Three clutter-busting tips from an unprofessional organizer

In my last post I promised a few tips for eliminating clutter. Huge disclaimer here: I am not a professional organizer, just a harried mom and business owner who occasionally has to take drastic steps to reduce the clutter in my home or office. As organized as I am, the long to-do list, piles of mail and the detritus of an active family clutter up my space. Here are the three things I do when I start to feel desperate – and before I call a professional organizer.

  1. Put away fifty things. (This is easy to do in a home with kids.) Even if there are many, many more things out, putting away fifty creates a big visual improvement and helps me declutter my mind so I can focus my energy elsewhere.
  2. Fill one garbage bag then immediately walk it out to the trash. When my kids were very small I once filled a bag a week for about two months, going from room to room and through closets and storage areas. It was amazing how big an impact it had and it never took that long to fill one bag.
  3. Devote one hour to the little, nagging things on your list – you know, the ones that take about 15 seconds that you never find time to do. Admittedly, this goes against my typical rule of doing the high impact tasks first – which is why I set a time limit to it.

Of course, these tips are just for triage, those times when you find yourself so distracted you can’t function. When you have a little more time – or you can’t do this yourself – call a professional organizer. It’s time and money well spent to simplify your life.

What quick tips did I miss? Send your suggestions to – if I use them, I’ll feature your business.

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