Declutter so you can reclutter


For 33 consecutive days the number one item on my daily “To Do” list has been “spend 20 minutes decluttering my house”. I sit at the computer for hours googling decluttering tips, but I haven’t actually gotten around to taking any action.


stuf we own

In fact, it took me a half hour to find the computer under a mountain of junk that I don’t know where to file. I was determined to get organized in 2015 and here it is February and I haven’t even begun.

Meanwhile clutter and doodads I don’t even recognize are building to the point I may have to buy a bigger place.

It has come to my attention that perhaps I’m going about it all wrong. Home organization blogger Karen Clemons hit me squarely between the eyes with her tongue-in-cheek list of suggestions on how to INCREASE our clutter. Here are a few of her simple strategies along with a few of my own outlining how to get that “lived in” homey look. I guess you could call me a maximalist rather than a minimalist which is so chic these days. Chic doesn’t live here any more.

organize tomorrow

1. Always bring home the freebies – the booklets at museums, the soaps at the hotel, the pens at the bank. Never use them. But just bring them home. Thankfullly you cleaned out the junk drawer so they can all go in there.

2. Hang onto the heirlooms that you don’t really like and display them in the center of your living room just because they belonged to someone you knew. Never, ever have any open spaces on your tables or walls. Place some decorative accent item on every square inch.

3. Always have two of everything. It’s useful to have a second can opener in case the first one breaks when you’re opening a can of tuna.

4. Build a collection of something cool that you’ll never actually use – like cookbooks if you don’t cook, gardening books if you don’t garden and travel brochures of places you’ll never visit. This will make you appear all worldly and sophisticated.

5. Save crayon stubs because you might make them into candles one day.

6. Keep every greeting card and note you’ve ever been sent. And not just the romantic ones from your husband or boyfriend, but also the kid you babysat in 1965.

7. Always have more books than shelf space.

8. When you use up the last of a cosmetic product or facial cream, keep the containers.  You never know when you’ll need an extra one when you travel.

9. Keep everything. Keep a box of really short strings. Label it “Strings too short to use.”

10. Never put anything away. Just drop it where you are using it because you will probably be needing to use it there again. It might be years from now, but you might need it.

11. Always clean and store every spaghetti jar, soup can, cool whip container, paper towel or toilet paper rolls for some future use as yet undetermined.


12. Never donate or toss clothes that have magically shrunk while hanging in the closet, because you just know you’re going to fit in those stone-washed, size 4 jeans again one day.

13. And finally, don’t discard anything that could be worth something someday. It is highly unlikely that thousands of others are saving the same items, thus increasing future value. How else would anything grow old enough to be an antique? You’ll be doing a valuable public service by saving that thingamadoochie for future generations.

12 thoughts on “Declutter so you can reclutter

  1. I have to share this true story. 6 years ago, we had health issuew that limited us to move from our 5 bedroom hoome at Lake Itawamba in Fulton MS to an Assisted Liing Facility w3ith plenty of space for us, but connsidrably less than we had. Our Son, Darryl qne hiws wife, Ainm\mee, live here in Middle TN and that’s holw we got transplanted up here. Occasionally, they would ask me why I didn’t clean my computer desk off, to which I replied I wouldn’t be abe to find things. cllothng was a huge issue, brecause I have one f\regular closet, George had a half one and my “dressers are plastic dishpans from the hspitals and Re-habs. They qannounced to us their Christmas gift this yeqr was to cleqan oout closeets and all I had to do is say yes or no! Their 32 year old Son was here from Denvefr, so I though surely they won’t e it! They gently asked me to park my wheelchair and all 3 got intol the at. Ironicllly, they hauled out tons of clothing weheich I don’t even recall! It was a]mazing how neat it al loojke\ked, so I decided I will stqret to cleqn off ny computer desk, but, Darryl, in hiw kinedneww, swpent bout 3 hours going thru one item at a time and it also llooked gret. Next, th filing cabinet which lverfoweth–George was military for 21 yeqrs ands my excellent bookkeeper, Sadly the filing cabinet still over-floweth qand the closets which cannot reah some of the shelves, ar4 not quite as neat, because we depend on others who don’t do things like we do, but we are blessed to have assistance for almost eveery thing!! Emily, I enjoy yur articlewws! My Dad and yur Mother became weekly friends after they bvoth got sick and my George was madly in love with Martha when sahe xame to Wp, yOUR dQAD WSAS MY QAND gEORGE’SMOM’s ‘S dr AND DEAR FRIEND, SO THQWWT CONNECTS US! I have had several strikes whicxh affect4dd a Ot, PRIMARILY MY VISION, BUT i KEEP LONE KEEPING ON! gOd bless you!! WE HATE CANCER AND PRY FOR QA CURE EVERY SINGLE DQAY!!

  2. Thank you for your Input Nell. Yes, we have to keep on keeping on despite the roadblocks that pop up when we least expect them. I’m about to spend 20 minutes on my office which is a disaster!

  3. Another good one, Emily. When things go missing around our house it is usually precipitated by me going on a decluttering tear and labeled “mommified”. Pack rats loose, garbage man & mommy win temporarily but it is a never ending challenge.

  4. Another good one, Emily. When things go missing around our house it is usually precipitated by me going on a decluttering tear and labeled “mommified”.

  5. Oops should have mommified last comment. Don’t know how that happened. Label it computer illiteracy.

  6. Now that I’ve had cataract surgery I can see that I have too many things. BWAHAHAHAHA….Some of those dust bunnies are so cute! I promise you I have de cluttering for months and I’m still not there. Why did we ever think we needed all this “stuff”? I have to run now…..I think I saw a neighbor put something really good on the street.

  7. This is so very true. It hits me on the head….I am planning on doing better if I live through my current illness.

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