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 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

  2. 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! :)

  3. 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 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?

  4. 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.

  5. 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.

  6. 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 :-)

  7. 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, 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!

  8. 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?

  9. 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.

  10. 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!

  11. 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.

  12. 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!!

  13. 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!

  14. 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 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:

    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!

  15. 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.

  16. 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.

  17. 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.)

  18. posted by Emily on

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

  19. 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.

  20. 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.

  21. 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.

  22. 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.

  23. 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.

  24. 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.

  25. 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.

  26. 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!

  27. 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!

  28. 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….

  29. 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!

  30. 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!

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