Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Clutter Control


I am absolutely convinced that every single one of you who pops by here are impeccable housekeepers. I just know you are. Course, there are really only probably about 3 of you out there these days LOL!

Well, I, on the other hand, am not.

It is not that I don't love a clean, neat, organized, everything in its place, fresh smelling and dust free home - I absolutely do. And when I was a young gal on my own, and an even younger bride in my first marriage, I was probably a bit more obsessive about it. Now, housework seems to have fallen all the way to the bottom of my to do list.

I can blame blogging in part for that. Not blogging here of course at this poor little neglected corner of the net, but over at my food blog Deep South Dish.  When I am not posting those recipes and banter over there, I am researching and developing them, writing them out, cooking and creating them and recording them in notebooks, typing them up, editing them, adding photos, and I also do all my own website coding, linking, indexing, cataloging, SEO stuff, and all the sidebar stuff. Plus I do try to still get around and visit other bloggers.  In other words there's a lot going on behind the scenes over there that occupies a huge amount of my time these days. I'm not complaining - thanks to the growth of that blog I do consider it a business and my job now, and in this season of thanksgiving, I am grateful for that. This blog here though, it is supposed to be for my fun stuff, and as you see, maybe not so much fun stuff is goin' on right now. Poor little blog.

And then there's the housework. And, because the shelves in my closet need to be completely removed and the entire closet redone, I have clean clothes draped across the back of a chair in my bedroom and on top of the suitcase from my two California trips that, though emptied, still sits in the corner of my bedroom waiting for me to carry it to the garage storage room. The knick-knacks on the shelf in the family room that I don't even know why I own, and my mom's chandelier in the dining room both need dusting and cleaning and are both pretty big projects.

In truth, thanks to the collection of four legged critters of the feline and canine variety that live amongst these walls with us, most everything in the house is in sore need of dusting. And there are piles of piles of cookbooks by my work station because I am constantly researching and, frankly I have no place for some of them... because I keep buying more of them. There's that huge stack of catalogs in the corner that need to gone through and recycled, and the magazines are even worse. Junk mail is piled up on the table waiting to be shredded. Towels I just washed - folded up on the table. It all just accumulates and adds up so fast.

Don't worry... I'm nowhere near the level of Hoarders or anything, but the little spots of clutter here and there are clearly where my biggest and most constant problem areas are, with dust running a close second. Frankly I gotta feeling I am not alone.

So, I'm gonna try to pick up around here a bit now, and I thought about a few tips that I've learned across time that I remembered and thought I would share. Might help us all.
  • Make of short list - only about 4 or 5 things max - of areas that need work. Anything more than that and you'll get overwhelmed.  Might be that pile of clean laundry, a shelf you need to clear for those new books, tackling those stacks of magazines or catalogs, or maybe the accumulation of papers and junk mail and coupons and whatever that seem to land on the dining room table or kitchen counter, the cluttered side table by your favorite chair, or something bigger - like a closet, an outside storage shed, or ugh.. the garage.
  • Pick one and tackle only that one area at a time and don't let yourself get distracted with other things. Stick with the task at hand!
  • Take your clutter in small chunks of time. Don't try to tackle a whole area that is troublesome to you all at one time. You'll get frustrated and more important, distracted. Give yourself 15 minutes and set a timer even. Work on that for a straight 15 minutes, then take a break and do something else - even something enjoyable, like reading, or knitting, reading blog comments, or watching television - for another 10 or 15 minutes and only for that time. Set a timer again if you need to. I'm telling you these timers are great for this!  Go back to that same area and repeat until the area is clean.
  • Keep a small basket or box with you to put everything in that is out of place or not where it belongs. Don't be tempted to go and put it those oddballs things back where they belong as you find them. Although it's good exercise all that walking, it's time consuming, distracting and tiring. When you have finished the area you've been working on, or during one of those breaks if your box fills up, then and only then, carry the box around the house and put things up where they belong.
I know I have a book about clutter control around here ... somewhere.  What are some of your tips for clearing the clutter?



  1. Don't need it..I am so well organized and everything is in it's place, and there is a place for everything...

    NOT! I just finished going thru a craft box, full of yarn, some tangled and loose hooks...my kitchen floor is in need of a good washin, and the dust...well I'll get to that tomarrow...I said that 3 days ago...there seems to be so much more fun things to do.. I did clean out the bedroom closet today..it was on my get around to it list...this is where we hide the christmas gifts from the boys and I needed to find the gift in there first...oh boy....So I did some damage control for today..and now...I'm going to sit down and crochet a bit...

    It is all okay..presentable...I'll get to all one of these days..maybe when blogger goes down for maintainance...hee hee...I need
    a timer...;}

  2. Hey Faith! The timer works for me because I have to do it in little chunks or else I get frustrated. Thanks for stopping by!

  3. ummm.... let me know when you find the magickal clutter answer, mkay? My house is so cluttered I go insane.

  4. I've long been a reader of both your blogs although I'm sure I've never commented. But today I had to grin because you sound so much like me.

    Lately what I've been doing is going by the sound of the commercials on the television...I sit down and rest for those periods, or grabbing a cuppa, and then when the regular programming comes back on I start in again to working on decluttering. I think I like your idea much better tho!

    Blogging is work, a full time job and while dedicated to it I surely don't want to feel married to it. That is why I do what I can do when I can do it and not a second sooner.

    I love your blogs by the way!

  5. Thanks so very much. Controlling clutter has been a constant issue for me. Your post couldn't have come at a better time. Peace & blessings to you!

  6. Ok Mary how did you get that photo of my office?? I hate cleaning and even more dusting! I hear you on the blogging thing. And yep I really feel you on the tech stuff, we can't leave that out.

    I live with three men, does that tell you anything? I cleaned out the "junk room" only after I learned my dad was moving in. Neatly packed up all the good stuff and tossed the crap then had to clean out the garage to store the stuff. That was the extent of my de-cluttering. Home just isn't home without a few piles of clutter here and there. Maybe my attitude is the reason behind so many people moving in here over the years :)

    Truth told, short lists do help me get stuff done.Prioritizing is where it's at. I find that when I'm stressed or a bit annoyed I can clean that madness away. Kind of therapeutic to scrub something, releases what ails me.

  7. Heeehehhee! You are one funny cook!!!

    This Ozark Farm Chick has just the opposite problem. I adore cleanin'...everything...even down to the faucet screens. Yep, 'totally Type-A leanin' toward the obsessive clean freak title but I love it...it make me happy. :o)

    Ya'll have a wonderfully blessed day from the beautiful hills and hollers of the Missouri Ponderosa!!!

  8. Tracy, at this stage of my life I think the answer shall remain elusive! Unless of course I hire a housekeeper LOL!! ;)

    AkasaWolfSong, first hi! Glad you left a comment - thanks so much!! Somehow that timer just seems to work for me. I guess I need the structure. Commercial breaks are a built in timer so that's a great idea, but I need more time I guess. I'm afraid I'm married to that food blog, but I sure miss my fun blog too!!

    Hi Fola! Hope the tips help. I actually got my tabletop cleaned off that day and I have been "trying" since to keep it from getting back to where it was!! Flat surfaces are the worse - everything seems to land on them!!

    Yeah Kathy - I only live with one man, so with him, well I can't even imagine what you are dealing with LOL!! I'm a list maker too - I can't seem to function without them!

    Hi Nezzy!! Welcome! I was probably never quite like that, but I used to be much more concerned about it many years ago. Okay. Maybe it was "obsessive" back then. Somehow, over the years, I managed to let go and prefer the lived in look now, BUT on occasion it can get bothersome and I long for that old aesthetic look!!!

  9. Oh my Nezzy I wish I had your energy! I have my kitchen in order, but it's all my other rooms that need organizing. my office, well, let's just not go there. I need at least another 2 bookcases for my books. I have 3 barrister bookcases and one tall standing bookcase...full. I can't fit one more book into them ~~sigh~~ I guess i'll just make my husband do it..........snicker


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