


    But they're nothing important, they're usually my e-mails to a loop and I skip them. I don't worry about deleting because .... shrug.... who cares?

    But I also know that I'm not the norm.

    Folks that need order around them think I'm loopy, and I can't even refute that!

  5. OUCH! You got me. I am full of clutter. I don't even know how to defend myself. However after moving three times in ten years I guess I can say my house is somewhat decluttered and downsized. Gave a lot of stuff to GoodWill.

    But my office? My computer? Egads.

    I did make an album of photos for each kid and downsized the photo pile. Does that count?

  6. I'm in the midst of major de cluttering in two places at once - both forced.

    Our mouse problem this winter put me in gear - everything in plastic storage bins or in the trash.

    Work is getting crazy decluttering because of construction. All that stuff that maybe I would use in class some day has to go. I'm taking the stance that everything I need is available online anyway.

    Email - now that's just sad. At last count I had something like 94,000 unread in one account. Note: I DO read personal and important ones. Those are all from various writer loops or ads etc.

  7. Wow, some of you are super organized!! :-) I hate clutter too. A little is okay so I don't feel fastidious, but too much drives me nuts and my favorite thing to do is throw things away.
    My kids collect a lot of junk. Little dollar items that are junk. Ha. So if it's laying around and I haven't seen them play with it in a long time, or if it's broken, it goes in the garbage.
    I don't think they ever realize how much of their stuff mommy has thrown away...*wicked cackle*

  8. I'm taking Sandra's advice. I'm moving! But I have to declutter first. It's an enormous job when you have to do most of it yourself and all the stuff isn't yours.

    You can't make any progress until you start.

  9. Helen, I wish I couldn't ignore cluster, but if I let it stay long enough, I don't even notice it anymore.

    Lyndee, can I hire you to help me shed???

  10. My family enters the house most often through the garage which leads into the kitchen. Stuff gets dropped on the kitchen counters and kitchen table. Sometimes I call the family in for a ten minute straighten up period. You'd be amazed how much that can help in the middle of a busy week.

    One other thing I try to do is look at my clothes at the end of each season. If I didn't wear it, I give it to the church clothing ministry.

    Thanks for the great tips. I definitely need them.

  11. Pam, fun to see how others get rid of clutter.

    I'm relieved I'm not alone when it comes to the number of emails that pile up on my computer. I wanna be Myra! But instead, in a moment of madness, I delete tons of them. Scary but freeing.


  12. Lyndee, I love the term shedding! Like a dog, we'll have a lighter coat to carry around. :-)


  13. Ruthy, I'm so impressed you managed to get through all those boxes of pictures! Wow, you are the Energizer Bunny!!


  14. I love a clutter free zone! I am not one to hang on to things for long periods of time.

  15. I have always felt better when my house was picked up at least, if not totally clean. I do however wish I had spent less time on this while raising my three kids though.

    I call this majoring on the minors.

    I still like a "straightened up" house, but as I've gotten older I've definitely relaxed my standards, realizing no one cares but me.

    I find I have to have a ruthless mindset to get rid of some stuff, if I am feeling all all sentimental I wait for another day because I won't get much done spending time going down memory lane.

    I have heard of a three question test that I use a lot when it comes to those hard decisions:

    Is it useful, is it beautiful, do I love it?

    If whatever I'm trying to decide about doesn't fall into one of these groups, I give myself permission to LET.IT.GO.

    Pam,,can you really track your steps on your iPhone, I had no idea, I'm so clueless about that but Im going to go figure it out.

  16. I can't work in clutter or chaos. I can do social media or answer e-mails if I have to, but not serious writing. Mental clutter is the worst for me, so I pay the bills, wash the dishes (or put them to soaking), and Put Things Away before I sit down to write. If it's really hard to concentrate I take the laptop or a hard copy/red pen and go to the library. Which is a distraction in itself unless I sit far away from what interests me. I agree with Ruthy that I don't want my kids to have to deal with my decluttering, so I'm working on that NOW. Clothes, Christmas, kitchen and walls sound good to me. I'm also working toward saving more stuff on the computer, because who is going to have room for file cabinets in a retirement home? Cleaning out my father's home was a nightmare and is still going on because my sister moved in before everything was sorted and we are still finding little odd things here and there. I could not live with that on my conscience. Of course if I'm dead I won't be "living" with it, but you get the idea.
    Kathy Bailey
    Streamlining in NH

  17. Clutter is the bane of my existence. I thought I was just messy. These are great tips. I'm going to start with the tip to attack ten items at the time.

    Happy Monday everyone.

  18. Tina, doing the photos and BOOKS for the kids is huge.

    You totally aced me! I'm proud of you!

  19. Mary Curry!!! We are e-mail besties!!!!! YES!

  20. Good morning Seekerville! :) I can't wait to see what tips you guys give me. And...Mary Curry has already asked on Facebook if I'll come clean for her. As you can see from the pictures, this is a total work in progress and might take a few more years. Sigh! lol

    I'm tempted to take Sandra's advice and just MOVE!

    Coffee's on. The Keurig is full of water and we have a variety of teas, Hazelnut Cream, Butter Toffee, Strong Colombian, and Mudslide. Speaking of the Keurig. One night we had a terrible thunderstorm and lightning struck VERY close by. Lights went out for a while and the power company had to restore the power. The next morning I stumbled to the kitchen to make my first cup of coffee and the Keurig was off. And it wouldn't power on.


    I was going to have to drive 20 miles to get a new Keurig before I'd even had coffee. :(

    Thank goodness I thought to check the breaker and the ONE breaker switch that powered all the plug-ins in the kitchen had been thrown. I was so happy. I know we're talking about decluttering, but I'm not adverse to having TWO Keurigs in the house. Just sayin'

  21. Helen, I have so many clothes in my closet that I will never wear again. Half of them aren't even in style. But I keep thinking, what if??

    Have you ever notice how stuff in a closet just EXPLODES when you start going through it?

  22. My husband and I are at the stage that basically any excuse - new job, kids, etc - and we'll be OUT of our apartment, finding someplace better to live. So I think, "When we move, do I want to drag these rose-scented garbage bags with me, knowing I will NEVER use them? No!" And away they go. And then I look at my overflowing bookshelves and think, "Books are so heavy. Do I really want to move all these? No! Mom will store these for me for the price of being allowed to read them!"

    And I go clutter her house instead. I fear for the day she catches on.

  23. Lyndee, shedding is an apt way to put it. Shedding pounds of clutter. I like it! :)

    There is a freeing feeling of seeing a room (or a whole house....except I wouldn't know about that!!!) clean and decluttered. But what's worse is when someone starts cluttering up your freshly cleaned room. Grrrrrr....

    Anybody ever come unglued after they've slaved all morning getting the kitchen absolutely spotless and then someone comes in and gets a drink and leaves their empty glass on the counter by the fridge? Ahem...

  24. Cindy, it's SO hard, isn't it? But sounds like you're on the right track and keeping it manageable. I should get a scale and for every 10 lbs of stuff I bring in, 10 lbs must go out!

    Or... for every article of clothing that comes in, one must go out.

  25. I'm one of those people who wants the main part of the room clean, but never get to the corners. I'll load the dishwasher and wipe off the counters but won't wash the last couple of dishes. I wash all the clothes but leave the sock basket out. Etc. Etc. Etc.

    When more of my kids were home, I'd take all their keepsakes and put it in their backpack at the end of the school year. The backpacks were wore-out anyway and they'd all be getting an new one in a few months anyway. Great way to keep up w/all those papers I was afraid to toss.

  26. Notice I didn't say anything about books, even though if we invited My Cowboy into this conversation, he'd tell you about the books.

  27. So many wonderful decluttering suggestions, Pam! I really need to declutter my office of books, books, and more books--a nearly impossible task because I am so attached to most of them, even when I know I'll probably never reread them.

    I am also a hoarder of family memorabilia, like every birthday, Valentine's, and anniversary card hubby and I have given each other over 43 years of marriage. I mean, REALLY????? And all the grandkids' artwork and stories. My theory is that I'll just keep everything until I die and then let THEM sort through it all!

  28. Hi Pam:

    Your thoughts today have cluttered my mind with utter clutter creativity. I must set these quotes free or listen to them all day!!!

    "There are two kinds of people: those who hide their clutter appearing neat and those who have long given up on this deception and appear as they really are."

    "All the glitters is not gold
    And all in disarray is not clutter
    For if there be method in the madness
    Then clutter is a sign of genius."

    "Clutter is manmade entropy."

    "Nature abhors a vacuum and so does clutter!"

    "It's not clutter if you can easily find what you're looking for."

    "If a cluttered desk is the sign of a cluttered mind, then an empty desk is the sign of an empty mind."

    "One man's clutter is pretty much like another man's clutter."

    "She kept a great house! She outsourced her clutter to a storage facility."

    "Clutter is the real problem's best disguise."

    "Clutter is time saved that must be repaid with compound interest."

    "Clutter is a self-depreciating way to brag about being overworked."


    P.S. I didn't notice a prize today. Is that to cut down on clutter? Clutter never met an eBook it liked. : )

  29. I'm glad its not just me. My best friend is super organized, me...not so much! I can work in clutter, which is not necessarily a good thing.

    I heard a great idea once, but haven't put it into play yet. For everything that comes into the house, something goes. Get a new shirt? Great! Toss or give away the worst one you have. Maybe if did that I can actually find anything in my closet. Of course, books don't count, do they?

    One thing I love is using my phone for pictures and videos. I can go to a kiosk and get everything I want stored on a disk, then print will or share online. I literally have a huge trunk in my house filled with photos that I have never bothered to deal with.

    Mary and Ruthy...I no longer feel bad for having 4,000 emails I one account. I hand over my email clutter crown to you two.

  30. Connie Queen... you mean we're supposed to fold the socks too! I didn't know!

  31. Ruthy, it takes all kinds, doesn't it? I'm like you in that I can work around clutter and a bit of a mess. Let's see, what are my reasons for decluttering....

    1) Business stuff... I need to be able to find important papers
    2) I need to be able to straighten the den quickly in order to impress my youngest son's girlfriend.
    3) Christmas: I refuse to decorate over clutter. So, the den has to be decluttered (sorta-kinda) before I will decorate.
    4) The kitchen. I try to keep it in decent order.
    5) Hall bath. Again, decent order for company and the new girlfriend.

    All other areas are off-limits. Enter at your own risk.

    But even though clutter doesn't cripple my creativity, I like shoveling it out, and if I get to remodel in the next few years (Pray hard, Saints!) then I'll be ahead of the game if I'd already shedded (like this word, Lyndee!) some stuff.

  32. Tina, that counts BIG TIME. 4-5 years ago when I was working outside the home full-time, was working part-time for ACFW, writing, my house was still a revolving door with me, The Cowboy, and my two son's in and out all the time, my niece came once a week to "surface" clean. That's when the den and dining room was in absolute CHAOS. Right before Christmas, she decluttered my den. She bought a HUGE plastic bin and put all the photos in it and we stored it in the utility room.

    One day my college kid was here, and he and I spent about two hours looking through the bin. It was a lot of fun. We pulled out several pictures to put in photo albums. That parts still not done, but hopefully soon. One bite at a time.

    All our old photos are paper, and I'm not sure I could part with them even if I scanned them, but the last 10 years has been digital, so we have very few actual PRINTED photos now. But I have multiple backups and probably have a million digital photos. And I'm not even kidding.

    And moving 3 times is huge.... Maybe we need to just rent a place for a month or so, MOVE, then move back. lol

  33. I bought a condo in January, closed on it in March and moved three weeks later. My church got about nine boxes of "stuff" for the May yard sale. I still have some things to go through, but I have revisions due a week from tomorrow, so it'll have to wait.

    My sister and her friends did some sort of minimalist challenge back in March. They each got rid of one thing on March 1, two things on March 2, three things on March 3, et cetera. Sis said by the 20th of the month she was beginning to worry, and then she opened her linen closet. BINGO! She said she had sheets, towels and washcloths dating from when they got married (which was 1976). She said she had no trouble completing the rest of the challenge and actually wants to do it again another month.

  34. Oh, Mary C., I totally understand the mouse problem! Ugh. Storage bins are a must. I agree with you there.

    Mary, I was with you on receiving WAY too much email. One day after getting the 10th email from some retailer, I was fed up. I took the time to either unsubscribe from some of them, or log in to my accounts and change the email addresses.

    Now I only receive email in my inbox that is my personal and writing business email. I rarely use that primary email for retail orders or when contacting someone that might use it or sell it for spam. I have a gmail account that I check online and all the "advertising" emails go there. I've received SIX emails in that account from a sporting goods store in the last 3 days. Um, no. They are THIS close to being banned.

    Actually, I just unsubscribed.

    I feel so empowered. That's over 700 emails a year that I no longer have to deal with. Yay!

  35. Pam I LOVE this post today. I am so in the de-cluttering mood.

    Our house was broken into last spring and some valuable family heirlooms were stolen. Well to be honest, I wasn't using the silver because you have to polish it. But because we are gone a lot, I decided to get rid of all my stuff. Why have all this stuff just sitting around when people could be using it?

    So I emailed all the family and asked what they wanted. My grand niece is earning money for a school trip to Washington DC and is having garage sales. PERFECT. Its easier to get rid of stuff when there is purpose. smile

    And to tell you how bad it was-- I found macrame twine and beads in the back of one closet. LOL. You can imagine how long that has been there.

  36. RUTHY you are so wise to get the photos sorted and passed around. With the folks, that was the most difficult thing to get rid of.

    And what a blessing for your children to de-clutter. If any of you have had to clean out a deceased person's house, you will appreciate doing so with a person who has de-cluttered.

    If they haven't it can be a nightmare. I finally learned to just call an estate planner. They can get rid of everything in less than a week. YAY!!!! They know who wants all that stuff.

  37. MYRA, I tried the mailboxes on my mac. But I had to stop using them because I would forget to check all the mailboxes. sigh.

    But like so many of you, my inbox is a FRIGHT.

    I have learned to color the important emails that need immediate attention. That helps.

  38. Jessica, my husband and the boys took care of the toy problem one Christmas while I was at work. They had TONS of GI Joe stuff. Forts and trucks, and Humvees, and men, and clothes, and guns. They were getting a bit old for the stuff, so they bagged it all up and sent it home with a younger cousin. I kept thinking that we should have sold it all on eBay, but they've assured me for all these years that none of it was worth anything.

  39. Cara, decluttering in order to move sounds so daunting. But you can do this. One day at a time! :)

  40. PAM the reason I said MOVE is because when I was growing up, we had to move every year because of Dad's work.

    Well trust me. You don't collect clutter when you move.

    One piece of advice, because when you move, everything is a disorganized mess. Talk about clutter. So Mom always insisted we get one room nice and orderly. The rest could stay messy as we worked on packing or unpacking. But we always had a clean room as a retreat.

    I kind of use that policy now. I keep one part of the house nice and neat. Basically the living room and kitchen. But don't even go into my office or bedroom. LOL

    Yep, VINCE, I'm one of those who show nice, but the reality is--I am a cluttered mess. But there is a reason. I can go in the living room and relax. When I am in the office, it is work, work, work.

  41. I read somewhere that creative people have messy desks.

    That people who are left brain and not particularly creative have very neat desks.

    Well, I have treasured that article.

    I have decided that a messy desk helps my creativity.

    Now that is justification. LOL

  42. Sandra, we did it for just that reason, I saw too many people losing parents and having to go through a nightmare job of cleaning, sorting... I just decided that wouldn't be fair to my kids. A house and furniture, etc. is enough. I'm sure there's some healing that goes along with sorting... but I think it's okay to do as much as I can ahead of time!

  43. LYNDEE I love the analogy of shedding.

  44. RUTHY, I never thought of it as healing. Yikes. I think the best healing for me anyway, was when it was finally all gone. That way I can have the memories without the pain. Just me I guess.

    But you have a point. It could be healing for some.

    But I still think they will thank you for thinking ahead.

  45. PAM that is great advice. One day at a time.

    Some of the suggestions to just do one room, or one closet at a time is great advice.

    I found having someone come to help me kept me on track. Otherwise, as I was going through stuff, I would get sidetracked whenever I found something. Dangerous. LOL

    When my nieces came, I had to stay on track because they were taking the stuff, so I wanted to be sure to keep packing.

  46. You know PAM, I am re-thinking the mailbox thing. I like your idea of using a different mailbox for ads, etc. I do that with my phone. Should do it with email too.

    Would help out a lot. When you add them up like you just did. Whew!! 700 a year. And that is just one vender. YIKES.

  47. My cluttered house only bothers me when I'm on a writing deadline. I can ignore it, for the most part, all the rest of the time, but let me have a deadline I need to meet and the mess drives me crazy! Then, I spend hours decluttering instead of writing.

    When my kids were little, if someone stopped to visit, I'd meet them on the porch and invite them to sit down out there. I was too embarrassed to let them in my cluttered house. Although, now I realize my house isn't any worse than 90% of Americans, and so in recent years I've started inviting people in with open arms. It also doesn't hurt that we are now empty nesters, and it's easier to keep the house semi-straightened.

    Email is one area where I am somewhat organized. I can't stand to see unread emails sitting in my inbox, so if I"m not interested in an email, I delete it. For my writing/author email, I take it a step further. I've created folders for different loop emails. That way I can put the email in the folder, and if I need to find something in it later, it won't take as much digging to find it.

    My decluttering tip for the closet, is to hang all your clothes with the hanger coming across the bar from the backside. Then after you wear an item, rehang it the correct way. At the end of a set time period (say 6 months), so and see which clothes never got worn. Those are the ones you can send off to Goodwill.

    Dana, we've implemented the get rid of one item when you get a new item rule, but only when it comes to Mountain Man's stuff. ;) We had to do it though, the man has something like four bicycles (1 road bike, 1 mountain bike, and 2 recumbents) and five or six kayaks. We were running out of room to store his toys, so the rule had to be implemented. Although, he still slips things past me every once in a while.

  48. Oh no, DANA, sorry for not making that clear. LOL. I never fold socks. Ever since the kids were little we've had a sock basket. All socks get piled in there so we don't have to keep up w/mates or figure out who they belong to. Most don't even have mates but we keep them forever just in case the other is found.

    The sock basket belongs tucked away in the hallway by the laundry room. Not the living room.

  49. I just told my kids that we are each going to go through our own things and find 10 things we could get rid of. My in-laws want stuff for a garage sale so the timing is good.

    CONNIE...I have a sock basket too. Mostly because I hate sorting socks. Too time consuming. The only one I sort for is my husband, because he wears special socks. Otherwise, we all search through the basket on a needs basis.

  50. Did y'all notice she didn't include any quotes from me???? That's because I STILL NEED TO DECLUTTER! Oh, my, Pam. You've convicted this pack rat!

    I'm loving Mary's cranapple juice and imbedded glass method!

  51. The problem with ignoring clutter is that once it gets to monumental proportions, and you know it's going to take HOURS to sort through it, then it's easier just to ignore it than to start.

    My natural tendency is all or nothing when I start. So I have to ignore that and just do a little at the time.

  52. You, too, Jackie? Yes, My Cowboy unloads his pockets on the kitchen counter. I've tried to break him from it for 30 years. No go. I should upload a picture of the stuff I removed off the counter the other day: Taggers, bankers (if you don't know what this is, don't ask), nails, syringes, vice grips. Yes. All on the kitchen counter.

    And, btw, this is not Cowboy bashing. If he was here, I'm sure he could find LOTS of things to share about MY clutter. Wait, I think I'm sharing plenty of that all by myself. Please, no more!!!

  53. Janet, I have those moments of madness. When you've had it up to HERE, you just go a little crazy, huh? :)

  54. Caryl, we all long to be you!

    My worst "clutter" is books. I have thousands.

  55. I often wish I could work amidst clutter—I've tried—and can't.

    I don't worry about being a neat-nick anymore. A plus is, you can keep more stuff if it's organized. :-)

  56. LOL, PAMMY ... am I familiar with THIS subject!! :)

    You said, "It seems to me that our minds get cluttered—fragmented—when our STUFF is cluttered. We become sluggish. We can’t find anything, and we become frustrated. But once we declutter our surroundings, we become more efficient, and our stress level goes down. So, the less clutter in our material world, the less clutter in our brains."

    I could not agree more with your statement above -- I've lived it over the last year that I've been de-cluttering, not only my house, but my writing life as well. :)

    I'm laughing at Sandra's tip"to just MOVE!" AMEN TO THAT!! Last year when we tried to sell our house, my friend who's a stager told me to get rid of 50% out of every drawer and closet and on the walls (and furniture), so we did. I never felt cleaner or calmer in my life, so that was a real plus in trying to get ready to move.

    Welllllll ... this year we actually DID move, and I have the best tip of all for decluttering. Ready???

    Go from a big house into a tiny town home with no garage and almost no storage. There! You have no choice but to throw/give/donate almost everything you have. At first I was worried, but then I realized this was God's way of getting this near-hoarder to slim down to a manageable size, and IT WORKS!! :)


  57. Ooooh, Tracey, I could have created a Frozen-declutter meme of Let it go! Or better yet, somebody needs to record a declutter version of it to go along with the other million versions.

    And... I don't think my kids could ever say that I put housecleaning before them. So, I'm good there!

    Kicking and screaming, I was forced to PAY FOR a new iphone at the first of the year. I saw an app on there that said HEALTH and it tracks my steps. I love it. I just checked the prices of pedometers so I'm a little less irked about the price I had to pay for my phone. And the cool thing is that since I pretty much have my phone with me at all times, it's not like I have to wear a pedometer AND my phone. It's fairly accurate.

  58. We have a new word thanks to Kathy B.


    Yep, this works. I am streamlining, slowly but surely.

    Hopefully I've got a few more years to get organized before I head to the nursing home. Whew!

  59. Ten items, one day at a time, Elaine.

    You know, something just occurred to me... I think I need to write it in my will that NO immediate family is to sort through my stuff after I'm gone. How embarrassing. I'll have a decluttering service on retainer. But wait. How embarrassing.

    Oh goodness, excuse me while I go start shedding/streamlining/decluttering/shoveling.

  60. Rachel, too funny. Your poor mom.

    My mother called me one day and wanted me to come over and go through her house to find one or two things I wanted as keepsakes. But I'm on to her! She's just decluttering and is attempting to clutter MY house instead. :)

  61. RACHEL SAID: "And then I look at my overflowing bookshelves and think, "Books are so heavy. Do I really want to move all these? No! Mom will store these for me for the price of being allowed to read them!"

    PAM SAID: "My worst "clutter" is books. I have thousands."

    Oh, girls, NOTHING is harder than giving away books, in my opinion. Rachel, you're blessed your mom will take them, and Pam, I'm with you there. Between endorsement books, Seeker books, Revell Book Perk Program (you get to choose $150 of free books from their catalog every time one of your books come out), Kindle freebies/sales, and my own books, I had two floor-to-ceiling bookcases that covered entire walls filled with books, and that was after I gave away FIVE BOXES last year!!

    This year I gave away another five boxes, but to dear friends who love to read and a delightful older woman (my SIL's grandma), but I still packed up about four boxes to move with us. Only problem is, I packed 'em to the tops of the boxes, and Keith about divorced me. :|


  62. Can I just say it? Purging makes me HAP-PY!!! I love to declutter. The only thing is, I haven't had much time for it. When I have extra time (especially with kids home for summer), I work on my story. I guess I need to figure out how to purge when I can't write, right? :)

    When I'm in a good groove, I like to devote 15 minutes a day to working through one area of clutter at a time. Going through each bedroom, going through closets and piles out in the open. Once the habit is established, I do much better. It's getting those habits established that is the trick.

    I LOVED your tips!!

  63. I get sentimentally attached to things. My sister recently moved and found this strategy to be helpful- you take the item, thanks it for its memories, then put it in the donate/trash/yard sale bag.

    If it's something I want to remember even though I don't own it anymore, I take a picture.

  64. When more of my kids were home, I'd take all their keepsakes and put it in their backpack at the end of the school year. The backpacks were wore-out anyway and they'd all be getting an new one in a few months anyway. Great way to keep up w/all those papers I was afraid to toss.

    Connie, this is BRILLIANT! Wish I'd thought of it when my kids were in school. Only keep the awards, certificates and cutest stuff of each year. My oldest has two ring binders, one was a "My Dream House" from the 11th grade. The other is a scrapbook "My Senior Year". That was pretty much the project for the entire school year and there's some cool stuff in there. Pictures of family, friends, interview with his great-grandmother. Directions (funny) to his house. A letter from me to him; one from him to his daddy about moving to the the end of the letter he'd decided moving to the city wasn't such a good idea.

    The teacher had retired by the time my youngest became a senior, but I SO with he had one of these. It's priceless!

  65. I just thought of another TEST....

    If somebody took that senior book of my kids and weighed it or measured it and then said... now go find something of equal size or weight to discard or this GOES OUT THE DOOR, you'd better believe I'd be finding something!

  66. Great tips, Pam.

    Paper is my downfall. I don't handle it well and the piles stack up with time.

    My office needs to have a face!

    My family just left. We had such a wonderful long weekend. Little ones had a did their grandparents! :)

    Now back to work.

  67. Great tips, Pam.

    Paper is my downfall. I don't handle it well and the piles stack up with time.

    My office needs to have a face!

    My family just left. We had such a wonderful long weekend. Little ones had a did their grandparents! :)

    Now back to work.

  68. "One man's clutter is pretty much like another man's clutter."

    ROFLOL, love it!

    And, yes, Vince, I meant to add a giveaway and I forgot. Chalk it up to a VERY cluttered mind. Sigh.

  69. Dana, we sound so much alike. I've never adopted the one comes in/one goes out rule either. I think I'm too SCARED to!

  70. Marilyn, on the minimalist challenge... that definitely sounds challenging. Now if they had someone designated to come by every day and take the stuff off my hands, I'd be all for it! :)

  71. Macrame - Yes, Sandra, since the 70s. I wonder if I could still do macrame?

  72. Sandra, you are BRILLIANT! I know an estate planner. I wonder how much she'd charge to just come and help me declutter. Wow. That is definitely something to consider.

    Uh, the actual deceased thing and the actual "estate sale" is not part of the equation. Just making sure that's PERFECTLY CLEAR to everyone.

  73. Ooooh, COLOR important emails on a Mac? Is this a feature of Mac Mail, Sandra? Must look into this! Cool!

  74. Sandra and Vince touched on something that resonates with me. To me a cluttered work room, artists studio, or writer's office with lots of books is COZY. Not so cluttered that you can't find what you're looking for, but just the right mix of retreat, books, comfy space, etc. A place you can be as cluttered or neat as you like.

    But I feel differently about the den. Clutter in the den isn't relaxing, it's distracting.

    Or maybe I'm just weird.

  75. Having someone help can be good or bad. My son and his wife came to help me declutter the den and dining room right before Christmas a couple of years ago. While my DIL and I worked like little eager beavers, I put my son to the task of sorting that HUGE bin of pictures, magazines and mementos into KEEP or THROW AWAY.

    He spent most of the day lost somewhere down memory lane and trying to drag us with him.

  76. And, remember, Sandra, those emails NEVER come to my inbox. I check them online at gmail every couple of days. It has saved my sanity.

    Another email management tip... if you have personal and business profiles online and are constantly having to log in and out to take care of business, then use different browsers to save those usernames and passwords. I have Safari and Firefox open all the time. One is logged in for my writing/personal business. The other as ACFW business. And never shall the twain meet.

  77. SANDRA, with Smart Mailboxes in Apple Mail, there's never a worry about missing a message because if I haven't opened them yet, they show up as unread in my Smart Mailbox list.

    Once I read a message, I can use a flag to mark it for action later. Of course, that means I have to check my "Flagged" file regularly to see what I forgot to handle! I'd like to find a way to tag flagged messages with a due date reminder. Must experiment some more. :-/

  78. Rhonda, great tips!

    Here's another. When unexpected company arrives, meet them at the door with a broom. "Oh, come on in. You caught me just as I was cleaning." Make sure to muss your hair before you open the door.

  79. Raising my hand over the sock basket. It's in our walk-in closet.

    Matching socks? Forget it.

    My Cowboy is just happy to have clean ones.

  80. The saying I always remember about moving is: Three Moves Equals a Fire.

    Well, I've moved ONCE in my adult life and man oh man did I get rid of stuff. You've GOT to pick it up anyway right? So does it move with you or GO AWAY?

    But moving is a hard job and not all that convenient if you're staying in the same area. LOL

    But moving, oh yes, it definitely declutters.

  81. Dana, please don't tell your kids who gave you this idea! Yikes!

    And let us know how it works out for you. Mine were never any good at decluttering, even when I tried to make it a game. I think they saw right through me.

  82. Missy, it's entirely possible you sent me some tips and they're lost in my overflowing inbox. Honestly, I could tell this was going to be a hot topic when the word count from the Seekers who sent me tips was close to THREE THOUSAND WORDS.

    Talk about cluttered! Sheesh!

  83. Rachel that is just so brilliant, also very sneaky. LOL

  84. Just the motivation I need this morning, Seekerville. Loved the post and savoring the comments! We moved in November and did get rid of some stuff but not nearly enough. We love to travel, and I've often dreamed of everything we own fitting in a suitcase. With six children, that's a wee bit impossible! :-) But I'm purging bit by bit because I increasingly can't stand for this new house to be cluttered.

  85. Pam, you're making my head hurt. I hate working in clutter, but it's still there. I resolve to take a little bite out of it every day, but the deadline is looming!

    But I'm saving this post to read again after I meet my deadline and survive VBS.

    Thanks for the encouragement to get going on this!

  86. Great tips, Pam. I agree with Sandra.....moving every four or five years has worked for me. I do need to establish automatic email folders. Thanks for your ideas!

  87. Wow, this is a topic that hits home for me as I am always trying to declutter in all aspects of my life. It is a timely topic as I have an ambitious plan this summer to clean out every drawer, cupboard, and closet in my house. So far I have cleaned out the drawers in the kitchen desk, but have a long way to go. I also have a long way to go on organizing the office with my writing materials. I also have photos from at least 20 years that need to be put in albums or otherwise organized. Then there are my son's keepsakes that were only sort of organized for his graduation two years ago that I still want to finally organize. But I had to laugh at Sandra's comment to move. That didn't help us. We have lived in 6 different homes since my husband and I were married and have moved the same boxes of junk each time. By the way, he has his own boxes he needs to get through. I think we are a hopeless mess! :)

    So I definitely agree that clutter makes it harder for me to work and I am determined to get a handle on it. I also have a hard time sitting down to write when I think of all the mess around me that I should do something with. I like Mary's rule of 10. I do that with 5 things at a time sometimes.

    Thanks for all the great suggestions, Pam.

  88. I will also add my thoughts on books. I have an entire wall filled with bookshelves and they are all full, but I have gotten rid of close to that many books over the years. I put them on garage sales, give them to the library sale, or donate the Christian fiction books to my church library. At least at my church I can still look at them again if I want! It is hard to give away books, but I could never keep them all.

  89. I need to go through my books and thin them out. I can't believe how they multiply. Like very HEAVY (and fun) rabbits. :)
    But I reread favorite books so I can't be too slapdash about it!!!!!!!!!!!

  90. Oh Pam, I didn't mean I ever put my housework ahead of my kids. They were involved in sports, cheerleading, gymnastics, etc. and we were very involved hands-on parents. I guess what I was trying to say was internally I put a lot of pressure on myself to "do it all". Now that I'm older and hopefully smarter I realize it wasn't as important as I thought and I am a much more relaxed mom and grandma because of it. The wisdom of years :)

  91. Had to take a break for lunch! :) Baked potatoes with all the trimmings, salads and for dessert, we'll have fresh blueberry crisp or fresh blueberries with whipped cream for our low-carb/gluten free friends. Yay!

    Julie, I thought of you when I was working on this, and knew you'd have some great tips for downsizing. It is not for the faint of heart, that's for sure!

  92. Do books really count as clutter? :( then wherever I live will always be a bit cluttered, because I love my books too much lol. I did semi-clean out my Kindle library last year, so that's progress, right?

    Last summer, I was cleaning out my walk-in closet at home and recycled an actual pickup-truck truckload of old papers and middle/high-school stacks of paper. I'm the youngest kid in my family, so there was no more need to "oh, keep it in case your little sister needs it when she has that class" anymore. My floor groaned in relief when the last (big U-HAUL packing) box left my room! (Then I moved on to old clothes and such, and that was another half a truckload!)

    Pam, thanks for all the decluttering tips!

  93. Jeanne, time to devote to it is a problem for me as well. And when you have kids at home and work outside the home, it just seems like a losing battle. I put it off for years because there was just no time. There's still not much time, but since I work from home, I do have those 15 minute breaks that helps.

    When I was gone 10 hours a day, plus shuffling kids to Boy Scouts, and church, and homework/studying/school projects, we were lucky to get a decent meal and have clean clothes every day. :)

  94. Heidi, I've thought about creating a blog to honor old hardback books this way. Nobody wants them, but I just can't bring myself to throw them in the trash. Must work on this...

  95. These are all terrific tips, Pam! I'm a decluttering queen. When I get started, I can't stop. I love to toss things into the garbage and create another bag for donations. It feels wonderful.
    I do need to work on my tendency to hoard e-mails that pertain to writing tips. Myra's advice is perfect for me.

  96. Meghan, I'm trying to wrap my head around moving with six kids. God bless you, friend!

    Jan, VBS wears me out to where I get nothing done that entire week. Makes me appreciate teachers more than ever!

  97. Sherida and Sandy, more of those amazing people who have moved every 5-6 years. I just can't imagine. Wow. I think I'll stick with my plan of hiring an estate planner. Much cheaper.

    Sandy, I thought of creating a diagram and numbering every room, every closet. Take them one room at a time. And when I'm done (oh, in 10 years or so), starting over. Also, since my son is at college, we are starting to use his room as an overflow room until things can be picked up. I have 2 computers in there that my brother wants. But he hasn't gotten them yet. We've moved stuff out of the house to the storage shed, but then it just stays there. I've learned that it's better to keep it MOOOOVING and not let it stop at the garage, storage shed, car, etc. If it stops, it stays another 20 years!

  98. Sarah, you are on the right track, girl. Keep it up! :)

    Jill, you too! Decluttering is a lot like writing. I don't like DOING it, but I like having done it.

  99. VINCE! Let me add one more 'clutter quote'.

    One man's trash is all too often just trash.

  100. My desk is a nightmare so I'm going to cling to that creative people have messy desks that Sandra mentioned. YAY!
    You know what's weird is, when I finally break down and clear my desk, it's just throw away, over and over. Until I usually end up throwing it all away.


  101. I agree, Mary! I've got copies of stuff I wrote 40 years ago stuffed in a file cabinet!! It's not even good!!!

  102. Hi Mary:


    That's because the perceived need to keep something (its gravitas) diminishes with a force that is inversely proportional to the square of the amount of time between the saving of the item and the current time.

    For example, how long do you need to keep a receipt for a consumable item you are going to eat today or an invitation to an event that is thirty days away? Do the math.

    It's just as simple as the law of gravity. : )

  103. To keep my writing projects organized, I have a loose leaf notebook for each one with all notes or ideas about it kept inside along with a hard copy of what is typed in the computer. I can take it with me anywhere and find what notes I need.

    I must admit I have always had trouble throwing anything away

  104. I love this post! Clutter makes me scatter-brained.

    After a quick trip to Ohio to the Creation Museum last week, I finally unpacked and de-cluttered my room of for about 20 mins this morn. Stacks of stray winter clothes and to-mend projects found temporary homes OFF my cedar chest. So, thank goodness, I can breathe again.

    The room by room, closet, dresser, etc. plan is genius!

    Email tip:
    I heard somebody say its good to make four folders. REPLY, READ, ACT, & SORT. I don't use the "sort" one much anymore, since I have folders ready to drag things into, so instead of dragging into "to sort," I just sort it. :)

    I've yet to complete my "spring de-cluttering," but will keep chipping away at it. Thanks for these great tactics!

  105. Purging is so liberating...thanks for all the great tips Pam. I blame my hoarding issues on my parents who lived through the depression. You don't throw it might need it! Those folks were some of the original pioneers of the reuse, recycle, repurpose movement!!
    My worst nightmare, when de-cluttering, is believing I am throwing away a creative possibility! LOL

    I find tackling one room or one closet, or one filing cabinet at a time is useful. However, life usually gets in my way. When I'm in the middle of tidying, some critical problem arises needing immediate attention, and I leave the project unfinished...uggg....I finally finished and hauled away several LARGE heavy duty garbage bags...whew...feeling unshackled!

    Have a beautiful Monday everyone!

  106. This comment has been removed by the author.

  107. Pam said:

    " honor old hardback books. Nobody wants them..." WHAT?!?! Lovely books without a place to go? If they're old classic novels or Nancy Drews or Christian fiction or mysteries, they can move in with me ;)

    An adopted-for-a-day grandparent (such a lovely little lady!) gave me an old, well-worn Nancy Drew mystery when I was in grade school, and I still treasure it and reread it when I can. It had been passed through a couple generations, and we bonded over ND when we first met. It's been a charming reminder and favorite memory ever since. :)

  108. Barbara, I have stuff like that too. Years and years of contest entries. Finally, a few years ago I did start discarding some of it. I kept contest scores, but threw away the manuscript pages unless it was something extra special from an editor or a famous author.

  109. Wilani, I've just never managed to create a binder for my writing projects. Computer files all the way. I go to extremes not to have print anything out! lol

  110. Natalie, it's too hot to do much decluttering right now... if you've got to lug it outside. But I'll have to get back on it later. I've been doing a lot of responding and filing business emails today. I paid some bills, filed the emails. Responded to a request for an ARC from newspaper.

    I love email. It's so much easier and faster than snail mail, phones, and faxes. Within a few minutes, the reviewer requested an ARC through the Event Coordinator, who sent it to me, who sent it to PR, who then sent the reviewer a link to get the digital ARC. Now, isn't that so nice and tidy. Love it, love it, love it!

  111. I donate books to
    1) Church, I just sent bags of books down in the center of the table and let them grab.
    2) Two nearby libraries. I tell them to put them on the shelf or in the For Sale rack. Both libraries have both.
    3) 2nd hand store sometimes, but mostly 1 and 2 take care of it.

  112. Kathryn, I've been in the middle of projects like that too many times to count.

    And, I must have a story for every instance, but your comment about throwing something away reminded me of the time my mother and I were cleaning out my grandmother's house after she passed away. Mamaw was of that generation of keeping everything and we found brown paper grocery bags stuffed full with brown paper bags. Nothing but bags. They were everywhere. Then there were also plastic bags stuffed full of plastic bags. It wasn't that she was a hoarder, but that she might need those bags.

    So, we had everything packed up, given to family, the house was empty and the movers were coming in the next few days. I made one final pass through the house and ended up in the very back teeny-tiny little bedroom (really only big enough for a twin bed (actually, they had a 3/4 bed in there if I'm not mistaken). Behind the door on a nail was a brown paper bag tied with string.

    I took it down, opened it and saw BROWN PAPER bags. But intend of just tossing it, I started pulling out all those bags. And before I was done, I'd also unwrapped Mamaw's black velvet pillbox hat from the 1940s. So, you never know what you might find among all those brown paper bags. :)

  113. Barbara Scott LOL It's not even good.

    Now, Barbara, I'm sure it's LOVELY.

  114. Vince you're right about things losing value as time passes. I know that.
    It's possible I'm also a procrastinating sloth.

  115. Sarah, it's a smorgasbord of books. Some 1940s Westerns, ex-library. Lots of this, that and the other. And what a wonderful memory of the adopt-a-grandmother program! So sweet! :)

  116. Church library. Yep, neighbors down the road had an estate sale a couple years back. I bought about 500 Christian fiction and nonfiction for $50 and we never brought them home. My Cowboy was a good sport and helped me haul the entire truck load to our church. My son built some shelves in one of the Sunday School rooms and we still haven't gotten everything shelved.

    But we have books there. My mother-in-law came out with a book the other night. But we still forget about them so much of the time. I had planned to have a book-shelving party with the teen girls and maybe order pizza but they've all been so busy and scattered that there's been no time.

    As soon as we get those shelved, I can take some of my books here and add them to the church library. :)

    It's on my bucket list!

  117. Vince,

    I'm using this one on my dh, who is entirely too neat in his office: If a cluttered desk is the sign of a cluttered mind, then an empty desk is the sign of an empty mind." I'll let you know how it goes.

    "She kept a great house! She outsourced her clutter to a storage facility."

    Those storage units are springing up like mushrooms on a hot day. Kind of scary. Though if we downsized, I'm not sure what I'd do with my stuff. Like Scarlet, I'll think about that tomorrow.


  118. Super post, Pam -- especially this: "So, the less clutter in our material world, the less clutter in our brains." I don't like clutter if for no other reason than I don't have the time to waste looking for things. I am always in awe when I'm in someone's cluttered situation and they can find exactly what they need.

    Several years ago during the course of setting up an email program on my computer (so I wouldn't need to sign on to webmail) I deleted everything in the email account. Nothing left. Zip, zero, nada. After I convinced myself it was not the end of the world, I realized all I could do was email folks and tell them to resend anything I needed to answer, etc. The response was maybe a dozen emails. It was a frightening way to clean up email, but it was also a freeing experience.

    One lesson learned: if it's an email that has info I'll want later, save it as a document and put it in a file on my computer. One thing for which I'm thankful: I had a copy of my email address book on my computer.

    Now to read comments and pick up even more de-clutter tips :-)

    Nancy C

  119. Hi Pam:

    Some more cluttered thoughts before I go home.

    Clutterers Anonymous has it down to only a 3-step program.

    Clutter is the fingerprint of the unhousebroken.

    Clutter is a silent cry for help.

    Clutter is project management pantsered.

    Clutter is the revenge of the neglected.

    Clutter's big advantage is its amazing scalability.

    Clutter is a well layered story without a plot.

    Clutter, like a great copywriter, can fill any space allotted to it.

    Clutter becomes self-reproducing when it forces us to re-purchase what we have but can't find.

    Clutter, much like unwelcome relatives, can make itself at home anywhere.


  120. Rhonda, Your hubby with all the toys sounds like mine. Are they twins I wonder? LOL

    My hubby has more toys than we have storage also.

  121. Jeanne T, You are my heroine. You really love to de-clutter? Want to come visit?

  122. PAM, An estate planner is perfect because they know who wants your stuff. And best of all they aren't attached to it so they won't go down memory lane like your son. (I'm so laughing) Having the nieces is what kept ME from memory lane.

    I LOVE the different browser for different items. Great idea. I think I'll try that one now.

  123. Woah, Pam! Someone requested an ARC of your book through the newspaper? How cool is that?!! I didn't even know that was a thing.

    Oh, man. What would we do without email? I was reading one of those banking pamphlets today and at the end it said, "If you think your account has been compromised, call or write to the number and address in this pamphlet." I was thinking, Seriously? Who's going to spend time writing and mailing a letter if their account is compromised? LOL. We've come a long way with technology. Sometimes scarily so! :) But without technology we wouldn't have blogs and without blogs we wouldn't have Seekerville, so I'm HUGELY grateful for technology. :)

  124. Wow! You have no idea how much I needed to read this today. My husband swear we have to move every 5 years just to force me to get rid of the junk I don't need. Yes. I'm a hoarder. And a clutterer. I'm the complete opposite of OCD. I get on a tear about once a year and go through the house, determined to get more organized and less cluttered. Problem is, I make a bigger mess going through things. I think I will give this 10 things a day a try. :)

  125. Okay MYRA. I will try the mailboxes again. Maybe this time it will work because I'm sooooo tired of the ads, but occasionally I need the coupons and bargains so don't like to unsubscribe. sigh

  126. Great Lunch break PAMMERS, Yum. Just what I needed. Now back to de-cluttering.

  127. Okay VINCE. You got me on two of those "thoughts" Toooooooooo funny. I'm so laughing.

    Clutterers anonymous - 3 steps.

    Clutter becomes self-reproducing when it forces us to re-purchase what we have but can't find. (Unfortunately this one is becoming more and more of a reality. Ha ha ha ha) Wait!! Why am I laughing? I should be crying.

  128. Reporting back in to say I did SO much decluttering at school today that I filled about ten garbage bags. Still have more to do tomorrow.
    Home starts next week.

    I like the idea of separate email accounts, but is this where I confess I also have an old aol account that has an additional 9,000. I was better when they capped it at 1k because then I'd go in and sort.

    My earthlink account has limited storage so that one I do clear out regularly.

    I'm a mess.

  129. Ten email addresses? Myra, how do you have ten email addresses? I have four. One for general items. One to give out s I can control spam. One specifically for writing. And then one which I created if a publisher ever tells me that I need a name change.

  130. VINCE!!!!


    Vince wrote: Clutter's big advantage is its amazing scalability.

    I used to be able to hide all kinds of things because with 8 of us in the house, there were things stored everywhere! And my room became the catch-all for years... and then as the kids graduated from college and got there own places, things began to breathe again, but you're right. We could have climbed mountains!

    The pantser thing, I'm not buying that one, though, at least not from personal experience.

    It was desperation, pure and simple!

  131. Mary Curry, if the worst thing we ever do is have excessive e-mail accounts, I think we're okay, darling!!!!

    No one has died.

    That's my measure of standard.

    As long as no one dies, we're okay!

  132. .
    Hi Ruth:

    My clutter quotes are not meant to be true or false: they are meant to be verbal inkblots.

  133. I have two email addresses and they're both cluttered! Four would make me foam at the mouth. Know you're all wanting to see that!


  134. Did anyone read the email link in the WE ED. That is what I need to do. Get rid of the thousands of email I do not need.

  135. Pam, NO! I didn't send you any tips. I told you I couldn't offer any because I'm one of the worst offenders. hahaha

    I'm so relieved to read comments from those who are as bad as I am. :)

  136. Tina, I need to go read that one. I have 83k messages in my inbox. Ridiculous.

  137. Today's post is in outraging to me because for the last few weeks I have been de cluttering. Mom & I live together, but didn't always. So we basically have two households under one roof. I realize that we will always be one house, and so much of what she has, will be mine one day. So every trip to our town sixty miles away, I take some boxes to drop off at Goodwill. Mom has no trouble cleaning up my stuff, while hers stays...because she'll use it again soon. Thanks, Pam

  138. Janet, Mary will back you up when you share that line with your hubby! I, for one, will be hiding in one of my overstuffed closets! ;)

  139. Nancy, that is my fear: losing all my information stored in on hard drives and cyberspace. I used to print a lot of things that I no longer do. Instead, I back up in multiple places and on multiple sources. I have a 1T external hard drive. I need another hard drive that I can back up and take off site. And I back up to Mozy.

    I have no clue where my cloud is or what's on it. But I do know I have a cloud. Or I have access to one. Actually, I'm a little cloudy on that part.... hmmmm...

  140. Love 'em, Vince. Especially this one....

    Clutter, much like unwelcome relatives, can make itself at home anywhere.

  141. Natalie, she writes a column for the newspaper.... so maybe I wasn't clear about that. :)

  142. LeeAnne, I love it.

    "Go on a tear"

    This is SO me. I'm older, more jaded, more TIRED, but I used to go on a tear regularly, and it wasn't pretty. I stomped around cleaning like a madwoman, thinking that my stomping and muttering would somehow translate to the 3 males in my household that they'd better get up and help me clean. (I wasn't about to ask. They were supposed to KNOW what I wanted!)

    Honestly, now that I look back, I don't think they had a clue. lol

    I no longer worry too much about it, unless company's coming, then I grab the broom. :)

  143. Mary C, congrats on the successful decluttering day! My day was spent decluttering my inbox, so while the house didn't get much attention, the business side of things did.

    And I'm pretty certain I have an email address or two out there that is collecting millions and millions of spam. What happens to those email addresses that we can no longer access because we've forgotten the password? Oh... let's post them on Facebook so the spammers can access them and they can send spam into a black hole. Maybe it would keep them busy!

  144. But, Walt, how will you know what name to change to? :)

    Seriously, I have 4 (if you don't count the ones I lost) I had a couple more, but realized I didn't need so many because I never checked them. Primary email that comes to my inbox, safe gmail that doesn't, and then the business emails. I figured that was enough.

  145. lol - Janet, I'm going to create more emails for you just to see you squirm.

  146. Tina, that's the beauty of letting so much of the advertising emails go to gmail and never to my inbox. I can let it pile up as long as I want and then delete in bulk. It actually does a pretty good job of putting it in 3 different tabs... Primary, Social, and Promotions, so I can see anything that's important vs. just ads.

  147. I think we all can clean up other's stuff easier than our own. I could easily empty My Cowboy's closet within minutes because I know that he hasn't worn 90% of those clothes in years.

    The same is true of my side of the closet, but I MIGHT want to wear it, so I don't want him to empty it for me. He might give away my $1000 faux fur. JK - I don't have one of those - fake or real!

  148. Well, the kids survived getting rid of ten things each. We'll see how they do tomorrow. I managed to get rid of some things. I also went through and got rid of a bag of books. The temptation will be to replace them, of course.

  149. Dana of COURSE you'll replace them. That's the only point to clearing space!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  150. Oh, wow, Dana, you and Mary Curry get the DeClutter Award for the day! Whoot! :)

    Here's another neat idea for books... one of those little roadside libraries. I wonder if I could convince My Cowboy to put one in the church parking lot. Wouldn't that be fun? :)

  151. My name is Patti Jo and I am a packrat. :(
    There - - I've said it - - BUT I am really, really trying to DE-clutter, so
    this post was timely and very helpful (Thank you!!). :)

    During all my years of teaching school, I didn't like getting rid of things because there was usually a craft project that could be made from the items. But now that I'm in the season of life to "downsize" I really need to get serious about my de-cluttering.

    These tips are going into my Keeper File - - where I KNOW they won't get lost in the clutter. ;)

    Hugs, Patti Jo (Member of Packrats Anonymous)

  152. Patti Jo, if you're a member of the PA, then I'm the President! lol

  153. Pam,
    Stopped to read this as I was decluttering my desk! I can't work if my desk has is covered with papers, mail, magazines, etc. Thanks for all the great tips as we are about to start decluttering the house so we can list it for sale.

    Vince, loved the "clutter" phrases!


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  155. These are great tips. I always try to remember that our kids really do not want most of our stuff. Do I pitch it now, or stress them out later. :-)

  156. Edwina, may clear heads and quick sorting prevail as you declutter for the sale! :)

    Well, Becky, it's according to how much stress tossing it now will cause you! So it boils down to YOUR stress, or THEIRS! lol Seriously, that is an excellent way of looking at things.... Will my kids or grands REALLY want this when I'm gone?

  157. Great tips, can't think of any you didn't mention :) But I do need those tips!

  158. Deanna, thanks for stopping by. This decluttering is a never-ending process, isn't it?