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Simplifying Your Recovery From Household Chaos

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Simplifying Your Recovery From Household Chaos

“I’ve got to get this place cleaned up before my company arrives.”

That is a collection of words with a remarkable range of meaning. For one person, it means sweeping fresh cut grass off of the front steps, arranging wildflowers in a vase, and washing the dishes they used to prepare a homemade feast for twenty. For someone else, it means, “Does anybody have the number for that Hoarders show?”

Most of us, of course, fall somewhere in the middle. Most of the people I work with have more stuff than they have space, so this isn’t actually about simply dusting or running a vacuum. There isn’t an organizing system strong enough to make 600 marbles fit in a soup can. This isn’t even about cleaning, at least not at first. For lots of us, it’s about living beyond our means, and to bring it back into balance, we have to find a way to reduce the volume.

Let’s pretend we are in a room together, looking at a bookcase. It is the kind of book case that holds 40 books and eight trinkets perfectly. When those items are thoughtfully arranged, it looks attractive and inviting, and maintaining it (or keeping it attractive and inviting) is easy. Now, let’s imagine that we have 60 books, 25 trinkets, and three stacks of miscellaneous papers to put on that same book case. Clearly, it doesn’t work as well.

We may not actually be able to get all of that safely onto the bookcase, but let’s, for the sake of this conversation, pretend that we can. Then, when we want a book, we will probably have a hard time finding it, and when we do, retrieving it will probably result in other items being knocked off and falling to the ground. Also, we are less likely to maintain it because we can’t get to the surfaces of most of the items, or the book case itself, for dusting. And since “where it goes” isn’t a place that we can actually find, returning items to it isn’t going to be easy, or maybe even possible.

When more comes, the stacks grow, and the space becomes even less functional. Naturally, there isn’t usually just one space like this in a house. I’m using the idea of the bookcase for clarity’s sake. There is also the kitchen counter, the office, the spare bedroom, and the garage. It’s easy to understand how it happens but it is not always easy to turn the situation around. If that is the situation you’re facing, then I offer you the following strategies straight from the Sick of Being Stuck classroom.

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Read more: Feng Shui & Organizing, Home, Self-Help, Spirit, , , , , ,

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Christy Diane Farr

Christy Diane Farr is a catalyst. If that sounds like something you want more of in your life, visit 'The Greenhouse' at and join the Wildflower Evolution on Facebook.


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7:36AM PDT on Apr 5, 2012

I like that shelving unit shown :)

1:03AM PDT on Apr 5, 2012

Gonna go have a big clear out...thanks for the motivation!!

10:59PM PDT on Apr 4, 2012

I like the way the article recommends how areas are taken on, one at a time, in small sections - because this is over-whelming to many.
Books become part of who you are and are difficult to discard, as if they have no value....
The small, expensive living spaces in Vancouver area are not only impractical, they're a little insulting - especially when a pet is not allowed. Where's the quality of life gone?

8:39AM PDT on Apr 4, 2012

That was inspirational.

8:15AM PDT on Apr 4, 2012

No kicking needed - added 5 other items to the stash and one has already found a new home. :)

9:12PM PDT on Apr 3, 2012

Great tips, but making that first 15 minute block a reality instead of just one more item on an ever-growing to-do list is the problem!

8:20PM PDT on Apr 3, 2012


6:45PM PDT on Apr 3, 2012

Have to admit that my apartment is too small for what I have here-lived in moderated sized houses all my life not an apartment. There are over one hundred books waiting to be read, which during my life time will eventually get around to.

It helps to get rid of clutter but one often has little time or energy to do so.

Starting small and working up to it helps instead of tackling everything all at once.

6:24PM PDT on Apr 3, 2012


12:39PM PDT on Apr 3, 2012

Wonderful, thanks Christy.

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