Clutter...That Ugly Beast!


I love to collect stuff! There, I admitted it! Ever since my best friend in junior high gave me a pair of antique shoes from China, I have been addicted to the task of collecting. At first it was just oddities I would find at the only junk store in my hometown. Then it progressed to finding colorful items to decorate my drab first apartment. When I would like one item, I would need at least five more all in different colors. I could get away with large collections placed visually organized all over my home. But, the number of collections started to get out of control! I would have so many of one thing, that you could no longer see each one individually. So, I started making rules. I could no longer collect salt and pepper shakers from the 1940's unless they cost less than $5 per pair. This helped make the hunt more fun and also freed up some space to start collecting creamers from the original Fiesta era! But, finally, I hit a wall. I am an artist and my collections of art supplies and tools started spilling into all rooms of my house. I could no longer keep in confined to just the “sewing room”. So, I did a little digging on Pinterest and DIY websites to see what others did to either stop buying all this stuff or at least organizing it so that it didn’t look like the local dump!

What I found was not only interesting but extremely helpful. The first thing almost everyone said is to NOT tackle a cleaning-tossing-organizing task all at once. It can be so overwhelming that you simply quit. Next, if you find things that you have a sentimental value to, set it aside until another time when you are better equipped to really figuring out if you want to keep the item. Take just 15 minutes a day to deal with the cleaning job. Put on a timer and stop when it buzzes. By the end of the first week of spending 15 minutes a day, you should see a real difference. Focus on just one space. As that space slowly comes together you will feel such a sense of accomplishment that you will be excited to start the next space. And finally, you will have an entire home completely organized, clean, and decluttered. BUT, the trick is to keep it that way!

I have often wondered why I like to collect and then keep buying these odd and colorful collections, so I did a little research on that, too. Dollar stores, vintage shops, flea markets and garage sales are so easy to find that you don’t want to turn away and they always have so much cool stuff right at your fingertips. And then, to add to that shopping frenzy, we have the internet and debit/credit cards that you can buy anything you want and it can be delivered in a matter of hours. It is a thrill to find something in the back corner of a junk store that is just screaming your name and even more thrilling when you want something but you don’t want to go out and get it because you are in your pajamas so you just order it online! But buying too much stuff and keeping what you don’t need are leading to the clutter catastrophe.

You can justify your purchase at a thrift store with the thought that you will never find that item again and that is probably true. So, before you grab your wallet, you need to ask yourself if you actually need that item. You have to retrain your brain to only buy what you need or have space for. This retraining technique will help you learn to control your buying impulse through the organizing process. Breaking the buying cycle can be accomplished by going on a month-long shopping fast. Only buy groceries for a solid month. Nothing else. See how you feel. See if NOT adding to the clutter makes you feel lighter. Look at your wallet and see all of the money you saved!

Yes, there are many people would rather keep their clutter instead of throwing it out. And...I am one of those. I see potential in everything I have, whether it is for my artwork or for a little set up in my livingroom. I am a staunch supporter of recycling, so every tin can and deli container can be reused for something. But, I have to be very careful because if I don’t organize and quickly use the item, it turns into clutter and disorganization. I have trained myself to donate unused goods or to sell them online. Making extra money definitely rewards my need to declutter!

One of the biggest hold-backs in getting rid of piles of stuff is the sentimentality we have for certain items. I have furniture from my grandmother and even my great grandmother. I feel connected to the generations by possessing these items. But, there are other things that may seem to have a bit of sentimentality, and when I really look at it, I have to ask myself why and can I live without it. It helps to have a recycle bin in my weekly trash pick up service and it also helps to donate these items knowing that they will get further life and use. Using your rational side will help cut the clutter when you are trying to decide if an item is truly a heart piece

In order to cut the clutter, you will have to change the way you see your stuff. You will need to overcome the fear of tossing something out. Do not avoid making a decision to throw something out because you think you will need it later. Be determined to end the clutter and cut the trash and with determination and focus, you will see your home transformed from cluttered to organized and all the rooms will have a purpose and the once piled up up objects will no longer be in control.


Here is a list of items that should be considered for the recycle bin!


  • Spare buttons from clothes that you are keeping ”just in case”
  • Anything in your home that you look at and don’t like
  • Clothes that don’t fit
  • Books you’ve never read and won’t ever read!
  • Books you have read and have no intention of reading again
  • Old magazines
  • Anything broken
  • Old bedding in the bottom of your linen cupboard that you never use
  • Baby items if you have finished having babies and your family is complete
  • Chipped or cracked dishes
  • Out of date food in the cupboards
  • Half finished craft projects that are never going to be completed
  • Pens that don’t work any longer
  • Games/jigsaws where some of the pieces are missing
  • Kitchen gadgets you never use
  • Partnerless earrings
  • Partner-less shoes
  • Scraps of wrapping paper that won’t wrap anything!
  • Old computers
  • Herbs and spices you never use
  • Specialist tea/coffee you never drink
  • Boxes from electronic items you have bought
  • Receipts from items you have kept and used
  • Out of date medicines
  • Socks with holes in the toes
  • Projects you have been meaning to get around to for years but haven’t
  • Toys no longer played with
  • DVDs you have watched and won’t watch again
  • Recipe books you don’t use
  • Cushions and pillows that have lost their plumpness
  • Any junk mail and old paperwork
  • Dead plants/flowers
  • Shoes that hurt when you wear them
  • Old nail polish
  • Excess furniture
  • Out of date newspapers
  • Used candles where the wick has worn down and can’t be lit again
  • Any tupperware or plastic storage containers with missing lids
  • Excess baking trays / saucepans etc
  • Sports equipment no longer used or that is broken
  • Outside furniture that has faded, broken, or is past its best
  • Computer games that the children have grown out of
  • Any old credit cards/debit cards
  • Excess loose change
  • Rusted/tangled jewelry beyond repair
  • Accessories that you don’t wear
  • Excess coat hangers
  • Cuddly toys no longer loved
  • Excess serving dishes in the kitchen
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