Oprah’s Clean Your Messy House Tour

Oprah has been giving decluttering a lot of attention lately — and we are glad to see it. She has teamed up with an Unclutterer-favorite Peter Walsh for the Clean Your Messy House Tour. We interviewed Mr. Walsh a while back and have covered Oprah’s efforts in this area in the past.

The online slideshow that accompanies this project has some quick tips. If you feel overwhelmed by the clutter in your home, taking 10 minutes on a small project is an easy step to get you started.

Some general tips that were covered in the first episode included:

  • Before beginning organization, ask yourself, “What do I want from this space?”
  • Ask yourself, “Am I valuing my possessions?”
  • Ask yourself, “Am I saying one thing to myself about my habits and my life and doing another?”
  • Always store like with like.
  • Create zones for specific functions. (i.e. the mail zone.)
  • Start small. Begin by tackling a manageable area that you can organize relatively quickly.  Small chunks over time will be less overwhelming.
  • To hang children’s artwork, get a variety of small rug squares and use double stick tape to hang the squares to the walls. You can pin the artwork to the rugs as a creative display board.
  • With clothing, hangers should all be facing one direction. As you wear the clothes, hang them back up in the opposite direction. In six months, check to see what you have not worn. If you haven’t worn it, take this opportunity to decide if you really need it. If not, donate or sell locally.
  • In small spaces, create dispersed light. “When you light everything, you light nothing,” says Candice Olsen of HGTV’s Divine Design, who is providing design guidance for the tour.

16 Comments for “Oprah’s Clean Your Messy House Tour”

  1. posted by sharon on

    FYI, the coupon expired last night.

  2. posted by Shanel Yang on

    Great tips! Clutter is costly in so many ways that I hadn’t even realized till I saw Suze Orman’s “The Courage to Be Rich.” I highly recommend it. I also summarized parts of it at http://shanelyang.com/2008/06/.....o-be-rich/

  3. posted by Erin Doland on

    @sharon — Thanks for the catch! We removed the coupon mention from the article.

  4. posted by whyioughtta on

    Missed that episode of Oprah, so I appreciate the update! I love the carpet tile idea and I think the hanger idea is totally brilliant.

    My struggle is always with the ‘store like with like’ concept…e.g. do I store my baby’s dishes with our dishes or with her baby food? Do I store coin rollers and our coin jars together or do I store coin rollers with stationery supplies? These are the questions that clutter my mind and paralyze me with indecision…

    I think I think too much.

  5. posted by HMR on

    @whyioughtta – I feel your pain. I have a similar problem. I have no trouble deciding “like with like,” but I can’t ever decide how to divvy up frequently used items, with rarely used items.

    For example, I own six cookie sheets for baking. I only bake enough cookies for six cookies sheets worth a few times a year. Do I store away four cookie sheets and split up the “like” items, or do I leave them all together and potentially waste valuable space.

    Sadly, I have this debate every time I open the cabinet to take out a cookie sheet.

  6. posted by Chris | Quote Addict on

    Thanks, great tips!

    A quote than came to mind:

    “The things you own end up owning you.”
    – Tyler Durden, Fight Club

  7. posted by Sky on

    Peter Walsh and his book “It’s All Too Much” are wonderful. He and Erin need to team up and unclutter the world!
    I find when I keep “like” things together I realize I don’t need multiples of items. I used to keep tape, stapler, etc. in a kitchen drawer as well as my desk. Now everything is in my desk and I freed up a kitchen drawer. Same with tools, now they are all in the garage. It’s easier to walk out there when I need a hammer than to have a separate tool box in the house.
    HMR….you must have a big oven! Ha!
    whyioughtta….dishes with dishes, food with food.

  8. posted by Tabitha (From Single to Married) on

    what great tips! I really like the one about the hangers because I tend to let close stay in my closet for way too long!

  9. posted by someone on

    I’m always amused when I see suggestions to get rid of clothing you haven’t worn in “6 months”. Haven’t these people ever heard of SEASONS? If I followed that advice, I’d probably have to get rid of almost everything except for half my underwear.

    @whyioughtta– a good rule of thumb is “whichever option works best in practice”. Or looked at the other way around, “whichever option will be less annoying”

  10. posted by Sue on

    @someone – I agree. Even the “1 year” guideline for clothing doesn’t work on some items. I have a long down coat that I can only wear if the weather is well below freezing. The last couple of winters were mild, so I never wore that coat. If I applied the 1 year rule, I’d give away the coat only to find I desperately need it the next time we have a really cold day.

    As for duplicate items, I find keeping multiples of certain items is better for me than having one. Scissors, for example – I keep a pair in kitchen, a pair in my office, and a couple with my rubber stamping stuff. I’m very bad at putting things away if their home isn’t near the place where I use them. If I had to walk across the house to put a pair of scissors away, they’d never get back to their proper home. And the next time I needed scissors I’d be looking all over for them. Same with tape, notepads, and pens.

  11. posted by Adrienne on

    I just got an email from the Container Store saying that the promotional discount has been extended to November 30th.


  12. posted by Krisha on

    @sharon/erin, due to the demand, they actually extended the offer through the end of the month. the coupon (same link as before) reflects the change.

  13. posted by Another Deb on

    The one year rule should automatically exclude specialty items that you would not want to rent.

    I have a wetsuit that I don’t use each year, but I don’t mind storing it. It’s in a spare closet and I don’t have to play “closet Tetris” with it.

    However, there are at least five shirts in the closet that I pass over every day because they aren’t the right color of green, have a stain or they make my arms look fat(ter).

    I have realized that it is not worth saving them to paint, camp or change the oil in. I will not be buying a blazer to wear over them. After a year I am ready to release these items to the wild.

  14. posted by Jennifer Wilson (StarXLR8) on

    Am I the only one that could ‘hear’ Peter Walsh offer the tips in this post? I just love him!

    There is something about an Australian accent that makes we want to say ‘thank you, may I have another?’

  15. posted by Joy (from Just Plain Joy) on

    I use the hanger trick to remind me not to wear the same outfit to work for the third Monday in a row…just kidding (sort of). I have a limited work wardrobe, so I use a variation of the trick to rotate through my professional clothing.

  16. posted by gypsy packer on

    Sometimes the comments mean more to me than the articles. Thank you for the post from Suze Orman. Last week, I was discussing the “ugly coats” the stepmonster forced me to wear through childhood when my classmates had pretty purchases.
    I just realized that I own 5 beautiful coats, none of which I wear more than once or twice a winter…and yes, an ugly down jacket for the dirty work.
    Time for me to grow up and get rid of some of those coats.

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