Posted by: Ellen Hankes | April 13, 2009

I’m Overwhelmed by Clutter! Where Do I Start?

embarrassment_istock_000008414425xsmall1It is easy to get overwhelmed by seemingly huge tasks like clearing out clutter. It wouldn’t be so hard if the important stuff in the clutter would suddenly turn a bright neon orange to signify its relevance.

Start clearing clutter by establishing a plan. Julie Hall has some great tips in her book The Boomer Burden: Dealing with Your Parents’ Lifetime Accumulation of Stuff

Ms. Hall recommends recycling paper and plastic. While many households recycle on a regular basis, it may be useful to go on a blitz through the home clearing it of excess magazines, newspapers, drink cups and margarine tubs. These are items that add to the overwhelming clutter and are relatively easy to move on to be recycled. By the way, when we read the tags on my granddaughter’s new summer sandals we learned they were made of recycled plastic!

Another of Ms. Hall’s recommendations is to clothe the less fortunate. It may be easier to part with the 10-year old bridesmaid dress when you think about the special gown it may become for the next wearer. Move those unworn, lonely clothes on to the charity of choice that accepts used clean clothing in good condition.

While these suggestions may seem obvious, they may be the just the right first steps in a more complex plan for clearing the clutter.



  1. When I realized that my feelings of being overwhelmed were costing me a ton of precious time, I decided to call in a professional organizer. Working with her not only helped me to make a lot of progress in the area we worked on; it also helped me to learn how to organize better on my own.

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