before and after closet

A new definition of clutter

“Clutter can also cause feelings of stress, fatigue and depression. Stress can contribute to poor sleep, poor eating habits, and general poor health.


Clutter is anything that is not where it belongs.


A rose growing in a wheat field is, technically, a weed. It doesn’t belong there, it can interfere with what should be there. It can create stress for the wheat farmer, if it gets mixed in with the final product it can reduce the value of the wheat. Who would think that a lovely rose could be bad-mouthed?

 So, with that in mind, let’s look at the kitchen counter. I bet there are things on the kitchen counter, at some point during the day, that don’t belong there. Right now, my purse, some jewelry-making pliers, and a page of junk mail someone mistakenly thought would change my life are on the counter. As is a roll of paper towels, the flipper I used to flip my eggs this morning, and the frying pan from that activity.

 What’s the clutter? The purse, the pliers, and the mail. Are they all fodder for the garbage or recycling? Nope, only the mail. But they are all clutter, they don’t belong where they are.

 So if I put them where they belong, the counter is now clutter-free. YAY!! Instant win. I’m giving myself a high-five.

If I put it away, is it still clutter?

 That’s easy. What if you decide to tackle the basket of just laundered T-shirts and just put the darned things away. It’s T-shirts that you wear, it’s not garbage. As you start to put them where they belong, let’s say in the dresser drawer allocated to t-shirts, you realize that they won’t fit in the drawer, the drawer is full of t-shirts. No more room. 

So, the T-shirts will live in the laundry basket for a while. Till you get the time to go through all of them and get rid of the ones you don’t wear, or don’t need, or are old and torn, or faded, or are too small….. Have they now become clutter? Yes, they have because they are living in the drawer where they don’t belong. And no, it’s not OK to say that the laundry basket is where the clean ones should live. That’s just plain wrong, and we all know it.

 The ones in the drawer that you know you should discard are in their right place, aren’t they?  

But just a minute, they don’t belong in the drawer anymore, they belong gone. So, yes now they are clutter too. 

 Is it really this complicated? Not really. Once you accept the idea that clutter is anything not living where it belongs, the situation becomes a lot clearer. If there isn’t room for the items ‘where they belong’ then you need to either make room or reduce the number of items. 

 That’s where the fun starts. But how do you start?

You can help yourself with two actions. First, realize that there IS an end to the clutter-busting. It is NOT never-ending, no matter what you think. Once you have achieved a home that supports you, that is not causing you stress, and is not interfering with your daily life, you are done.

Second, you can accept that your time is important and of value. A home that sucks your time is not a home. If you value your time, it follows that you will value yourself. 

There is a plethora of information available to help you start and continue to a successful conclusion.  

Heck, I have a book on Amazon that does just that: “Decluttering Journal, Inspirations to get you to the end”. And I added another book, ‘Self Care for Women On a Shoe-string Budget’

Click here to see both books purchasing options..

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