Getting to know you

To say that I am curious about Unclutterer readers would be an understatement. Thinking about who you are helps me to generate story ideas, and so I’m always wondering what your lives are like and how I might be able to help you.

What content do you want to read? Have you ever taken any of the advice and used it? What is your personal philosophy on simple living? Is there something we’ve discussed that you want us to explore more intensely? Are you just starting out in a place of your own or are you on the verge of downsizing into an active retirement community? What is important to you? What is your story? What do you do in your free time and how can I help you to have less stress?

Since I would love to learn more about you and what makes you tick in our comments section, I feel that I should share a little about me with you:

I grew up in the Midwest and moved to D.C. a little more than eight years ago. I can milk a cow, pluck feathers off a chicken, and identify soybean and barley plants when they’re still in their fields — but I don’t use these skills much in my current life. The chore I hate to do the most is laundry. The area in my house that could use more order is the basement. My preferred design style is mid-century modern with industrial accents. I love cheese, coffee, olives, béarnaise sauce, and wine. I don’t like chocolate. I’m tall, and wish I were about three inches taller. I have watched five episodes of Hannah Montana in an attempt to understand the fascination pre-teens have with Miley Cyrus and still do not get it. When I speak, crayon is pronounced crown. I love telling stories that make people laugh. I’m not obsessed with organization, I’m obsessed with living a simple, remarkable life and being organized is just a tool to help me toward that goal. I love my job.

Now it’s your turn. Tell us about yourself in the comments. Let us know your answers to the questions from the second paragraph of this post. How can we help you be an unclutterer?

230 Comments for “Getting to know you”

  1. posted by Janie on

    I am a thirty year old single woman living in Austin, Texas with three very fluffy cats. Consequently, the articles on cleaning and home organization are great for me. I used to keep everything that came into my life, and when I moved to Texas, I felt really overwhelmed by all the stuff. So the articles on decluttering and minimalism are really inspiring. I’ve gotten rid of so much and it’s so freeing!

    I play roller derby which takes up A LOT of my time, and money. I’m also trying to pay off a substantial amount of student loan debt from undergrad and grad school. Consequently, I’m a frugal girl. I work in information science and I love love love reading about home and office organization. My dream job would be as a professional organizer.

  2. posted by melissa on

    I read Unclutterer because I remember how happy I was when I eurailed around when I was a student – also the time I had the fewest possible possessions. I’m now at a time in my life when I have to have a lot of my possessions in boxes while my boyfriend and I are renovating our enormous ex-hotel boat we live in. While building work is going on in the front, we’re living in the small original 1930s captain’s cabin. It’s fine but small for the two of us, but I’m fascinated that a family of four lived back there when it was a working barge (and we have contact with the original owner’s granddaughter to attest to that). I moved from the US to the UK 6 years ago so I had a big purge before the move, so on one hand I know that most everything I own is a recent acquisition, but on the other hand, it’s scary to think that I bought ALL THIS in such a short span of time.

    In addition to just normal living accumulation (which I am trying to be better at controlling!) I also sew a whole lot and therefore have all sorts of materials associated with that. There is something of a sick badge of honor amoung sewers for having the largest fabric stash, and so I’m actively trying to sew through what I’ve got before I buy more, or at the very least only buy more fabric when I have a specific use for it in mind. Sewing relaxes me, but I’m happy to have an area just dedicated to sewing so that its tools don’t spread to the rest of our living area.

    I think the most helpful portions of Unclutterer for me are the tips, like the recent things to ask new objects coming into your home, or the spring cleaning breakdowns. I also enjoy the workspaces you highlight, and I was especially chuffed to see a sewing room today.

  3. posted by Abhijeet from Jeet Blog on

    My Name is Abhijeet and I have recently started Jeet Blog(www.jeetblog.com). Honestly speaking I haven’t been reading Unclutterer for months and I am one of your new readers. But since I have started reading this, I have really liked it and it helps to further organize myself.

    Productivity is something which even I love to write about and uncluttering certainly helps in that. Your articles and nice and I would prefer you to keep writing the way you do, simple and candid. However I would love you write more about the Computer Data section and how we can organize our online life, considering the fact that we are spending too much time online.

    Rest, everything is good and thanks for a wonderful blog- Unclutterer.

  4. posted by Julia on

    I’m 37, live in Atlanta with husband and 2.5 yo son. We are constantly trying to find ways to keep the kids stuff organized or pared down. We just did a huge reduction and delivered a carload of stuff to Goodwill. I am a hobbyist (if that’s a word) — I take painting and pottery classes, I do stamping and crochet. Needless to say, things that can organize and minimize the mess there are extremely helpful.

    I love the ideas about minimizing areas and easy organizing. The workspaces you feature are great to pick up ideas and how to declutter. LOVE your blog!

  5. posted by Jay on

    I’m a 28 male from NJ. I work in the communications industry and hold a bachelors degree. I used to work in radio but after I moved on for better pay I decided to write a blog in ’04. It includes my often geeky, pop culture writings but it’s definitely not a celebrity blog so don’t get the wrong impression.

    For me Unclutterer is enjoyable and inspiring to read. All the topics you deal with are helpful. The ones I appreciate most are the posts that contain ideas that readers might not have thought about. One idea that comes to mind is a simple thing like giving back the metal hangers from the dry cleaner. Sometimes the most obvious things pass us by. Posts that have hints that are easily applied to life are the best ones. Really, all the posts are helpful. I do enjoy the links to the pictures of people’s organized desk space but I’d rather them be posted in your blog that way I don’t have to link out of your site.

    My most stressful aspect of organization is paper and old magazines. For a while I was keeping scrapbooks but I don’t have the time to devote to them anymore. I read magazines and always save them thinking one day I want to use some of the contents for a scrapbook. Realistically, it’s never going to happen.

    Even though I read Unclutterer and Zen Habits I don’t think I’ll ever be perfectly organized and stress free although continuously exposing myself to the organized lifestyle will hopefully have some sort of positive effect. Thank you for the inspiration!

  6. posted by Charity on

    I am a 30 year old happy Chicagoan. I found you all from Slate.com’s recent article. I really love all the general tips about organization and how to help myself get rid of excess stuff. And I have actually used your tips–over that past 10 days, I have carted 4 car loads of stuff to Goodwill! The questios to ask yourself and people’s own stories of the fight against clutter are good too. The humor of Unitasker Wednesdays make me smile.

    I’ve got a trip to Italy in May and Thailand and Cambodia next February, my question is how to keep myself from bringing back lots of souvenoirs from trips? And how should I save for trips–airfare is so expensive nowadays. Thanks!

  7. posted by janehatesdick on

    I am a thirty year old mother of three daughters, ages 13, 11, and 8. They are all homeschooled and have very active lives, which means lots of kids of all ages in our home on a regular basis, and a lot of time spent shuttling them back and forth to activities.

    I’m a student midwife, and I will be licensed by the end of the year. Because of this, I keep a very erratic schedule, since babies come when they want to come. It also means I need to be very organized, since I will be submitting many, many pages of documentation.

    I am also a reiki master, and I see clients out of my home, which does not have a dedicated office space.

    In my free time, I enjoy doing things with my children, writing, reading, connecting with friends, and I am currently resurrecting my meditation practice.

    I am a minimalist by nature, and I live with four pack rats. Two of my guiding philosophies are that less is more, and people before things. Once I am a licensed midwife, my husband and I will be parting ways, so frugality is extremely important.

    I’ve been reading here for a couple of months, and have not yet implemented any of the ideas, but I am inspired to start. Thanks!

  8. posted by Celeste on

    Crayons don’t sound like crowns to me–“Dooce” says crowns, though!

    46, midwestern mom to a school age child, always trying to balance her inventory of outgrown/used up stuff vs. new stuff. Fascinated with your site because I have always, always lived in tight quarters but have not always coexisted well with my stuff. Always seeking that right amount of stuff, organization, and ways to help me FOCUS on what it is I really want to be doing with my stuff, my space, and my time.

    Currently I have a big disconnect with how much labor intensive hobby stuff I have, vs how it fits in my life. I already went through that with the cooking stuff, and regret some of my purges. I say I desire a home with a bigger kitchen and more time for cooking from scratch, but what am I doing to make that happen? Not enough.

    I’m good at making a purge happen, but not always good about making the right call on WHAT to purge. I live with people who are not good at purging or picking up, so I feel burdened by their clutter without a good way to handle it.

    I adore your ways to deal with or get rid of paper.

  9. posted by Vered - MomGrind on

    I am a work-at-home mom of two, living in California. I live in a big, airy, ultra-modern house and I’d like to keep it that way. My main reason for visiting this place is that I hate clutter more than anything and am always looking for ideas on how to simplify and de-clutter.

  10. posted by Jarick on

    I’m just a single guy in my mid-20’s who was overly materialistic growing up and now am downsizing and simplifying. I found that getting rid of crap not only made my house cleaner, but it made my life easier and relieved stress!

    I read the site because I like the tips of organization and cleaning, and I also like the ideas for clutter-free living. The stuff that really appeals to me is design ideas for simple living since I have no clue what to do. The workplace pictures help, but I’d also like more pictures of kitchens, bedrooms, living spaces, etc.

  11. posted by Anthony on

    Here are the answers to your questions…

    What content do you want to read?

    Anything about keeping life simple and clean.

    Have you ever taken any of the advice and used it?

    I have taken your advice and kept it in the back of my head, but mostly I like your writing style. I was already a minimalist. I frequently throw stuff away when stressed. It makes me feel closer to simplicity.

    What is your personal philosophy on simple living?

    minimalism + simplicity = harmony

    Is there something we’ve discussed that you want us to explore more intensely?

    Nothing comes to mind at the moment.

    Are you just starting out in a place of your own or are you on the verge of downsizing into an active retirement community?

    My wife and I are newly married, both of us previously married to other people. We are both approaching middle age, but we value simplicity or, better said, the lack of complexity in life.

    What is important to you?

    Balance and happiness.

    What is your story?

    I am almost 40. I grew up in the midwest and moved to Philly about 13 years ago. My wife and I bought a house and moved to a nearby suburb in 2006. My family consists of three cats, a pain-in-the-ass little white dog, a great son, and a wonderful wife. I am blessed.

    What do you do in your free time and how can I help you to have less stress?

    I surf the net, ride motorcycles, lift weights, ride a mountain bike, practice yoga, or clean the house. Yes, I like to clean and cook when bored or stressed.

  12. posted by Courtney on

    I’m a 26 year old mathematics graduate student with a husband and a cat. I grew up on the East coast, spent my happiest years in Colorado, and now am in Nebraska for the duration of my studies. I would love to let you know what I do in my free time, except I never seem to have any! Like you, my least favorite chore is laundry. We don’t have a dishwasher, which is fine by me–I like washing dishes.

    My personal philosophy on simple living is that life is hard enough without having my own stuff making it worse! I love my label maker and have labeled everything in my house, including, in a fit of organizational frenzy, my husband. I enjoyed the recent content about pet clutter, and I would like to read more about going paperless, although I am a strong believer in file cabinets.

    My husband and I rent our house, so it would be particularly useful to know what sorts of things we should invest in now (furniture, artwork, etc) versus what sorts of things we should skimp on and wait to really invest in when we own our own home someday (after I’ve got my degree and have a nice, cushy academic job somewhere…).

    Thank you for this wonderful blog. :) -Courtney

  13. posted by Tara on

    I’m a 32 y.o. single woman living in the midwest. I bought my first home about 3 years ago, and more than doubled my living space…so it’s easy to tuck clutter away. That doesn’t mean the the couple of closets filled with things doesn’t bother me. However, I think I’ve got a pretty good handle on how to declutter. What I could use are tips on products or things to do with the clutter. I LOVED the idea you shared about using a pegboard attached to the underside of the desk to attach computer components and wires to…I did that and it CHANGED MY LIFE! (Slight overstatement.) I also used some of your ideas about paperless office…purchased a scanner and paper shredder and I’m making my way through the files. Thanks for what you do!

  14. posted by Ms. Superiority on

    I love Unclutter for great ideas on keep a superior and well-organized home. I love having people over, hosting parties and throwing last minute soirees – however all of this would be impossible if I did not attempt to stay organized and neat, and remove as much clutter as possible from my life. Getting rid of the excess and the negative opens up all sorts of possibilities.

    I adore good food, fine wine, and fancy cocktails. And I am obsessed with finding the perfect present for everyone.

    Growing up my mother was very domestic and kept a sparkling house, all while working full-time. However, she saves EVERYTHING and her finished, beautiful basement looks a bit like a war zone. So I love reading about the history of clutter and how it slowly trickles down in families (like a C-chromosone).

    Thanks for all the great articles!
    Ms. Superiority

    http://www.superiorhabitat.wordpress.com

  15. posted by Logical Extremes on

    I’m a new reader, live in the midwest US, and also look to organization as a path to simplicity. Simplifying life can yield great benefits in recognizing priorities, reducing stress, and minimizing environmental impact.

  16. posted by Janet on

    I’m a 26 year old web developer living in the Washington, DC suburbs with a husband and 2 cats. We’ve just bought our first house (woo hoo!) and I can’t wait to incorporate all these ideas. We’ve been living with relatives for about 6 months now and it’s been very frusterating because I would love to have a simple, uncluttered life, but I can’t make it happen because it’s not my house. Hopefully we have less than a month of renovations left until we move in, I AM SO EXCITED! And everything will be beautiful and simple and uncluttered!

  17. posted by Ian on

    I am a 23 year old, recently married, English lit. graduate student who also works as a bank teller. I’ve been reading Unclutterer for a few months and have really been wanting to put many of the suggestions to use; but I haven’t yet. I’ve been working to go more paperless, but as one who is required to buy and read many many many books often I have to have books and the collection keeps growing.

    I would really appreciate some suggestions on how to organize a personal library. I know it’s not the best idea to keep every book, but I really feel that most that I read may be helpful in a future career. Thanks for all the great help you give on this website.

  18. posted by Meg from FruWiki and All About Appearances on

    I’m in my mid-20’s and live in Florida. I’m a professional blogger, so I work a lot from home and tend to manage things here (though my husband probably does more of the actual domestic work). I’ve always liked to organize stuff, though it’s taken me a while to develop the habits to keep things fairly organized between organizing marathons. Having an organized home is important to me because I spend so much time here and I like to have my space. I find it hard to write when the place is a mess and there are too many distractions. And since my husband and I are trying to save money, we’ve also become more conscious of how clutter can be costly. We’ve bought so many things because we couldn’t find what we already had — or forgot that we even had something.

    My husband grew up in a large farm house that is still full to the brim with stuff, so uncluttered living is still a bit new to him. And since he’s got a lot of computer parts and tools and paperwork and other stuff to keep a handle on, I’ve spent a lot of time and energy trying to figure out how we can organize the stuff and keep it that way. Fortunately, he’s finally come around to the idea of having an uncluttered home (after 6 years of marriage). He just had to see it in action in a few rooms to appreciate it. We’ve been creating a huge yard sale pile over the past month and now that the taxes are done, we’re planning to finish organizing the office this weekend, then see if we can declutter the other storage areas mercilessly.

  19. posted by QL Girl on

    I’m a 20-something currently living with my parents after graduating from college. I plan on moving into my own place within the next 18 months, and my goal is to minimize what I have and will take with me before that day comes.

    I come from a family that believes in having lots of “things”. Both my parents have a problem (seriously), and while they aren’t hoarders, they definitely have issues with having too many “things”, and having them ALL OVER the house. Growing up I had friends over at my house three times. (No, that is not an exaggeration.) Only recently was I able to invite my boyfriend over into my parents house for the first time, and we’ve been together for 5 years. I think clutter has seriously impacted my life, and I want to say goodbye to it as soon as I move to my own place.

    Thanks for the site, I think it has A LOT to do with my realizations and my turnaround!

  20. posted by Cat on

    Heya – I’m 33, a newlywed w/ 2 cats living in a small flat near the beach in CA. Having been a “stuff” hoarder in my early years, I’ve done an about face and have whole heartedly embraced being a minimalist. I Japanese decor and the more open space I can create in my home makes me happy and I’m positive it brings in wealth in so many facets. I found your blog thru Leo’s site – and it’s part of my daily morning ritual w/ a fresh cup of strong black coffee. Like a few of your other readers, I tend to sponge the ideas you post and share them with friends and family who have “stuff” issues. The way I apply it in my own life – is moreover affirmation that there are others like me who enjoy everything in it’s spot — and that less is truly more. Your Weds postings crack me up – and I love your writing style. Thanks for blogging.

  21. posted by Cat on

    Ps – there was a great posting about frugal travel on this site a few days ago:

    http://millionairemommynextdoor.blogspot.com/

  22. posted by Jen on

    Hey Erin … I love this idea of a blog posting. Here’s a little about me: I’m 39 & 6/7 days pregnant and ready to burst, and I fear my “simple lifestyle” will go out the window with a new baby (but I’m going to do everything possible to NOT let that happen!) I would love to get back to helping others simplify once the baby is a little older (I am a simplify-your-life coach & professional organizer). I too believe that “organization” is only one tool towards living a simplified lifestyle.

    I have often used ideas in your posts … things I can remember off the top of my head are: the questions/test of “knick-knack” items to see if I really want/need/use them & the spring cleaning list. I often keep links to certain postings that I think my clients might be able to benefit from — I send people to this site often to get self-motivated & get ideas because right now I don’t have much time to write on my own blog (that, and I LOVE your blog!)

    More stuff about me: I have 2 messy labs, and although they make a lot of clutter (tons of dog hair, mud prints, dog “stuff” & more), I do have to disagree with you this one time and say that my dogs themselves are definitely NOT clutter & they bring such joy to our family! But I do understand where you’re coming from.

    Also ~ I love cereal, going barefoot & wearing flip-flops when it hits 50 degrees in Michigan, Mid-Eastern food (the baby loves it too), cleaning & organizing & donating or “throwing stuff out” (it’s so cleansing) & helping others do much of the same. I love seeing the “light” flick on in others’ eyes when they realize that their stuff doesn’t define them! I also love BBQ sauce, fresh flowers on my kitchen table, “airing out” the house when the weather gets nice & Lifetime drama movies.

    Thanks again for your wonderful posts. If you can provide future posts about simplifying with babies & children, that would be awesome! Have a beautiful spring day!

  23. posted by Anne on

    I am a 44 year old woman who has lost the battle to Loreal. My hair is gray and will stay that way. That being said, my husband of 18 years and I have adopted 4 children from foster care. They came in two different groupings, singe and threesome; all at age 4. They are now 11, 9 and twins at 8. So being organized is very important.
    We just recently sold our 2200 square foot home, left a very high paying government job (of 12 years) to move 1300 miles away to California to a home of 1300 square feet. We did this to start a church from the beginning, it is called church planting. So taking the important things in life with us was important. Our income dropped about 95%! We are out of debt and have a big nest egg to live on. LIving frugal is what we do….envelopes each month, so learning more about scrimping is a great help. I want to be thrifty without a poverty mentality.
    I LOVE the comments on this site, and learn from everyone! I am awed by the computer wires being all tied up and my hubby has persued and done a good job with our computers.
    I love my home uncluttered, and ideas on how to unclutter simple things, closets, shoes, cleaning suppy areas really motivate me.
    I found this site via a search on simplifing your life, because that is my goal. Less stuff, less work!

  24. posted by bms2000 on

    What content do you want to read?
    Any and all, but especially ideas for dealing with kid/hobby clutter

    Have you ever taken any of the advice and used it?
    Yes! I believe I read about MeeTimer on the site (or a related site – I forget) and I am planning to attack my bookshelves this weekend

    What is your personal philosophy on simple living?
    There is enough stress in dealing with 2 growing kids, and a part time job that seems to take 40 hours a week to do. Running around shopping, and acquiring more stuff to clean and take care of, and enrolling my kids in 900 activities that I must schlep them to is not going to make my life simpler. If the Joneses want to look down their nose at me, so be it.

    Is there something we’ve discussed that you want us to explore more intensely?
    The idea of inherited clutter. I can sense a looming pile of inherited clutter on the horizon (my parents, my in laws, and a close uncle are all major packrats, and it is going to fall on us like a ton of bricks in the future)

    Are you just starting out in a place of your own or are you on the verge of downsizing into an active retirement community?
    None of the above

    What is important to you? What is your story? What do you do in your free time and how can I help you to have less stress?
    I’m a 36 yo adjunct professor, with 2 elementary school kids. My husband and I both have flexible jobs, which has allowed us to avoid child care. But these flexible jobs do not allow us to buy every new expensive thing that comes down the pike. So we drive an 11 year old car, we don’t have a TV, we don’t have video games, we do our own yard work and housework. To make this all work, we need simplicity. In our spare time we garden, do woodworking projects, do our own home repairs, and our children create lots of art projects. Now if someone could come up with a way of allowing wild creativity in the kids, while minimizing clutter and piles of completed and half completed projects, I would be much obliged.

  25. posted by Ann at One Bag Nation on

    I’m a new reader and a new blogger. I decided to start blogging about my quest for order in my life, and I found unclutterer on my journeys around cyberspace. I’ve already implemented one of your suggestions: the recipe notebook – though I still have a few more piles to sort.

    I’m a work-at-home mom (I research and write content for an online food company) and I feel pretty busy with my family, volunteer, and work commitments. But I know I spin my wheels a lot. I sometimes wonder if I suffer from ADD.

    I have to confess that I have trouble with advice from many professional organizers, because I think if it comes naturally to you, it’s very hard to get inside the head of someone who really struggles. That was what inspired me to blog about my quest: perhaps someone else out there can benefit from my experiences as I muddle along.

    The issues of clutter and productivity (or lack thereof) are very emotional for me, so I’d like to see more content about the psychological struggle. (not that I don’t need to deal with cables and cords, piles, post-its, etc). And since I’m a novice at all this stuff, I feel completely overwhelmed by all the talk of widgets, RSS, feeds, twitter, etc. etc. and could use a good primer on what they are and how to manage them effectively.

    Regarding laundry: I think it’s the fact that you have to do it over and over that’s discouraging, but I have it down to a science. You can about my laundry system at http://onebagnation.wordpress......-doesnt-2/. It doesn’t make laundry less tedious, but does prevent it from piling up.

    Thank you for reaching out Erin; it’s fascinating to read the comments from your readers.

  26. posted by bms2000 on

    Wanted to add: my design style is “anything I like, that the kids don’t have to be unusually careful with, that is comfortable and functional”. This ranges in practice from a loft bed shaped like a boat we built for 1 son, to an antique bedroom set that I inherited, bumps scratches and all, to a tasteful (if cat hair covered) earth tone living room set. Eclectic is I guess the official term. But I don’t want to live in a showroom, I want to live in a house that is comfy (but uncluttered!)

  27. posted by Lynette on

    I love reading about ways to live in small spaces, but would love to learn about deprogramming hoarders. I guess that relates to my story…My fiancé and I (getting hitched 8/2/08) moved into his mothers house when his father passed away because she needed help financially and physically. She lives in the house: 9 foot ceilings, living room, dining room, eat-in kitchen, sun-room, 3 bedrooms, 1 and 1/2 baths, and full attic. We live in the basement: 6 foot ceilings, bedroom and living room, plus fridge and shelves in laundry room. Why not the bedrooms upstairs? She is a hoarder and has filled the entire house with her “treasures”.

    We compensate by decluttering our space to the bare minimum because we see how real clutter takes over life and freedom. You can become trapped into believing material things are what life is about and worry about your stuff (where to put it, how to move it, the labor of finding something lost in the stuff, not knowing what happened to your stuff, losing all your stuff in a fire)all the time.

    I’d love to know how to help her.

    Meanwhile my style is about vibrant color (reds, oranges, and yellows in living room and shamrock green in the bedroom). I am a former grad student and college English instructor with a library of books and no place to keep them, so I have embarked on the great sell off on half.com. They are my children, but I can find their info online or in a library so I am all about setting them free now. If they come back, well, as the saying goes, I can give them away again to someone who lives farther away.

  28. posted by Janet on

    Janet again – I just wanted to post that I love the image up in your banner of the guy with the vacuum on his face. It’s just so true that we’re brainwashed to think we need tons and tons of stuff – and we DON’T. We need to rid ourselves of all the preconceived notions and open our bleeping eyes! I just get so sick of all the consumerism and advertisements telling me what I need.

    I’d rather people just put some conscious thought into what they do and do not need… and how to best organize their environment to suit them, rather than the other way around.

    I can’t tell you how frustrating it is to have to go to the other side of the house to get something that you constantly need in your current spot. Why not just store it there? “Because we’ve been storing it on the other side of the house for 20 years now and that’s it’s spot!”

    So, consequently, I like articles about items that can serve more than one function, and how to organize task areas – like keeping your ironing board, iron, and sewing kit all in the laundry room so you have a “one stop shop” .

  29. posted by Natasha on

    I’m at 22 year old (soon to be graduated) student of Philosophy and photographer from Boise, Idaho. My true passion is literature. My husband of 4.5 years and I are moving to Seattle in a month and a half, as soon as I graduate. I’m keeping a blog of the move. I was pretty poor growing up, but still very materialistic because it seemed that all my friends growing up were really wealthy. Now that I’m a grown-up, I’m very interested in paring things down. I am most interested in learning to declutter office and paper stuff, (the kind I have to keep), and devices/tools/pieces that are multifunctional. My design style is zen-modernized-craftsman style. But, I live in tiny apartments where I can’t paint nor hang very many things up, so I usually end up “decorating” with my piles of books.

  30. posted by Andrew on

    I’m 25, engaged, BS Mechanical Engineering, working on an MS in Operations Research. I’m a member of the armed forces; so I know I’ll be moving at least 4 times in the next 16 years; so anything that helps me minimize the “stuff” I carry around will make my life much simpler in the long run.

  31. posted by Faculties on

    I’d like less about products on Unclutterer, and more about simplifying and the mindset of Uncluttering. One type of article I could do with less of is the one where we were all instructed to go get our sweaters dry-cleaned and then to put them in storage. If I had free time on my hands, I could think of two or three hundred things I “ought” to do, and being told five more of them just makes me feel overwhelmed. Another thing I could do with less of is articles on less clutter of cords for electronics. All in all, the cords in my house are not a big source of stress. If someone has gotten to the point where cords are one of their worst household issues, they’re free and easy. Tackling the big stuff and the everyday accumulation is more of an issue for me.

  32. posted by Martin on

    Hey there. Don’t usually say anything, but your site’s a fav, and since you asked…:)

    37, living commonlaw with my spouse of 10 years. Desired content from your site is more of the same; I find almost everything at least interesting, and much of it very useful. I’d like more about the psychology of clutter. My spouse is a hoarder, mostly due to her emotional attachments to everything from books she’s read to subway tickets she got while travelling in France. The fact she doesn’t subscribe to purging and I do is a significant cause for stress and unhappiness for me. That, and with our limited space, we can’t designate zones for one another.

    That said, I’ve implemented your advice when I could. One of the ones that really stuck was the entry about alternative wallets. Not only was my wallet nearly an inch thick, I used to carry it in my back pocet. Since, I went out and got an Umbra Bungee Wallet which is thin enough to fit in my front pocket (my chiropractor loves thanks you too) and forces me to carry only the essentials. I’ve done this ever since I read the entry and I have never once missed all the up until then “essential” items I was carrying. Weirdly, that was the hook that gives me hope for the other, bigger things, like my office space.

    My personal philosophy would likely entail having our aprtment burn down and starting from scratch :). But failing that, I want to learn to let go more. I tend toward emotional attachments, too. So, I want to learn to put the value of things into my heart rather than into the object. That’s a good way to go, and the average human heart has more room than you’d imagine. :)

    Thanks for a useful and terrific little blog.

  33. posted by allen on

    This is weird to type. :P

    I’m a 27yo male, living in Madison, WI. I grew up in Oshkosh, WI, and moved down here for college. Still haven’t finished yet, but hope too in the realative future. I’m working full time doing software testing. I bought my first place last May; a 2 bedroom condo.

    I came here becuase I am by habit not a very organized or clean person. Ask ANYONE in my life. But, i’m trying to be better, if only to lower my stress. I like the look and feel of wood, and love pizza. However, since my condo is an old air force base unit, and thus made out of concrete, and i am trying to loose weight, neither wood nor pizza are things i can use all that often anymore. :[

    I have no problem with doing handy-work in my place, but it is SO HARD to get the time to get anything done. Being single hurts in alot of ways, i think, since cleaning up the dishses for two takes just as much time as for one, for example.

    i guess i’m just looking for tips on how to get my adult life going without so much crap just laying around. the cleaning chores just seem to get away from me. :P

    I’m not sure what else you’d like to know? Oh, i love to cook.

  34. posted by shawnna on

    I’m a 24 yr old from Massachusetts: small town girl moved to the big city. I’ve moved 15 times since 2001, so I know the value of not lugging around unnecessary items. I fear for my best friend, an organized packrat who will be moving out of her apartment of 6 years this summer. My boyfriend and I just moved in together, and I’ve been teaching him the ways of the unclutterer. As we packed up our apartments, we gave each item significant thought, and donated items we had two of combined or items we hadn’t used or didn’t plan on using. Our new place is huge, and we’ve committed ourselves to not letting ourselves grow into the space. We don’t want to more with more than we brought in. We want to live simply and to not have more than what we need. We get bi-weekly deliveries from Boston Organics, who bring us fresh fruit and veggies, and Crescent Ridge Farms, who bring us our milk in glass bottles. The only reason why we have a bag of trash every week is because we don’t want the cats poop lingering any longer than it has to. My mother was a stay at home mom/clean freak, and because of her I can’t leave to go on vacation without scrubbing my home top to bottom, and I can’t stand more than one appliance on the counter at a time. I have the most precious black Persian cat that keeps life interesting.

  35. posted by allen on

    PS: For what it’s worth (and not to start a fight), i have to disagree with Faculties.

    as someone who is just begining, info on new (to me) products are valuble, even if i don’t get it now, it gives me ideas. In addition, for those of us who don’t really know what we’re doing (and my bedroom floor would atest to that), the ideas of what to get going on are helpful. Thanks! :D

  36. posted by Karen on

    I’m 37, and currently live in PA in a small apartment. (However it seems big to me compared to the teeny tiny NY apartment I lived in for 9 years.) Clutter isn’t really my problem, but I’m always interested in finding ways to optimize my space. The less space you have, the more important it is to keep it clutter-free. (On the other hand, I love my “stuff” so complete zen-like simplicity wouldn’t work for me!) Saving money is also a factor, since I’m trying to save for an uncluttered house of my own.

    I’ve tried other organizing blogs, but this is the only one I read regularly. I find it the most useful.

  37. posted by Lucy on

    I have been a freelance writer for 12 years. I love writing and living in my home town.

    I have no children, I am single, and I just turned 60. I cannot imagine my brother or nephews wanting anything that I have ‘saved.’

    I live in an 850-square-foot house that I own. I just bought two Ikea Billy bookshelves for my office in an effort to get my books in one safe place. (I must acknowledge that the floor doesn’t count.) Your recent post on books helped me with that.

    Over the years I have read and reread many books and articles on how to simplify my life and rid myself of stuff. They have inspired and helped me, but when it comes right down to it, sometimes I just get scared or frustrated and walk away.

    My biggest decluttering purge came when I got rid of my television a year ago. My biggest decluttering challenge has come in the past two years as I have moved my mom from a large condo to a one bedroom apartment at a retirement community and just recently to one room in a nursing home. Talk about sentimental clutter! Furniture and odd bits have been given away or sent to the consignment shop. But,I have boxes of family photos and letters dating back to early and mid-1900s. My plan is to try and put them in some sort of imperfect order, but the psychological impact of all that is overwhelming.

    I have a strong desire to live with only what I need. My biggest problem always seems to be with papers – files, postcards, letters (I finally got rid of old birthday cards and letters dating back to my college days), odd bits of wisdom I have written down, thirty-some years of journals…

    Erin, I am inspired by reading your posts even if I don’t implement a suggestion right away. But the ideas do sort of percolate and I will find myself in the middle of clutter angst and some tip or bit of advice will come to me and I am saved.

    It is good to know there are others who are trying to live a harmonious and joyful life with no clutter. Thanks for your good work.

  38. posted by Sean McCoy on

    I’m a 21 year old filmmaker living in Austin, TX. I’m mostly concerned with getting the clutter out of my home office so I can focus on writing, planning, and managing my teams into our various film projects. I love to read about cleaning, organizing, and workspace as these are the most inspirational to me. I’m living in a small studio apartment and have to make the most of my space.

  39. posted by boardmadd on

    Cool, I’ll follow the template :):

    I grew up in San Francisco Bay Area, and call the San Francisco Peninsula home. We own a modest sized house for a family of five (me, wife, three currently pre-teen kids). Hobbies are snowboarding, Scouting, music and Native American crafts and dance. The chore I hate msot is anything where I have to go in the crawl space under the house. The area in my house that could use more order is my office and the garage. My preferred design style is Spanish Mission meets Ikea (LO!L). Sushi and thai are my favorite foods, and I seem to subsist most days on mixed vegetables and Lemon herbal tea. I’m 6’2″ and would find being any taller very inconvenient. Having three kids, Carton Network and I are old friends. What’s more, I tend to be the guilty party when it comes to introducing my kids to Japanese Anime (I’ve hoioked my son on Fullmetal Alchemist and my daughters on Fruits Basket). I have a bit of a surf lilt to the way I speak, some jokingly refer to me as “Ferris Bueller meets Jeff Spicoli”. I’m a serial obsessionists when it comes to my interest. I’m a shave geek and love the pleasures of good smelling Old School shaving creams, pre-shave oils, tonics, and al that, plus I go old schooland use a Merkur DE razor for both the facte and the head (oh, I’m also purposefully bald :) ). My organizational ability comes in waves. Some times I can get everything together, but often I lose focus and it becomes a big mess again. This time around, my goal is to stop the shuffling and just get rid of about 50% of it. I’m an engineer by trade, a long time Scout leader, and one who wants to bring some order to the chaos that surrounds him (well, at least in his office and garage :) ).

  40. posted by Bethany on

    I’m 21 years old, about to start in the “real world”, and about to move into a townhouse with my boyfriend and a friend. Rather than uncluttering, I’m hoping not to have clutter at all in my new house.

    I love any articles about cable clutter. I love electronics so cable clutter can be a big problem for me.

  41. posted by Nancy on

    What content do you want to read?
    I like all of it, really.

    Have you ever taken any of the advice and used it?
    I just read it all and keep it in the back of my mind as I go through life.

    What is your personal philosophy on simple living?
    “It could all be so simple” and “‘Stuff’ is not important.”

    Are you just starting out in a place of your own…?
    I’ve been living in the same house since 1989, with a 2-year absence 1998-99.

    What is important to you?
    Friends, family, peace of mind.

    What is your story?
    I’m 42, live with neatnik spouse, 17-y-o packrat daughter, and 7-y-o pretty normal stepson. Oh, and two longhaired cats, ugh. I’m pretty darn organized but also very relaxed. It’s a nice combination. I work on making our lives as stress-free as they can be, and part of that for me is not having too much stuff. I freecycle lots of things out of the house. I try to do all my business in my neighborhood, the near-east side of Madison, WI. I’m a big fan of the public library and have gotten rid of most of my books except for “comfort fiction” (good in the middle of the night) and frequently used reference.

    For some reason, in the past, I’ve been hired by nonprofits that were in a state of change and needed someone who could put things back in order… have always ended up organizing and weeding out the unnecessary stuff. I think I get it from my german-immigrant mother.

    As for this house, it’s 2100 sq ft and way too big for us once the daughter moves out, but the housing market is so weird I don’t think I can sell it. Sigh. I’d love to have less space to take care of and heat in the winter.

    Also trying to convert my garden to minimum-maintenance due to health issues, but have very little disposable income for such projects. Neighbors around here trade perennials all the time, though, so it’s pretty easy.

  42. posted by Jenna on

    Hi – I’m 23 years old and I am a Masters student living in a large house with her mom. I plan to downsize to a small condo soon yet I have millions of possessions that I am constantly trying to manage and also to maintain so I can easily transfer them to a new home/life. I like to read anything that might aid in this process. I would describe my style as ecclectic slanting towards mid-century minimalism. I am also a hard-surface specifier.

  43. posted by Looby on

    I’m in my late 20’s living with my partner in BC, we moved from the UK 2 years ago with only 3 suitcases between us, but somehow our apartment has been filled since then.
    I used to be quite a hoarder but discovered the joy of purging my stuff before we moved.
    I’d love to see more on how to live an uncluttered life in a small apartment, our bedroom is solely for bedroom activities. But this leaves just one room to act as living area, 2 separate work areas, dining area and craft area. Even when all the surfaces are cleared I feel like there is just too much going on in the space.

  44. posted by Jared Spurbeck on

    I want to see more pictures of uncluttered workspaces. So much inspiration! And not even because of the computer hardware; because I love seeing things organized, and thinking about what would be right for me.

  45. posted by Meghan on

    I’m a 34 year old woman, born and raised in California’s Bay Area. I’m a textile designer and in my free time I like to knit and hang out around the house. My boyfriend and I are engaged, and moving to a small cottage in 2 weeks! I’m excited to have a yard again and spend time reading outside. I am desperate for stories on organization – books, home office, closet space, kitchen, bathroom, etc.

    My main problem is when I come home from work I throw everything I’m carrying on my table and the table and surrounding area is in no time covered with stuff. I really need a new routine and have vowed to change my ways once I move.

    I’ve also been a pack-rat my whole life and still have many things I’ve had since the 70s. I have realized lately that this is ridiculous and I am trying to get rid of a lot of my junk. I am much happier when my place is clean and neat, I just have a hard time keeping it that way. I want to know how neat people stay so neat all the time. I feel like it is an uphill battle for me. It doesn’t help that my fiance is also a messy pack-rat. We are trying to change!

    I’ve only been reading for a few weeks – my incredibly neat friend referred my to your site – but I’ve definitely gotten some good ideas from the posts. Thanks!

  46. posted by Earth Girl on

    I am a 52-y.o. single mom with a 15-y.o. son at home. I found your site while searching the net for ways to unclutter my life and my home. I’m at the end of very long grieving process brought on by the deaths of my parents several other extreme and difficult life changes that all happened in less than a year’s time. From your site I’ve found so many resources that are helping me move on! I’ve spent many years (and more money than I care to calculate) storing things that had a lot of emotional significance but didn’t fit my lifestyle or needs. My home has been over-filled with these things because they reminded me of my loved ones who were no longer around. It’s been a long journey to this point. By reading books and occasional counseling, I’m finally ready to let go of most of “the stuff”. I’ve assigned a certain amount of space in my garage for a few things I plan to keep, and the rest has been sold in garage sales, donated to charity or given to friends and neighbors. A book called “End the Chaos” has taught me how to purge and organize so that I can sort out what I need and what can go. I plan to read Peter Walsh’s “It’s All Too Much” next. All the tips, comments and links on your blog have been a great help to me. Keep up the good work!

  47. posted by JJ on

    I’m a father of 2 with another due in September. Interested in uncluttering as we make room for the new baby. We’re converting our Home Office/Junk Room to a nursery. We’ve gotten rid of a fair amount of junk, but still need somewhere to store the non-junk, so we’re focusing on the GARAGE. I’d love to see ideas on maximizing the storage potential of a two-car garage, including our two cars.

    I subscribe to Unclutterer with Google Reader, reading probably 50-60% of your postings. I prefer the LIST postings, like: http://unclutterer.com/2008/04.....ctivities/

  48. posted by T on

    I read uncluttered because I like to live with less stuff *and* in a smaller space than the average American. This is for economic, environmental and cultural reasons. Currently, I live in a small 2 bedroom condo with my husband and another adult friend who’s rented the second bedroom since before my marriage.

    The content I like the best is focused on having less stuff and on making sure that the stuff you do have has a positive rather than negative impact on your well being (ie, doesn’t overwhelm you and you can find things when you need them!).

    Some content strikes me as funny, though – particularly things that focus on optimizing for a visual minimalist aesthetic at the cost of function (e.g., comments about not storing things under a dresser or the couches because ‘that’s not where stuff is supposed to go': seriously? you try fitting three adults into a 600 sq foot living space without such tricks! Why buy and heat and maintain more house just to avoid something like this?).

    The thing I find the weirdest are how many posts focus on buying (the first weird part – sometimes this feels like a shopping blog!) gadgets that do lots of things at once (the second weird part – I’m generally not a fan of things that try to do multiple disparate functions – particularly at the cost of function, or if it means that every time a single element breaks, the whole thing has to be replaced). It rarely strikes me as either environmentally or economically responsible.

    I think the feeling of creeping commercialism / constant product suggestions is the part that bothers me the most, actually. It feels actually counter to what my goals in reading these pieces are. Overall, though, I enjoy the blog quite a bit – keep up the good work!

  49. posted by kerrybannen on

    Hiya! I’m a 23 year old college student (graduating in may!), majoring in photography and political science. I love this blog because it’s helped me get what little stuff I have organized. Hopefully if I start early, I’ll be able to keep it up. I work as a photographic archivist’s assistant, and I love the articles about keeping both computer files and physical copies organized. Because of my job, it’s hard for me to throw away things, but I’m getting better. Oh, and cable clutter is the bane of my existence.

    Now that my computer is organized, and my filing cabinet is organized, and all the cables that lead to my beloved electronics are getting there.. I’d love for you guys to help me tackle my kitchen. Thanks!

  50. posted by Kate on

    What content do you want to read?
    Keep up the good work. If its not interesting to me, I’ll skip it and enjoy the next blog entry

    Have you ever taken any of the advice and used it?
    Yes

    What is your personal philosophy on simple living?
    I’m trying to detach the emotion of “stuff” and live on less

    Are you just starting out in a place of your own…?
    DH and I are in year 2 of marriage and we’ve been in our home for 13 months so I think we are still starting out

    What is important to you?
    family, friends, fun, giving back, being conscious of what I do as a consumer and person on this planet

    What is your story?
    I found this blog via real simple

    Married, thirty something living in Florida. Trying to rid myself of pack-rat like tendencies I had as a teen. Looking to keep things manageable in the house and not outgrow our 3/2 before we have kids!

  51. posted by Leah on

    This is so interesting to read!

    I am a mid-twenties female, married, living in Florida. I have loved organization my entire life, but only in the last few years has decluttering and downsizing become a bigger part of it. Much of it has to do with moving so many times in recent years (to and from college, first and second apartments after school, and finally our first home!)

    I read this blog every day and love nearly everything in it. I would like to learn more solutions for paper clutter … without the solution being to simply scan everything and file electronically. It is just not practical for me, nor do I want to do it. My biggest paper issue is filing the things that have no real place – things like “this is cool, this is pretty, I love this, I want to remember this …” As organized as I am, I still struggle with this all of the time – I bet other readers do, too.

    Without putting too much thought into it … my personal philosophy is that a neat, organized home is wonderful for the mind and soul, but it should never be more important than being a loving family member/friend and gracious hostess. I love being clean and organized, but it shouldn’t make others uncomfortable around me or in my home. Finding a balance is essential.

    Basic rule: one in, one (or preferably more!) out!

    Nothing is more important to me than my family and friends. They will always be my first priority in life. (Saying this and living this are very different things … and I really do my best to live this philosophy every day). Second to that, organization is like a drug for me. Truly, it’s like crack.

    Exercising, gardening, cleaning out, anything with my husband, driving around on sunny days, enjoying a cold drink on a cool patio, doing the crossword with a huge cup of coffee, watching Harry Potter with my family and a big bowl of popcorn … these are my favorite things to do in addition to the regular hang out with friends, read, watch movies, etc etc.

    Keep up the amazing blog!! Can’t get enough of it.

  52. posted by Harris on

    I check in everyday for your latest declutter/simplify info. I am trying to rid my life of excess, meaningless items, paper, etc. After both my parents passed away, I have had the tough task of sorting through 60 years of “stuff” and deciding what to keep and how to let go of the rest. Not easy.
    My husband, chihuahua and I live in a 1700 sq. ft. home and my plan is to be completely organized this year! We are, with your help, doing great. I sort everything into three piles, keep, toss or take to Goodwill and maybe. The maybe keeps me from having regrets. Eventually most of it goes.
    It is so freeing to have room to breathe, know where everything is and love the things we choose to live with.
    Keep the good ideas coming….any thoughts about attics?

  53. posted by Marissa on

    I am a 22yr old just about to finish college this May in Fresno, California. I will be getting married and moving to LA in August and desire to live a more organized lifestyle. I come from a long history of serious packrats and believe that too much stuff hinders the life I want to live. I hope to kick the habit in my generation, and pass on good habits to the next in my family. I am graduating with a BA in Business and have a secret passion for organization and efficiency. I love to create systems. I am hoping to eventually become a schoolteacher, because we have a need in California for more well-educated and passionate teachers.

    I never comment, but I read Unclutterer everyday and love the new linkup with RealSimple. I love the advice on getting organized, and the stories on specific projects inspire me to take control of my own apartment. Thanks Unclutterer!

  54. posted by JW on

    What is your story?
    I’m 33, living w/ my partner of 10+ years (also 33) and 3 cats in Brooklyn. I’m about a year away from finishing my PhD, and starting to think about getting a “real” job (not a fellowship or adjunct work). We’re both born and raised in the Midwest, where there’s a lot more space, but we’ve made the transition pretty well. For NY, our place–a ~850 sq ft loft apt–is pretty big, anyway. Since we have no walls (except those surrounding the bathroom and single closet) we’ve had to make all the living spaces work together, and it has made us better about keeping things tidy. When we combined households years ago, we had 2 of everything, and we’ve gotten rid of almost all of that–any overlap is in the kitchen. Partner is not naturally organized and likes to make piles but I’m slowly rubbing off on him.

    What content do you want to read?
    I’d be interested in more discussion of re-use of items–green things up a bit ’round here. I’d also like more great ideas on giving “uncluttery” gifts that go beyond edibles and spa certificates.

    Have you ever taken any of the advice and used it?
    I have. Most notably, I’ve started selling unloved books online and made about $250 so far, and you got me to read It’s All Too Much!, which I’m passing on to my pack-ratty mom.

    What is your personal philosophy on simple living?
    “You probably don’t need it.”

    Are you just starting out in a place of your own…?
    We’ve been here for about 5.5 years now. Renting; we can’t afford to buy here, anyway, and I’m going on the job market soon (I hope), so we may be moving in the next year or so–it’s all up in the air. I know I don’t want a big place though.

    What is important to you?
    Living mindfully, enjoying my family, not feeling rushed.

  55. posted by Stacy on

    I’m a 30 yr old mom to an 18 month old. I work from home full-time, as does my husband. With 2 careers of work stuff, a world of baby/toddler stuff, and thinking of having more kids, my husband thinks we need a bigger house. I think that taking care of the one that we have is more than enough, so I’m trying to optimize the existing space. Reading your blog every day helps keep me in the pare-down, unclutter, and optimize space mindset.

  56. posted by HistoricStitcher on

    I’m a recovering packrat.

    A single mom of an 8-yr-old boy, we have 3 cats, and far too much “stuff”. When I divorced a few years ago, I ended up with a truckload (literally) of things we had accumulated during our marriage. I couldn’t deal with it for the longest time, and I have been quite focused on removing all unneccesary things from our lives.

    Simplification is a challenge for me, as I have a lifelong tendency to not throw things away. I love reading about anything to keep me inspired! I love lists and articles with suggestions – I often find something on the list to get me going, and once I’m going, I don’t stop for a while.

    I would love to see more suggestions for parting with “sentimental” things that we keep around for the memories. Those are my worst offenders, by far! (Followed closely by PAPER!)

    Thanks so much for the website! You’ve provided a fabulous resource!

  57. posted by sylrayj on

    I’m a 40-yr-old stay-at-home mom, with a real clutter problem. I learned early on that there wasn’t enough to go around, and that if I needed something, it’d be better if I could find one or make do. I also learned, unfortunately, that if there was so much stuff in my room that you couldn’t readily find what was important to me, my important stuff didn’t get taken, broken, or given away. Also, I have limited physical and emotional ability to deal with the volumes of *stuff* that seems to arrive daily. So, I have far too much clutter.

    I like to read reminders of how good it feels to get rid of clutter. I like the checklists of good things to hang onto, ways to evaluate the other stuff to be sure they’re actually helpful, what to do with the really important things. Tips for easier ways to file information.

    Have I used ideas I’ve read here? Yes. I apply them wherever I can, whenever I can, including my collections of url’s I visit daily. There are always ideas that I can’t use – I have to keep paper records of all therapy reports and the like – but the concepts, to reduce where possible and to use well what is kept, those I try to apply to my life.

    In my free time, and for stress relief, I play online games. And yes, I’m very cluttered there, too! I’m actually finding it a good starting place to learn how to be less cluttered in real life, because there isn’t the same range of things to keep for as many reasons – nobody will audit me and need a receipt from four years back, or require that I prove that my character earned a particular skill level. Also, there’s less storage space, and you can only find a limited number of creative ways to hold more things.

    How can I have less stress? I need to learn how to begin the process of culling, when I have very limited time and space in which to do it. Sometimes, boxing everything up instead of trying to sort it at least means your littlest one isn’t ‘un-sorting it’ and you have a flat clear box top to begin dealing with the paperwork.

  58. posted by Jeannine on

    I am a 26 year old women who loves to shop, and so living a simple life is really a challenge I’ve put before myself to not give into a consumerist society and remember things like nature, people, God and relationships. In this day and age, when we see spoiled children and families in huge debt, I have a hard time reconciling that with my practical farm upbringing. However, there was a lot of waste and over-consuming going on in the house I grew up in. After seeing my mother struggle with clutter for years (affecting our life so much that she hesitated to let us invite friends over because the house was messy — i.e. cluttered).

    I think our generation grew up with parents and grandparents who learned to be pack-rats because they had so little. Today, we have so much, so I think this new idea of de-cluttering your life is essential. I don’t want the pendulum to swing the other way too far, but I do desire a simple, efficient and fuss-free home for my family.

    I am also newly-engaged and have moved into my fiance’s house. I’m determined not to get caught up in the bridal registering and decorating a new house too much so we end up with a house full of stuff we don’t want, use or need. I utilize Craigslist and eBay a lot to get rid of old stuff and my fiance and I set that money aside for “new” purchases we use to decorate the house. Consequently, all the re-decorating I’ve done has been fully funded by getting rid of clutter! My fiance jokes that I am a bulemic shopper – I love to buy and I love to purge. I don’t think I’m that bad, though. I’m trying harder and harder to be a smart consumer, and only buy what I love and will use, and keep, for years to come. And I want to get rid of not-so-smart purchases that I don’t use or love.

    Also, this is the first blog I’ve ever logged onto on a daily basis. I love it!!! It’s become part of my routine.

  59. posted by Denise B on

    I’m a 24-year old pollster/consultant/human rights activist/writer, the daughter of a chartered accountant father with a penchant for labelling and a hippy mother who likes relaxation not materialism. I don’t know which side of me this blog appeals to, but I’m a week-old visitor who is now addicted.

    I’m an organization guru who likes this blog because it offers amazing advice about how to live frugally, comfortably, and beautifully. More than anything else, however, when I visit, I feel like I’m in a judgement-free “e-home” with like-minded folk. cheers and thanks.

  60. posted by T in CA on

    I’m a twenty-something Californian. Born and raised here, and loving every minute of it. I’m an accountant, a girly-girl, a passionate bulldog owner. A divorcee enjoying my second chance at life. A lover of living in small spaces. New to having a roommate, and negotiating how to live and decorate with another person. 950 square feet (plus yard) between the two of us, my 65 lb dog, and each of our significant kitchen collections.

    I have a family history of pack rats, so have wanted to stop that cycle. I’ve been way better things to inspriring people like you. It’s made me a happier and more fullfilled person. This weekend I donated 5 bags of clothing to goodwill, and that freeing feeling is becoming addictive. I’ve donated like half my “stuff” in the past year and a half. And I still feel like there’s too much “stuff.” Learning to remove emotions from possessions has been key for me. And learning to buy/consume less we alllll need to do!

    I love your practical suggestions here. I love pictures of ways to organize. I love insprirational stuff like that. The psychology behind hoarding is wayyy fascinating.

  61. posted by Joe on

    What content do you want to read?
    I would like to see more articles at keeping normal things less cluttered. This includes furniture designed to un-clutter, keeping things from be tangled, and nifty how-to ideas.

    Have you ever taken any of the advice and used it?
    Not yet. My life is too busy.

    What is your personal philosophy on simple living?
    The more stuff you own, the more it owns you!

    Is there something we’ve discussed that you want us to explore more intensely?
    I can’t think of anything right now.

    Are you just starting out in a place of your own or are you on the verge of downsizing into an active retirement community?
    I am about to get married in August (check my website) and I will be moving into a place that is about 2-3 times bigger than what I live in currently. Most of my stuff will go to Goodwill or yard sales because it is mainly college leftovers.

    I’m too busy to answer the rest right now… Sorry

  62. posted by winkleperi on

    I’m a 34-year-old graduate student living in the Madison, WI. Until recently, I thought I loved living with lots of stuff, but I’ve realized lately how unproductive clutter is. I’ve noticed, too, that my dog, much less my roommate and I, can barely maneuver around all of my (and her) stuff. I’ve always taken on too many jobs and projects, which makes it impossible to keep things neat and clean. Or, rather, I always choose to be outside (even in below twenty degree weather) than indoors organizing and cleaning. Spring is my enemy.

    I have used advice from the site; in fact, I have begun paring down objects I’ll take with me in my next move. I’ve kept your recent article on paring down in mind every time I question myself about why I have an object. My goal is to get rid of close to half my stuff in my next garage sale and subsequent move.

    The only thing I’ve seen on this site that I haven’t liked is what I take to be an obvious Amazon ad (see my recent comment after your toilet paper post if you want to see what I mean). I’d be willing to bet that the person who wrote that post is an ad man, and I was very upset by how not environmentally and economically friendly that post was. I’d rather just see a continual Amazon ad on your site.

    What I like are practical posts that give us things to think about (such as the meaning of objects in our lives) and specific ways to reduce clutter/change our environments. In particular, I enjoyed that you included photos/descriptions of the objects you chose to keep. I like the research-driven articles posted on the site, too.

  63. posted by deano on

    Love this blog… My curiosity of other unclutterer readers has kept me riveted to the comments here.

    I’m a new dad of two very young kids (6 months and two years). Trying to balance between giving my wife all the help she needs and helping to keep the house uncluttered of the constantly-rotating age-appropriate clothes, toys, and gear. Our attic, which we’re grateful for, has become a very organized stack of Rubbermaid bins labeled by age range.

    I love my shredder! I love it so much you hate it in comparison to me! ;-)

    Unfortunately, we have a spot in our kitchen affectionately dubbed the “black hole” because things go in it and can never be found again. I’m trying to help my (frazzled) wife (and myself too) to think about an item and figure out a best place for it before it goes into the “black hole”. Or to be realistic about expectations of [reading|filing|storing|doing-something-with] whatever it is.

    Someday when the kids are a bit more self-sufficient, I hope to tackle some of the weekend projects you suggest. (I know, stalling, but it sure is tough these days).

    Thanks Erin & co for your wisdom and prodding…

  64. posted by Sue on

    I’m changing my lifestyle. I am scatterbrained, disorganized, prone to losing things and a pack rat. This is not how I want to live or how I want to raise my boys to live. The RSS feed of Unclutter lives in a prominent spot on my homepage (right beside Zen Habits) and I read it daily.

    I like to see practical content that I can apply to my goals. My favorites recently were “Saying Farewell to a Hobby” and “Bringing Your Bookshelves Back to Order.” The spring cleaning tips were fabulous. And I’ve made good use of ideas from “Staying Organized with Binder Clips.” Thank you! :D

  65. posted by gothmom on

    What content do you want to read? – Mostly I enjoy reading about organizational techniques and ways to declutter.

    Have you ever taken any of the advice and used it? I read GTD and have started applying those principles at work with a long term goal of tackling my personal life with it as well.

    What is your personal philosophy on simple living? I think that a single person can do this the easiest. Having children and a husband means compromising with many minds and sets of sentimentality. My husband has 2 monstrous pieces of awful furniture he inherited from his grandparents and he will never give them up. There are hundreds of books I’d love to get rid of that I may not touch- likewise with stuffed animals and clothes that don’t fit them. They refuse – and for the limits of family harmony – clutter is reigning supreme in my household.

    Is there something we’ve discussed that you want us to explore more intensely? I’d like you to discuss ways to make decluttering less emotional and how to get others on-board with it.

    Are you just starting out in a place of your own or are you on the verge of downsizing into an active retirement community? I’m living in a too-small apartment waiting for the moment I’ll be able to move to a bigger place – hopefully a house – and I do a lot of daydreaming about how to make that future space super.

    What is important to you? family, creativity, fun.

    What is your story? I grew up in a cluttered house – the kind that this blog warns us is a sign of mental illness, firetraps and all things evil and bad. I didn’t learn growing up how to organize, keep things clean, etc. – how to make it a part of daily life – so all of those things for me are daunting tasks and require much more effort and come with emotional baggage as well.

    What do you do in your free time and how can I help you to have less stress? I make things. I must be creating all the time in order to be happy. Now, what to do with what I create?

  66. posted by Smokey on

    Hi,

    I enjoy your blog because I live in a very small house. I do not care about cord clutter!

    I like to think of ways I and my friends can arrange our living spaces to be comfortable and naturally usable.

    I think one component that’s missing from your blog is an environmental ethic, and I’m NOT talking about “green” products and changing out lightbulbs. I’m talking about inventorying our lives, and running our households in a way that is unstressful, unwasteful, and yes, frugal. I think cooking from scratch, composting, city-scale waste diversion programs, car-free living or bicycling, reducing driving, using public transit, to name a few things, could all be taken up here. They reduce our impact on the earth, reduce your number of posessions, reduce stress, and hlep us make time to do other things (like reading on the bus, combining exercise with your commute, making family time while cooking meals, etc).

    I also wish that the phrase “throwing things away” could be changed to something like “finding new homes” – something that suggests recycling, re-gifting, re-using. I hate to think of perfectly good products going to the dump and that may be the main reason I refuse to accumulate things I might not use!

    I **really** like your gift guides – bravo!

    Finally, please unclutter your description of the unitasker Wednesday. You don’t need to “humorously poke fun at” something. It’s either humorous or you’re poking fun at it. If it’s funny, you don’t need to say so.

    Nice blog, keep up the good work.

  67. posted by Susan on

    Thanks, Erin, I think this is a great idea!

    What is your story?
    I am 31 years old, work as an emergency physician in Northern California. Work is always hectic and complex so I try to keep home organized and simple. I have always been neat but find myself falling into the habit of “stuff” (especially electronics, don’t ask how many iPods I have… the answer is three and yes, I use all of them!). My husband likes “stuff” too (our three car garage is his workshop and he’s planning to build a shed for… well, more workshop space.)

    What content do you want to read? Have you ever taken any of the advice and used it?
    I absolutely use the tips on your blog and especially the stuff on how to make technology work for you. I am constantly trying to pare down our stuff so anything on that topic is great.

    Are you just starting out in a place of your own…?
    My husband and I have our own house, in general, that is way to big for the two of us and our two cats. It’s relatively neat at this time but hopefully there will be some kids in the future to help messy/clutter up the house some more..

    What do you like to do in your free time and how can I help you have less stress?
    I like to play games, bop around the internet (reading Unclutter.com of course), read, learning new things (I taking a welding class right now and it’s fantastic, except, of course, all the clutter from a new hobby). How to help have less stress? Just keep the blogs coming so I can keep reading!

  68. posted by Beverly on

    Oh my, I must be your oldest reader! I’m 59, almost 60, a Nurse Practitioner in Florida. I love your blog and read it every day. I am interested in ways to keep organized, which to me means keeping things accessable as well as stored. Visual clutter makes me overstimulated so I’m always looking for ways to battle that, although I don’t like things too bare either, I’m not a minimalist. I live in a typical 3/2 home with pool but no basement or attic (read: minimal storage). My husband created a home office out of the powder room. My office is in the 3rd bedroom (one of our kids is still at home)and my sewing is there too. Our biggest challenge is books, we buy way too many and hate to get rid of them, it’s an emotional attachment. We’re working on it.

  69. posted by Red on

    Reading all these comments is fabulous! Always nice to read what others’ stories are.

    I am closing in on 30, married for about two years to a wonderful ogre, and have a wonderful husky/shepherd mix dog. We currently live in a fairly small apartment in Minneapolis and are hoping to move into our first home within the next month or so. Yes, we are up-sizing in preparation of an expanding family. I’ve been reading Unclutterer pretty much since the blog began.

    Schedules rule my world. I used to maintain several and it was hard to follow – in the past three years or so I have consolidated down to one master schedule where I track my work, volunteering, home, and social calendars. I try my best to keep things organized so even my scatter-brained partner can find something if he needs it.

    Many of the ideas listed here are things I’m already doing – which reinforces everything. I’ve been sending links to friends and family regarding their life changes so they can declutter their lives as well. In fact, with our upcoming move, I’ve been following Matt’s columns quite closely. Interesting to see his family downsize as we move into a home that is twice the size of our current one (and yet I still want to donate all the wedding presents we haven’t used yet!).

    I believe that living the simple life doesn’t mean you aren’t involved in everything you want. It’s about choices and balance and having a quiet, comfortable place to rest when you’re done for the day.

    This blog is a staple for me. Something to read over lunch while at work to keep me focused on leading the simple life.

  70. posted by MamaBird/SurelyYouNest on

    What content do you want to read?

    I love pretty much everything you write and I am not even a huge panderer.

    Have you ever taken any of the advice and used it?

    Sort of. I am a horribly messy person (I think it’s a genetic disposition) but I am pretty good at freecycling and I am taking your structural advice, ie trying to set up systems to help me instead of just reacting to the clutter. In other words, resigning myself to the fact that my workspace *is* my living room loveseat.

    What is your personal philosophy on simple living?

    Live simply so that others may simply live. Stuff is just stuff.

    Is there something we’ve discussed that you want us to explore more intensely?

    Systems, like I said. Spell out how your organized brain works so that I can figure out how to organize my life. I love creativity but also believe that in organization and simplicity lie beauty and freedom. Like my dad the mathematician would say, fractals are beautiful. Anyhoo, I was a teacher. Phonics, grammar, spelling, these explicit rules helped the kids who didn’t intuitively grasp language arts. Spell out organization in that way for me plz.

    Are you just starting out in a place of your own or are you on the verge of downsizing into an active retirement community?

    Have lived in the same rowhouse in DC (neighbors!) for 8 years except for a 6 month stint in which we packed everything into the attic and lived in California. Good decluttering exercise, btw.

  71. posted by Kayla on

    I stumbled upon unclutterer from gaia.com. I’m a student about to start her first semester of college in the fall, and I’ve been using you strategies (esp workspace and bedroom organization) to get rid of some things I dont need, and arrange the things i do in such a way that everything stays tidy. Using the tips on this site for the past month or so has really cut down my overall cleaning time!

  72. posted by Allison on

    I’m a 28-year-old Canadian. I’ve lived all over Canada, but now I call Montreal home. My preferred design style is vintage cottage (but no busy florals or knick-knacky clutter). As for chores, I love hanging laundry out on the line (but I’m not so good about the folding it and putting it away). I love baking/cooking, reading, and art… all of which create clutter. I work from home (a small flat) doing some technical writing/editing, but now I’m focusing on my artistic pursuits and making greeting cards. Because of the latter, I’m interested in good craft/workspace organization solutions (but I love looking at pretty kitchen pictures too).

    I have used some of your advice for reducing the number of books that I own… books are the hardest thing for me to part with. I also remember some helpful wardrobe planning articles back when you first started.

  73. posted by Michele on

    I’m a 41 y.o. married mom to two dogs, and I recently started my blog so I could work at home while on leave from graduate school. We purchased a major fixer upper at the end of 2005 which was packed with junk left from the previous owner. In addition to mold, asbestos and termites, we needed pretty much everything else – new roof, kitchen, bath, flooring, windows, doors, paint, landscaping, etc. You name it, we did or will do it. The remodeling timeline was badly botched by one of our contractors, so things are still pretty messy here.

    I am an amateur organizer – I love to tackle projects around my house and help friends with their projects. I love to read anything related to organizing, decluttering, simplicity, productivity, etc. I find it inspiring and it keeps my mind in the right place. I have especially loved your personal story of downsizing your house and would love to see more on that – why you did it, how you decided, how long it took you to decide, was anything painful about it, any regrets, how you are progressing, adjustments you had to make, etc.

  74. posted by boxofbirds on

    I’m a 28 year old artist and designer living in Seattle. I recently moved in to a somewhat minimalist modern townhouse with my partner. I love to purge and sort and having limited storage certainly helps us get rid of stuff and declutter, but I still feel like there is more I could be doing.

    My current clutter problems are my mountains of art supplies and other items in my closet that don’t necessarily fit neatly into boxes, canvases, large sheets of paper, printmaking tools, framing supplies, etc. They’re odd sizes make it difficult to fit everything properly in the closet in an accessible way.

    I’ve used a few tips on this site and am currently making my way through the archives. Even if I don’t use the tips it is nice to read about others who share the urge to live a simple, relatively stuff-free lifestyle. Thanks!

  75. posted by Elena on

    I am a 26 year old married woman. I live in a beautiful townhouse in South Florida with my husband and no kids or pets. I like to read the Weekend Assignment to get ideas, although I don’t usually do the exact suggestion. I look to Unclutterer for inspiration and motivation to keep me on the path to organization. i.e. The pictures of Erin’s office closet inspired me to buy bins and store each type of craft in a separate one. Unitasker Wednesday is always good for a laugh. The articles on organizing your computer (favorites, files, etc) were very helpful and got me started. Simple living is about doing whatever it is that makes you happy, while being able to easily find the tools to do that thing. For me, those things are photography and crafts. It would be great to explore the area of organizing bathroom products like makeup, skincare, body care, hair care, for someone who is perhaps a little bit of a product junkie. In my free time I work on my home organization resolution, decorate my newly decluttered home, craft, and spend time with friends & family. Your site is in my top 3 favorite blogs!!!

  76. posted by Megan on

    I’m a 27 year old mother of an almost 1 year old, who doesn’t get a lot of time to organize and clean, but would really love to. I’m living vicariously through this blog and others like it. DH and I are renting a very small townhouse while between houses. We just sold a medium sized house, and are shopping for a bigger one (with more bedrooms for our growing family, but hopefully not for all of our junk), but the process of moving, as well as living in this tiny place has made me really think about all of the stuff we have accumulated and don’t need or use. I don’t want that to happen again in our next house.

    I am also motivated to become more organized from becoming a parent. I grew up in a very cluttered home, and never learned to be organized. I don’t want that for my son, so I need to start learning now and set a good example for him as he grows up.

  77. posted by Jill on

    I’m a 29-year-old librarian. I rent the second, smaller bedroom of a small 2-bedroom apartment. My space is the bedroom, a small walk-in closet, and a bathroom. I also get half the pantry and half the kitchen drawers & cupboards, and I put a bookshelf in the kitchen. That’s it! And I have too much STUFF in that small amount of space. I have lots of books and papers and household goods and so forth, plus all the gear that goes with:

    Tae Kwon Do
    Container gardening on my itty-bitty balcony
    Flight school (I’m getting a pilot’s license)
    Cooking & baking for pleasure and sustenance
    Camping & hiking
    Photography
    & Sewing

    As you can see see, I try to do too much. Most of my relatives are extreme over-achievers and pack-rats. So is my roommate. I am trying not to be, but my living space, my work, & my leisure are all CLUTTERED. I can’t find anything. I forget stuff. I run late. Ack!

    This is not how I want to live. I want to live simply and contentedly and generously and eco-friendly, without every activity being a struggle and with the time and resources available to do good.

    I am trying to change my ways. I am engaged in a struggle to the death with my clutter, and it’s not always clear who is winning. I discovered your blog recently and want to start putting many of these ideas into practice. The first hurdle is uncluttering my time, so that I have time to work on uncluttering everything else.

    I like posts with practical projects & tips that help me toward my uncluttering goals. I also like posts that delve into the whys of uncluttering- like saving the Earth in large & small ways, or making a happier life, or teaching others (like our kids) by good example.

  78. posted by M.R. on

    I am a 34 year old female living in an apartment in Atlanta with a male roommate. I also have a boyfriend who pretty much stays over all the time…so I have him around too (but not his stuff, thank you, Sweet Lord, because he collects action figures and comic books and his place looks like a hard drive grave yard. It is to the point where it stresses me out to go over there.) Anyway, I came to your site looking for ways to help him. But since the only person I can change is myself, I use your tips a lot.

    My place is just big enough, but we have very little storage. I try not to gather too many things, but I wish I had a someplace other than my bedroom closet to keep things like my fold-up chair and my hula hoop. Truthfully, when I buy a place of my own this year, it will probably be about the same size as I have now. Since free-standing homes inside the Perimeter in Atlanta are outrageously expensive, I will probably never have a garage…which might be better in the long run anyway.

    I have used several of the the tips, like just rounding up all the do-dads, tchotchkis and knick knacks and getting rid of the ones that “don’t represent me anymore.” I try to recycle, FreeCycle, and eBay everything I think I can live without. I don’t typically ready the posts about electronics because I refuse to own a computer since I am on one all day at work. You would not believe how much this unclutters my TIME.

    My real problem is shoes, purses, hats and jewelry. If you could post about that, I would love you for it.

    As I had mentioned in a earlier comment, I ask friends to give me consumable or non tangible gifts if they are dying to give me a gift for some reason. This has really cut down on “stuff in the apartment” as a whole.

    My clutter weaknesses are photo albums(at least they’re organized!)and my ‘Strohblumen-Muster’ dishes from Germany. I don’t want to get rid of them because I just adore them…and I think that’s some stuff I can live with.

    Keep up the great work!

  79. posted by Christine on

    I’m 36, living in the Princeton, NJ area and found your blog through decor8.com. My husband and I recently moved into a much bigger house, and so your posts have been really relevant for us as we figure out our new space. As mentioned by other commenters, I would be interested in seeing more “success stories of uncluttering.”

  80. posted by Barbara on

    Sure rang a lot of bells, dintja? I love this blog, need constant gentle prodding.

    I’m a poor but poverty-stricken widow, artist, moved recently from huge house in southern city to average 100 yr old fixer in teeny town in IL. Made the move in middle of clinical depression – no choice there on timing – had lived in previous home 35 years raising 6 kids and thought I had got rid of what needed to go before move. Way wrong. Brought far more of my past and present along than is needed. Depression is gone – for which I should thank decluttering sites and advice taken a wee bit at a time. Not finished but well along.

    Getting rid of stuff and organizing what remains is freeing. Facing the fact that it may take me 2 more years to get the house under control – repairs and patching and prepping and painting are underway, I do a bit most days. I’ll stop with a quote I ran across somewhere recently that I love:

    Life is 5% joy, 5% grief, and 90% maintenance.

    Pretty much sums it up!

  81. posted by Prolific Programmer on

    : What content do you want to read?

    I’d like some tips on organising papers so they are easily accessible and don’t cause a mess. At the moment, I’ve taken to scanning them in as PDFs and putting them into a lucene search engine.

    : Have you ever taken any of the advice and used it?

    Haven’t been reading this blog long enough.

    : What is your personal philosophy on simple living?

    Complexity is a part of life. Simple living is impossible in today’s world. However, complexity does not necessarily imply chaos.

    : Is there something we’ve discussed that you want us to
    : explore more intensely?

    I refer to the answer to the second question above.

    : Are you just starting out in a place of your own or are : you on the verge of downsizing into an active
    : retirement community?

    Starting out in a place of me own.

    : What is important to you?

    Again, managing the flow of information in and keeping it readily accessible.

    : What is your story?

    I’m a project manager at a software company in Silicon Valley. I also do a lot of programming on the side.

    : What do you do in your free time and how can I help you
    : to have less stress?

    You can help me by giving tips on (again) managing information coming in, quickly categorising and filing it away. Remembering key points is not as important for me, though.

  82. posted by infmom on

    I found your site through a link on Lifehacker and subscribed to the feed first thing. While I don’t necessarily use every bit of advice, I have certainly found the philosophy appealing. You speak my language. :)

    I’m 57 and married to a 61-year-old pack rat. He has real issues with getting rid of paper. Magazines, documents, check stubs, books, you name it. I’m no organizational queen by any means, but at least I go through stuff a few times a year and get rid of as much of the extraneous junk as I can. The Salvation Army and the public library give me nice tax deductions every year.

    We plan to move from the Los Angeles area to a nice small town somewhere else in a few years. Both of us grew up in small towns, and while we have been very happy in California the past 25 years we both feel like it’s time to start planning to move on. The process will, of course, involve dealing with a lifetime of Stuff. We have a garage and outside storage room full of boxes and miscellaneous items. Some of it belonged to my late mother. Some of it belongs to our adult children. It all needs to be dealt with. One of the things I like most about this site is the practical ideas for dealing with Too Much Stuff.

    A couple years ago I was on an extended leave-of-absence from work and discovered that I really enjoyed the process of going through everything in the storage room, box by box, and dealing with the contents, really dealing with them, for the first time ever. There were some boxes that hadn’t been touched since our first move as a couple in 1974! I felt really good when it had all been dealt with (a process that took weeks). Once I was back to work, clutter started accumulating out there again. I ended up taking early retirement from that job and now I have time to start the process all over again.

    What I need most is inspiration!

  83. posted by Kelsey on

    I’m a soon to be 20 year old college student living on campus. After I began reading this blog I cut back on a lot of my possessions. Two more years I’ll be moving in and out of school, so having minimal possessions is GREAT. I live on the fourth floor of my building as an RA, and will be living in the same room next year, so moving a bunch of stuff up and down the steps is hard. Thankfully I used the extra bed as a couch instead of having to lug one up. After graduation I’ll be getting married, so we will have to figure out what we collectively have.

    I’ve always liked organization, but I haven’t always been organized in every aspect of my life-something that I’ve been trying to fix. I’ve been organizing different rooms and offices on campus, helping wherever I can, giving advice to anyone who wants it. It’s been a lot of fun!!

  84. posted by Sarah on

    I am mostly naturally a clutter free type; loathing nick knacks, packratting, and unitaskers. But I still struggle to find what a reasonable number of items to keep might be. How many jackets, cookie sheets, blankets, etc. do I really need? Some, but not too many.

    For example, I cleaned out my linen closet and had 12 raggedy spare towels. I know I need at least ONE for messy tasks such as wiping dirty dog paws. Yet, I am sure 12 towels was more than I needed. So, how many to get rid of? In the end I settled on keeping 4, but I wish I had a better decision process than picking a random number.

  85. posted by Martin on

    I am a 42 year old vegetarian computer geek with a house that most people who read Unclutterer would probably pass out if they saw. But I’m making a start with the help of unclutterer.
    I now have my phone / gadget chargers hidden in a box with the leads on top ready for charging my numerous gadgets. I have stopped moving my junk around and started just assigning places for things. I think my next big purge is going to have to be the expulsion of the video tapes (recording medium from the 1970s used for films and home recording).
    I’m in the UK so I’m having to translate some of the terms.

  86. posted by Catherine on

    I’m 35 and live with my hsuband and two cats outside of Philadelphia. The main reason I started reading Unclutterer is because we are moving to France in September of this year and I will be getting rid of the majority of my stuff – stuff that’s followed me around for many years. The main inspiration I get from this site is the knowledge of how to reduce my emotional attachment to things, and subsequently the most helpful post I’ve read is a recent one, the one with the questions you ask yourself when figuring out if you should keep something. My stakes are somewhat higher – I’m trying to figure out which items are worth paying to ship across the ocean! Anyway, thanks for a great site and I will keep reading.

  87. posted by Kathy@brazoscowgirl on

    Well I am so surprised to know you can pluck a chicken and milk a cow. I can milk a goat and feed a chicken. I was raised a big city girl, I married a farmer. My life is about the quest of simplicity. I am far from being there, farmers gather stuff where ever they go. But my dream is to get there sooner rather than later. I love animals, but I come here to read about ideas that would make my life simpler and cleaner in design without a big cost factor.

  88. posted by Nancy on

    I’m a 38 year old mom, student and full-time worker. I work as a manager of a popular bookstore. I’m graduating in June with a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Management. Over the past few years while in school and working full-time and now caring for my son, my apartment has become a horrible, unorganized mess. I found Unclutterer while searching for help and tips online. I added you to my Google Reader and read you everyday. I’ve gotten a lot of inspiration from here and some great tips. My fiance, my son and I live in a small one bedroom apartment in the San Francisco area. We both are artists and crafters and have way too much stuff. I’m currently chronicling my uncluttering process on my blog, but my blog was lost today during a WordPress upgrade. I’m hopeful I will get it back up soon. Thanks for sharing your tips on simple living and uncluttering!

  89. posted by supersocco on

    36 male in Canada
    – Live common law with a 3rd generation pack-rat.
    – Years of frustration
    – Decided to focus on myself first ( instead of blaming everything on my girlfriend ).
    – My room now gets compliments when friends come over, her room is still a mess most of the time.

    Key things I have learned from this site:
    1) De-clutter a little bit every day.
    2) Every thing has a home
    3) Stack only 3 high
    4) Get into pajamas 1/2 hour before bed after putting days clothes in laundry hamper or closet

    Personal mantras:
    A) Would this room be in a magazine?
    B) Try to spend money only on things that will appreciate
    C) No knick knacks, period.

    I come to this site almost every day to try to reinforce myself to keep plugging away at de-cluttering.

  90. posted by drkimme on

    I’m a 32 year old Neuroscientist living in Vancouver, Canada. I’m not from anywhere as my dad was in the army. I’ve moved >15 times in my life, and went to 8 different schools growing up, not including all the post-secondary institutions i’ve attended. For many years, I lived with the idea that everything I owned had to be ‘out on display’. I loved ‘things’. After moving around so much during my undergrad and grad studies (including a move for 2 years to the UK to do a post-doc), I started to limit my belongings, purging with every move. One of my close friends, when I was considering what to bring to England, pointed to my head and said “all you need is right here.” Now, I truly believe that an uncluttered life is crucial for an uncluttered mind (I guess that’s my personal philosophy on living simply). I try to limit my possessions, and I also LOVE organizing things. If I had to do my career all over again, I’d help ppl organize their lives: interior and exterior.
    :) k.

  91. posted by megan on

    I’m a 28-year-old from the “great plains” who is in the process of moving to our second home just 5 blocks away; I have greatly appreciated the moving-related posts as of late. I love local microbrews and farmers markets. I’m afraid of You-Tube and motivational speakers.

    I enjoy your posts which pertain to streamlining “collections” such as clothes and kitchen items. My greatest clutter challenge lies in the collections that I can’t help but hoard: music, photos and recipes. I’m thrilled that I’ve been able declutter by converting my stacks of CDs and photo albums to digital formats, though I had to start my own recipe software company to tackle the pile of magazines and cookbooks (I hope Unclutterer discovers us someday).

    I love that you guys aren’t preachy and that you make people understand that organized people are not obsessed, we’re just trying to make our lives more peaceful and serene. Keep up the good work, even when it means telling us your own faults (sock drawer).

  92. posted by supersocco on

    Also, all my friends know that any gifts must be consumable. Either I can eat it, or drink it. And I hate cards. Don’t waste time on a card as it will be recycled within a week. :)

  93. posted by MB on

    I’m a 42 year old stay at home mom of two girls. I’m just finishing my 1st year of grad school to start the next stage of my life. My husband got me reading Unclutterer and together we are trying to be more conscious of the choices we make.

    I’ve enjoyed your moving segments since we are in that process right now.

    The advise that we have embraced the most is going paperless, or at least close to paperless! This has been probably the most liberating experience of my life… seriously.

    I don’t want to lead the blog in a certain direction because what helps me the most is usually finding out something I did not even think about. I am a visual person so I like the workspace or other pics. So… keep on doing what your doing.

  94. posted by lionel (acid42) on

    37 year old husband with a messy desk, and no impetus to clean it, partly because I can’t really work at home anymore anyway.

    I read Unclutterer for inspiration and to “ooh” and “aah” at the pretty uncluttered workspaces. And maybe one day, all that ooh-ing will get me to clear my clutter. More small sidebar-like tips on instant hacks and everyday fixes!

  95. posted by ockeghem on

    I’m 35 years old, living with a partner of 18 years and a cat in Vancouver, BC. I’ve moved all over the world, and over the course of getting 4 graduate degrees between us we’ve lived in tiny spaces in Chicago and the East Coast — usually separate small spaces in different cities. Somehow I always imagined once my partner became a professor we’d end up in a college town somewhere in the Midwest where we could afford a huge house, but that was not to be. Instead, in Vancouver that accumulated downpayment bought us 900 sq. ft. in a condo built with the cheapest, most impractical interior fittings the late 80s could provide. And I have nice living room furniture meant for a much larger space. So I’m constantly trying to make this particular space work for us.

    My disposition is towards simplicity; I love the idea of being able to pick up stakes and move with very little hassle. (I’m the same way as a backpacker.) But unfortunately that doesn’t work so well in reality, when I have a great love of knitting, books and backpacking equipment.

    My spouse came across Unclutterer on Slate and sent me the link, so I’ve just recently started reading. The content is great — I like to see quick fixes without major renovations. I also like to see the inspiration to clean off horizontal spaces or under the sink.

    What would I like to see more of? I’m always looking for info on items that cleverly hide storage. I love books like Azby Brown’s “Small Spaces” but you just can’t find the solutions in those books on this continent unless you pay someone to build them. Highlighting anything that’s nicer than IKEA is also a help (I’m trying to upgrade from the grad school furniture).

  96. posted by FloridaBird on

    It’s so interesting to read everyone’s stories.

    I’m 53, married to the same man for 32 years, empty-nester, currently living in a 2/2 condo on the water in Florida. I’m naturally organized and pretty much decluttered. We like to boat, and I am an avid reader (who uses the library to store her books).

    Almost two years ago, we lost our younger son to a motorcycle accident. My husband and I are starting to come out of the darkest days, and I am beginning to challenge my feelings about what I’ve been keeping to pass down. I’m thinking that my older son, now 29, probably won’t want all the items, many of them quite valuable, that I inherited from my mother. I would like to see ideas on how to dispose of these things other than using Ebay. My fantasy is that I would sell enough to finance future travel; I don’t want to “give” these things away.

    I also would enjoy seeing pics of organized spaces other than just workspaces.

    Although I might not use an idea as presented, sometimes it sparks solutions to current problems.

    I very much enjoy your site.

  97. posted by jennifer on

    I graduated from college a year ago and moved on my own half way across the country. I read Unclutterer because I like to believe that I know how to live even if I don’t always practice what I know to be true. Simple living is intuitive, but I love your commentary on it.

    Anyway, if you could write a post (or maybe you already have…I’m a relatively new reader) on how to organize space in a classroom. I’m a teacher and find clutter piles up very quickly and being organized is so important in the profession.

    Thanks!

  98. posted by Beverly on

    So I’m sure to answer all your questions….

    What content do you want to read?
    I’m open to any little (or big) tidbits that can make me life easier.

    Have you ever taken any of the advice and used it?
    For the most part you’re preaching to the choir, but I am storing some suggestions to memory for future practice.

    What is your personal philosophy on simple living?
    A place for everything and everything in it’s place. I don’t like wasting my time looking for something. I want to know where it is and that it should be ready when needed. If I wasn’t home and had to guide a stranger thru my space, I’m pretty positive I could tell them exactly which cabinet, which shelf, next to whatever a particular item could be found.

    Is there something we’ve discussed that you want us to explore more intensely?
    I’m still fairly new to the blog, so I’m not sure all the topics that have been covered. However, I’m soon to be a new mom (in 2 weeks ~ dear Lord, help me), but one of the things I’m already beginning to struggle with is all the baby stuff needed and how necessary it all is. I live in a 2 bedroom apartment and it does not come with adequate storage space, so I’m stuggling to find that fine line of having all the baby items take over. It just seems like too much and I don’t like the idea of having it all out on display, taking up precious space.

    Are you just starting out in a place of your own or are you on the verge of downsizing into an active retirement community?
    As I mentioned, I live in a 2 bedroom apartment. This space is temporary. We may be moving in 2 months and hopefully it will be to a larger space, whether it be a house or apartment.

    What is important to you?
    Free time to enjoy either to myself or with family and friends.

    What is your story?
    I am 29, pregnant, living with the father in a small space. I grew up in West Texas, but moved to San Antonio after college for the sole reason that I wanted to live in warm climate. I work in advertising, which is fun, but the pay is minimal, and honestly I don’t feel the work is all that honorable. People in the biz tend to stress over little things and really it’s not that complicated, it’s not like we’re curing cancer. If we miss a deadline, no biggie, it’s not like someone died on our table. I’m hoping to be a stay at home mother/wife someday, because I feel that is where I would best be put to use.

    What do you do in your free time and how can I help you to have less stress?
    I read magazines, blogs, enjoy a movie or visit with friends/family. One area that causes particular stress is my partner’s stuff. I don’t feel it is my place to organize it. Do you get what I’m saying? There’s items of his that I feel he/we can live without, but at the same time I don’t think it’s right of me to decide for him or go behind his back to get rid of it, yet some of his stuff inhabits shared spaces that I would like to have a better grasp or control of so items are displayed in a neater manner.

  99. posted by Beth on

    Hi there–
    I stumbled onto your blog almost 3 months ago (and it’s one of my top 5 blogs to read during my morning routine).
    I’m a professional organizer and I use your blogs resources for clients and further education for myself (it’s an added bonus that the writing is witty and fun).
    Keep up the good work!
    Beth Z.

  100. posted by Laina on

    I am 26, bought my first (small, 850-square-foot) house a year ago, and am planning a wedding in July. I inherited loads of stuff from my grandmother when she passed away last year, and I am slowly but surely sorting through all of it, either selling things on ebay, donating, or deciding to keep the most important ones. The stuff fills my basement. An article about inheritances might be interesting to read, to hear another’s ideas about the process of culling through a beloved relative’s possessions and deciding what needs to stay in the family. I also have tons of hobbies, and in turn, tons of hobby supplies. Sewing, knitting, scrapbooking, baking, cake decorating, running, etc. They all require their own unique organization system, which I am working on creating. Articles about organizing a particular area are always useful.

    My personal philosophy is to keep only the things I truly love or need, and not to bring something into the house without taking something out. I don’t always follow these rules, but they are the rules I aspire to live by.

    I only found your blog about a month ago, and love it!

  101. posted by Kristy on

    Hi!

    I’m a 26 year old University graduate from Ontario, Canada. I’ll be venturing out on my own and leaving the family home soon to live with my boyfriend as we prepare to marry and buy a house.
    I’ve always kept birthday cards, ticket stubs and anything that has a memory attached to it. I think it’s because I witnessed my Mother doing the same. I finally got up the courage to take the pile of baby shower congratulatory cards from 1982 and recycle them. She didn’t like that, but I made a good point… like money, you can’t take it with you. I’ve loved the purging over the last 2 months, so thank you!

    What content do you want to read?
    More stuff on “green” uncluttering or helping others with your clutter.

    Have you ever taken any of the advice and used it? Definitely – I loved the pretend “move across the ocean” scenario.

    What is your personal philosophy on simple living?
    Clear your space, clear your mind.

    I have to admit, I get a chuckle out of Unitasker Wednesdays, but I know if I miss that day it’s not a big deal – I’d rather an article with more content!

  102. posted by Katie on

    I am a 20 year old Engineering student at MIT. Before Unclutterer, my dorm room was so full of things that I had to enlist my friends and my dad to help me move at the end of the year.

    I can’t remember how I stumbled across this site. All I know is that since the first time I read one of these blog entries, the mass of my room (not including dorm furniture) has gone down more than 50%.

    I used to hoard things compulsively. Now I get a high out of throwing junk away! Old notes I will never read, free giveaways from career fair, expired medicine and food–all gone now. I am willing to bet that room is one of the neatest and most organized ones in my entire dormitory—just because of this awesome blog. :)

  103. posted by Cynthia on

    Greetings from fabulous Las Vegas! I’m 29, single, female, and owner of a small graphic design studio. I think I found your blog through Lifehacker and take much inspiration from your posts. I like to see examples of areas/systems that function well, tips for tackling commonly troublesome areas/systems, cool product recs, and general stories about methods or transformations. I think you’re doing a fine job as-is!

    Uncluttered areas are easier to keep clean, easier to transport, less costly to insure, better for the environment, better for your finances, and a great source for peace of mind. “I know what I own and where it is.” There’s less time and energy spent wondering if I have something, or where it might be.

    When I graduated college, everything I owned fit into one van, and I loved that freedom of mobility. Then I was low-income for a while and dedicated to paying off debt, so I forced myself to sell off all the “junk” and not buy what I don’t need. Saving to open my own business and moving between apartments in the years since, I’ve tried to keep my possessions few.

    One of the most disturbing things about the movie “Gummo” for me was seeing the homes full of trash and teetering stacks of “stuff”. I was poor myself once and saw it with my own eyes — what is it about poverty that makes some people hoard possessions? There’s thrift and recycling – but there’s also fear and squalor. I looked at my own life to see if maybe my stacks of stuff were based on fear, if I was hanging on to things out of my “trailer-park” upbringing.

    Is it that the people who can afford the most, own the least? Consider the consumer debt problem in this country: People charging things they don’t need, to feel like they can afford them? I got off that wheel a long time ago and have been much happier for it.

    In art and design, the negative space can be as important as the positive – and it is so within our lives and homes. I detest clutter, because it represents lacks of respect, knowledge, thrift, and conservation.

  104. posted by michelle on

    I love this website! I don’t have much time to read these now, because as I’m writing this, I have three children under four behind me dumping out toys all over the floor. I have learned to unclutter my kitchen drawers, makeup drawers, closets, pantry, etc., but I am struggling with this toy issue. We have SO much, and although it’s in a toy room, it’s still seems like too much. I heard about the toy recycle program, but I’m interested in hearing about how other parents deal with the toy clutter. I know this will be only a short time in our lives (everyone tells me this), but I just want to know if other people have toy “philosophies”– keeping only the essentials in the house. What are the essentials?!
    I am having our fourth baby next week and will be moving to Chicago in a month. This is a great time to declutter the toy monster!
    Keep up the inspiring work!

  105. posted by Recovering Food Waster on

    I’m a mom of four kids(8, 7, 4, and 2). I homeschool and teach piano students at home as well, and so I’m pretty busy. I’m trying to declutter my life precisely because I am so busy…less clutter=less mess=less time cleaning=more time for more important things.

    Btw Erin, my husband says “crown” and I tease him mercilessly for it! lol

  106. posted by Kristin on

    I use and/or forward almost every post you pu4 up here. I’m the mom of 4 children (13, 11, 6 and 4), 8 dogs, 8 cats and 19 aquatic turtles. My youngest has Autism and I volunteer, full time, with Autism Speaks. I also volunteer, full time it seems, with animal rescue. I like clean lines, no bric-a-brac and I hate keeping things I won’t use. I come from a long line of ‘decorators’ (read: collectors of silly things), hoarders and clutterers. I’ve vowed to live simply and teach my children to do so as well. I’ve movee 17 times so am good at it and always love your ‘moving’ tips. We live in the house we plan to die in, so it’s wonderful getting it to a working, uncluttered state and knowing/hoping it’ll stay that way.

    I LOVE this blog.

  107. posted by Kristin on

    For some reason my ‘edit’ feature isn’t working.

    Pu8 should be ‘put’.

    4 dogs, not 8. 12 cats, not 8.

  108. posted by Alexandra on

    My name is Alexandra; I am an actress, though I still have a day job.

    I have always been a bit of an unclutterer, though in September of 2006, I found myself on unemployment, decided to move to NYC (to audition), from north of the Boston area and bounced amoung Peabody, MA, NYC and frequently sleeping over my boyfriend’s house in Wakefield, MA, and eventually decided to move back into my parents house when unemployment ended and I got a well paid job offer back home.

    However, for six months, I had three toothbrushes and was going a bit out of my mind with how complex things had gotten (unemployment, working one day gigs in 3 different states, temping at various companies, applying for jobs, driving back and forth, etc.). I turned to organization to keep me sane. My one extravagance was buying enough matching Bed, Bath & Beyond velvet flocked hangers to neatly hang everything in my closet in Queens.

    As I was officially a starving artist and despised the cockroaches, it was easy for me to live sparcely. I could barely afford to eat, so I cooked my own meals from scratch frequently in crock pots, less stuff gave the bugs fewer places to hide and it turned out that I REALLY needed the simplicity.

    Also, my parents are hoarders…specifically my Mom, but my Dad is disorganized, so I grew up always trying to find order. Every weekend my Dad would try to rally the three kids to clean up for Mom, but I realized at an early age that most of the stuff wasn’t mine and piling up tons of papers on Mom’s side of the bed didn’t make either of anyone happy. She had an extremely scarring childhood and is an emotional hoarder, so every time I tried to clean up, she started to get upset and overwhelmed. I have since stopped trying to save her because she needs a therapist and I can’t provide non-biased help.

    I knew that I could set my own boundaries and prevent her from storing her things in my room…from an early age, I turned to order.

    I loved geology as a kid, because I could classify things and eventually got a work-study job during college (where I was studying Theatre and History) as an office assistant. Now I am a receptionist/admin. assistant and really love doing paperwork. (Seriously, you should see my system for organizing my taxes: http://one-actor-to-another.bl.....eason.html.)

    I have been using unclutterer.com as my daily “Moment of Zen” for 3/4 of a year at this point and I am so glad to know that there are others out there who feel the same way that I do.

    I realize that I may be a bit extreme in my desire to organize the world, so I have toned things down and modified some ideas to make sure my boyfriend can handle my type A personality…but I just mean on his side…my side is still color co-ordinated, matching velvet flocked hangers, alphabetised and otherwise ordered. I have suggested that he use a basket system for his clothes, as the clean laundry basket has not been empty since I have known him, but his chest of drawers has been.

    I figure if he can throw items into bins for T-shirts, jeans, undershirts and socks (because somehow he can walk if his socks don’t match; I tried and got quite disconcerted and had to take them off), then I am happy. As long as things aren’t sitting in limbo for 6-8 months, it’s an improvement.

    I am not yet living with my man, but I hope to do so one day and in the mean time, I watch design shows like it’s my job because I am an environmentally conscious, DIY, dumpster-diving, antique-loving girl…provided everything has its place and nothing feels like it’s crammed in.

    Sadly, I still don’t have as much control as I would like in my life, but I can’t exactly demand that my long term boyfriend propose so I can move out of my parents house and finally get down to my goal in life of having the one thing I haven’t had in almost three years…only one toothbrush.

    As far as how you can help me, just continue on as you have been doing; I love pretty much everything you do! Thank you for creating this community online; it really does make me feel better to see all of the different solutions to cable clutter, etc.

  109. posted by Camilla on

    Well, why not – i’m more than happy to help inspiring new posts! Was nice to hear a little about you too, i started reading this blog quite a few months ago (maybe even a whole year? don’t know) but missed all the introduction type things so don’t have a clear picture of who is writing.

    >>What content do you want to read?

    I read this and other organisational blogs to motivate me mainly. So i’m not so much on the look out for ideas (although i do love picking them up too) as for constant reminders that i want to declutter and examples of how others are conquering the clutter around them. Having said all that, one of the best things i’ve taken from this blog so far has been the idea of photographing momentos and then throwing them away. It’s worked wonders for me (and also finally prompted me to get a decent computer backup drive!).

    >>Have you ever taken any of the advice and used it?

    Aha, blast, i just answered this one above. :P

    I also used your post on wrapping-paper storage to inspire me to find my own method (i store it, folded neatly, in a folder full of plastic sleeves)

    >>What is your personal philosophy on simple living?

    I’m not sure. My environment often reflects and impacts on my internal state, so for me simple living means inner peace, i guess. I want to feel calm, in control, and free – so my surroundings need to reflect that.

    I also think there’s real value in the fact that as a culture, we have surrounded ourselves with things that reflect ourselves back at us. Everything we are surrounded by is designed and made by humans, so we are constantly seeing ourselves in our surroundings. Being in nature hardly ever reflects us, and i think that’s the more natural situation. Being surrounded by reflections of ourself makes for a very self-conscious, egotistical existence. (i discovered this idea in the book ‘The Spell Of The Sensuous’ by David Abram – excellent book)

    >>Is there something we’ve discussed that you want us to explore more intensely?

    Can’t think of anything actually. One thing i know i enjoy is hearing individual’s progress, so hearing writer’s personal triumphs over clutter is always fun.

    >>Are you just starting out in a place of your own or are you on the verge of downsizing into an active retirement community?

    I’m moving away from my parents this year. I’ve lived on my own at uni before, but this is different. It’s final. I feel like i’m losing control, so decluttering and organising things is my way of reclaiming that control (along with some really enthusiastic financial control at the moment). I also am seriously downsizing my possessions so i can fit into a smaller room!

    >>What is important to you?

    Security, control, the Harley i will buy in 6 years, personal development (must always be learning and moving forward), beauty in my surroundings, feeling unburdened.

    >>What is your story?

    Irish Art-school graduate living in Devon, Ingerland. Wanting to move to Norway to be with my friends but not brave enough. Moving out from parents house, happyish with my job of three years but itching to work somewhere with higher standards. Scared of change, so will likely stay where i am! Sheesh. :P

    >>What do you do in your free time and how can I help you to have less stress?

    I work out a lot, study martial arts, study part time for a Psychology degree, learn languages, build websites for friends and my own ventures, watch piles upon piles of dvds, and try to fit sleep in amongst that lot. :P

    How to lessen my stress? Goodness, i don’t know. I love the little tactics, such as ‘try 15 minutes of decluttering right now’ or something. Little hacks that bust through the unmotivational days, and make you feel excited that you can actually make a difference by doing it bit by bit. Little ideas that make a big difference. Examples of others who have had little successes, and how they’ve done it. I relate better to the little things, rather than huge decluttering projects where people have renovated a huge home from a mess to a palace. It applies less to me. I like the little steps, that result in a small measure of instant gratification and gradually build up to a fantastic result.

    I also, apparently, like the sound of my own voice. :P (or the look of my own font, i suppose!)

    And can i add a question to your lot?

    >> Is there anything you would remove from our blog?

    I would remove your Unitasker Wednesday. I think your energies are much better spent on the focus of your blog, and your uncluttering articles have been getting better and better recently. The Unitasker blogs aren’t your strong point, and i think it dilutes the effect of the blog. You write uncluttering stuff excellently, so divert all your energy towards that!

    Thanks for an awesome blog, and congrats on all your success with it recently. Keep it up! :D

  110. posted by Taisha on

    First, I enjoy reading your blog because it always reinforces what I already believe. I am originally from Nashville but have lived all over the US (not military but nomad). I currently live in MD. I have always been organized and neat. But over the past year, I set out to live as minimally as possible. I gave away books (about 400), clothes & accesories (many many boxes) and purchased the Fujitsu ScanSnap portable one to scan in all the paper I kept filed away. This was above and beyond simply living clutter-free and it was transformational. I can honestly say, at this point, that I am not attached to anything that I own and when the time comes for me to move again (and it will), I’ll be ready to pack up and go with ease.

    As for additional topics to cover:
    (1) Discuss how less is more. (In becoming a minimalist, I found that I have more money to do some of the things I had been putting off like traveling abroad.)
    (2) I think you’ve written about this recently, but perhaps you can expound upon the idea that de-cluttering is also about what you do and do not bring into your home and life in the first place.
    (3) Another good topic is the link between Procrastination and Clutter. I find that training myself to make immediate decisions about things that I use (putting away dishes, magazines, bottles to recycle, mail, etc) completely eradicates the need for me to set-aside minutes or hours to address these things at a later time.

    Thanks for asking.

  111. posted by J. on

    Okay. Delurking.

    What content do you want to read?
    Greatly enjoy reading about uncluttering, because I have designated this year to be the year I finally get rid of all my clutter :)

    Have you ever taken any of the advice and used it?
    I’m a fairly new reader, and a lot of posts are uncannily appropriate. I’ve bookmarked the bookshelves, saving numbers in cellphone and the knick knack roundup, for instance.
    I already use RTM and Gmail, but I haven’t integrated them yet because I cannot come to grips with Firefox (there must be something wrong with me :)).
    Mailed the link to “adult children who have left home and left their clutter” to my daughter. Said there was no way I would spend hours making photo’s of all her stuff and clutter up my Flickr stream with them. We had a great laugh and made a date to tackle her old room coming Sunday! I’m looking forward to it :)

    What is your personal philosophy on simple living?
    I don’t do philosophies.

    Is there something we’ve discussed that you want us to explore more intensely?
    Surprise me!

    Are you just starting out in a place of your own or are you on the verge of downsizing into an active retirement community?
    Still working fulltime, but planning to move to a smaller place in the foreseeable future.

    What is your story?
    I’m 57, Dutch, happily single again, moved 26 times in my life (in various countries), find it difficult to get rid of stuff that is still in perfect working order even if it no longer serves me (and wouldn’t serve anybody else). But I’m learning!

    What do you do in your free time and how can I help you to have less stress?
    Walk the dog, read, go to the gym, garden, knit, read, blog, make photos, read, cook from scratch… Did I mention I read a lot?
    When I turned 50, I drastically stopped doing things I “ought to” and “should” because others expected me to do them, while I didn’t really want to. A great way to reduce stress! And I’m a great believer in baby steps. So I really don’t have that much stress anymore.

    Love your blog!
    Cheers,
    j.

  112. posted by (another) Tara on

    Hooray for Midwesterners living in DC!! (Wisconsin in my case, in DC for 4 years….)

    I’m 36 and got married for the first time 3 weeks ago. Married life is fabulous and doesn’t stress me out a whit, despite having been independent for so long. What DOES stress me out is moving into my new husband’s 750sf condo, which we share with a dog and 4 cats. I moved from a place twice this size. And it was full. Very full. Compulsive shopper with crafting stashes full.

    So, I appreciate any and all tips on getting rid of things, organizing a small space, and overall reducing the clutter. But even more, I appreciate the daily inspiration of reading from/about people who are dealing with the same issues. It’s a motivator.

    Along the lines of specific topics we’d like to see, I like someone’s idea above re clearing out things with sentimental value. That’s a big one for me — most people accumulate “tangible memories” as the years go by, particularly frequent travelers — but now that 2 people with different sentimental memories are trying to harmonize, we’re facing the challenge of cutting down. Also, I’m hyper-sensitive to trash and recycling issues, but FreeCycle, donations, etc. can be a pain. So I welcome any discussion of what “getting rid of things” actually means, and what lesser-known re-use/re-cycle/donation options might be out there.

    (And p.s. I adore Unitasker Wednesdays — please keep ‘em coming!)

    http://twowishes.typepad.com

  113. posted by Mary on

    I come here for inspiration and get a little turned off by “assignments.” Lately the tone has been changing somewhat so I haven’t been popping in as much. Maybe you could have a separate section for those people who enjoy getting marching orders (do they really exist?) Or try saying “consider” instead of “I want you to clean under the sofa this weekend.” I just say “yeah, yeah” and keep reading. It’s patronizing … and my floor was clean by the way ….

    Sometimes I think some of the posts are meant to generate controversy and drive up the comments instead of inspiring people to streamline. That’s a big turn-off to me.

    I love the gorgeous photos showing beautiful uncluttered shots with tips and ideas that we can duplicate.

  114. posted by Meg on

    I’m an senior in my undergraduate year at UC Berkeley. I love unclutterer because while I consider myself a neat person, I still have a lot of clutter. Things are surface neat, but not filed away neatly to be easily accessible all the time. I would love and appreciate more articles about getting rid of excess papers and filing systems for those sorts of clutter that accumulate. Keep up the great posts and thank you for this blog!

  115. posted by GSK on

    I am married to a tech genius with ADD. We live in Manhattan where space is at a premium and I am trying to find ways to contain his hoarding tendencies and clutter. Me? I could always use tips on organizing as I help run a small art gallery when not ‘curating’ the clutter my geek creates. You blog is very positive and I find myself able to sneak in a few of your tips on a weekly basis without ruffling any feathers. We are out here and we LIKE you.

  116. posted by Robin on

    I am a 34 year old mother of a 2 year old and 4 year old. I teach school part-time.

    I love to read to find new organizing ideas. I like to find easy systems for organization and to find new strategies that make life simpler.

    Just yesterday I implemented the idea of using Amazon’s subscription services. I found that shipping is free on all subscription items and items are discounted 15%. Wow! Cheaper and easier. What a great idea!

  117. posted by Lauren on

    I’m an engaged (getting married in June) 24 year old Chicago woman. My philosophy on simple living is just that after living in a studio apartment for two years, I noticed how much happier and relaxed I was when everything was put away, and I now want to maintain that feeling.

    The posts I enjoy most are general tips on organizing and how to decide which stuff to keep. Your spring cleaning post is a good example, and the posts on data organization certainly put that on my to-do list – it wasn’t something I’d thought of before!

    As an almost-married person, I’d love to see more posts on moving in with your significant other and how to combine your stuff, impartial opinions on whether you really need to stock up on towels for life and what should go on your wedding registry, how to sort through and manage all the gifts you get (my apartment is full of crate & barrel boxes), and how to organize wedding planning. There are so many details floating around and I feel like I still haven’t managed to come up with a good system of keeping track of to-dos. I recently started a google document for them so I’m hoping that will help! Also, advice on how to convince your consumption-loving spouse of the benefits of living simply would be awesome (I now have about 10,000 DVDs, currently all stored in double layers on our shelves… it makes my head hurt). Posts on how to clean things you might not usually look at (like the inside of a microwave) and how to store games and sports equipment would also be great. Additionally, although the fiance and I have now upgraded to a 2-bedroom apt, tips on apartment living and organizing small spaces where you can’t easily drill into the wall would be super helpful.

    Oh, and in reference to Mary’s comment above, I do like the weekend assignments! Again, ways to clean things and organize places you may not have thought of are interesting to me.

  118. posted by Sabrina on

    What content do you want to read?
    I like reading about ways to organize, storage ideas. Your doing a great job. I find everything so far great!

    Have you ever taken any of the advice and used it?
    I have, I am actually having a huge garage sale tomorrow to get rid of everything in my storage unit.

    What is your personal philosophy on simple living?
    If havent needed to use it in 3 months get rid of it.

    Is there something we’ve discussed that you want us to explore more intensely?
    I agree with the person who mentioned more topics on bathrooms, living rooms, bedrooms, also garage storage too.

    Are you just starting out in a place of your own or are you on the verge of downsizing into an active retirement community?
    I have moved 3 times in the last year. I just moved into a room in a house that has everything, so I am going to sell all of my furniture, and kitchen stuff instead of keeping it in storage.

    What is important to you?
    leaving my materialistic phase and living simple and minimally

    What is your story?
    22 years old. From the SF Bay area living in Los Angeles.

    What do you do in your free time and how can I help you to have less stress?
    I read, enjoy the outdoors. my stress has been reduced greatly because of your site. Thanks and keep up the good work.

  119. posted by Minnie on

    I am 34, divorced, 3 small dogs.
    I am a homeowner, I have lots of spare time but like getting chores done the best way possible, and FAST.
    I like decluttering, simple life, and I am frugal.
    I don’t make a lot of money, but I love my job.
    I don’t like seeing a million new posts to read on my google reader, therefore, I HATE “one year ago on Unclutterer” posts and “best workspace” posts.
    DELETE DELETE.
    I would LOVE it if Unclutterer only posted ONE post per day!
    I would love to be able to motivate myself without procrastinating; I put off doctor appts, vet appts, dentist appts, etc etc ETC! But maybe that’s just me…

  120. posted by M on

    I’m a resident physician; my husband is in business. We’re 28 and 30yrs old respectively.

    Both of our mothers are hoarders and we use this website to inspire us to never end up like that!

    We have very little free time given our professional obligations. He travels a lot; I’m always at the hospital. When we do have free time it’s important to us to come home to a tranquil (read: not cluttered) space.

    I would like to see more posts on keeping the car organized. We’re in the Midwest and during the winters the interior gets cluttered with things because it’s too cold to spend much time cleaning it, or make multiple trips carrying out items in the snow. -I realize that season has passed, but since I’m paying for it now it came to mind.

    Thanks for doing what you do.

  121. posted by Lindsay on

    I just recently discovered this blog and I love looking at your tips! You share some pretty fabulous ideas. I am a 26-year-old stay at home mother of one adorable little boy. I used to be a pack rat, but moving across the country has helped me to become less of one. I love getting rid of stuff and am looking forward to the day when my husband decides he loves it as much as I do. Right now we’re living in a small apartment in NYC. There’s not a lot of storage space, so we have to get creative. As such, I’m always on the hunt for inexpensive ways to create presentable storage in my home. I look forward to any ideas you might have!

  122. posted by Daniel on

    I’m a 36 year old Chinese Canadian who came from a cluttered family. When my grandparents passed away in the early 90’s, they were the classic hoarders, and we joked about them then. Needless to say, my family was showing signs they were going down the same path.

    It took a trip to Hong Kong to discover what it was like to live lean, as well as see how my hoarding aunts lived.

    Since then, I’ve purged all my collections, and live a lean life in a great post-modern condo. I now hoard investments, photos and money, not stuff!

    What I find dissatisfying about the simplicity movement are authors who advocate aesceticism to the point that I’m somehow being manipulated by evil corporations, and that I should somehow recycle everything, take the bus, make my own cleaning fluids, and volunteer.

    Frankly, that kind of bullying doesn’t resonate with me, who quite likes V12-biturbos, luxury goods, and buying things that enhance my image and quality of life. To me, being uncluttered means having what I want, not what others want me to want (which this website is occasionally guilty of).

  123. posted by Carrie C on

    I am a semi-stay at home mom to one, and wife to someone who grew up in a hoarder’s home. The life lessons that one needs to learn – clean up after yourself, throw out the trash, do the dishes, shovel the walks etc…were never taught to my husband. So we were at square one with that when he moved in. Having a child to teach has helped – toddlers create a lot of clutter very quickly even if you keep the toys and ‘stuff’ to a minimum. It’s their job to take things out, take them apart and move on to the next thing. She is at the stage where she wants to help, so we have her help put things away.

    This site has great ideas, large and small. My current favorite tip was the use-it-up post. I am in the process of doing that in the bathroom, and with my cleaning supplies – really, how many ‘all purpose’ cleaners does one need?

    I would love to see the idea of convenience items addressed. Consider the Green Movement in contrast to the plethora of single serve/single use (and toss!) products being marketed right now. These items create clutter and trash.

    Real Simple is one of my favorite magazines, and this site is a wonderful complement to it – I’m glad that uncluttere and RS have paired up on line and in print.

  124. posted by Kris on

    I’m a former Midwesterner now living in Sydney, Australia… and while I realize that the majority of your readers are in the Northern Hemisphere, sometimes I wish for a little acknowledgment that not *everybody* in the world is gearing up for Spring cleaning. A lot of us are getting ready for Winter!

  125. posted by Becky on

    I am interested in organized living in more of a hypothetical sense. I wish for my home surroundings to be less cluttered, but it’s a mild thought that gets cheerfully pushed to the back of the priority pile. I think, as I get older, I’ve been more on a mission to get more mentally uncluttered — to focus my creativity on one or two pursuits (as opposed to dozens/hundreds when I was younger); to “not sweat the small stuff”; to often examine and reorganize my life priorities; and to cherish the life I have, right now.

    But I appreciate the tips I read a lot, and even use them, too! I wrote about Unclutterer here:
    http://beckyhaycox.com/hamblog/?p=293

    Thanks so much, Becky

  126. posted by Angela Esnouf on

    I’m a Professional Organiser in Melbourne, Australia. I love the exchange of ideas, and hearing your readers perspective. I love to see new products too, even if we can’t access them down under yet.

    Keep up the great work.

  127. posted by Zak on

    I haven’t seen other blogs do this, but it’s a great idea. If you’re looking for more quantifiable data about preferences, I’d suggest making a survey through survey monkey and posting it for readers to take.

    Anyway… about me. I’m 22 and just graduated from Northwestern in Chicago last June. I started getting into blogs after reading a zenhabits post and almost instantly became addicted (I came here when I read your post on zenhabits). Reading simplification/productivity blogs helped me realize that my life is a zero-sum game and that my finite resources were being used in so many inefficient ways that I wasn’t able to live like I wanted to and focus on the things that really mattered to me. Reading blogs like yours have really helped me transition from the kind of crazy/dysfunctional college lifestyle to living like a responsible adult. The past year has been such a crazy transitional period for me (graduation, first job, moving to California for my second job, etc.) that the organization posts are the most effective for me. I’ll try to apply as much as I read to my habits, but I’ll also just read the posts to keep simplification and organization at the front of my mind because otherwise I’ll forget about it for a week or so and everything gets out of control again. It’s helped me become more focused on my goals and achieving them because there is less clutter or white noise in my life now. That kind of simplified focus allows me to relax more and enjoy my surroundings and lifestyle more. I work in market research for new media and love my job. I just moved into a new apartment with a friend from college and am looking forward to making my room the more organized and simple bedroom I’ve ever lived in… it’s nice to start from scratch sometimes. When I moved from Chicago to California, I sold all of my furniture, threw away anything I hadn’t used or needed in the past month and moved as little as I could. In the end, I packed everything I still wanted into my little two-seater miata (VERY small) and then sent two boxes via UPS to California. I guess I did my spring cleaning in February.

    While my favorite posts on unclutterer are usually about ways to organize or tackle home projects, I’d love to see more posts on applying those uncluttering principles to other parts of your daily life. Behavior and thought processes can be just as cluttered as your closet or junk drawer sometimes. I’ve been trying to incorporate more habits like meditation, yoga or breathing exercises to help my more simplified/uncluttered surroundings into my mindset and body and it’s really helped me implement more of the principles you and others talk about into my life. I love this website because it helps me organize my surroundings and keep them cleaner, but I’d love to see more postings about using this simplification for achieving other goals. Uncluttering is great just to keep things straight and organized, but the real benefits I feel in my day-to-day life and what keeps me subscribed to your post emails is what that uncluttered lifestyle enables me to do in the areas I’m really passionate about. Posts about organizing yourself so that the clutter doesn’t build in the first place are insanely helpful…. for instance, I read a post on zenhabits about clearing out your old emails and keeping your inbox clean daily and I loved it. I deleted over 1000 emails that night, but it wasn’t until I read the guest post here about the firefox plug-in for RTM that I really found a system that addressed the emails I couldn’t delete after I’d read them. Seeing an empty inbox is more gratifying than I could have imagined.

    Other interests…. I love fantasy football and the NFL. I’m slightly obsessed with Web 2.0 principles and the direction media and culture is going right now. I think it’s the most exciting time in history to be alive and I try to appreciate every minute of it that I can. I love watching movies and I used to do theatre in high school and college, but gave it up to find a career that would allow me to raise a family eventually. I wish I were an early riser, but one goal at a time…. for now I stay up too late and I haven’t been focusing on my diet/health since I’ve been dealing with the transition to CA for the past month. That’s always been a really hard thing for me to be consistent on though and I haven’t seen many website post on simplifying health… they’ll have ways to exercise or eat right and how to do it, but postings on uncluttering your kitchen/shopping (loved your amazon toilet paper post btw, and I plan on implementing it next round of shopping).

    I’ve taken up enough of your time, but thanks so much for inviting us all to share… You’ve helped make this transitional time in my life a much smoother and enjoyable process than a lot of my friends are experiencing and I couldn’t thank you enough.

  128. posted by Alaine on

    I am a recent college grad and am still living a semi-transient lifestyle, so all advice about getting rid of stuff/purging is great. I’d like to see more posts about living in shared space, making non-permanent decluttering apartment changes (getting that security deposit back is always important), and stuff for people on the less solvent end of the income scale.

  129. posted by Patricia on

    I am 48, Asian, and a female single parent who worked as a (very busy) expatriate for 10 years. I recently decided to slow down and left my job to “find my bliss” and do what I love while there was time and health to spare. Before I left my last country of assignment, I traveled the islands for 3 weeks solo with a tiny backpack and about 21 items in it. I never felt more free and happy. When I returned home, I lived off a tiny suitcase for a few months until my HUGE shipment arrived with all my household goods. BIG REALIZATION. I don’t need all that stuff!

    So I have been simplifying my new life, weeding out the clutter both physically and mentally. Without these burdens I find I am more open to what is coming next.

    I read your blog regularly and am often inspired by your posts. Thank you.

  130. posted by Marjorie on

    I’m a veteran declutterer who had everything cheerfully under control for years and years … and then I had a baby. The baby just turned 8, and it’s like someone dropped a bomb on my house. No matter how many trips I take to Goodwill, there are still Legos everywhere. And of course there’s the mountains of school work and art and sports equipment and clothes that are a little too small or a little too big and … and … and … I’m buried!

  131. posted by Leslie on

    Mother of 3 and wife to a packrat. Fighting the good fight. Trying to get more stuff out of the house, through the back door, (mostly to local charities) than comes through the front door. It isn’t easy, but I do it when family isn’t watching. They never even miss it! By stuff, I mean old books, knick knacks (I call them dust-catchers) seldom used kitchen gear (mea culpa) and assorted videos, toys and office junk. Your site is an inspiration to me and and endless source of ideas for streamlining and simplifying my domicile and life.

  132. posted by Denise on

    I love my life,could retire but,have no intention of doing so.I have four children who have all left the nest and returned at least once for refluffing.All have neglected to take their belongings with them.I work at the oldest farm in America still owed by the same family 1632 I do their take-out cooking and work in the barn Really the shop but we call it the barn.I was taught evercraft in the farming comunity as a child and love to do it all.We make all our gifts at Christmas time so project are everywhere.Today I finished turning a closet into a pantry and I swear it’s the only place in the house that is organized.I started following your blog in the past 2 months in hopes of getting some directions because when I get up in the morning my list is overwhelming and I have decided to do whatever is closest in similarity between your blog and my list

  133. posted by suz on

    I’m a single parent in my thirties and I’m forever trying to conquer clutter in my life. I’m very disorganized (I’m told this could be due to being somewhat artistic lol) but I feel like reading about the subject is very helpful and I’m slowly getting on top of it all. I hope to achieve a minimalist empty clean house one of these days!
    Love the unitasker Wednesday posts btw!

  134. posted by Mom on

    I want to read more about simplifying work life and cooking. I work full time and mother full time. Your column the other day inspired a spring cleaning my sock drawer. I try to live by this credo: Anything worth owning is worth trying to find secondhand. I’m interested in cooking and would love to know more streamlined techniques and recipes that don’t include cream of whatever soup. Check out my musings on this topic here: motherskitchen.blogspot.com. I only have an hour to cook and eat most weekday nights. More writing on how to make that happen would be wonderful!
    I’m smack in the middle of life- married for 15 years, two middle schoolers. At their age, this means my most valued parenting skill is the ability to drive a car. The life of a middle school aged kid is incredibly full and chaotic! Even more so for their mother.

  135. posted by Lindsey on

    I’m 30, married with a 1-year-old and have my second daughter on the way. Also have a dog and a cat and friends who refer to me as Monica (as in Gellar). I’m a full-time working professional with a grad degree and I’m very left-brained.

    I tend towards neat, my husband a bit more cluttered, but I temper him pretty well and he puts up with it. I like the blog not so much for specific ideas as for the fact that it motivates me to read stories of organization. I get excited and start doing stuff.

    My hobby is purging and trashing or donating stuff. I have no idea how we have so much stuff. I also enjoy clean rooms (though not so much the actual cleaning) and clear desk spaces. I’m chair of the paper reduction initiative at my office. I tend towards bossiness and depending on what I’m wearing and how pregnant I am on any given day, can be mistaken for anywhere in the 18-40 age range.

  136. posted by Louisa on

    I’m 38. I live in Charlottesville, Virginia (came here from Boston for ONE year, have stayed for ELEVEN, because it’s just that great a town).
    I’m a greeting card designer (shameless plug – click above to see my website) and the lead singer in two bands.
    I have a cute and sweet and smart (astrophysicist) boyfriend and we’re not married yet but who knows? I want a family very much and am shocked at this long-term plan that seems to have evolved.
    I rent a great house, and often want things to look more organized but feel limited by (a) know-how (seriously, this girl ain’t good with any tools) and (b) limited budget) so I rely on lots of silly little storage solutions.
    At the moment, I’m listening right now to: Gipsy Kings. Guilty pleasure music: Justin Timberlake. I don’t get it about Hannah Montana either, but I bet I would have when I was six. Guilty pleasure junk food: Hostess Cupcakes (the chocolate ones, please, not the yellow).

    Reading this blog is now part of my day, every day, and I love it. Even if I can’t – or choose not to – do a lot of it, I love the ideas, linking to other blogs, and being inspired.

  137. posted by Lu on

    Love your site. I come here every day hoping for motivation and/or inspiration to peel back another layer of clutter and stuff. We’re gadget-heads and still have consumerist tendencies and I am working hard to change that. 2 adults, 2 kids = lots of laundry, lots of toys for big and small household members.

    I feel like my husband and I have the opportunity and the responsibility to raise our kids to consume less, want less, and be more self-sufficient and detach more from the consumer culture, so I am working hard to overcome our habits and tendencies and teach them a better way.

    Pretty much any article you have about streamlining has benefitted me at some point. Sometimes they have to percolate for a while, but then I will find myself streamlining my wallet or purse, or wardrobe or medicine cabinet, and I will know that the seed you planted with your article or link bore fruit!

  138. posted by twosandalz on

    What content do you want to read?
    I read all of it. I miss the extreme minimalist. It helped me further define for myself what is too much and what is too little. The cost of living where I live is high, so I appreciate suggestions that are inexpensive to implement.

    Have you ever taken any of the advice and used it?
    Yes. Particularly ideas about decorating w/o cluttering. I’ve inventoried my closets and storage too. Unclutterer helps prevent me from sliding back into old habits. Its inspiring.

    What is your personal philosophy on simple living?
    Pick and choose your activities and possessions or both will take over your life. Less is truly more.

    Are you just starting out in a place of your own or are you on the verge of downsizing?
    I’m house shopping. I can’t wait to own my home. I’d like ~1200 sq ft, which would double my living space.

    What is important to you?
    Besides the people I love; a peaceful cheerful home.

    What is your story?
    I’ve lived most of my life in northern New England. I love the cold. I like shoveling snow. I live near-ish to the mountains and spend a lot in gas driving to hiking trailheads and ski trails. I doubt that will continue at the same rate it used to. When I’m indoors, I like to scrapbook my adventures. And I cook. I especially enjoy cooking for friends when they’re over for an afternoon of board games.

    Over the last ten years, a number of events gradually changed how I live:
    1. I met my husband, who is uninterested in stuff beyond his favorite toys. Even his favorites aren’t that important to him in the grand scheme of things. I find his attitude refreshing.
    2. I got into tenting and realized how little I actually need to live.
    3. My income shrank. I couldn’t buy things I “needed” anymore. Then I discovered that I could usually do without them.
    4. I moved into a succession of smaller and smaller apartments. This forced me to re-evaluate everything and keep only the most important stuff. I didn’t miss most of what I gave away, which surprised me.

    How can I help you to have less stress?
    Few voices around me advocate the way I now live. It would be a lonelier road w/o Unclutterer.

  139. posted by Bakelite Doorbell on

    I’m a recovering packrat and a wannabe extreme minimalist. I have a blog that nobody reads which I write as self-help therapy to talk myself into giving up objects that I have emotionally bonded to.

    I like ideas about redesigning how we do things so that fewer possessions are needed. For example, instead of organizing a tangle of computer wires, set up a wireless system that uses only a couple of wires.

    Please bring back Extreme Minimalism Monday posts. If not every week, then just once in a while. Thanks!

  140. posted by AV on

    Basically, I’m a 21 year old college senior from New York State who’s life has TOTALLY snowballed and exploded, and for me, organization and seeing my place in a tidy manner is very very calming for me.

    I have a lot of “emotional clutter”, as my mother recently died and I inherited most of her things. We were not close, but were working on that at the time of her suicide, so I feel I need her photos and things around me.

    I also have a lot of practical clutter, clothing and books. Try as I might, I can’t seem to streamline my living space, especially on a $3000 a year job, haha. ONE DAY I WILL GET THERE!

    This blog is a lifesaver, and a dream for me that one day, I too can de-clutter my life!

  141. posted by Joshua E. on

    I am 22 years old, originally from Cincinnati Ohio. I moved to DC after I got a job with the gov’t but now I live overseas. When I am in my apartment overseas everything has its place and I try to be as neat and organized as possible. My problem is when I am on vacation back in the states I usually stay at my parents house. My old room has been converted into a sewing room so I find myself throwing all of my belongings just wherever I can. Things are starting to get out of hand. So my question to you would be: How do I stay organized while on vacation. Away from my own home? How do I become the Uncluttered traveler??

  142. posted by The Chatty Housewife on

    I love the unitasker Wednesday and storage ideas that don’t cost a lot. I never use the “A Year Ago on Unclutterer” posts. I like posts with a photo because it draws my attention and makes the post interesting.

  143. posted by lana on

    I found Unclutterer through a link from Lifehacker about organizing computer cables, a subject that I’m obsessively fascinated by and have yet to find the ultimate solution to. I’m happily married and both my husband and I are the neatfreak middle-child of packrats mothers; mine was highly educated, his a simple, country girl.

    Somehow over the years as our hobbies and interests grew, our two positive neatfreak tendencies collided and created a negative and we both turned into horrible, sentimental packrats just like our mothers! My husband is a serious audiophile and gadget-wh*re and thinks he has to have every new tech toy known to man. I’m a big reader and graphic designer (working at home) and have to constantly struggle not to buy books and art supplies. If we didn’t love each other so much, we’d be divorced by now because I prefer a small, sparsely furnished home (go mid century mod!) and he favors a high-tech bachelor-pad style.

    Peter Walsh’s book “It’s All Too Much” and this blog helped us re-awaken our inner minimalist and get back on the right track. I come here when I need a reality check and because I love reading and seeing the inventive ways everyone here organizes their lives and possessions.

    My favorite parts are the photos, especially of home offices. I love seeing smart solutions to common clutter problems. I find all of the writers’ and commenters stories really helpful, and at times, inspirational. I’d like to see more articles on conquering electronic clutter and green living.

  144. posted by Bobbi on

    I’m 60-years-old, a pastor’s wife with two grown, unmarried children who live far away and two cats who live in my lap. We have 1,500 square feet. I often think if all living things and my backup hard drive were safe, having the house burn down would help with a lot of decisions.

    Thank you for your computer tips. I am learning about Yojimbo and 1Password.

    My husband and I will be moving soon so some of your good ideas (ie cord clutter) will be postponed until we get settled. Can’t wait. Although I have been purging the last 8 years, it seems to accumulate faster than I can throw it out. Fasting from purchasing may become a daily habit. BTW, we have been without commercial TV for 8 years – no election messages, no endless CNN speculation, no Olympics (I do miss that a bit), no commercials. Don’t wish to have it connected again.

    I am making progress in two areas:
    1) scan all photos, not only our family’s but my parents collection – priceless. I’m about 2/3 finished. I am primarily doing this for preservation and sharing (genealogy, web site, CDs to children). The originals are still in the files or “ancient ancestor” binders.
    2) become 95% paperless. The fast-speed scanner is my friend. I actually have a few empty file drawers. Some items were thrown away or shredded without bothering. I found that if you don’t touch all your stuff (pay attention) at least once a year it gets out of hand.

    When those two items are under control I plan to catalog the books (the ones remaining) on LibraryThing.com and do a pictoral home inventory database. I can start that as items are loaded into the truck.

    If only my husband could do more than give lip service. I’m not packing his office. (It’s a sore spot in an otherwise wonderful marriage.)

    Like Martha Stewart, some things you write about are relevant/interesting and some are not. That’s OK. It is difficult to combine uncluttering, simple living, frugal living, green living in the same blog. They are connected but each is a complex subject. Give it your best shot, I say. I am.

  145. posted by Bridget on

    Well, I’m a 62-year-old grandma with metastatic breast cancer. Although I’m doing well right now due to effective treatment, I am setting my life in order: something everyone has to do ultimately. Your blog is an important daily reminder of ways to carry out this mission effectively. I agree with the comments about focusing on both philosophy and practical tactics for simplifying.

  146. posted by Tammy on

    I like to think I’m obsessed with organizing, but my apartment doesn’t really show it.

    I’m currently living in Japan, but I’ll be retuning back to the U.S. in a year, at which point I hope I’ll be able to start looking for a house. I’m only 22, but I love reading ideas that other people have because it helps me think about potential future problems before they occur. By reading your blog, it’s already helped me start shaping what I want my future home to look like, and I’m beginning to realize habits that I have and other habits that I would like to start implementing.

    I haven’t read everything you’ve written, but if you haven’t touched on it, one way to streamline your home is to think about multiple ways a single product can be used (for example, many an eco-friendly website will tell you the many uses of vinegar. One bottle of vinegar is better than 8 bottles of other products serving the same function).

    Keep up the great work! It’s really useful and inspiring!

  147. posted by John on

    I’m 26…. live in Australia (about three hours south of Sydney)… and have to wonder what kind of person DOESN’T LIKE CHOCOLATE! lol Seriously. =P

    I become fascinated with Unclutterer (and Lifehack and Zen Habits) when I was trying to stop myself going insane from boredom at my previous job. I’ve come to the conclusion I own too much stuff. I’ve spent about a month trying to lessen my belongings. Its hard. Really really really really hard.

    I love reading the stories on peoples’ work setups… but I struggle to replicate them. lol

    Clearly I suck. [Note to self: stop being so honest.]

  148. posted by Susan on

    Female, 37, grad student, married and live in Santa Monica, CA.
    Being the poor girl with wealthy friends growing up made me really creative in stretching my limited fund to “fit in”. Having a mother who suffered from the dual problems of depression-linked messiness and an addiction to “Country Cute” made me value simplicity and the ease of living that it brings (I still get hives when I see a copy of “Country Living” magazine–Nooooo! Not the concrete ducks dressed like Pilgrims!!)
    Flylady, Unclutterer, Simple Dollar, and the Happiness Project are blogs that help me clarify the kind of life and values I REALLY want to set for my present and future family (we’re planning kids soon) and let me know that I’m not alone in wanting to shake off the thrall of the “Buy-it Borg”.

  149. posted by Thom on

    30-something, single Aussie – I rent.

    What content do you want to read?
    I enjoy the current breadth of what you post and like the style/approach as well as the mix of humour and pragmatism.

    Have you ever taken any of the advice and used it?
    I’m already following some of the tips I read; like John above I would love to be able to replicate some of the work setups.

    What is your personal philosophy on simple living?
    My personal philosophy comes from William Morris:
    “Have nothing that you do not know to be useful, or believe to be beautiful.” That covers it!

    What is important to you?
    I rent; have rented a long time; and may well rent for a long time to come. I would love for more tips that accommodate (or overcome) the challenges of renting. And not just tips for the temporarily-renting (where it’s always assumed that the targets are only the very young and the low budget) but for those for whom renting is a longer term way of life. Renters of that ilk have to be more creative when faced with restrictions on what structural and major physical changes we can make (or are willing to make).

    What is your story?
    Some of the most treasured periods in my life have been times of enforced minimalism. Typically this occurs after a major move, when there is a wait of 2-3 months for accumulated furniture and other possessions to arrive by ship. In those brief months I have only the necessities, in a delightfully uncluttered space and I realise that I don’t need all that much to enjoy life and do my work. (But then, of course, my library arrives and all my other chattels and I don’t see how I could have coped without it!)

    Another story: my mother, who at the time had 40+ years of accumulated kitchenware, travelled interstate to house sit for me once. I had maybe 4 years of accumulate kitchenware (and the kitchen is the one space where I am unfailingly uncluttered!). She had an epiphany: realising that you don’t need a lot of tools in the kitchen, just a few really good ones stored well. It took some years after that, but she’s now achieving that goal in her own space.

    What do you do in your free time and how can I help you to have less stress?
    I’m very bad at quarantining my free time. (My work is pure pleasure, which doesn’t help matters!) And I spend a little too much free time in the digital space. So your site can’t help me there – except perhaps by becoming a whole lot less appealing!

  150. posted by kate on

    I like the content that focuses on why we should want to be uncluttered, and the practical side of doing so. I have taken some advice, (like the recent post about hobbies) and seriously considered others. I want to live without the mess, without all the stuff. Stuff does not fill emptiness we might feel. Live in a 3 BR apt, but too much stuff for a couple. My family is important, my memories, not things.

  151. posted by Zhongyi on

    I am 23 year old business student from Singapore. I started out reading lifehacker.org, zenhabits.net and then came across your blog. Thereafter, came the realisation that I don’t need a lot of material things to be fulfilled with life. My dad is a hoarder, and loves collecting junk stuff. It probably influenced the hoarder in me when I was young. But recently, I’m trying to keep things simple and get rid of the clutter. It really makes things simple.

    More about myself. I enjoy exercising. Running, swimming, climbing, doing weights in my free time. Possibly, I would love to see some simplification tips on exercising. I realised that I actually use some of the unclutterer philosophies in training. I don’t think we need to have expensive gym memberships to stay fit.

    Thanx for the wonderful blog! It’s my daily fix for the stressful studying in school haha..

  152. posted by Kelly on

    I’d be interested to read more about being proactive with clutter. I’ve been out of college for 2 years and am getting married next year. I want to know how to avoid accumulating “stuff” in my new home.

    As I set up my wedding registry, I try to question each item: Is this a single use item? Will I really use it? Where will I put it? Can I live without it?

    I’m also a die hard environmentalist, which as we all know, corresponds beautifully with the message of this blog.

    And for the record, I love doing laundry. I find it oddly therapeutic I guess.

  153. posted by Karen on

    I’m a 29 year-old married woman living in London with husband (messy), chickens (ever messier), rabbits and cat.

    I live in a Victorian terraced cottage built for war widows with a 100ft bowling alley of a garden. It is cute but tiny, literally “2-up, 2-down” so keeping the clutter under control is vital. I find tidying up therapeutic but tidying up after others frustrating.

    I need to tidy up before tackling work or writing so keeping the place tidy is important to getting anything else done. Setting up a system for handling incoming mail has probably been the thing that has had the greatest effect.

    I can never be bothered to vacuum.

  154. posted by Jessica on

    I am 29, high school teacher, with a few Master degrees. I love blogs about money, being green/organic, cooking, wine, gardening and travel. I am interested in being clean, organized and not wasteful. I like just bought a house last year and I’m interested in keeping it looking good without being wasteful. I think in general most Americans, including myself, buy things they don’t really need. My struggle is to watch where my money goes and not bring things into my home that are not needed. Like most people on this blog I also have two cats. I am also getting married next year so newlywed advice is always appreciated.

  155. posted by H20 on

    wow..152 comments already…me too late to reply huh?? *lol*

    I hate to admit I was a messy girl, then a messy wife, now a messy mom…
    Therefore this blog has been my top three list since I own E90 communicator.

    Some of your advice really help me declutter…… still, there are lots of things that I still hold on to….

    I am Haslin Jasman from Malaysia, 34-year-old mother of 4, my hubby is a general practitioner (GP), owns 2 clinics , and as expected making quite good money. When I ‘skimmed down’ our home, I realized that all of our hard earned money fated to be thrash :(

    We live in the industrial zone where the corelle, corningware, panasonic cordless phones, brother fax/printers, cellini furniture (list goes on) came from…
    Sometimes the factory release some of their items and it really a bargain (and cluttered my house)

    Currently, I switched my interest to real gold that has 2nd value whenever my shopping itch tickling my mind ;) ……….it is smaller to store, valuable, wearable and very nice ………
    Now whenever I’m feeling down or depressed, I just make my visit to goldsmith :) ………if I happened to like any of the collection, I’ll just buy it…
    Since they’re very expensive , nothing is left to buy or bring home stuff/junks/clutters…isn’t it good idea? (tell me if it isn’t)

    I don’t own any credit card or ATM card or whatever card they offered……so I can’t buy anything without *real* money in wallet.

    Btw, I really, really like books….my favs (and I keep reading it over and over again) are ”How not to be a messy” by sandra Felton, ”Clutter’s Last Stand” by Don Aslett, ”A Kick In The Assets” by Tod Barnhart, and many, many more

  156. posted by David on

    I’m 26 y/o and live with my wife and daughter in Germany. I work as a software developer.

    I found unclutterer.com on my search for how to unclutter my harddisk. It’s not that I am messy, but I just collect too much stuff for potential later use. That’s why I started a blog to report my progress on reducing 100Gb of data to 1Gb (see http://100-2-1.eternium.de).

    I suppose postings about uncluttered offices and computers fits many readers, but I also like to read about keeping the home uncluttered. I loved the posting on digitizing paper clutter and will give the SnapScan 510 a try to see how many file folders I can throw away to make the next move lighter and easier.

    Keep up posting and: Thank you so much!

    – David

  157. posted by Chris Rick on

    I am cluttered and about to sell my house to property developers. I am looking through boxes I last looked at when I put them in the loft 20 years ago when I moved here. Still I find it hard to throw anything away.

    I have books and magazines that might be worth money so I am reluctant to throw away or give away anything that might have value. I did manage to take all my SF books to the charity shop whether valuable or not.

    I found, scattered throughout all the boxes, what is now, 5 large boxes of family photographs. I’m tempted to have them all scanned and throw them. Last night all the family was at home and they spent ages going through old photographs. Was it worth 20 years in the loft for that…probably.

    I have every cheque book, credit card statement and bank statement I have been sent since I was 18 (I am 57). Why do I keep them?

    I have plenty of other clutter horror stories.

    So I have stuff I need to get rid of, I want to get rid of, I should get rid of…but it is mighty difficult. How do I do it? How do I let go? I need the freedom of owning my possessions and not the other way round.

    Who am I? 57 years old, living in London UK. No debts of any kind, another house in Dorset (so far, uncluttered). Wife and 3 children all done with college and no longer pushing my food bills up. I’ve threatened my children that my final act of revenge if they don’t come to visit me will be to leave a cluttered house for them to sort out. At least if we have burglars they won’t steal anything as it will take them so long to find anything in the clutter.

    Chris Rick

  158. posted by Michele on

    I live in Florida so thankfully I don’t have a basement! I have a garage that looks like the Home Depot with those bright orange racks(mine are tan). They are lined up on the side of my garage to hold my tubs of clutter that I’m weeding through. (my car fits in my garage which is a blessing in the FL heat) I’m 42 single with two teenagers. I just joined this group via your write up in the The Simple Dollar. I love hearing about new products that help me get organized and different ways to get organzied. I’m in the process of going through room by room and examining areas that I can “keep it simple” and get rid of STUFF. The kitchen was my start and I was amazed at how many plastic containers I had. I think I saw a bargain 50 containers for XX amount of dollars and just couldn’t pass it up! CRAZY. I use maybe 4 or 5 of them at a given time.

  159. posted by Susan on

    I’m 65, a retired accountant, empty nest mother of two, grandmother of three, married for 45 years to the same man. I spent my first twenty years in southern California during which time I lived in six homes. After marrying I spent the next twentyfour years living in seven homes in Indiana. My husband and I have now lived in three places in Florida during the last twenty years. We used a professional mover only once so we know how to weed stuff out. The hardest thing to get rid of (or move) was my books. I now use the public library. We have a large shed on the back forty far from the house into which we put anything we don’t want in the house and don’t want to deal with YET. My husband collects old cars (junk in my opinion), lawn tractors and has a full sized tractor too. I figure that anything we don’t deal with will be dealt with in short order by our kids after we are gone. Precious little of what I read here is new to me but it doesn’t hurt to be reminded now and then (more now than before) of things I already know.

  160. posted by Dee on

    Wow Erin – you’ve got a lot of reading to do with this string :-)

    What content do you want to read?

    EVERYTHING! I like to gleen bits and pieces from all venues in life but I find that I am most drawn to ideas on house/lifestyle clutter control.

    Have you ever taken any of the advice and used it?

    I’ve used many ideas including organizing e-mails, ways to get rid of clutter through various sites and organizations, and ways to make life simplier such as laundry control and menu planning.

    What is your personal philosophy on simple living?

    Do what makes you happy and feed your passions. .. this site is giving me the tools to create boundaries in my life whether it be personal or in the clutter forum.

    Is there something we’ve discussed that you want us to explore more intensely?

    Tips and tricks on unconventional ways to keep life organized. A few ideas that I keep looking for are: creative coat closets (I don’t have one) or how bout how to organize your car. . .that would be one that I could really use help on because I have lots of free floating things in mine (kids stuff – business stuff -emergency supplies etc.).

    Are you just starting out in a place of your own or are you on the verge of downsizing into an active retirement community?

    My husband and I bought a fixer upper 6 years ago which has caused CHAOS in our lives. In between we had two children so we’ve amassed much more since the move.

    What is important to you?

    Family and having the time to enjoy them.

    What is your story?

    I’m 35 – married 8 years – 2 kids under four – work full-time as a principal hardware system technical writer and illustrator – have a dog and a cat – have a huge family – working on loosing weight and loosing all of the clutter that has come from years of my time being dominated by schooling, kids, & remodeling a house. Have ADD and have a love/hate relationship with finding ways around it. I am a meat and potatoes type girl and love food and cooking. Gardening is a passion of mine and I spend much of the warm weather months outside. I’m on a mission this year to quit smoking, go green, and organize my life.

    What do you do in your free time and how can I help you to have less stress?

    I spend time with my family, do various activities to stay fit, surf the net, gardening, cooking, and ORGANIZE ORGANIZE ORGANIZE (thats the one that takes up the most time!). Keep the ideas coming. .. having ADD makes me somewhat addicted to researching organizational tips and this site has cut down on my magazine purchases in my pursuit of that information – lol!

  161. posted by Beth on

    I live outside of Philadelphia and just bought my first house – a cute little one story with 3 bedrooms, 1-1/2 baths. I move the end of May. I have my own business – accounting and management consulting and have been doing this for 8 years. I am single but “mommy” to my 2 year old cat – Bella. I hate doing dishes and the area in my house that could use the most order is my kitchen (which currently is apartment small so I am hoping this will improve shortly). My design style is classic contemporary – clean lines, no florals! I enjoy cooking – love wine tasting and am a chocaholic – when I indulge! I wish I was about 10 pounds lighter with smaller boobs (how often is that SAID!) I have never watched Lost, Grey’s Anatomy, or The Apprentice – I am more into TLC, Discovery Channel, Food Network. I find myself so much happier when I am organized – I hate going to client’s offices that are slobs! It makes me want to come home and clean. Currently, I am purging – less you have – the less you have to pack!

  162. posted by brooklynchick on

    I am single, disorganized woman living in a two-bedroom apartment in Brooklyn. I HATE doing laundry more than I can say, dread vacuuming, and love doing dishes (so relaxing). My main organizational challenge is PAPER – its everywhere. :)

    I spent three months this year working with a personal organizer, my friend Gabriel. Am I allowed to plug him? He’s WONDERFUL: http://nycclutterbusters.com/index.html

    He helped me think about what comes IN (papers and books, mostly), how to reduce it, helped me get rid of TONS of stuff, and organize what was left. Who knew that “on the floor” was a not a good place to keep stuff???

    I like your blog alot, and am a recent reader.

    Cheers!

  163. posted by brooklynchick on

    P.S. if you, like me, have too many books, join the library. It changed my life!

  164. posted by Ulla on

    I am 54 years old, single, working in the department of communication and marketing at the Berlin University of the Arts, living in Berlin since 1981. I always look forward to reading your blog articles. Some of them I try to put into practice, not always with success but I keep trying on.

  165. posted by Melissa on

    wow! so many comments…

    i am a 27 yr old gal from MA.i live with my husband 2 dogs and 2 birds. we bought our first home in 2006 and have had the joys of painting , scrubbing, cleaning and decorating. i found your site when i was researching the idea of becoming a professional organizer. i love the tips and the reminders. i also LOVE uni-tasker wednesday. but where did minimalist monday go?

    i would love to see more photo pools or real life tips & tricks similar to Workspace of the Week. it would be great to see how others tackle their kitchen junk drawer, shoe collections, or “under the sink mess”.

    thanks for the great site…miles of inspiration here!

  166. posted by Fabulously Broke on

    I just love getting tips about how to organize and declutter my life because I’m already in the process of:

    1. Getting rid of my debt
    2. Getting rid of 50% of my clothes
    3. Getting rid of 90% of my books
    4. Being able to “fit” my life into a couple of suitcases, would be ideal.

    I’ve recently realized that stuff just doesn’t make you happy.

  167. posted by Kelly on

    I’m enjoying reading everyone’s stories! I am a 41 year old Mom to four kids (14,11,7, & 4). We homeschool and and are very busy. I am so tired of being a slave to my STUFF. I’d so much rather spend time on what’s important. I’ve also started to see the connection between clutter, diet, finances, and quality of time. My two favorite sites on the web are yours and zenhabits. I love articles that help me focus on simplifying for a more meaningful, conscious life. Your articles and the commenter’s comments are a great source of support.

    Thank you!

  168. posted by alphasqix on

    I am 25 and in my first year of grad school in North Carolina aka post-eden paradise. I live in a spacious, drafty old house with two of the dearest people on earth. I am also tall and grew up in the Midwest and have no agricultural skills whatsoever to show for this (though I can get you to just about any town in Missouri without a map.) I find it kind of ironic that a blog called Unclutterer is reposting content from a year ago (can’t we just search for it in the archives if we want to know?) but I love you anyway. I am in three choirs which I take slightly more seriously than my schoolwork (which is still not very seriously.) I love outdoors. Both of my roommates are super-arty. I am messy because there is something immensely comforting to me about a room strewn with papers and books. My primary obstacle to uncluttering is figuring out how to get rid of stuff (which I feel is important) without having to get rid of my mess. I tend to be kind of homebodied but really like to go to out to eat with groups of friends. I’d much rather travel to go camping or kayaking or hiking or climbing than to see the sights in a city, which always seemed to me like a total waste of time (but I virtually never do either.) I hate places that are too clean or sterile. I love color. My ideal design style is best exemplified by the City Museum in St. Louis, which is one of my favorite places in the world (but I have had no success in replicating it except on a very small scale.) The three things I think about most are sushi, music, and the camp where I work during the summer. My favorite chores are one-time things like changing lightbulbs or swapping out the air filter on the furnace. I don’t really hate any chores, but I am often too lazy to do them. I am obsessed with taking my time (which is usually a lot of time — some things I do really quickly, like getting ready in the morning, but I hate feeling rushed.) This semester was probably the first time in my life I didn’t turn in any of my schoolwork late. I like hanging out with scientists. I like to make stuff (mostly skirts and necklaces.) I hate materialism. I hate emphasizing appearance over content. I love words (in case you could not figure that out by the length of this comment.) I love going to the park or the zoo or the science center. I love my friends.

  169. posted by Jojo on

    I’m a 44 year old litigation paralegal, single mom to an 18.5 year old son, now a freshman in college. We live in a 1100 sq. ft. townhouse in an L.A. suburb. We keep it neat, i.e., I won’t be embarrassed by a surprise visit! Even if you peek in the kitchen cupboards. My kitchen is used a lot-I like to cook mostly on weekends.

    My design style is mixing the old with the new. Art is essential to me. I find it hard to pass up a piece that I like. I edit by rotating pieces when I feel for a change. Books are also essential. I used to buy books a lot but we can only have so many bookshelves in the space we have. So in the last few years, I’ve found it more practical to use the library instead. I donate good useable stuff we don’t use anymore to Goodwill every year. It’s a good cause, tax deductible and keeps clutter down.

    I’m new to your blog (came across it on Slate.com recently) but I’ve already used several tips. I like to organize at home and at work (key in my job). Like most people, paper is my enemy so when I got that tip about printing online receipts to PDF, it was a godsend! I also love the Workspace of the Week feature.

    Please keep it coming. You’re doing a wonderful thing.

  170. posted by Kat on

    I came here from the apartment therapy site. I like to read useful, simple tips – the one with the binder clips on the door may finally have solved our longstanding incoming mail problem! (Only a couple of weeks into trying it so too early for a verdict.)
    I’m 30, live in the UK in a rented house, married, enjoy doing laundry but quite slovenly when it comes to cleaning and dishes etc – my husband is much better at doing that than I am. I like living in an uncluttered space but sometimes I prefer reading about interior design to actually doing anything in my own home! My husband tends towards clutter but I have made myself a rule that I have to deal with all of my own clutter before I can criticise his!
    I am a moderator for my local freecycle group and I think freecycle is an absolute godsend – so much easier to get rid of things when you know that someone else will really appreciate what you’re giving away.

  171. posted by Nina on

    I am 36 and I live in a miniature apartment with one cat in a large American city. I go to school almost full-time and I have an internship in a financial corporation where I work about 30 hours a week. I am busy and stressed out constantly.
    I try and spend at least 2 or 3 hours a week trying to organize, clean, fight the clutters and improve.
    I have trouble getting out of the house every morning because I tend to stop and write a list of things to do or clean up some mess from the day before.
    It will all be over in May.

  172. posted by Empress Juju on

    I’m cultivating a happy, loving, healthy, debt-free, eco-friendly life for myself. I’m learning to give and receive love, enjoy life, take exquisite care of myself, and have plenty left over to support and encourage other people. I’m amassing a prudent reserve of money, energy, and resources, and I do my best to leave the world a wee bit better than I found it at every opportunity.

  173. posted by Chris on

    Wow you ask and you shall receive. I am a student that works 40 hours a week, goes to school 12 to 14 credit hours (depending on the semester), planning a wedding in 2 months, and cleaning the house and getting rid of our crap that is filling both of our lives (all so we can get ready for children because I am not subjecting my kids to a cluttered life like my parents did to me).

    ((Sigh))

    Hence why I read this blog. I love the comments. The community is the best because everyone has great ideas. So if you are wondering if this blog has an impact. It does have a great impact on my life. I have before pictures and am working on the after pictures. I will eventually post them on my flickr page.

    About you Erin: I just have to say my best friend says crown too and I love teasing him about it. I too would love to live simple but i need the organization to live that way because I have too much crap. To answer your question I need help with clothes because I work in a dirty environment and have to have three separate wardrobes one for work and one for everything else. Oh yeah I said three didn’t I, well the third wardrobe is my military uniforms and that is daunting too because I have to keep them all very organized and I can’t because I have boots for work and boots for military to the coats for work, coats for everyday stuff, and the military coats. I have ten coats, probably 8 pairs of boots, and need them all. (You should see my bedroom I am surprised my fiance has not gotten tired of it all.) And maybe some habits to go along with it all because I too hate laundry. If you would like to have a subject to this topic please let it be me.

    Keep up the good blog and please stay in the fight against the worldwide clutter.

  174. posted by Marie on

    I’m 24 and I live in a 1 bedroom apartment with my husband. My favorite things to use and read about are the little tips–I remember one of the first things I used on your site when I first started reading a few months ago was the tip to get rid of your phone books. I haven’t looked in a phone book for years, but we still had them sitting in our closet.

    So, those kinds of little, easy things are my favorite. I get overwhelmed easily, so that helps!

  175. posted by Marie on

    Oh, one more thing: we live in New Jersey and I work in New York. Both of our jobs are pretty time consuming, plus my commute is terrible, so our time at home with each other is really precious. Anything we can do to cut out housework is really appreciated. The best example is how we cut down the dishes and cutlery that we actually keep in the kitchen–we didn’t go all the way down to 2 of each thing, but it’s easier to deal with dishes when there’s no way for them to pile up.

  176. posted by Moriah on

    I started reading your blog when my husband introduced it to me almost a year ago. We have been married for 5 months. I find it really inspiring and uplifting. Once we started reading your blog we agreed we would simplify our lives and unclutter it as well. Currently my husband, who works for the US Navy, and I have been relocated to Japan. We are living in military housing that is much more spacious than the tiny 3 bedroom apartment we lived in while we were stationed in VA. We downsized prior to our move because we were told that housing would be a lot smaller than what we were living in. Plus it felt really good to de-clutter and keep the things that really had meaning instead of just putting things every where. I’m still working on keeping a flat surface completely clear lol.

    Our current problem right now is that we do not have all of our things. Our major shipment of household goods was delayed in VA and we were told it could take up to 2 months to receive it. It contains the rest of our lives basically (summer clothing, books, bedroom furniture, chairs, pictures etc). We are making do, by living very simplistic but we still find it extremely hard to be with out the rest of our things.

    These past 6 weeks have been a challenge but I would love to know what you think one could do with just the bare minimum. For example we are using a filing cabinet as a night stand for the alarm clock, the bed is on the floor and we have no place to set the mail or organize bills etc so little piles of things are popping up everywhere. The other issue that comes to mind is purchasing things but then we don’t want to end up with duplicates of items once our shipment does finally arrive. The major issue as well is feeling like we’re “home”. We still feel like we’re living in a hotel only with out the maids and the dresser drawers to put clothes away in.

  177. posted by lexie on

    I’m in my early twenty’s and living in austin tx, working full time. I’m just about to move so any advice or tips on that would be great. I’m also thinking about going back to school so any advice about managing time during busy times like this would also be wonderful.

    mainly what I like about Uclutterer is it gives me the inspiration to get up and clean, great tips that Ill actually use.

  178. posted by Skip Adkins on

    I am a 50y.o. trucker who lives full time in my truck. I’ve been looking at ways to simplify my life and a couple of years ago, I decided to maximize my use of the computer.
    I got a good scanner, a shredder and I’m moving alot of the paper and records onto the p.c.
    I’m always on the lookout for good ways to simplify and to get rid of what I call “CRAP” and to get to an almost Zen simplicity. I like my gadgets too much to ever get rid of them, but I really like tips that help me to see a new way of doing things.
    Keep it up.

  179. posted by Sasha on

    Wow, lots of comments already!

    I’m a 29 year old woman, married, American and living in west coast Canada. I’ve been into decluttering for some time, I’m not sure how long… but there was a turning point where I really *understood* what clutter was, that it was all worth getting rid of. I think it was reading “clear your clutter with feng shui”. We live in a relatively small apartment here… with this kind of home you either have to constantly rethink how you store your clutter or else you have to constantly declutter. So we do the latter, for the most part. Luckily my husband is into it too, although we don’t always take the same approach. Overall that’s been a good thing because I’ve taught him one kind of simplicity and he’s taught me another and so we’ve both become more simple. In some ways I’m really sensitive to the materials around me–clutter and, worst of all, poorly positioned stuff can really bog me down.

    Honestly, fairly basic posts about decluttering are really inspiring. Before and after pictures. Suggestions and stories. Anything that makes me think “Hm, I should do that!” and then I go and do it. Organizing papers is always a big challenge. My husband’s in academia, so all the more so for us. (Believe me–the paperless office is not for us!) Also, the art of filing. I’m using the “apartment therapy” system right now, reading the book I realized that a big problem for me is that my workspace is not organized or even in one place. Also, simplifying one’s cooking system and kitchen clutter–our kitchen is quite small, as many are. One thing I do is I store my recipes in a recipe application on my laptop. However that’s as far as I’ve gotten. The cabinets are full of forgotten nonperishables… decluttering them is good, but since I have no effective cooking system they just end up this way again. (Honestly, some of the themes that the AT site uses are great ideas but their sites are *way* cluttered with posts about design and all kinds of stuff…) Also an obscure subject I’m interested in is storage of wedding dresses. I know the usual thing to do is get rid of it, but I’m keeping mine! However it’s a very small dress anyway… I got it cleaned and preserved and the box it’s in now is huge, not good for my closet. I really need to get it properly stored in the smallest box possible. Also three handmade dresses from my grandmother need to be preserved similarly. Here’s a better question: How do most apartment dwellers deal with luggage for traveling?

    I don’t think I’ve actually taken advice from here–although when I first discovered this blog I reread back to the beginning, and I think I may have used some things from earlier posts. Mainly I just get inspired to declutter!

    My personal philosophy on simple living is simply that I do what works for me. I don’t analyze it very much. That would be too complicated. Also, my approach constantly evolves. I’m getting back into the arts, which I semi-consciously moved away from because of all the *stuff* involved, and in retrospect that was probably not completely worth it. Now that I’m in my own place it’s easier to find the middle path that works.

    The most important thing to me is to be happy and to adapt to the unexpected changes in my life.

    All my time is free time! I wish I could say I spent it productively and had lots of energy. Instead I do a lot of researching and planning/dreaming, and some things also happen. My interests include gardening and small space agriculture (although now I just have a balcony–decluttering that now!), painting, sewing, religion and its variations, investing, simplified decorating, feng shui, making my own house and body cleaning products–there’s some simplifying for you, aromatherapy and herbalism…

    Decluttering is destressing, especially if you take it one manageable area at a time.

  180. posted by Liz on

    I live in Australia and am a wife, mother of three and home-maker, living in a 2 bedroom unit (apartment). Our home isn’t simple and uncluttered by some standards but we only have so much space for the belongings of five people.

    I have my own website – http://lizparnell.com where I write about frugality, family, fun and faith. We love to play board games (and have a huge collection) and read books.

    I’ve started using the philosophy of honouring mementos in my home and am finding it freeing when deciding what to keep. I have some posts planned on my blog about this. We’ve also been talking about breaking up with old hobbies.

  181. posted by I'Ching on

    We live in Singapore (moved here from the US three years ago). My husband is from Virginia, I’m ethnic Chinese from Malaysia and we have a very interesting cross-cultural marriage. My husband is doing his doctorate in theology while I am a writer and public speaker.

    I came to your site via apartment therapy. I’ve been inspired by your move to a smaller home – so counter-cultural! Due to crazy rental hike here we are moving from a 3-bedroom, 2-bath apartment to one that is one-third the size. Reading your site has given me hope that downsizing is nothing to be despair about but a good thing for the soul. We threw out three big bags of stuff/trash today and it feels GOOD!

    I also love all the links you have on your site which send me to other helpful sites like lifehacker, etc.

    Thanks!

  182. posted by Cheska on

    Hello! I’m quite new to your website, just started reading the posts two weeks ago. I’m 23, a college undergrad majoring in high school biology, living in Vegas. I’m 2 semesters away from graduating, so I’ve been hording so much paperwork from organizations, workshops, classroom events, everything really!— trying to start on a professional portfolio. Needless to say, I have 0 portfolio and boxes of artifacts and unused scrapbooking material. (Thank goodness you brought up the Paper Clutter links!)

    I’m generally an organized person, but any advice I can get to unclutter my life is greatly appreciated! I love reading personal development books and lifehack sites like yours. Keep up the great work and I’ll keep coming back! :)

  183. posted by Jessica on

    I am a single gal living in a tiny apartment with one closet. I’m into simple living – no car, no TV, no microwave – and I’m committed to avoiding plastic bags whenever possible. I’ve been working on improving my green, minimalist, frugal lifestyle for over a decade. Now my boyfriend and I are considering joining households – he’s a homeowner with a teenage daughter – so I’m reevaluating all my Stuff. (So is he – we’d be downsizing to a small condo).

    I love the workspaces of the week! I call it ‘desk porn.’ My own desk is a rickety little thing, totally inadequate for my needs, but I want to have a clear vision in mind when I replace it.

    The articles that have caught my attention the most, though, were the one on hobby clutter and the one on not storing things under the couch or the bed. I had to admit that I keep things (my ironing board and drying racks) under the bed because there’s no room in the closet, due to hobby things! (I keep my printer and scanner under the couch, due to my desk situation). I still can’t shake the ‘hobby clutter’ problem from my mind – I don’t keep many supplies for any one activity, but I’ve apparently taken up so many different ones that it eats up quite a bit of space. I made a list and had materials for 25 different hobbies!

    It’s not the inertia so much as having to acknowledge that a part of your life is now over that makes it so hard to let go of certain things. Every item we brought home at some point had this message of optimism attached – “I’m going to use this thing to be a certain type of person” – and we have to say, “I guess I didn’t turn out to be that kind of person after all.”

  184. posted by Curious Bunny on

    Wow, what an amazing comment response! :D

    I’m a thirtysomething UK academic, sharing a tiny (42m2/450ft2) one-bedroom inner-city apartment with my just-about-thirtysomething academic partner. Our bedroom/study is just 6’7″ (2m) across, and 13′ (4m) long; brilliant builders gave us a bed-deck to take advantage of the high ceilings, so we’ve managed to get a wardrobe under that and a desk and bookshelves at the window.

    We have almost no storage space: just a self-built wardrobe, a closet with floorspace of less than 1m2, and a second one the same size that houses coats and bags. We have pared down and pared down and are still, after four years here, paring down further! My philosophy has become that except for important documents we must keep, if it hasn’t been used for a year, then out it goes (that applies to clothes, too). We have limited shelf space and have been very strict about getting rid of books if we’re not going to read them again.

    Best space-saving thing in the house: enormous kitchen wall-cabinets (we can afford the size because the ceilings are so high).

    Problem area: the bathroom. When we’ve got a little more money, we’ll be re-fitting it to try and minimise the visual clutter (1980s bathrooms were really not about minimalism!) … at the moment it grates on me to have free-standing cabinets and wall-storage and things in wire racks (though the visual torture of an apricot suite and matching patterned tiles shouldn’t be understated ;)

    I’m a recent subscriber to your site, but already found the article on getting rid of hobby equipment to really resonate, thank you (I have various raquet-related stuff and a tragically underused pair of rollerblades choking up the coat-cupboard). I could also relate to the piece about bedrooms being a quiet and tranquil place to be; from our bed-deck we can only really see white walls and the few things on the bedside shelf, but even those we could probably stand to pare down.

    Something I’d like to see is a feature on creative, minimalist storage in unusual areas of the house. I built a narrow floor-to-ceiling bookcase into a 6″ wide recess, but we could still use more storage-space in a house that isn’t really blessed with floorspace, and I’m always looking for more ideas.

    Nice to meet you, and I look forward to reading your future posts :)

  185. posted by alphasqix on

    … It is probably obvious that I am not your target audience, and I know it. ;) I would, however, like to read articles on motivation — I don’t really have much trouble getting rid of stuff, since most of my clutter is things I don’t remember why I’ve kept. It’s just such a pain to get started, especially when I don’t even really care whether or not my space is tidy. Workspace of the Week and other ideas about macro organization (whole rooms or big parts of rooms, rather than drawers or desktops) are very helpful for this, because they help me imagine how things could look.

    And I totally agree with Faculties’ comment above … seriously, who on the green earth stresses about their cords? do you REALLY need a system to organize them? What are you doing with so many gadgets to charge anyway?

    Also, my personal unclutterish philosophy is “doing [things] is better than having [things].”

  186. posted by Paula Hewitt on

    I live in Brisbane Australia, almost 40, three kids under 8, one husband, one dog, 6 chooks, and a veggie garden. I hate clutter, except my own. I have no problems organising other peoples clutter, but dont see my own stuff (quilting/embroidery supplies/books)that way (probably because Im the only one who cleans up without a fuss)! I am horrified by the waste(money/natural resources)related to clutter. we are in the process of buying land, planning a strawbale house, living off-grid and working towards self-sufficieny, and as simple a life as possible.

  187. posted by J on

    What content do you want to read?

    I agree with other posters who asked for more environmentally conscious-themed posts. While some may not like the implications of downsizing as much as possible to reduce our impact on the earth, I think knowing that you are part of the solution is valuable and not to be overlooked. I love reading about recycling and repurposing–what’s not to love about saving money AND getting rid of clutter? For example, while we now use cloth bags, my roommates and I are working through our stash of plastic and paper bags which we use for our garbage. We haven’t bought bags in months, and they fit in our trash can just fine. If anything, the small bags force us to consider our waste and make more frequent trips to the garbage can, which has helped to keep pests away.

    All of that said, I am a visual person from a long line of artists and designers and can’t stand a solution, no matter how environmentally friendly, if it is a total eyesore. Maybe posts themed around repurposing in an aesthetically pleasing way.

    Have you ever taken any of the advice and used it?

    As a college student with a lot of papers, it’s hard to be paperless, but I have been much more organized, and plan to downsize majorly once I graduate, especially since I will be starting a paper intensive job (teaching!) and will need to make room for that… maybe it’s time to invest in a scan snap!

    What is your personal philosophy on simple living?

    Have things you love. If you don’t love it or need it to live, don’t own it. If shelves full of books make you happy, keep them. If a bare white room makes you happy, freecycle everything in it.

    Are you just starting out in a place of your own or are you on the verge of downsizing into an active retirement community?

    I’ll be just starting out this summer.

    What is important to you?

    My friends and family, the planet, ethical choices.

    What is your story?

    While my father enjoys his collections, he keeps things to a minimum and is very neat and organized. My mother, however, can’t refuse a gift or garage sale find, no matter how useless, and organizes everything (poorly) in ziploc bags. She is by no means a hoarder, and in fact is trying to get a bunch of stuff together to donate, but I think a financially difficult upbringing has led her to be unable to resist a bargain. I’m trying to lean more toward his system, and as I get older I’m succeeding. Since I’ll have my own place in a few months, I can’t wait to organize everything, and luckily my man is pretty neat when pushed gently. He has more things than I do, but they are meaningful to him and easy to organize (books, records, etc.), so hopefully this will not be an issue. My theory is if more than 2 boxes each need to be stored at our parents’ homes, we need to get rid of some things. I love pointless knicknacks at times, but feel that they do little damage since I often buy them at thrift stores and donate them back a few years later when I am tired of them. I am trying to streamline my wardrobe, since storage will be at a premium and I don’t need the extra complication. I absolutely loathe unitaskers, ESPECIALLY kitchen unitaskers. Don’t listen to all the unitasker hating on this post, I find the posts hilarious! I have always felt that to do something right, you need the right tools, but when you have a pile of expensive gadgets, that’s merely a coverup for a lack of creativity and ability. Plus usually a waste of money and energy! An egg cracker, really? A bread machine? I know several pro chefs and they each have a good stove, a good knife, and not much else.

    Thanks for all of the posts, keep it coming!

  188. posted by Laura on

    Hi! Thanks for doing this. I’m a 27-year-old woman in Washington DC. I’ve just moved out of a large house with roommates and into my first apartment, and I’m finding that I love having control over all the space and stuff I live with. Your site has really helped me think about how I’m setting up my new life here.

    I’d love to hear about one think in particular: I’m in a relationship with someone I love very much — but whose apartment is a nightmare of clutter (knickknacks, dirty dishes, mail, laundry, etc, everywhere). I’m afraid we don’t have much of a future! Do you any of you have stories of happy uncluttered/cluttered partnerships or marriages? Any tips for living with and loving a clutterer?

  189. posted by Stimey on

    I’m a 34 year old woman living in Maryland. I read you because I sometimes can actually feel the clutter pressing in on me. I feel like my house would be a lot easier to live in and to clean if there were less things in it. To this end, I started my own uncluttering project/blog, where I try to take 6 things out of my house every day. It feels great!

  190. posted by Emma on

    I’ve loved reading all the responses to this post. It’s great how many people have responded!

    I’m a 28 year old woman from the UK. I’m married with a 2 year old son. I also work four days a week as a developer – so I really don’t get much time to myself!

    What content do you want to read?
    I love reading about decluttering. At the moment I’d love to read anything about wardrobe essentials as that’s my next big challenge!

    Have you ever taken any of the advice and used it?
    I know I have, I can’t think of any particular thing but I get inspired to do stuff on a weekly basis by this blog!

    What is your personal philosophy on simple living?
    I don’t have one, I’m just trying to reduce the stuff we have and not replace it with more (hard with a 2 yr old)

    Is there something we’ve discussed that you want us to explore more intensely?
    Wardrobe essentials, anything to do with decluttering and kids.

    Are you just starting out in a place of your own or are you on the verge of downsizing into an active retirement community?
    We’ve lived at our house for 3 years, we’re thinking about moving somewhere bigger – I’m decluttering to try and reduce that need!

    What is important to you?
    My family.

    What is your story?
    see top :)

    What do you do in your free time and how can I help you to have less stress?
    I don’t have any free time as such, but I generally go on the internet, take photos and watch tv. I think I’d have less stress if I could tidy my house and keep it tidy!

  191. posted by Josh on

    I’m a 24 male living in Sheffield in the United Kingdom. I got married last year to my wife and have not yet got used to living with two peoples stuff! I live in an unfurnished rented house which means I have all my own furniture but can not do any major work on the house itself.

    I have problems organising paperwork and our study is just a pile of paper on a desk. I would like solutions as to how to deal with this as I have to keep a lot for records.

    I took your advice on buying a fireproof box for certain important documents.

    I want to live a more simply life but I never seem to be able to get on top of what I currently have.

    Thanks!

  192. posted by KimonSkarlatos on

    Very interesting.

    I am a 47 year young man, new reader living with my lovely wife in Greece. We both came with classic baggage, ie. lot’s of stuff.

    I have struggled for years to control paper-creap and loved your articles about scanning-and-shredding, I also recommended them to Mom, who is the quintessential paper-historian. Years of experience working in IT and Communications has prepared me for moving to a completely electronic life. How to organize information for retrieval and also taking multiple safe backups and testing everything as the mass of information accumulates.

    Much of this was accomplished by moving to a Mac, after years of fighting with Windows, I bought my first Mac, plugged it in and 5 minutes later “it just works”. CircusPonies Notebook, handles about 40% of the work, Aperture about 50% and the rest is just plain filing.

    The technical and also voyeristic side of me loves to see other people’s projects, with the all-time favorite being the peg-board network and storage center.

    Many of your tips are being incorporated into daily life as we prepare for a 2 year temporary move while our house is being built.

    Keep up the great work.
    Kimon.

  193. posted by Jocelyn on

    I’m 24, married with a nearly 3 year old son, and live in the Midwest. We bought a 1000 square foot home on 1/3 acre nearly five years ago, and have to work really hard to keep it organized and running smoothly. My husband and I both work full time and have tons of hobbies that bring us outside of our home. Both of us were raised in very poor households, and clung to whatever we could find. It’s hard for us to get rid of things, and have found that what we need most at the moment is to first stop bringing new things in, and then slowly (very slowly) deal with the things we already have. We’re doing our best to raise our son differently and instill in him the importance of experiences over things. And we’ve found that it works- given a choice he’d rather run around at the park, visit the library, or help out in the kitchen over playing with some new doo-dad from the store any day.

    I’m a big fan of the posts relating to removing clutter, or even better- never bringing it in in the first place. I love lists, or bits of tips and tricks that I can read quickly. I’m not as into all the articles on workspaces or electronics so much, mostly because my work-workspace is very limited in size (and we’re not really allowed to do anything to our cubicles) and I try to spend very little time in my home-workspace.

  194. posted by Kimberly on

    I am 26 years old, and I live in SC with my husband Walt, dachshund Oscar (inside), Great Pyrenees Marley (outside) and lab mix foster Smokey (outside). I live about an hour from the VERY cluttered house where I grew up. Early in life I learned we keep things (newspapers, magazines) as long as it takes for us to get around to reading them; we keep things that came from family because they are “heirlooms”; we keep things that we don’t know what to do with; we keep things that we might need someday; we avoid wasting money by keeping things of value even if we don’t need them. Through Peter on Clean Sweep and Flylady.net (among other sources) I learned that I am in charge of my stuff, not the other way around and that any amount of regular work (even just 15 minutes a day!) can make a difference in the long run. I have come a very long way from the habits I grew up with, but I still have problem areas: proper storage of financial papers, general office paper clutter, memorabilia. I am finally to the point where surfaces (bookshelves etc) in my house can be used as part of the decor as opposed to merely corralling our our stuff. This is very exciting to me!

    I have drawn much inspiration from this blog in my efforts to rid our house of the last few strongholds of clutter as well how to keep from spreading clutter to other people (clutter free gifts etc.). I am moving to the point where I can take the steps suggested in many of your articles.

    I really enjoy tips/encouragement on how to get rid of clutter, articles on the psychology of spaces and how the clutter affects us and lists (ex. your articles on hwo to deal with financial papers and the info to have prepared in case a pet gets lost).

    Thanks for a great blog!

  195. posted by Jen on

    I see I’m not the only teacher who’s reading. I, too, need help organizing my classroom and paperwork. It’s my first year and I’m overwhelmed.

  196. posted by Mike on

    Hello! I am a 24 recent graphic design graduate who is currently working from home. Unfortunately I am living with my parents in order to save money. It’s a constant struggle to live with my pack-rat parents and siblings. I’ve gotten over sentimentality a long time ago, so selling, recycling, donating, or plain old throwing away unneeded stuff is super easy. While I do clean my room on a regular basis, it always feel like war with the family. Do you have any tips on helping other people “clean up” their act?

    As far as my interests go, I love whimsical things and great design that keeps beauty in mind. Work and education are the biggest thing in my life right now. I’m trying to start my own business, but it’s just been in my back of my mind lately.

    I have an ever growing collection of comic books and graphic novels as well as novels and dvds. I’m currently in the process of cataloguing them (scanning, ripping, excel sheets, etc). What a project!

    I always seem to find myself in the midst of rearranging my room, either drastically or ever so slightly. I tend to think that if it can’t fit in my room, then it shouldn’t be there; thus, I always try to find optimal arrangement for my belongings.

    Since I work from home, I have a nice little computer setup that includes: laptop, extra keyboard, additional monitor, scanner, printer, paper cutter, and two external hard drives. It’s a challenge concentrating on work because I have just as much digital info to sort through as paperwork. I am an avid blogger and website owner of multiple sites. I try to tune in on the newest software and hardware. I wish there was an easier way to sort through all of the glorious digital information without spending hours and hours at a time.

    Additionally, I tend to get physically stressed out from sitting in my room for long periods of time. I’m only 24! I don’t want develop any long-term health issues. Do you have any tips for ergonomic seating, typing, or just living in general? How do you organize your room to fit your body correctly? Oh yeah, do you also have any lighting tips?

    Thank you for your site, it’s a constant inspiration. Keep it up!

  197. posted by Cindy on

    I’m about to turn 32, I’ve been happily married for 5 years and have one year old triplets. We live on the eastcoast, near our family. My husband and I work full time. Since the babies have arrived, I’ve felt a little overwhelmed with clutter, trying to organize their toys, clothes and needs; plus a household’s a little challenging.

    I love reading about decluttering and simplifying life and struggle with it (daily). I love the daily tips, even if it’s the only thing I get to read about during the day. I know I’ve used many of the tips, I just can’t remember which one specifically. I do like the environmentally friendly tips (trying to be green and teach green).

    Most important thing to me is my family. With triplets, clutter = chaos, to keeping my family organized and clutter-free is very important.

    Trying to declutter, so prevent upsizing.

    This is a great website and helps with thinking about and living a simple, organized life. Definitely one I recommend to my friends.

  198. posted by Rachel on

    I just turned 29 (for the first time) and live in Northern MN with my DH and for “kids,” 2 dogs and 2 cats. We bought our first house in ’04 and have managed to fill it up since we moved in. Not sure how that happened since we moved from a 1 BR apartment to a 3 BR house…

    Anyway, 28 was a fantastic year for me. I’ve lost about 120 lbs and that has prompted a SERIOUS bout of decluttering. I am wearing clothes that I’d forgotten I had, things that were buried in the back of the closet for “someday.” To reach the back end of that closet, I have purged out at least 15 bags of clothes either to Goodwill or to be recycled. I’m down to a drawer and a half in our shared dresser, and my clothes take up about 18 inches of closet space. Believe it or not, I still don’t wear everything I have!! It’s true that we wear 20% of our clothes 80% of the time! I’m also one of those rare gals that only has about 4 pairs of shoes, including my Sorel boots for whenever I decide to take a stroll during a snowstorm.

    This purging has spread out all across the house, too. DH and I have taken a good look at what we want out home to feel like, and we are striving to make it match our vision. We are also replacing the carpet throughout the house with wood flooring to cut down on the allergens from our “kids,” and frankly, it’s very hard to look at those lovely floors and think of putting all the junk back into the rooms! While no room in my house will ever be magazine-worthy, it’s amazing the difference we feel coming home to a clean and clear environment.

    I come from a military family that seems to all share the clutter habit. Perhaps it stems from moving around so much and having to say goodbye to our treasures, and now that we are settled down there’s no reason to limit our collections. It is a very hard mindset to break from, especially when I talk to my mom about my newfound mental freedom, and she asks how much of the stuff I got rid of did she pay for? There’s a big difference between value and cost; even if it cost a lot of money, that doesn’t mean it’s still valuable to you if the interest has passed.

    Because of this, I’m very interested in the psychology of clutter. Everyone has a different definition of what clutter is; I think paper clutter is needless files and receipts, while my DH says it’s my scrapbooking stash! But I think there are several people who would agree that suggestions on how to encourage others to unclutter would be helpful. Cohabitating with a clutter bug can be extremely difficult, and it’s not easy to draw the line between helpful suggestions and being pushy. In my own weightloss journey I have been forced to look at what has really been bothering me, since I can’t self-medicate with food any more. By uncovering and addressing those issues, I have realized that I do not need to surround myself with excess, be it food or possessions. It has certainly been an eye-opening experience, and blogs like Unclutterer and Simple Dollar have been essential to me.

    I guess it comes down to this: find out what is really important to you and where your passions lie. Reframe your thinking to focus on these things and the rest will all fall into place, be it money, clutter or health. Surround yourself with things that you need and that inspire you and happiness will follow!

    Cheers!

  199. posted by Cynthia on

    I am a 27 year old woman living in Northern California. I started reading your blog within the last couple of months. I think I found it in an article on MSN. I absolutely love it and have just started blogging myself, but not about organization, but about my life. I’ve always considered myself an organized packrat (if such a term exists). I keep almost everything and anything, but when my boyfriend and I moved in together we had to combine two homes and that was not easy moving into a 3 bedroom house, when I had a 2 bedroom apartment and he had a 3 bedroom house to begin with. So, now a few years later, I’m still trying to get rid of things that we haven’t used since we moved into the house, but the problem is he is a packrat himself, but an unorganized one at that. So, how do I remove things from our home without causing a big discussion? That’s my big struggle, I’m learning to get rid of things, especially things that I have not used since we moved into the house. But how do I work with his stuff?

    I told myself that I would like to spend a Saturday on each room. Dissecting it, removing things we no longer use or need, and finding a place for everything. I’m down two bedrooms and I need one more to go. We’ve learned to keep the living room, kitchen and dining rooms clean and somewhat clutter free because we don’t have much room to begin with, but everything ends up in the bedrooms, so I’m hoping that after purging that will end as well. I worked on our bedroom this weekend and I love entering it now. All surfaces are free of clutter; the floors are not consumed by paper, or shoes or other items that I would trip over when I wake up. I didn’t have time to tackle the closet like I would have hoped, but boy by the end of Saturday I had a garbage bag full of trash, two garbage bags full of clothes to donate and a nice clean room. I even did some spring-cleaning along with removing the clutter. So, the blinds and windows are nice and clean and we get so much more light coming into the room. I think keeping the room clean will be much easier now that the clutter is gone. Now, next Saturday it will be onto the guest bedroom.

    I’d like to read more about closets and how to keep them clean and clutter-free. We don’t have much closet space, so I tend to push everything in there without organizing it. Each bedroom has a closet, and I have a relatively small linen closet in the hallway and another small coat closet in the hallway. Our hallway closets are narrow and the top shelf goes up high, how do I use that space? That’s all the storage I have. How do I keep them clean? I know it’s a matter of ridding myself of the things we don’t use, but that brings up the same point about my boyfriend not wanting to give things away. Games, what I do with all our board games that are overflowing from our hall closet. We have friends over about once a month to play games, so we do use them, but they can get difficult to get to, because they are shoved up to the highest point and I have to bring in a step stool to reach them.

    About me, I enjoy running, reading, and spending time with my family. I also enjoy playing sports and spending time with friends. I love a good movie and enjoy just relaxing. I’m hoping that my new clutter free home (once that’s achieved) will help me enjoy my time with my family more.

    Thanks for taking the time to put up interesting information on your site, I enjoy reading it every morning, and because of this site, I have found other blogs that I am interested in and read almost everyday.

  200. posted by Ris on

    I’m a 23-year-old single woman living in Austin, TX. I’ve moved 8 times in six years (ahh the life of a student) and am about to move again, to Chicago, for graduate school. Moving with me is my boyfriend, a certifiable packrat. I am often described by friends as “the most organized person on earth.” I came across this sight while looking for tips on getting rid of clutter (or helping your partner get rid of clutter without a giant fight ensuing) and was hooked. Thanks for putting together a great site!

  201. posted by tay on

    WOW I’m wondering how you are ever going to get through all of these responses! ;-)

    I am a 31 year old mother of one beautiful 19mo old little lady. My daughter, boyfriend and I live in a 4 bedroom house. This house has been taken over by paper!! I can’t take it!! ;-) Nah, actually it has gotten a little better. “Little” being the operative word. I am trying to figure out how to merge my life into his, because I moved into his space…I find that he is a bit of a pack rat and we do not necessarily have the same sense of style. I love minimalist, modern, clean lines and open space likes traditional, queen anne stuff.

    There are several things that I would like to read about. I like to read content about various solutions to reducing and organizing paper clutter. It’s nice to see different ideas to doing one thing. No one thing works for everyone. In addition I like to see solutions (those which involve introducing a new item to my home) that are aesthetically pleasing. I also like to see things about what to do with outgrown baby stuff. And I would like to see something on where to donate or recycle (for i.e. where should I recycle the shoes that I don’t want anymore but aren’t good enough to have someone else wear.

    I am new to unclutterer but have fallen in love with the sight. I have not used any ideas yet..but working on it.

    My philosophy on simple living is to spend a part of every day doing something you enjoy doing and another part doing absolutely nothing! RELAX. In terms of items, I try and not bring anything home that will not have a “PLACE” to go and/or won’t make my home more aesthetically pleasing.

    Is there something we’ve discussed that you want us to explore more intensely? More paper clutter options

    My story is at the beginning of this entry. Spending time with my boyfriend and daughter are the most important and most enjoyable thing to me and what I love to do in my free time.

    Helping my find a paper organization solution for me is what would help me be stress free. Right now I’m at my wits end trying to develop a system that will work for my boyfriend and I

  202. posted by Hollly on

    I’m also originally from the Midwest and have been living in the DC area for almost three years. My fiance told me about your website perhaps a year ago because of my problem with paper clutter. Of course, I’ve found all the other articles helpful and have passed the website along to friends far and wide.

    I read the column regularly (at least once a week if not more) and I find the articles about organizing very helpful, especially when it doesn’t involve purchasing organizing tools. I haven’t implemented as much as I’d like from your site but I have high hopes that I will slowly make some changes. My fiance and I have a small one bedroom apartment, two cats, and different opinions on what it means to be tidy. My idea of tidy used to be keeping the bathroom, kitchen, and litter box spotless. His idea was that he didn’t think those places mattered as much as keeping desks, the table top, and other locations clear from clutter piles. We are slowly coming to a compromise but it’s hard.

    Sometimes I take whole ideas of your posts and put them to work for me, or just hand pluck small elements of your posts and put them to work for me. Unitasker Wednesday is obviously the least handy for me, however it’s nice to have some comic relief. We also have issues with recycling because there’s no room under the sink to keep them separated (paper vs. plastic/cans) so part of our dining room (2′ x 4′) constantly looks like a garbage dump but it’s really important to me to recycle.

    Thanks for your tips and please keep them coming! :)

  203. posted by Sarah on

    What content do you want to read?
    Anything that involves organizing, downsizing, or simplifying. Non-toxic and environmentally friendly solutions for cleaning and waste disposal.

    I’d really love to know how others keep things out of the grasp of tiny hands without decorating the kitchen island with the necessary daily items.

    Have you ever taken any of the advice and used it?
    The matching socks! My husband no longer wakes me at 5:45 to ask if I’ve seen any of his dark socks. It’s fantastic!
    I also created a labeled tray for him to use for all of his daily necessities. He no longer panics the last 10 minutes of the morning looking for his wallet.

    What is your personal philosophy on simple living?
    My mother once told me your physical environment reflects your inner thoughts and emotions. When I’m feeling frazzled, I take some time to make my environment more organized and peaceful. I think it works both ways.

    Is there something we’ve discussed that you want us to explore more intensely?
    I’ve seen some baby- and kid-related content. Some advice on reorganizing the nursery for toddlers would be great. My babes, a boy and a girl, share a room, so minimalism is key.

    What is important to you?
    Husband, kids, parents, in-laws, dear friends, finding opportunities in my busy life for charity, exercise and browsing bookstores.

    What is your story?
    I’m a 29-year-old mom of 16-month-old twins. My full-time writing position turned into a part-time, work-from-home writing position after the twins were born.
    I have an unhealthy relationship with coffee and unclutterer.com. My husband wants to know why I’m still nesting, now the twins are more than a year old.

    What do you do in your free time and how can I help you to have less stress?
    I like to read and garden. I would love more time to exercise – by myself, away from the house.
    Could you, maybe, fold this basket of laundry and make lunch?

  204. posted by PrairieGal on

    I’m a 28 yo married women from Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. I love organizing, order, uncluttered spaces. I get great satisfaction in decluttering and organizing spaces and making it clean and efficient. I love freecycle (or earthcycle), reusing, recycling and I make my own cleaning products. I also have a fetish for boxes and any box-like thing to hold and organize things. I hate “stuff”, excess and wastefulness. Disorganization and clutter cause me stress. I like to keep an organized house as much as possible, but not everything is organized and I still never know what I’m going to wear every day.

    My parents are quite the hoarders. With an empty nest, the have 3 EXTRA king size beds that were all bought after the kids moved out. Mom keeps little bits of metal, strips of wood, extra doors, etc, just in case she needs them for something. Dad probably has 30 years worth of car and motorcycle magazine subscriptions that he won’t part with because he might want to refer to them. I have been helping them declutter bit by bit, sometimes it’s fun, sometimes it’s aggrevating.

    I love the product reviews. I have searched out the wrapping paper organizer (made my own), the art decals, and I’m going to find the drinn phone holder. I love reading about different ways to organize stuff or ideas on how to do something more efficiently and readers’ comments.

  205. posted by Suzyn on

    I read unclutterer for the visual inspiration, much the same way that I read interior design blogs. I love the minimal workspaces feature, and other images of people’s homes and office – I figure that if I steep myself in enough pictures of clean, spare spaces, I’ll be more willing to part with my own stuff when it comes time to clean up.

    I’ve always been fascinated by minimalism, but I still haven’t gotten there in my own life. I try to battle the “maybe I’ll need it some day” or “that’s really good, I can’t toss it!” voices. One book that really helped me was “Clear Your Clutter with Feng Shui.” It’d maybe be a little too “new age-y” for Erin ;). The most important thing I took from that book was the idea that you should have nothing in your house that brings your spirits down. If it makes you feel guilty, if it reminds you of a sad time in your life, if it brings you down and you don’t know why – get it out of there!

    Thanks for the great work.

  206. posted by Vicky on

    I’m a new reader. I used to brag about being able to fit everything I own in my Honda Civic hatchback. Those days are long gone! I’m 44 (a very young 44, I might add), married and have a 4 year-old. My issue, and the reason I started reading, is I am perpetually disorganized and need all the tips I can get for how to organize things and information. The worst offender for me is paperwork. I’m an information junkie – newsletters, patterns (I sew and knit), free weekly newspapers, catalogs, etc. The internet has unfortunately made this problem much, much worse. I tend to print out all of the infinitely interesting ideas, recipes, patterns etc. so that I can keep them for future reference. These get mixed in with my truly important documents, like financial documents. I’m a mess organizationally, but I’d like to think it’s not chronic and I read your blog to get tips :-)

  207. posted by Amanda on

    I’m 34, recently divorced, and moving from a 4 bedroom house in the suburbs to a 965 sq ft loft in the city (how’s that for a 180?) I think I did a pretty good job at purging things before the move, but now want to know how to live in a smaller space in an organized, peaceful way that really utilizes the space I have. I found your site from the article on Slate.com, and I am so glad–I read it several times a week and it has already helped me get in a “clutter-free” mindset as I start my life as a loft dweller!

  208. posted by Tyler on

    In a word: Magazines! I am a pack rat when it comes to magazines and would like a neat way to get my old copies of Rolling Stone, among others, into as small a space as possible that is also easily accessible. I’d thought about putting them in mylar bags – like you do with comic books – but I can’t find a bag big enough to fit them. What should I do?

  209. posted by JulieLyn on

    I’m in my late 30s, married with two children still at home and some pets. I live in Alaska. I can chop wood, shoot a rifle, gut a moose, fillet a fish, put up preserves, and sew a wedding dress. I am a recovering pack rat. I have finally convinced the husband that we really don’t need such a large house. The dear husband likes a clean, organized house, but isn’t really helpful in making that happen.

    I don’t like to do laundry in the winter. I do love to hang it out in the summer. It gives me time to think and looks lovely blowing in the breeze. Ironically, even though it takes more time and the amount of muddy clothes is triple, the laundry is always done in the summer.

    I am organized in some areas of my life. My fabric “stash” is sorted by fabric type and yardage. My patterns are sorted by size and style. I have ripped the articles I want from magazines, filed them in binders according to topic and tossed the rest. I periodically go through them to see if there is something I don’t really want anymore.

    Advice I have taken: I have boxes of paper from several family lawsuits and just regular home files that are 10 years old. I use a scan-snap at work and purchased one for our home from newegg. I have reviewed and purchased the freedomfiler system. I looking forward to paper sanity. I will also be scanning Grandma’s photo albums before she dies and they go off to the relatives that unfortunately do not like our side of the family. We have no photos of my father-in-law as a child because his second wife isn’t really a nice person at all.

    I need help organizing the garage and my dear husband’s tools. We have every tool you need to build a house. For Mothers’/Fathers’ Days we are getting one of those great big red tool boxes (possibly two) and some peg boards. I would really appreciate some tips beyond that though.

    I love this site and it has given me a lot to think about even if everything does not apply to me. I could not live in a glass/metal/concrete extreme minimalist environment. I do like clean lines and natural materials. The husband likes wood and I love stone. I’m trying to figure out how to make a stone exterior work in our climate with minimal maintenance for our next house.

  210. posted by ozlady on

    I’m an Australian living primarily in Singapore and I read Unclutterer as I had a desk in my home office that I used to have to sneak up on… it filled me with dread just to look at it, and I could feel the weight of the disorganisation from that room – it was dreadful.

    Slowly I have applied some of the tips – and come up with some of my own. Now I have a well-lit and (almost) fully organised desk in our home office, with the room now feeling light, airy and PRODUCTIVE. Thank you!

    I love reading about organisation projects, and while I can’t get behind all of them (I have a hard time reading digital books, and re-read all my paperbacks to death), I love reading about ways that people organise and store their possessions – especially your emphasis on keeping things with respect.

    I usually read on my mobile phone via RSS, maintain my office on my back (I am going to submit my backpack, fully unpacked in your workspace feature one of these days), and find that I need to get to things quickly and easily. Any advice on organising for easy retrieval is good for me!

    Keep up the good work – and thank you!

  211. posted by koz on

    You have a ton of other comments to read, and I’m sure I’m nothing new or fascinating. I just wanted to commend you for the work. I pick up tons of little tidbits here and there. I guess my goals are efficiency and simplicity. I first found out about Freecycle from you. And I’ve made a remarkable number of small but effective changes because of your advice.

    The unitaskers make my Wednesdays, and I am constantly keeping an eye out for one as I shop or read a catalog.

    My least favorite chore: Dusting. If you could find a way to make that faster, easier and cleaner, I’d love it. Swiffer dusters are, so far, the best I’ve found, but I still feel like the dust is just going everywhere.

    Also, if you have a magical pill to cure my husband of his packratedness, that would be great.

  212. posted by Chris on

    Wow, tons of great feedback here! I’ll add my part. First, thank you to everyone at Unclutterer for such an amazing resource for information and dialog. I completely love this site.

    I’m a 23 year old male college student, in school for industrial design. I share a two bedroom apartment with another student, so space is limited and organization is key to keeping me relaxed. My bedroom is my sleep space and my work space… which goes against best practices, but it’s what I have to do until I can get my own place or expand. I’m moving to another city for a summer internship, so your recent posts about moving/de-cluttering have been very intriguing and useful.

    I’m interested in technology and how we use that technology to better our lives. In the past couple years I have been focusing on digital organization, physical organization, and financial organization. Being organized doesn’t just keep things clean, it keeps you aware of what you have, and don’t have, at all times. It helps you keep accounts of the things/information/people in your life.

    I like when this site touches on digital matters, but I really come here for the physical organization aspects. I read tons of blogs that focus on software/GTD/productivity, but these sites never step back from the computer and look at the environment as a whole. That’s where this site excels. Keep it up!!

  213. posted by Karyn on

    I’ll have to go with the short version (I could write a much longer and more detailed response giving the history of my Uncluttering Journey!) because I’m using a coffeehouse computer and am on a time budget, here. ;-)

    I found Unclutterer in the recent issue of Real Simple, which is about the only interesting magazine to be found by the grocery store checkout. Of course, as a cashier, I’m not supposed to be reading while I’m working, but I work overnights, and sometimes there’s a lull, and well, I like to keep my brain occupied.

    I don’t yet have Internet at home (soon, soon…) but quickly found your blog to be not only informative and full of good content but written in a very down-to-earth, unpretentious style that appealed to me. So I bookmarked Unclutterer on my cell phone, and have been reading it via cell phone for a few months, now. This is the first day I’ve remembered to go on via computer and comment on a few posts! Anyway, I’ve been telling everyone I know who has “clutter” issues (and is receptive, of course) to check out this blog.

    As far as content goes–well, I think you have a pretty good variety of topics, which I like. If I think of any specific suggestions, I’ll most likely make them in comments on future posts. Thanks!

  214. posted by Allie Orange on

    They say if you want people to think you’re interesting, ask them about themselves. I guess by the number of responses, we think you’re fascinating, Erin! I love unclutterer.com and am constantly singing your praises to others!

    I’m 47 and live with my husband, Chip and very spoiled Manx cat, Pippin, in our dream home, “Marmalade Cottage”, built 13 years ago in Tallahassee, Florida. We both are computer analysts and both have chronic illnesses which unfortunately sap a lot of time and energy. My interest in organizing stemmed from advice about my condition which said that if you find your physical environment overwhelming, organizing your house and removing clutter can be a way to be more focused and less distracted. Out of that has grown the realization that organizing and winnowing down would help us pursue interests that we are passionate about. We both love to read (is that a requirement of reading this site?!)…I’m also interested in needlework, decorating and furnishing our home, cooking and baking, and entertaining family and friends. My husband has a specialized knowledge of computer technology for the blind and he spends a lot of his free time with calls from all over the world about assistive technology and rights of the disabled. Through organizing and decluttering, I want to make what we need to get done every day as easy as possible and what we want to get done as enjoyable as possible!

    I find the content of your site just the right mix of practical advice and humor and I think the writing is excellent. I’ve also found other great sites from yours, like Simple Dollar, Hostess with the Mostess (through Real Simple) and Zen Habits. We are setting up a library in our loft and have been reading all of the recent articles on sorting and organizing books. (I am one of the rainbow coalition who sorts by color!). I also am going to go back and reread the article on hobby clutter. (I am so proud of myself for doing a serious purge of quilting stash, books and equipment, when I realized I should focus on one stitching hobby and it would be counted thread work.)

    Systematic ways of doing tasks really help me, especially ideas on breaking larger tasks into smaller steps that can be done over time. Sometimes general decluttering advice doesn’t work for me because I don’t have the physical stamina necessary to remove, sort and put back everything in a room in a day, just as an example . For those who might have similar issues, I found this article extremely helpful: http://www.cfidsselfhelp.org/a.....eeping.htm

    As for organizing philosophies…”Have nothing in your house that you do not know to be useful, or believe to be beautiful” by Williams Morris. (I would add “or that you truly love”) and “What is your vision for the life you want to live, and do your life choices reflect that vision? Specifically: Is your home a space for the life you want?” by Peter Walsh.
    I am still working my way through all of the comments to this post…it is so interesting getting to know everyone!

  215. posted by Amy-Elizabeth on

    Hello! I am a twenty-five year old high school teacher with an incredibly busy schedule. When I am not teaching school, I work in an Apple retail store five days a week, take guitar lessons and work on developing my own blog project.

    My main interest in reading Unclutterer is finding ways that someone who is psychotically busy like me can still function and be organized. I used to use the “I’m too busy to be clean” excuse” but since reading this site, I’ve begun to take new measures in getting organized. Ultimately, I want to have a totally minimalist, paperless life but I am having difficulty figuring out where to start. I’ve done small things, like create a dedicated office space for myself, eliminate things I don’t want or need anymore. However, I wish that there was something like, “Three Day Guide to Getting Yourself Together.” I have summers off, so I’d really love to take a few days and just have a plan on how to get my life straight once and for all.

    However, I am no longer a pack rat.

  216. posted by Tina on

    I’m a 39 yr old SAHM of 6 1/2 yr old triplets and a 5 yr old. They create a tremendous amount of clutter! I’m looking at going into the professional organization business in the fall when the youngest starts school.

    I read Unclutterer for it good suggestions, funny articles on things you can only do one thing with, and for inspiration with my life and future business.

  217. posted by Emily at Tippyleaf on

    What content do you want to read?
    Exactly what you’re writing. I’m an anti-clutterer and love organization. I read books about organization for fun. And unitasker wednesday cracks me up.

    Have you ever taken any of the advice and used it?
    I really can’t recall anything NEW I’ve started doing because of unclutterer… sorry.

    What is your personal philosophy on simple living?
    My husband is in the Navy so we’re going to be moving a LOT… so frequently decluttering will help us out so much on those moves. I feel like anything you love and use or enjoy the sight of is OK to keep but once it “disappears” and you no longer “see” it… you need to pass it on to someone who will respect and use it.

    Are you just starting out in a place of your own or are you on the verge of downsizing into an active retirement community?
    Just starting out. We got married in July. We’ve moved twice, and are about to move again. (And each time we were totally unpacked -NO boxes- within a week).

    What do you do in your free time and how can I help you to have less stress?
    I am a writer for two blogs other than my own, and I’m starting a new business. I would love some suggestions about managing an agenda that includes “nontraditional” things (i.e., not taking the kids to school and grocery shopping, then coming home and immediately sorting your mail.)

  218. posted by Emily on

    oops! This is my own website. Tippyleaf is one of the blogs I write for. :) Joyful Abode is mine.

  219. posted by Jasi on

    I grew up in a miserably cluttered, tacky, hippie home. The themed rooms changed at my mother’s whim and unfortunately, I was made sole caretaker of this huge and busy household. After dusting around numerous porcelain dancing dogs, vacuuming around 4 giant sleepy golden retrievers, I came to -really- dislike this sort of lifestyle.

    But here I am, years later, living in stark contrast. My husband and I have lots of space and very little clutter. Aside from some kid’s toys, our only set back is the attic. It’s free of our nonsense, but family, noting how “empty” it is.. how much space we have, insists that we house their things. Really, really annoying.

    That said, we’re really glad to have found Unclutter. It’s a great resource for living and storing more efficiently. Awesome ideas, friendly support and a touch of humor. I dig.

  220. posted by Barbara on

    I’m kind of half organized. I’m doing much better than I was 5 years ago, and I’ve got more areas that could be better. I kept wanting more storage space, but I recognize now that what I need is less to store. How wants to clean all that stuff anyway. My style is very traditional, which naturally lends itself to more “stuff” but I’m trying to blend the traditional asthetic with a more streamlined/less clutter lifestyle.

    My basement still needs serious help! As does my garage. We’re planning to have a yard sale and then donate what’s left to charity this spring. (I’ve finally convinced my hubby to do this! I’m tired of storing boxes of stuff we don’t use) So any yard sale tips would be greatly appreciated!

    I love when you present alternate ideas for storage, looking at things you have in a new way. I’m trying to get rid of clutter, I really don’t want to go out and buy more stuff to bring into my house unless I REALLY need it.

  221. posted by Janet on

    I’m like to see as a topic suggestion how to get rid of clothes in the closet. In my closet my clothes are ALL good, they ALL fit, but there’s TOO MANY. How do I downsize? I don’t know how to organize them into outfits to wear and downsize. What do I REALLY need to have in my closet? I think I have 10 skirts and maybe 30 blouses/t-shirts, etc. My daughter has the same problem with TOO MANY clothes. She gets them at garage sales and they’re all good clothes and they fit the 4 children. BUt the dressers are STUFFED. Help please.

  222. posted by Ginger on

    I’m 40 and I recently (December) completed my second cross-country move (NJ-Texas) and downsizing in the last five years. I don’t work, so I live with my clutter all the time. Decluttering so I can have a more pleasant environment (mentally and physically) is a big deal.

    I’ve seen a number of products (specifically mostly related to computer/gadget clutter) that I’ve either bought or put on a shopping list based on your recommendations. (Lifehacker is really good for software recommendations for uncluttering your computer, although they promote lots of clutter there in their own way.)

    One thing I haven’t seen you discuss is clutter and disability. I don’t work because I have arthritis and we have the luxury financially of letting me not work. Decluttering mentally and physically helps me stay focused on important things at times when I’m stressed and really ill. While a lot of general decluttering advice helps, I’d be interested in discussions on decluttering that relate to chronic health issues. For instance, dealing with pill clutter is a big issue in my house, and one that I’d love to see recommendations for.

  223. posted by Leslie Hope on

    I downsized in 2000 when I moved from the house I raised my kids in to a house in a much more expensive area, # 8 on the Forbes 2006 most expensive zip codes list. (I purchased and refurbished a *tear down*) The house itself is a little larger than the one I moved from, but it has an attached one bedroom apartment, so my living space is actually smaller than before. It was a great opportunity to unload lots of crap. I have just 3 file boxes on a shelf now for my children’s momentos! Instead of the heavy 30s deco furniture I had before, I now have much lighter, airier 50s vintage rattan (bamboo). I redid my kitchen in bamboo cabinets with the notion of having nothing displayed on the counters. i have no pictures hanging on my walls either. (There is a huge stain glass window of a pelican at the ocean that a previous owner designed and installed) Because my living space is mostly on the second floor which opens in the back onto a deck and a hillside, i needed no curtains. In the apt downstairs and in the sliding door to my bedroom i used the between the glass blinds that Pella does. I have hardwood and stone floors throughout so no dust accumulating carpets or rugs.

    I work at home-I’m a tenured college professor and teach all my classes online now–and a landlord with a couple of buildings that i manage myself so a home office is a necessity even though I also have an office at the college that I rarely use. My greatest clutter problem is paper!!! Because i like to keep my life simple, I drive a Prius that is economical and needs no repairs just maintenence in the 6 years I’ve owned it. I’m not tech averse, but I’m not into scanning all my paper and storing it on my computer, tho I’m considering getting a device that a friend who manages a major rock star recommends to scan business cards that come my way. i do confess that Ihave a lot of clothes. I’m a fitness fanatic–5 yoga classes, 6 spin classes 2 sessions w/ my trainer in the gym and 2 hours a week hiking with my girlfriends so I need lots of work out clothes. My bedroom is like a big closet because i store my clothes on shelves along the walls. I don’t use paper checks/bills anymore–pay all bills out of online checking and insist that i be billed electronically. I have a bunch of photos that I need to digitalize someday and some remnants of my cd colllection that i need to get on my i-pod soon. I got rid of my record collection, sadly, when I moved. I ask people not to give me gifts. Often this edict is ignored, so I will keep whatever it is for a time and then take it to the thrift store. I don’t do garage sales or sell online–too much hassle, my time is too valuable and I don’t need the cash, but I make regular trips to the Salvation Army and the local library with donations of books totchkes and clothing etc. I don’t carry a purse, so the Prius can get a little cluttered, but i try to do a purge every time I to to the carwash. I’ve bought a few things Unclutterer recommends, but I prefer the organizational tips. I don’t cook very much, so I got rid of all my pots and pans and got the nesting set that was recommended last year. My recycling container is always full on trash day–on the other hand I use about 1/8 of my trash container. My tenants in the downstairs apt, a gay couple, eat only vegetarian raw food so they generate very little trash too. I’m a vegetarian and shop only at local farmers markets so that eliminates a lot of packaging trash. i could go on but I must meet my trainer now.

  224. posted by Leslie Hope on

    After I got back from the gym, I was reading through some of the other posts. This is for Janet who has the problem with too many clothes. I say if you like ‘em and wear ‘em, keep ‘em. I have many of my clothes organized on shelves in my bedroom according to outfit. For example, I probably have 40 different outfits for yoga. I rotate them in 4 different piles. After wash day,my housekeeper folds the clothes. I match up the outfits, each pair of om girl capris with a top, and put them in the pile rotation. Then I move the outfits I will be wearing the next week to the *front* of the line. (When I buy a new top to replace one of the older ones that is not in style or I’m tired of, I retire the old one to a drawer. Every so often I purge the drawer of stuff i will never wear again.) I have a similar system for the informal outfits i wear on non yoga days. (I also have a shelf for my jeans and the tops I wear with them.) By wearing om girl velour capris rather than the more traditional tights for yoga class, I can get away with wearing my yoga outfits around town after class so I don’t have to go home and change. Saves time. I hang all my jackets and dressier clothing in the closet by genre rather than by outfit. I also use baskets on shelves to store the Michael Stars thong underwear I wear under my capris for yoga. I use different colored carabiners to organize them by color. I also put the om girl shorts and Moving Comfort bra tops I use for spinning in baskets, etc–you get the idea. i hang my necklaces on a stand on my dresser made of an antique chandelier. i have a lot of clothing and accessories, but everything is well organized so I don’t have to waste time thinking about what i am going to wear on any given day for a particular activity. Because of my SOCal beach/yogi lifestyle I wear mainly flip flops. When I get in the house I have a small rug by the door where I throw the ones I’m wearing that day — I don’t wear shoes in my home. Keeps the hardwood floors nice. I store my MANY pairs of flip flops sideways on shelves in my bedroom. I use bookends to keep them standing up on their sides each pair sole to sole. They are easy to see when I want to find the perfect flip flop compliment for whatever I’m wearing. I have rhinestone flip flops for dress up and vinyl sugar shoes w/ little monkeys on them for play, and every style of flip flops you could possibly imagine, but they are all visible and accessible, bookended on shelves.

    Believe it or not i hate to shop so I generally stick w/ a few stores/lines. Currently my fave is Lucky, but i also like Om Girl and Michael Stars and to a certain extent, Hard Tail. These latter 3 are California lifestyle brands and 2 have flagship stores near where I live.

    For the young teacher who has the psychotically busy schedule, get a housekeeper, even if only for 1/2 day a week. You’ll never look back.

    BTW, two of the women I hike with every week are professional organizers and another one is a ‘puter tutor so I get lots of tips and plenty of conversation about organizing issues.

  225. posted by Karen on

    I am a 36 year old woman living in the greater Seattle area. I knit and watch movies. I’m married to my soulmate who has two kids. We have a spoiled min-pin/terrier/chihuahua mix from Puerto Rico and a cat.

    I love 007, vintage and a great dirty martini. I think kilts are sexy. I have a passion for great coffee. Red wine and chocolate are excellent together! I love to travel, read and garden. I costumed a Zombie movie last summer.

    I don’t understand emo or the fascination with video games. I’m not a morning person. I detest peas. I do not have a yarn/fabric stash.

    I would love to read anything about organizing. I really would love to find something out there to store my DVD collection digitally and get rid of the boxes. My hubby and I love movies and could never conceive of giving them up. We do utilize Netflix.

    I just started the simple living journey. My hubby and I are systematically going through our 900 square foot condo and decluttering. We are planning to move to a bigger house next year. This is not to “trade up” or “keep up with the Joneses”. Our family situation simply requires one more bedroom.

    I think repurposing items is one of the best ways to recycle as long as you have a use for the item.

  226. posted by Luanne on

    My dad says he can’t throw anything away, and that’s why Mom has to take out the trash. Seems I “get it honest”! here’s my “profile.”

    I am also a Midwesterner with a practical (most of the time) outlook. Alas, I have a penchant for keeping cluttered with paper–newspaper, notes, books, receipts, etc. I am really good about managing clutter in some aspects of my life: my clothes closet and my kitchen cabinets, for example, but my office gives me fits! I find that when I file things away, I tend to that “close the file” in my brain. My home is over 50 years old, so I have little storage space. One of my challenges in life is that as a freelance writer and PR person, I have different clients in very different industries. On any given day, I can be promoting tourism or explaining health issues, writing for the web or producing a company newsletter. So, my brain can be cluttered too!

  227. posted by Wendy on

    I thought I’d jump in and add my response seeing I didn’t have the time last week.

    I’d love to read more on organising ditital possesions – and digital alternatives for curent analogue clutter – and about finding the time for decluttering – how to do it fast and effectively! Also on managing clutter when you live with friends in a rental – ways to approach shared houses and clutter management. Methods of managing pet clutter and cleanliness too, perhaps. Pet stuff storage!

    My personal philosophy on simple living is that if an object is causing you some kind of excessive cognitive load – as visual clutter or requiring a lot of time to manage – with little emotional benefit, then you should get rid of it (preferably by recycling or gifting). I think happiness is to get up in the morning, walk around the house, and see only the things that are important to you that day. It brings me clarity of mind – when it happens.

    I’m 24, I live in a rental property, I have been living out of home for two years. I live with my two best friends and our three cats. Soon my boyfriend of three years will be moving in with us, along with his dog. One of my best friends also has a four year old daughter from a previous relationship, who visits us once a fortnight. There’s a lot of traffic, people and agendas in our house!

    We live on a tight budget. In Australia, the property market has become crazy over the last twenty years, and rentals are difficult to find and rates rise constantly. Ours just went up recently by an additional sixty dollars a week. We’d love to buy a house but the mortgage is too much right now, and it is difficult to save even with all of us working full time. Two of us also study part time on top of this!

    We are all very tech savvy (myself and one of my housemates particularly so, as it is our chosen career area) and computers and technology is where we spend most of our luxury money, along with books.

    It is important to me to live simply, do the things that make me feel passionate, not to get hung up on material possessions and tread lightly. I want myself and my close friends to feel at peace without needing to fill our lives with things.

    In my free time I design websites, program, belly dance, read up on cognitive science and swim. I’m also learning Japanese and hope to start learning to scuba dive. Your website has helped a lot and reading decluttering advice every day keeps me focused on my simplification goals! Thankyou!

  228. posted by carlos on

    I’m 52. Male. Originally from the plains now living in the desert southwest. And I’m…… a clutter bug……. It’s not a conscious decision I’ve made, that’s just where my default behavior lies. I can do well for a time, but my reset button gets pushed and the next thing I know I’m surrounded by my mess again. I buy storage units and they become part of the clutter. I have to confess that quite often when I read your Unitasker posts that my first reaction might be, “What a cool little gadget!”

    I came here via Lifehacker and am reading through the archives because they give me hope….

  229. posted by Sue on

    I’m a 47 yr old nurse & mom of 2 grown daughters, one of whom lives at college, the other a policewoman who lives with me. My hobbies include bodybuilding, reading, playing/research on the computer, talking, and serious decluttering/simplifying! The daughter who lives with me is clean & organized & we both often donate things we dont use to friends or to Goodwill. Little sister is somewhat of a packrat, needs a lot of help to part with her stuff, but is getting better as she gets older. My decorating style was always traditional, but is becoming more modern as I have decluttered most of my knicknacks & gone from shades of blue & green to the peaceful, fresh neutrals like white, black, tan, cappuchino, toast, and so on.I am trying to live with less and less stuff as time goes on, freeing up more time for people & experiences. And, I find I get more compliments on my home the more things I remove from it! Keep up your great site!

  230. posted by Mammoth on

    I am trying to live with less and less stuff as time goes on, freeing up more time for people & experiences. And, I find I get more compliments on my home the more things I remove from it! Keep up your great site!
    :D

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