Clutter Busting 101

I always used to be pretty well organized. At least I thought so.  I shared a room with my older sister, who would rather read a book than clean up her side of the room.  Ever.  And my side was neater than hers! Then I went away to college, far enough to only take a few things with me, and in my tiny college dorm room,  I regularly tossed things and straightened, except when I was swamped with activities or papers or midterms  . . . a lack of time undid my organized life.

After graduate school I lived for a while with my younger sister and a friend of hers.  The friend was messy.  Again I felt organized, and periodically spent time going through my things and releasing them.  I was working 9-5, and I had few other obligations at the time.  I remember having lots of time to read.

Then I got married, and I had new duties around the house after I came home from work.  I had to take larger blocks of time to keep up with everything in my life, and  everything wasn’t always neat and tidy, but still, it wasn’t bad.

Then I had children.  Someone had given me the silly idea that a baby would nap sometime during the day.  And when that nap actually happened, I had heard that one could expect an hour or more of time, rather than 30 minutes, or less.   And that things would get done during that time, rather than me sitting catatonically thanking my lucky stars that I had a break.

I love my oldest child, even though he sleeps more now as a teenager than he ever did as a baby.  But in the years since his birth I lost track of my somewhat organized life.  I ran out of time. I gave up the time for things that wouldn’t wait . . . walks to the park, homemade play dough, watercolor masterpieces, millions of photos, swim lessons, soccer tournaments, school volunteer field trips . . .  The photos, artwork, and notes about what was going on my whirlwind life stacked up.  So did mail.  Even the dishes in the sink.

I could go on and on . . . and as things stacked up without the time to handle sorting them, I began to get disorganized, and I felt like a failure in this department.  I needed to carve out time for organizing, but I wanted to do things with my kids, so I started working at night, after they went to bed, and early in the morning.  Even with periodic bursts of straightening and discarding, my clutter grew.

Now my kids are almost all teenagers.  They don’t need me as much, and I don’t save as much artwork, schoolwork, or take as many pictures.  I still have papers in stacks, but the stacks are growing smaller, and I can find most of what I need to find.  I feel like I’m getting caught up. These are some of the tips I’ve learned over the years to control and rid my home of clutter.  Try one every day, and let me know how you do!

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