Putting Unclutter Your Life in One Week to the test

Photographer Tasra Dawson put Unclutter Your Life in One Week through the ringer to see if she could clear the clutter and organize her life in seven days. She documented the process with a video series on her website and I want to share it with you. She starts with her closet (where the book begins) and works through to her living room. I loved this series and being able to see the tips from the book in action. She did an amazing job and I hope you enjoy these videos as much as I did.

Part 1: Closet and Drawers
Part 2: The Home Office
Part 3: Mail, Paper & More
Part 4: The Bathroom and Linen Closet
Part 5: Organize Your Jewelry & Accessories
Part 6: Kitchen, Pantry, and Storage Closet
Part 7: CD/DVD Media Storage

My favorite of the videos was episode six, which covers the kitchen and pantry. Be sure to check it out:

27 Comments for “Putting Unclutter Your Life in One Week to the test”

  1. posted by Shalin on

    Wonderful to see the book in action! I think I’ll be sending this blog post link to a lot folks I know… :)
    –S

  2. posted by *Pol on

    THANK YOU for posting this, it is VERY inspirational!

  3. posted by Lori on

    These videos were great. I even found some new ideas for organizing my drawers. I think I’ll go work on them now!

  4. posted by Erin on

    I’m looking forward to checking this out because as I’ve read your book, I keep thinking the title should be Unclutter Your Life in Seven WEEKS (not days). With a full-time job (and full-time life) it is hard to spend 7 straight days organizing and uncluttering. None-the-less, I’m enjoying the book and just reading it one week at a time!

  5. posted by Barrie Davenport on

    Oh if only my teenagers would read your book! That should be your next book — The Teen’s Guide to Uncluttering or How to Give Mom Her Sanity Back.

    I love your blog — so much great information. In fact I included your blog in a post of my favorites on my blog! Thanks for all that you share.

  6. posted by Terri M on

    sorry if this seems like a downer, but, how many pairs of pants does 1 woman need?! I’m new to this blog, but I’ve found that one thing that helps me is to get rid of stuff, not just organize it!

  7. posted by momofthree on

    ack–just one side of her closet is what my hubby and I have in our bedroom. she has more jeans hanging up than both my hubby have total!! But what I didn’t hear is if this is just her closet, or do both she and hubster share the closet space??

    ugh…to have a closet that size….oh to have the money to buy all the clothes to fit into that closet….AND she said she didn’t think she had that many clothes!!!

  8. posted by Lenore on

    Lovely! (And the “Real Women Crap” tshirt in the drawer made my day!)

  9. posted by becoming minimalist on

    i’m sure i couldn’t possibly enjoy these videos as much as you did… the visual representation of how your book has helped so many people – fantastic. thanks for using your knowledge and experience to help others.

  10. posted by Cheap Freeman on

    I like the “in One Week” idea of the book, but in my experience of cleaning up my house or my office or whatever, I’m not so horrible at getting rid of stuff, especially in one big session, but my problem is usually just not putting stuff back over time and then the place looks cluttered again. And I read somewhere recently that research shows it takes 21 days of repetition to ingrain a habit. Does your book (or a future blog post?) have a plan for PRACTICING an Unclutterer-ed lifestyle for 21 days to develop this into a real habit?

  11. Profile photo of Erin Doland

    posted by Erin Doland on

    @Cheap — Research has found that it takes the average person three months for an action to become a habit. The 21 days information that you’ve heard is just an old wives’ tale. (This is discussed in the book and on the site.)

    Also … the entire point of the book is focused exactly on your premise. Getting rid of stuff barely takes any time (it’s a 7-day schedule in the book), but it’s the maintenance that takes a lifelong commitment. All are discussed at length in the book. If you set up systems that you’re never going to use then all you’re doing is wasting time, energy, and money. The vast majority of the book is focused on creating systems that work for you and your needs over the long haul.

  12. posted by Amy on

    @Lenore,
    I think it says “Real Women Scrap”. It is written on the bottom of the screen in her video. Sorry. I think your version is great, also!

  13. posted by Lenore on

    @Amy Darn! I was hoping it was a successor to the line of “Girls Don’t Poop” jokes!

  14. posted by Mike on

    Dawson’s clutter really doesn’t have the clutter bug that bad. If she tried uncluttering my parents’ house it’d easily take seven days just for one room.

  15. posted by Availle on

    I just watched the first video – great work in only three hours!

    However, I’d be interested in seeing a follow-up in, say, 6 months or so. As Erin says above, it’s really about maintenance, and I wonder if she can keep it up.

    For myself, clothing is no problem. Everything is grouped by color/sleevelength/warmth of the garment… When it comes to paper, I’m at a loss – my desk keps on attracting bits and pieces of paper, no matter how much and how often I throw away. Different people – different challanges, eh?

  16. posted by jrochest on

    I like these, but I’d NEVER do the ‘reception station’ idea! Surely having your wallet, purse and car keys two steps inside the front door is an open invitation to a thief.

    Every other idea is a good one, but this one sets off my alarm bells.

  17. posted by Plain Good Sense on

    I also enjoyed the videos – I took time to watch all of them (though they are a bit wordy and go on for a while….buy hey. From one blogger to another, pobody is nerfect, and at least she’s out there doing video clips in her blog. That takes courage!).

    But I’ve got to say I agree with some of the other comments regarding her closet (and even jewelry, light bulbs, makeup, etc.). This woman has a lot of STUFF. I guess there is a difference between being an “unclutterer” and a “minimalist.” Just like she was making the distinction between decorating, organizing, and uncluttering. What’s Erin’s definition of an unclutterer, again? I’m pretty sure it has to do with getting rid of things that don’t serve a purpose or bring joy to your life. Which is awesome. Trust me – if I had a huge closet of clothes, I’m pretty sure they would bring joy to my life. But my life is SIMPLER with a more minimalist approach, which would be – what’s the least amount of stuff I can have but still have a comfortable, effective and happy life? Which is why, even though I love clothes, I choose to own about 1/4 the amount this gal owns at one time, because it keeps my life more simple (and I can spend more on fewer items that I love).

    Interesting, interesting. It’s gotten me thinking about where I cross over from being an “unclutterer” to a “minimalist” in my own life.

    However – I did get some great ideas from her. I’m totally going to head to Home Depot and get a rack like hers to hang my necklaces from, and am going to experiment with bins in my (very tiny) pantry.

  18. posted by deAnna on

    i thought the same thing when i saw her closet – she has a lot of pants/jeans! but so what? i have a lot of ballet flats. like someone else said, there is a difference between being uncluttered and minimalist. if i thought people should limit themselves to two pairs of pants, i’d visit a different blog. i’m biased, though. i have that same purse organizer. great feature! it helps to see it in action.

  19. posted by Parka on

    Great review of the book in action! You’ve peaked my interest, now I will just have to get it.

    As for the videos, I found that she organized more than she uncluttered. I liked some of her novel solutions to organizing the pantry and her home office.

  20. posted by Claycat on

    I didn’t watch all of the videos, because I’m just now reading your book, Erin. I did enjoy the videos, but she didn’t seem to be terribly cluttered or disorganized to begin with.

    I agree with one of the other posters that my husband and I have as much clothing together as Ms. Dawson does for just her. However, we have a much simpler lifestyle than she does. She is in front of the camera a lot and needs more clothing to look good. The stuff you keep really depends on your lifestyle.

    I like the idea of the reception station. There are two things I do, or would do, differently. I am a visual person, and kind of ADD, so mine would have to have open shelves. Also, I would not put anything of value near the door. My husband has a container on his bedroom dresser for his wallet and keys. I keep mine in my purse. I realize if a thief wants your money or valuables, he/she will get in and take them. It’s just that the sort of naked feeling of having them right by the door seems to invite a quick theft.

    I applaud Ms. Dawson for undertaking this video project! I wish I had that kind of energy! Also, her videos were very well done and presented!

  21. posted by Rebecca on

    I’ve done the closet, and the reception station at this point. My goal is to have tackled something major once a month and hopefully have a better system for each of our problem areas by New Year’s Day 2011.

    That said, this is such a tough area of my life. One of the things I love about this video is that, however impractical in my own life (I also work and have a million things going on), I love the idea of this (or the cleaning crews on all those TV shows, whether Hoarders or Clean Sweep or what-have-you) being a short, incredibly-focused, finite process. There is something so appealing about getting EVERYTHING in order in one huge step (even if it’s made of a lot of smaller steps) and then focusing on maintaining everything from scratch.

    I absolutely agree with the comments that organization is worthless if you don’t cut down on the amount of stuff. If it won’t fit in the closet, it won’t help that you have pretty hangers or a nice shoe rack. Still won’t fit.

  22. posted by anon on

    I love living in a small town. My keys do hang just inside the front door. It makes it easier when friends and neighbors borrow the car!

  23. posted by Chris on

    Great vids, really helpful

  24. posted by Boris Brown on

    I just tried to compare it with my clattered lifestyle and find lots of important thing and innumerable precious times I could save if it would be uncluttered.

  25. posted by Courtney on

    Great videos, I love the tips on how to clear just about any type of clutter!

  26. posted by Jill on

    This is awesome, I will definitely watch the rest of the videos! :)

  27. posted by Jill on

    Almost done watching them and they are great!

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