Wednesday, April 13, 2011

De Cluttering For A Better Life

This is a guest post from writer Elise M Griffin.  Thanks Elise
Do you have any special tricks you use to keep the clutter at bay?  Please feel free to share them with us.  We all would love to hear from you.

It’s amazing how much one family can accumulate in the course of eight years. I say this, because prior to moving to our current home not quite nine years ago, we’d donated a half a driveway of various items to Am Vets, had given several things for our former neighbors to sell at their garage sale (including two very large, very old bookshelves and a small sleeper sofa), and had taken no less than one Chevy S10 truck load to the dump. When the moving van was weighed, we still had four tons of crap… err… I mean wonderful stuff. That was one ton per family member!

It’s been awhile since that move. Several months ago I started going through closets, boxing or bagging up items to donate to Goodwill, throwing out what wasn’t worthy of donating. We also went through no less than six bookshelves of books and a shelf of videos and DVDs, donating two boxes of those items. However, when I dust my living room, it still takes nearly a half hour. Too many “decorative” things reside there. In fact, too many things still clutter our home. If it takes an average of twenty minutes to dust each room, that’s two full hours of just dusting! I’m embarrassed to even mention how much stuff we have stored in the garage and garden shed.

Hoarders on television didn’t have their houses look that way overnight, or even over the course of a few weeks or months. It takes years to accumulate so much stuff. It’s when you inherit Grandma’s large dresser, put it in the garage, and figure you’ll hang onto it in case someone needs it. Or when a neighbor drops off a kitchen sized table and a tall, wooden filing cabinet that you tell yourself you’ll eventually use when you redecorate the office, or the myriad of things—like several boxes of dishes, old bedding still in good condition, curtains, pots and pans—you hang onto for when your kids move out on their own. Then there are the pieces of furniture (in our case two living room chairs with ottomans) that no one ever uses and your husband hated when you bought them. Or countless bins of clothes your kids long ago outgrew… toys from when they were in elementary school… the golf clubs your husband hasn’t used in nearly a decade.

Well, as an avid watcher of “Hoarders”, knowing I’m a hoarder-in-training, I’m biting the bullet with one BIG baby step. Hospice Partners has a truck and driver, and they’ll pick up furniture plus some of the bins from the garage, as well as whatever boxes I can fill beforehand. My hope is that with more room to move around in, I can then tackle those “decorative” items and a major spring cleaning with the goal of it only taking five or ten minutes to dust a room, because honestly? I miss a clean, tidy house. Life feels better (and I feel better about myself) when the house doesn’t look like a “before” picture. Here’s to de-cluttering!


  1. One small thing I do to keep the clutter away is to make a deal with myself. If I find something new I want to bring into my house then something else has to leave....via trash or donation or sale on e-bay...whatever. I usually end up changing my mind on bringing in the new item.

    1. A belated welcome to you NO1EVER. I'm new at this so I just found your comment. I learned that they don't show up in order.
      You have a good system to keep clutter down. I will have to keep it in mind if I ever get to that point.