April 19, 2024

Attacking Clutter by Juli Shulem

According to the American Demographic Society, Americans waste more than 9 million hours each day looking for lost and misplaced items. Cleaning professionals say that getting rid of excess clutter would eliminate 40% of the housework in an average home. And about 80% of the clutter in your home is a result of disorganization, not lack of space. It would make sense then, to begin by organizing your living and working environments, particularly if your office happens to be in your home.
Start by making a list of all the areas needing work. Just making this list and putting it on paper where you can look at it and acknowledge it usually starts the ball rolling. And where, you might ask, does the “ball” start its roll from? THE MESSIEST PLACE ON YOUR LIST! Why the messiest? It’s the place which grates on your nerves the most and the place which, once organized, will give you the greatest sense of satisfaction.
Here are 5 tips to get started:
Prioritize. Start by going through the space and focus on getting rid of unused, unwanted, and useless items FIRST.  This will give you some clarity immediately and allow you to see what you have left that you may wish to actually hold onto.
Downsize. During the process of purging refrain from shopping and adding to the clutter thinking that more things will help you get better organized. Stay on track with REMOVING items and that’s all.
Organize. As a regular practice take a few extra minutes to put things away in their proper places rather than shove them into the nearest place just to get them out of the way.
Eliminate extras. Get rid of extraneous things lying around the house. These items constantly remind you of another insipid task you didn’t do yet. If you have an item you need to return, just put in it a bag along with others and put the bag in the car, now.
Return borrowed items to their owners. Be careful not to borrow items if you are prone to damaging or losing things in general. You will then end up needing to replace the item, or worse, learn that it is irreplaceable. After you have returned something, you can stop thinking about it, nor will you need to find a place to store the item!

Excerpted and modified from Order! A Logical Approach to an Organized Way of Life. To order the ebook go to www.getordernow.com. Juli Shulem has been an Organizer/ADHD Coach, Efficiency Expert since 1984. She is also the author of Home-Based Business Mom, A Guide to Organizing for the Working Woman. Contact Juli at www.julishulem.com or jshulem@gmail.com.


  1. Sara says:

    Great article Julie – especially like the last one! :)

    • hywo says:

      Thanks for your comment Sara! Simply returning borrowed items not only reduces clutter, but also reduces stress as we no longer have to remember we borrowed them in the first place!

  2. Calla Gold says:

    Juli, thanks to your book I made up a book borrowing page that I copy new versions of as needed. Whether I borrow books or audio books I have a space for the date, whether I’m borrowing or lending and to or from whom.
    It has really simplified my life!
    People are amazed when I return what I borrowed. I love that!

    • hywo says:

      Downsizing is a great tip! Why do we add clutter to organize clutter?! Instead, simply get rid of the clutter! Thanks Juli.

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