A little Unclutterer love for The New York Times

On Thursday, Unclutterer was mentioned in The New York Times article “Organize Your Life, It’s Your Civic Duty.” The article follows reporter Michelle Slatalla for a day as she waits to be called for jury duty. She decides to spend her time learning as much as she can from personal productivity websites:

My plan was to read and follow the suggestions posted on all the gazillion online productivity blogs — Unclutterer.com, 43folders.com, Dumblittleman.com and Lifehack.org, for example — that offer eclectic advice on how to spend time fruitfully.

Thank you, Michelle, for thinking of us, and welcome to any new readers who may have found us from the article!


A couple weeks ago, Matt was interviewed by Rachel Mosteller for the article “Chasing Utopia, Family Imagines No Possessions” that ran in the May 17 issue of The New York Times. During the interview, he was questioned about his family’s decision to downsize to a smaller home. He didn’t end up being directly quoted in the article, but he and the rest of us at Unclutterer certainly enjoyed seeing voluntary simplicity getting good press in a major paper:

Though it may not be the stuff of the typical American dream, the voluntary simplicity movement, which traces its inception to 1980s Seattle, is drawing a great deal of renewed interest, some experts say.

“If you think about some of the shifts we’re having economically — shifts in oil and energy — it may be the right time,” said Mary E. Grigsby, associate professor of rural sociology at the University of Missouri and the author of “Buying Time and Getting By: The Voluntary Simplicity Movement.”

“The idea in the movement was ‘everything you own owns you,’ ” said Dr. Grigsby, who sees roots of the philosophy in the lives of the Puritans. “You have to care for it, store it. It becomes an appendage, I think. If it enhances your life and helps you do the things you want to do, great. If you are burdened by these things and they become the center of what you have to do to live, is that really positive?”

Parts of the article are a little more “off the grid” than my personal commitment to simple living, but overall it is filled with wonderful perspective and I recommend reading it if you haven’t already.

5 Comments for “A little Unclutterer love for The New York Times”

  1. posted by Pixel Kid on

    This is interesting to me in light of an item on BBC radio 4 this morning stating that if everyone in the world lived life in the same wasteful way as most Americans we would need the equivalent resources of five planet earths!

    Good to see a major paper highlighting the positive efforts of some. 🙂

  2. posted by gigglechick on

    congrats on the NYT mention!!

  3. posted by Dream Mom DBA www.dreamorganizers.com on

    Congratulations on the New York Times articles. You have a nice blog and it’s good news that more people will get to read it.

    Some of the voluntary simplicity is a bit extreme for me as well but I do try to live simply and in a smaller space. It’s amazing at how much more time you have to do things you really enjoy versus having a larger space. I really love the idea of living simple and elegantly in a smaller space. That way, you get the best of both worlds-you get a beautiful space and the freedom of time.

    I was reading an article in a magazine the other day and they interviewed a man who lived in a tiny tumbleweed home that was 10 x 10 I believe. He was a former artist and said that hardest part was having to make a decision at one point about getting rid of his paintings and the ones that had been given to him to live there. He said that he was able to sell/get rid of them once he decided it was more important to “live artfully” than to keep all of the emblems of art”. I found that to be an interesting perspective.

  4. posted by M on

    This is a great blog and I am happy to see that the NYT knows it.

    Unlike many, I actually did walk out on most of my stuff. I got divorced and my ex got most of everything we owned together. I only had remorse at my willingness to leave with almost nothing (and no alimony) once after a minor surgery when I was sleeping on a broken futon. The joy that comes with the freedom from the burden of stuff is wonderful. I now have a much different attitude towards consumerism and living. I am not advocating divorce since it isn’t a pleasant experience, no matter the circumstances, but not having the American Suburban dream is wonderful.

  5. posted by allen on

    That is my friend’s sister’s family! We read the article on the way down to go sky-diving the saturday before last! 😀

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