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Decluttering advice from some 'experts'

June 30, 2014

Tags: decluttering, organizing, tossing, minimalism, downsizing

One day my friend Steve and I went to Ikea to buy a bookcase, so I could get a couple hundred books off the floor. A few hours later (!!!) Ikea delivered three long boxes of parts. I forgot the boxes were there and tripped over them on my way to the kitchen, nearly breaking my leg. Decluttering is not for sissies! That morning a comment on one of my blog posts led me to Melissa Shook and the following practical-inspirational bloggers. I can never be a minimalist, but we have to start somewhere:
Run to the Roundhouse, Nellie and Clutter (Melissa Shook hires a decluttering expert to help her get her house in order.) Here's the part I fear, as I start my own decluttering: "However, it takes two and a half days to recover from three hours of de-cluttering supervision."
Learning and decluttering (Melissa Block, part 2. Her posts on aging are delightful. ) I get sucked in, reading about her life, as in Whew. It was comforting to know I wasn't the only person to save pill containers.
The Best Decluttering Exercise (Tony, on We Only Do This Once)
10 Creative Ways to Declutter Your Home (Joshua Becker, Becoming Minimalist). I especially liked this one: "Take the 12-12-12 Challenge. A simple task of locating 12 items to throw away, 12 items to donate, and 12 items to be returned to their proper home can be a really fun and exciting way to quickly organize 36 things in your house." This entry links to several other useful pages of organizing-and-tossing tips.
18 Five-Minute Decluttering Tips to Start Conquering Your Mess (Leo Babauta. Zen Habits)
Miss Minimalist (living a beautiful life with less stuff).
Be More with Less (Courtney Carver). Many, many entries, ranging from How to Delete Clutter from Your Email Inbox
Out of Spite: Fifty Ways to Leave Your Clutter (Meg Wolfe, The Minimalist Woman). See also Project 333: Minimalist Wardrobe Challenge
365 Less Things. Here's a one-bite-at-a-time way to get started: Mini Mission Monday ~ Little Places A to-do list for one small project a day, such as "Declutter and tidy your medicine cabinet or similar storage" and "Declutter a bookshelf."
Decluttering Tips from an Aspiring Hoarder (Elsa+Emma, A Beautiful Mess)
You will find more sage advice through links on the blogrolls of these sites, and you'll find a fuller page of links, constantly updated, here: Downsizing, decluttering, moving, and other hard-to-face realities.

Postscript Everyone says "get everything off the floor," as a chief organizing principle, and after falling over the IKEA boxes I can see why, but I understand that part of the reason my clutter accumulates is that I want to be able to SEE everything--in fact, if it's in a drawer I may forget where it is or even that I still own it. A friend who is seeing an ADHD therapist with her husband got this recommendation: the book Organizing Solutions for People with ADHD by Susan C. Pinsky. which persuasively argues that open bins and open shelves are helpful because it's easy to see things stored there and it's easy to put things away. Pinsky advises that "every item should be stored where it is used so it can be stowed in one easy motion." She also advises giving up the cult of stuff and of "buy buy buy."

Updated April 8, 2013 and June 30, 2014


  1. April 8, 2013 1:29 PM EDT
    Thank you for including me in this round up of incredible posts!
    - Tony@WeOnlyDoThisOnce
  2. April 8, 2013 8:07 PM EDT
    oh, this is wonderful, the part about Ikea (and thank you very much for referring to my blog...) but my paid instructor keeps suggesting that I get furniture so that everything I own isn't on open shelves...so I've looked on the Ikea site and picked out, god forbid, a potential dresser and a coffee table...now I have to get there and walk around that huge place and pick up the package and haul it back and then put it together...I can't imagine doing any of that...but I can imagine falling over whatever I've left around, which right now is bags of papers I'm tossing out...
    My lady, who I can only see every two weeks or so, has a theory about not using the floor as a major storage space....I have fibromyalgia which may be part of the reason it takes forever to recover, but a friend of mine, whose mother died when she was 90, said it's the emotional part that's getting me... I'll do more on my blog, inspire by you ...and we'll compare notes...again, thank you..
    - Melissa Shook
  3. April 29, 2013 2:40 AM EDT
    I de-cluttered yesterday took me half a day, but got it all done, everything looks So amazing, and im so bloody proud of myself, woohoo, im not hurting too much today, but I know tomorrow will be a different story, but oh well xx
    - jaine