Clutter-Free Forever

Clutter Free Forever.  Our grandparents knew some powerful secrets about staying organized that most of us have forgotten.   If you struggle with too much clutter, not enough storage space, or trouble keeping it all organized  you will not want to miss these vintage tips on how to permanently rid your life of clutter!

Have you ever toured an older home and marveled at the lack of closet space?  If you’ve considered buying one of these vintage abodes, it may have even given you pause, or perhaps even have been the reason you ultimately turned away.  Where on earth would you keep all your stuff?

Even in newer homes we lament our lack of storage space.  Our closets, cupboards, cabinets, attics, basements, and garages are simply bursting at the seams.  The idea of ever becoming truly organized sometimes seems hopeless because there is just no place to go.

The problem is not a lack of storage space.

The real problem is too much stuff.

The reason our grandparents and great-grandparents could live with a handful of tiny closets in their modest 1400 square foot homes is that they simply didn’t accumulate the massive quantities of things that we have today.  The irony is that all these gadgets and appliances and modern conveniences are supposed to somehow make our lives easier, but instead they just add to the noise, the stress, and the clutter.

The more I work on this in my own home, the more I am realizing that to live a truly organized and orderly life, I have to change my thinking completely. Modern culture has glorified consumption to the point that continually buying more has become the norm.  We accumulate more and more and more until we are drowning.

So what’s the solution?  I think if we take a step back and take a cue from our grandparents, there are some vintage strategies that can help us change our approach and allow us to live clutter-free forever:

Stop the Flow

A trip to Target this weekend reminded me just how easy it is to mindlessly fill my cart with things I don’t need.  Temptation is everywhere.  Even though I had gone in the store for a specific purpose–a needed office supply–I was immediately drawn in to all the pretty, shiny, things.  An adorable shirt that would look so cute on my daughter.  A pillow that would be perfect on my living room couch.  My favorite t-shirt in multiple colors and–look–it’s even on sale!  Some darling limited edition notecards and plastic wine glasses at 50% off–such a good deal!

I almost succumbed, and there was a time where I wouldn’t have thought twice about a single one of those purchases.  If I liked it, I would buy it.  What did it matter if I didn’t really need it?  My desire created the need.  Our grandparents didn’t have this same temptation.  There were no Targets or Walmarts or malls filled with cheap but pretty things.  They simply didn’t have an endless array of choices.  Making a purchase was a well-planned event, not an impulse buy.

The first step in living a clutter-free life is to commit to stopping the flow.  You have to vigilantly guard against the sheer number of things coming in.  For me it has meant avoiding my favorite stores; for others it may mean avoiding the thrift stores or no more garage sale hopping.  It means winning the mental battle and convincing yourself that what you have is already enough.

Ruthlessly Purge

Paring down the number of things you already have is the next phase of the battle.  Give yourself permission to only keep the things that are currently useful, despite who gave them to you or how much they cost.   This can be really hard, especially at first.  That’s where the ruthless part comes in.  As you sort through your things, ask yourself these questions:

  1. Do we use it, wear it, or play with it?  If it is clothes, does it still fit?
  2. Is it in good working condition?
  3. Does it enrich our lives in some way?
  4. Does it have sentimental value?
  5. Could someone else use it more?

It  is helpful to make 4 categories:  1.) Things to keep in this area,  2.) things to donate,  3.) things to throw away, and 4.) things to put elsewhere (keepsake box, seasonal items, or things that belong in a different room).  Once you’ve cleared an area and put away all the items that belong elsewhere, move on to the next area.  Repeat. Repeat. Repeat.

Set Strict Limits

We live in a time of more excess and waste than ever before.  We think nothing of a closet full of clothes, where our grandmothers and great-grandmothers only ever had a few dresses and a single pair of shoes to get them by.  Holidays and birthdays are accompanied by piles of gifts rather than just one or two, while our kitchens and bathrooms are packed to the gills with gadgets, accessories, and products.

Our grandparents didn’t have to set limits because they were already limited by their finances and by what was available.  In an era where everything is available and affordable, we have to be diligent about setting our own limits.  One way I did this was in my bedroom closet, where I limited my clothing to what would fit on forty hangers.  Compared to the closets of a century ago, forty hangers is probably still a lot, but for me–and for most women today–getting rid of that many clothes was a pretty drastic change.

We also set some pretty strict limits when it comes to our kids and toys.  After taking their toys away last year, we have tried to be very careful about the number of toys they have access to.  This means limiting Christmas and birthday gifts and, when necessary, swapping out something they no longer play with when they do get something new.

Value Quality over Quantity

I think sometimes we have become so accustomed to the steady flow of cheaply-made junk that we forget that quality really does matter.  Being incredibly selective, but then spending a little more to buy something that will stand the test of time is not only more frugal, but it is the way things simply used to be.  At some point our standards lowered so much that we no longer think twice when a motor stops working after a year, or when our t-shirt gets a hole after just a few washings, or when another toy breaks after only being played with for a week.

When you do find yourself in need of something new, commit actively seeking out things that are well made from quality materials. Take the time to read reviews or to find things that are made locally rather than overseas.  Choose long term value over short term savings.

In this day and age it really does take a lot of intentionality to live a little simpler.  It means going against the grain of today’s consumer-driven mentality in favor of an organized home, one that is free of excess stuff and that allows us to breathe a little easier. I don’t know about you, but I think the promise of a clutter-free life is definitely worth the effort.

*   *   *

What is your biggest struggle when it comes to clutter?  What do you think prevents you from becoming more organized?  What part of your home or life would you most like to get in order?




Pin It

Affiliate links may be used in this post. Printing a coupon or ordering a product through this link may result in a commission, which helps pay for the cost of running this site and keeps the content free. Read my full disclosure policy here.

{ 422 comments… add one }

  • angela August 27,

    Good post! This has been the year of the great purge for me! Angela

    Reply
  • Denise August 27,

    I need this so bad right now! My biggest struggle is definitely bringing too much stuff in. I love garage sales and thrift stores and I am constantly bringing in stuff we don’t need. This is so motivating. Thanks for the great tips!

    Reply
  • Raina Richey August 27,

    My biggest challenge to conquering clutter is storing food and items from couponing. We do use everything that is purchased but it is crammed into the oddest places sometimes. This was a great post.

    Reply
  • Michelle I August 27,

    My biggest challenge is tossing sentimental items, thanks for the great tips!

    Reply
    • Gail January 21,

      An organizer told me to take a photo of the sentimental item then give it away

      Reply
  • Jodie August 27,

    The mental battle is my biggest challenge. It is what makes it hard to stop the flow and ruthlessly purge. Thanks for the inspiration to overcome my clutter.

    Reply
  • Cristy August 27,

    Thank you for the great tips and your blog. I plan on returning and reading more. I have to admit that my biggest challenge to de-cluttering is getting my husband to follow those steps. And since he usually won’t, I end up making the tough decisions for him. He doesn’t seem to mind that I clean and organize things for him and I try to see it as being his helpmate but it is hard.

    Reply
  • Eva August 27,

    This is so true, I’ve been trying to cut back on the “stuff” coming in. It seems to be hardest when I start a new project and think I need to be fully stocked with all the tools and gadgets before I even start. I end up not needing so much of it.

    Reply
  • Katie @ KatieTevis.com August 27,

    I am doing fairly well with this because I basically started all over with a new house. I don’t have very much stuff. But I would love to get my photos organized! Great post and something I have been thinking about recently.

    Reply
  • Emily B August 27,

    I love this attitude. With two boys I think organizing the toys (especially the Legos!) is always on my mind. Plus being mindful of not having too much stuff that they don’t really need. I want them to appreciate what they have and play with everything. I need to rotate the toys we do have more often.

    Reply
  • Teri August 27,

    I struggle with not having a specific place for ev

    Reply
  • Jillian August 27,

    I was excited to read this post. My apartment has only one closet and a tiny kitchen. I love to cook so for every gift giving occasion I get a kitchen item (which I love! but have no place to put.) I’ve lived here for 3 1/2 years and clutter control is a major past time of mine. For weeks I have been putting off a big clean out and purge-thanks for the nudge.

    Reply
  • Janice August 27,

    Wow, this was a great post! So much food for thought. My biggest struggle is letting go of things I don’t need, “just in case.” Love your tips.

    Reply
  • Stacey August 27,

    Great post! I often struggle with the pull to just spend money to spend money. Whether it’s good deals or, like you said, it’s pretty and shiny! But, I’m really working on cutting back. Especially since we’re moving soon, and I don’t want to bring it with us! My goal for the new house is to have a place for everything, and to make sure everything is returned to its place! My biggest struggles with clutter are kid stuff, laundry, paperwork and…okay…everything!

    Reply
  • Kari M August 27,

    We have so much stuff it is overwhelming to know where to begin!! I’ve been wanting to purge/organize for years but stuff just keeps coming into the house & it is so exhausting! This was a great post. I really enjoyed reading it. I am going to have to start purging a little bit at a time.

    Reply
  • Elaine August 27,

    I am a pack rat that has trouble throwing or giving away stuff. Our whole house is cluttered with things in places that don’t belong … Vacuum cleaner in dining room, toys (non bath) in bathroom. Need to find a home for everything but first need to have space for a home!

    Reply
  • Sarah August 27,

    I would probably say the kids bedrooms need better organization followed by our photos and home videos!

    Reply
  • Tracey August 27,

    My biggest struggle with clutter is pretty typical, I think, “I might need this…..some day–not today, not even tomorrow, but, you know–SOME DAY! What is it that prevents me from becoming organized? It is a daunting, time consuming task. The portion of my home life I would most like to get in order would be the kitchen, where I seem to spend most of my “free time” lol.
    Thank you for your encouragement and plan for action!!

    Reply
  • Mary August 27,

    Finding time is my struggle, but with summer coming to an end, with the harvest preserved the windows washed etc, it will soon be time to come indoors and start the purging again. I was inspired last year to donate a bag a week to charity and made it through 50 days, I will try that again this year. There is no one specific area, though for sure the basement needs it the most!! Thank you for your tips and inspiration!!

    Reply
  • Jennifer August 27,

    I am a bargain hunter and constantly purchase things to “get the deal.” it’s hard to quit. that, coupled with the inability to get rid of things, makes the piles around the house grow and grow. :(

    Reply
  • Claire August 27,

    I like to have extra toiletries on hand, but it get disorganized quickly and I have no system of knowing what I have stockpiled – I’d really like to get that under control!

    Reply
  • caitlinmfrost August 27,

    I’ve been saying the same thing on my own blog! I am so tired of “all the stuff” and yet, as I continually get rid of things more stuff just keeps popping up out of nowhere! I’m working hard to manage this mess and to basically start over.

    Reply
  • Pam August 27,

    I would have to say the clutter of papers is a struggle and then books. I’m learning to check the books out of the library, it saves both on cost and shelf space. I’m not quite sure how you get your husband on board with getting rid of the clutter. :) Prayer and just taking care of my own stuff. Thank you for your blog and I’m planning on reading more than today’s post.

    Reply
    • Anonymous March 24,

      Books on kindle, has been a blessing for this family. Lots are free too!

      Reply
  • Karen H. August 27,

    I struggle with magazines. I don’t subscribe to many but my sister who does, passes on all of hers. Once I have read them what do I do with them? When I taught(I’m now retired) they were great for student projects. Don’t know what to do with them besides recycle them.

    Reply
    • Anonymous August 30,

      Maybe a retirement home could use them?

      Reply
      • Anonymous August 31,

        lots of crafts use old magazines!

        Reply
    • Anonymous November 12,

      some hospitals will accept them

      Reply
    • Rachel September 14,

      I have 3 subscriptions and a couple I just pick up from church. I go through my magazines every three months (seasonally) to save on space. The ones I don’t clip articles or recipes out of, I donate to my local pregnancy center for their waiting room. The ones that I clip articles out of, I slide the articles in page protectors and keep in a 3-ring binder, then trash the rest of the magazine.

      Reply
    • Anonymous September 19,

      I used to have the same problem…daughter gets lots of mags and passes them on to me….hubby has cancer and goes for 6-hour infusions every other week…lots of people bored while sitting in chair for 6 hours, so I bring my mags in to leave there….also leave them in waiting area of the CT/ MRI scan section for others to read….and at the “Coumadin Clinic” where he goes for blood tests weekly….places like Laundromats just love having them dropped off, also!!

      Reply
  • Michele August 27,

    This is great! I’m in the midst of decluttering my entire house right now! Thank toy for reminding me that we don’t NEED all the stuff, no matter how sentimental!
    Live simply , and enjoy my family is my mission!

    Thank you! I want to sit here and read all your posts, but I’ve got cleaning to do!!!lol

    Reply
  • Kelli Stafford August 27,

    Not knowing where to start and feeling overwhelmed is what keeps me from getting organized.

    Reply
  • AmyC. August 27,

    TIme!!! Too busy with kids activities and my own volunteering. Then too much stuff. Am getting better about buying. I got behind when I was pregnant with my third and my husband was deployed and 8 years later (and one more deployment) I haven’t been able to catch up. Hint to help: A friend and I try to swap one day a week to go over to each other’s house to declutter. Whatever cabinet, room, project will help us breathe easier or get something accomplished we tackle before the kids get home from school. It’s fun, it becomes a commitment and it’s another perspective on sorting or organizing your stuff.

    Reply
  • Linda August 27,

    My biggest problem is being sentimental about things. It is hard for me to even part with anything that someone has given me or that I purchased as a souvenir, etc. These posts will hopefully help me get started on a decluttering plan. It helps so much to hear the thoughts of others with similar issues. Thank you!

    Reply
  • Nicole August 27,

    We have a lot of saved things that “might be useful for the future”. It’s time for all of it to go!

    Reply
  • Ellen August 27,

    I long for simpler times and a pared-down way of living. I think my biggest struggle is giving in to the endless stream of cheap, shiny things that you mentioned. Thank you for the encouragement, and the reminder that, as with all kinds of change, it requires effort and discipline, but it is possible. And I do believe that the reward is a calmer and more peaceful life where you have room to breathe.

    Reply
  • Jane August 27,

    My husband – a wonderful man but won’t part with anything.

    Reply
  • Sherri M. August 27,

    My biggest struggle are all the papers, books, mail, etc that everyone brings in from school and work.

    Reply
    • robbie @ going green mama November 9,

      What works for us is we keep a recycle bag at our table. The kids show us their worksheets and if no action is needed, it goes to be recycled – and support scholarships at our school.

      Reply
    • Rachel September 14,

      I have 3 file folders for each family member. Each member has a different color that their three categories are written in. My husband and I each have folders for mail, info and action. Action needs to be taken care of in a week or less, and info is longer term papers to save. We also have a bills folder (holds our printed budget and any bills that need to be paid) and a ‘to be filed’ folder where I can stick papers to be filed later. My kids each have folders for info, papers and artwork. Info is stuff pertaining to them that I might need to know such as class schedules, etc. Any papers that come home from school immediately go in the papers folder unless it is artwork. At the end of the school year, I have 2 plastic gallon zip bags (one for artwork and one for papers) for each child. I label them with the school year and save only the best work that will fit in those bags. This has helped me tremendously curb my paper clutter and helps the rest of my family be responsible for theirs too.

      Reply
  • Anne @Frugal Nurse August 27,

    In the last few years I’ve helped several elderly relatives clean out their homes either after they died or when they moved into assisted living. The generation that grew up in the Depression or World War 2 saved everything! And one of my aunts was an outright hoarder. I vowed to never let my home become a repository for useless stuff, and now am ruthless about purging. I do a little more every year, so that by the time my husband and I downsize, our son will not face the burden of sorting through and disposing of a lot of useless and meaningless (to him) items.

    Reply
  • Leeann Eden August 27,

    I struggle so hard with this, but alas, you have given me hope! Thank you!

    Reply
  • Kayla Gonser August 27,

    My challenge is always my kids clothes and toys. My kids clothes are always a problem because I have 3 boys, so I am always handing down clothes, so think, if child A doesn’t wear it, maybe child B or C will wear it when they’re older. The toys are always a problem because they get so many as gifts so everything just accumulates. Went through all the clothes yesterday…each kid gets 7 hangers. ;) And going through all the toys today!~ :)

    Reply
  • Lora C August 27,

    My biggest probelem is finding time to organize. I work 3 jobs–when I get home I am exhausted. I get cleaning done, but the organizing gets put off. I get bogged down in paper at home. Magazines, unsolicited mail, bills, and other mail–tends to pile up and then I need to sort it, shred things, etc. I also have lots of jewelry and clothes that need sorting and organizing too. I could go on and on–sometimes I feel overwhelmed, but I am determined to conquer this. I would love to win the gift card!!!

    Reply
  • Ann August 27,

    My biggest struggle is time and kid stuff. We only have 1 child left at home but he has the most stuff of the 3! I started last year in the basement and felt great, went back to work and everything stopped. Thanks for the encouraging post today, I better get started again!

    Reply
  • Angela Zundel August 27,

    I have a problem resisting a good deal- which menas I accumulate too much stuff!

    Reply
  • Susan @ SunfowerHugs.blogspot.com August 27,

    I love this post you have written! My mother grew up like this and she would tell me about what it was like and why she did things in the same sort of way, but it was definitely hard to relate since there is so much stuff out there to just get what you want, when you want it. It’s hard to imagine, but not that long ago, there were NO credit cards! You did this crazy thing called saving up for what you wanted to buy!

    Reply
  • Angela August 27,

    Our biggest struggle is with too many clothes and toys. Oh…AND regulating the screen time and other electronics. I think one reason I don’t attempt too much to get organized is that it’s so overwhelming! AND I get very little cooperation from my family. I would sometimes like for all of them to go away for a few days and let me “clean house.” Boy would they be surprised and they’d probably hate me for a while. We have a very small house and it is over-run with all our “stuff.” It is very hard to make it look clean when it’s so cluttered and I by no means am a clean freak, but I don’t let my house look terrible or get horribly dirty either. It’s a very hard balance. With school starting up again I’m not looking forward to the challenge of balancing everything. Should be interesting. I must remember to give grace as I have been given grace!

    Reply
    • Rachel September 14,

      To help regulate screen time and get help with de cluttering say, “Go through (Legos, clothes, stuffed animals, etc.) for 15 minutes and then you may have 15 minutes of screen time.” I’m sure that you will get some resistance at first but if you hold their electronics captive for long enough, they will get with the program. My kids did!

      Reply
  • Shamika August 27,

    Thanks for this post! I believe my biggest struggle with clutter is not knowing how to get rid of stuff. It may be because something was given to me or I just don’t want to let something go for fear I might need or want it later. The thing that prevents me from getting organized is not not knowing how to become organized. I would love to get my closet in order.

    Reply
  • Carolyn Chrisman August 27,

    My biggest problem is thinking that I will wear that piece of clothing, or use that item in the future. Espeically with clothes, I think that if it is a little tight, I will be able to wear it again.

    Reply
  • Debra August 27,

    Thank you! This is the week I’ve scheduled to tackle the basement storage room.

    Reply
  • Lindsay August 27,

    When we moved into our current house, we were so excited about the extra cupboard space we were getting in the kitchen. We’ve been here a little over a year, and just the other day, we were lamenting about the lack of space in the kitchen. Looks like it’s time to purge!

    Reply
  • Erin Bohland August 27,

    I keep every school paper of my sons.i need to learn to let go a little.

    Reply
  • Helen August 27,

    Limiting is my favorite way to prevent clutter. For example, I only keep scrapbooking supplies in ONE (big) box. If I have more, I have to purge something…

    Reply
  • Heather P August 27,

    What a wonderful post! I came over from Karen Ehman’s blog today, but really liked your insights. One of my struggles is in keeping piles of stuff off the table. Mind you I learned it from my Dad, but it is still a struggle in keeping things off the table. Another struggle is a dog that lives indoors and outdoors. (Can you say dog hair all over the house?)

    Reply
  • Maria Govoni Yohn August 27,

    Love the clothing idea! Need to limit my hangers too.

    Reply
  • Katherine August 27,

    I love this post. I struggle with getting rid of things because “I might need them and won’t have the money to re-buy them,” but it is causing me much stress and also causing strife between my husband and I. I am slowly working on myself and this was a nice encouragement! I have finally stopped the flow of new things at least, so now I need to move onto the purging. It won’t be easy and will take awhile since my time is limited, but I do want to change so that’s a great start! What is your thought on selling versus donating? We really need the money, but time is very limited and it would take a lot of time and effort to sell things and they would stay in the house longer. Sometimes I don’t want to get rid of something because of the money I wasted on it, so I feel like selling it would make me feel better and help our financial situation. However, things don’t usually sell quickly and it takes me some time to post items, so I don’t know if it is worth it. Sorry for the long comment, but this is a huge struggle for me!

    Reply
    • Sandy November 3,

      I could have written this comment! Have you gotten any help or made any progress? I struggle with the money vs. just giving it away as well. I’ve given away hundreds, maybe thousands, of dollars worth of stuff, several pickup truck loads, and still seem to be overwhelmed with clutter. I don’t have a “staging area” for shipping what I post online, and I don’t get much support from my other family members (2boys and husband). I take the stuff out, and they’re bringing it in so fast, I can’t keep up! UGH!! I need a professional organizer!

      Reply
  • Brenda C. August 27,

    This is such an amazing post ! I’m so glad that I blog hopped over to read your entry on the vintage week series ! I am currently on an epic journey to clear my house of all the “crazy” clutter that some how has taken over every closet, corner & nook & cranny. God & I have been in serious prayer over changing this. To scale it all done to a simple purposeful amount. & to give the extra but still useful items to our local church who helps viticms of house fires reestablish there belongings at no cost. Answering Gods whisper to my heart helped get the process started cause I knew that it was to help others who actually needed the items because they literally have nothing. But recently hit a road block in be process backed I’ve scaled it back a bit but am faced with the items like ” o so & so gave us this” & “what if I actually need this one day” & ” oh wow, I still have this”. When In reality the majority of the items are still just clutter. So, today. As I tackle the house, ill be tucking the advice from his column into my heart. Ill use the wisdom from the steps , Esc # 2., and know that through the help of God , my family & I will have. Better life when we fulfill our mission from God for a simpler life. Thank you so much for posting today. It’s been super motivating to stay focused an conquer that clutter.

    Ps. I’m now fellow blog followed of yours and look forward to reading your future posts !

    Reply
  • Mieke August 27,

    I’m right with you lately! I did the 40 hanger closet (with my husband and a group of my friends, actually!), and I’ve been ruthlessly going through my house getting rid of random.. STUFF that’s accumulated.

    The worst part is, most of the stuff I’m getting rid of (and it’s a LOT) isn’t even stuff I’ve bought and picked out and loved.. it’s stuff that I never really liked, or never really fit, or doesn’t match or whatever, that other people have given me, and I felt like I needed to keep it.

    No more. What are the odds that they’re really going to remember and feel bad? I’m thinking pretty close to nil.

    Reply
  • Stephanie Robinson August 27,

    The biggest part of my house that needs organization is my closet – I fluxuate between sizes so I feel like I need to keep a range of things and hate to rebuy clothes/shoes if I give them away. But, I am making lots of improvement on stopping the inflow and being more choosy about the shoes – if they hurt my feet I get rid of them.

    Reply
  • Debbie August 27,

    My biggest problem is I am a piler, and somewhat of a mini hoarder. I can’t fathom the idea to get rid of things, it’s just so hard to do! I want to hang onto everything and the memories. Getting rid of my kids baby toys were the hardest, it mean no more babies and they were growing up! Unfortunately my oldest son is just like me and saves everything. ugh.. I hope one day to be able to just purge and feel good about it!

    Reply
  • Sherri August 27,

    I need help with my closet. Seems like everytime I clean and get rid of lots, there is always more to take the place of what’s gone. I definitely need to stay out of stores which I have been doing lately.

    Reply
  • kathy f August 27,

    My biggest roadblock to being organized is lack of discipline. I know I should organize and then something always comes up and it gets postponed. I need to set aside a day and just do it! Thanks for the encouraging post.

    Reply
  • Risha August 27,

    I am a homeschooling mom and our book clutter is out of control. It’s very easy to justify a new purchase because it’s educational. I am on a quest to get a hold of this area and bless a family that is just starting their homeschooling journey with free curriculum.

    Reply
  • Christa August 27,

    Great advice. Some days, I wish we could live back in those simpler times, but my kids would hate it with no video games :) I’m slowly starting to get rid of things, and I’m trying to do the one in one out rule when we purchase new things. Thanks for the chance at the giveaway too.

    Reply
  • Heidi August 27,

    Great post!! We are mid purge right now and I enjoyed reading all the tips and ideas!

    Reply
    • Anonymous August 27,

      Continuation of comment (LOL Stupid enter button!):
      The thing I most want to get organized and decluttered right now is my daughter’s room and toys. I have a hard time especially with this because she has SO much stuff, clothes and toys and I feel like everything is her “favorite,” or that I should keep things she’s grown out of so we don’t have to repurchase in case we have more children. But I try to remember that the product will still be available and we can always buy it again if we really need it!

      Reply
  • Emily @ My Love for Words August 27,

    I mean this in only the best way possible, but your blog totally freaks me out! I swear, I find so many of my own thoughts, feelings, and what I’m going through here on your blog it’s amazing. I really related to your statement, “My desire created the need.” For years I would just buy stuff without a second thought because I wanted it, liked it, thought I might use it, or it was on sale (who can resist that, right?). It’s really only been in the last year that I’ve realized how much this extra stuff is stifling my happiness and completely preventing me from having the beautifully organized home I desire. I’ve pretty much stopped the inflow of stuff and am now in the decluttering/sorting phase. It’s hard! I was wondering if you have any suggestions on how to deal with well intentioned family members who have their own issues with accumulating stuff and like to bring stuff to our house? It’s more common than not for this relative to bring multiple (if not a carload!) of items to our house, and asking her not to doesn’t seem to be working. She also brings stuff for our kids so often that they’ve started asking, “What surprise do you have for me?” when they see her. I’d love to figure out a way to respectfully put an end to this without upsetting her. Thanks :)

    Reply
  • annie August 27,

    I would love to declutter our master bedroom and make it a place of refreshment and relaxation! Removing all the bins of storage items, cleaning out the closet and tidying up the space would make it an inviting place to retreat, rather than the room I just want to close the door on! :-)

    Reply
  • Joann Anderson August 27,

    I struggle with staying on top of getting rid of things. I have a donation box, but I tend to not get the donations donated one in the box.

    Reply
  • Julie Y August 27,

    Great post, especially the point that “my desire created the need.” I need to declutter the detritus from 20+ years of homeschooling nine kids. “What to do with it” tends to stop me in my tracks, especially since it represents a significant financial investment.

    Reply
  • Lindsay F August 27,

    Great tips. The hardest area for my husband and I to GET organized is our home office. It ends up being a catch-all and we can’t even use it for its intended purpose. But the hardest area to KEEP organized is our bedroom. Purging is definitely in order for both rooms!

    Reply
  • Kris August 27,

    My biggest “clutter problem” is grandparents! They never show up empty-handed. LOL

    Reply
    • Rachel September 14,

      Since the grandparents want to give stuff, explain that you are trying to de clutter. Ask if they could either put the money they are spending in a savings acct for the kids (college, for clothes when they need them, money for school/church trips) or use that money to take the kids on an outing (zoo, lunch, ice cream, movie, bowling, etc.). That way they can help you out financially by buying things your kids really need or want and they can also spend some quality time with the kids. This will also help your kids appreciate their grandparents for them, not what they can give them!

      Reply
  • Lynne H August 27,

    I enjoy organizing and decluttering, but a busy schedule makes it difficult for me to find extended periods during which I can focus on these tasks.

    Reply
  • Kim August 27,

    Loved this article. I admit, I struggle with everything! Need to purge a lot!

    Reply
  • Janet M August 27,

    I appreciate the comment to ruthlessly purge. My family is in the process of cleaning out and that tip along with many of the others included here is a great encouragement to simplify, clean and get organized!

    Reply
  • sharon August 27,

    What a lovely and well written article. I have come to many of these conclusions on my own over the last couple of years and it has been so freeing to let go of so much stuff. The one area that I wish could be better is my husband letting go of some of his clutter, but I know that I can’t force it ;)

    Reply
  • tricia August 27,

    Oh my goodness…. how the Lord knew I needed to find your blog this very moment! I am actually here right NOW as an escape from de-cluttering now (if I must confess)…*sigh*… Truly, I am overwhelmed with my house, which honestly spills over to my LIFE! I don’t even think I can pick just ONE area of my house to answer your question, but if I had to try to pick ONE, I would have to say the childrens bedrooms (we have twins). I don’t know how to begin to get rid of their excess of toys. A couple years ago, I did ask them to go through their rooms and put in a large storage box what toys they didn’t play with again, but since then, their rooms have AGAIN filled back up to the point of overflowing. Its beyond ridiculous. I would LOVE to have those people from the TV shows come do a massive makeover on my entire house, yet I *know* that with the Lord’s help I CAN do this myself, and truly, this is struggle I need to learn to overcome in all areas of my life! I cannot wait to really learn more from your blog! Thanks so much for taking time to share what you’ve learned with all of us! :)

    Reply
    • Rachel September 14,

      I try and purge my kids’ toys twice a year, before their birthdays and before Christmas, when they get the bulk of their toys. This has really helped!

      Reply
  • Amy Dik August 27,

    I really need to declutter! It is hard to find the time, and I have difficulty getting rid of things that I think are useful in the future. I also have ideas and projects I’ve started but never finished. I know that both my husband and I would feel so much better if we lived with less. It would be better for our kids too! Thanks for the tips!

    Reply
  • Michelle Jensen August 27,

    I love this article. We happen to live in one of those “cute charming older homes” so that is a problem right off the bat, because it does lack that extra space for storage. I think you hit the nail on the head for me when you mentioned toys. Toys are trouble for us because they are always in perfect condition and our kids/friends kids are always enjoying them but there are too many and it is difficult to get rid of them. Second thing is that my husband and I own our own companies and so the work stuff is necessary and it adds to the mix. I agree with you though that we could definitely limit our “stuff” and get a little more freedom.

    Reply
  • Andrea Sager August 27,

    My problem with clutter is that I tend to have a sentimental attachment to everything. That and because our income is very limited since I have chosen to stay at home, I keep everything thinking I may need it someday and we can’t afford to just buy new. We have an old house with no closets and I sometimes become paralyzed not knowing what to do with all of the stuff so it justs sits until I have a brilliant idea about where it should go. This article was very convicting and helpful.
    Thank you!

    Reply
  • Marisha August 27,

    My biggest challenge is closet clutter (I am even at the point where it does not fit in and I have to pile it on top of an arm-chair before I get a chance to sort it out). Partially, I guess that is because I live in a 4-season climate (and as a girl I need stuff for all 4 seasons) :) and also my work dress-code and weekend don’t match…so tricks me into buying for both, but as a method to fight it I decided to allow myself only if I already dont have anything (anywhere) similar…so I force myself to look thru stuff to refresh my mind in order not to jump on things when I see them sale and then end up with almost identical t-shirts, skirts, etc. Thank you for your pointers- they sound very helpful too.

    Reply
  • Carol August 27,

    I have been struggling to get at-home paperwork organized for a looong time. If you could compare my desk at home to the one at work, you’d think 2 different people were involved. Organized to the point of obsessive at work – home is a mess. With possessions, I’m too sentimental. But I will keep trying.

    Reply
  • Vickie West August 27,

    Precious, inspiring post with such truth from a wise young mother! Wisdom I am still seeking beyond the mid-life empty nest. I continue to struggle with the ability to organize all that our big family has and the consistency to follow through when I do get one small spot sorted out. You are so right, and have reignited the spark of my desire to life intentionally, simply, and craziness free! Blessings!

    Reply
  • Karen M August 27,

    This is so helpful, especially this week! Yesterday, I packed up several boxes of toys that my son no longer plays with and gadgets that I don’t use on a regular basis. We are attempting to buy an older home that has very limited storage space, so thank you for your timely advice!!!

    Reply
  • Katie @ A Worker at Home August 27,

    My greatest struggle when it comes to clutter is not being able to get rid of it fast enough! Our budget is tight, so I try to sell things we don’t need. We move a lot thanks to the military and every time we move I promise myself I will get rid of a dozen boxes worth of junk so we won’t have to move it the next time– but the amount of stuff never seems to lessen! :) I would love to get our closets way more organized especially!

    Reply
  • Sheri August 27,

    It’s really hard for me to get my kids’ stuff under control. We have 3 boys so you would think a lot of things would overlap, but I tend to put things in bins in the garage in case we might need them later. “#3 might like that in a few years.” It wouldn’t be so bad if I only kept a few things, but pretty much everything goes in the bins so I don’t have to think about it.

    Reply
    • Mandy Tirado January 5,

      We have had this issue also. I have finally decided to down-size to just a few collections of toys. We had 4 types of blocks, so I’m downsizing to Legos and one set of handmade wooden blocks. Lots of little plastic characters, so I’m down-sizing to just Little People brand. Just as a few examples. Keep like items and get rid of the rest, then just broadcast to your family what you’re keeping so they can help you at gifting times like birthdays and Christmas.

      Reply
  • Michelle August 27,

    My biggest struggle when it comes to clutter is my own tendency to be a bit sentimental. There are times when an item isn’t useful or even something that I like that much, but it reminds of a particular person/time. And that makes it hard to get rid of.

    Reply
  • Bianca August 27,

    I so deparately want to pare down my closet. Truthfully, most people wouldn’t think a second thought about it (it’s not like I have a gargantuan closet) but to me I just have too much. My biggest obstacle is the “what-if” scenario – what if when I’m done nursing my son my shirts will fit like they did before? What if they won’t? What if we have a formal event in winter and I need a nice coat? What if I wear this brown dress but don’t have brown heels? What if I get rid of these designer purses my mom bought me and then she asks me where they are? It’s a very tough mindset to stop – I always want to be prepared. I’m slowly letting it go though & I finally got the courage this week to tell her I was getting rid of them… SO FREEING! That’s been hanging over my head for almost 2 years!

    Reply
  • Bianca August 27,

    *desperately

    Reply
  • Rebekah F August 27,

    My biggest challenge to organizing is that I want things to be “perfect”. I have trouble getting started when I feel like the space I’m working on won’t end up the way I really wanted it to look. I need to work on overcoming that! By the grace of God, with His help.

    Reply
  • Amanda M August 27,

    My biggest struggle when it comes to organizing would have to be time. I want to organize and keep things in order, but finding the time to make it a larger part of my life is difficult. I’m working on trying one thing at a time. The thought of organizing the whole house can be overwhelming at times. Love these tips; very helpful!

    Reply
  • Jennifer August 27,

    I think the hardest part of getting organized is making the time to actually do it. It is time consuming to go through things and put them in their proper spot even though the end result is amazing!

    Reply
  • Sonya August 27,

    PAPERS! I am a teacher and have so much documentation and papers from courses, policies, lesson plans, etc. Right now, my husband and I live in an apartment (for the next year or so) and don’t want to spend oodles of money on organizational structures. I have lots of binders, but even they take up a whole closet! I should just get it all on my computer and call it good!

    Reply
  • Rachel August 27,

    I struggle with getting rid of things people give me…such as too many hand-me-downs for my kids :(.

    Reply
  • Ellen August 27,

    I love the whole concept of “Living Well, Spending Less”. I’m not perfect at it, but am a work in progress. Several years ago my mother and my mother-in-law were both diagnosed with terminal illnesses. My husband and I cleaned out and sold their two homes, which had been lived in for 40+ years, while cleaning out and selling our own house so that we could buy a house where my mother could live out her days with us. Nothing prepares you for dealing with that amount of STUFF! It became my mission to purge relentlessly. I continue to do so at every opportunity. I’ve told my husband that the next time we move…I will be down to a backpack! That might be too lofty a goal, but I know that I will certainly be moving with significantly less and will be much happier for it!

    Reply
  • Tricia @ The Domestic Fringe August 27,

    Yes!!! Everything you said is spot-on. Such good advice.
    I live in one of those ridiculously small house with zero closets on the first flower and one real closet on the second. I store nothing in the attic or in the basement. You know what? I still have far more than I need and find myself having to purge. I decided a long time ago that I need to fit in the space I live in. I’m not going to upgrade the side of my house to accommodate my junk. I’m going to get rid of stuff in order to live peacefully. I make my kids do the same. If it doesn’t fit nicely in your room, it’s gotta go, or you can’t buy it.

    It’s a constant struggle though. It’s not easy, because the “want” is always there. I’m not even going to lie to myself and say it’s need. I know it’s just “want”, but I still get carried away with it.
    ~FringeGirl

    Reply
  • Jennifer Thompson August 27,

    This is such an easy question for me to answer because I was thinking about it the whole time I read. The reason I have a hard time living clutter-free is because I find myself thinking obsessively almost, “What do I do if I need it after I get rid of it!?” I just shudder to think that I’d have to spend more money on something later if I got rid of it only to realize I needed it again. These are all great things to think about…my grandparents and great-grandparents didn’t have it and didn’t need it…so maybe I don’t need it either…

    Reply
  • Chery August 27,

    Oh my .. you hit the nail on the head… I love STUFF.. and I really struggle with the “I might need that, or some of the family might need that …. someday” Thus the two storage buildings out back full of “stuff” too good to get rid of, that attic overflowing and of course not enough closet space.

    Reply
    • Dawn August 14,

      I used to struggle with hanging onto items that, like a lot of people; I thought someone ‘might’ need someday. Then I changed my thinking. For one thing, why was I using up precious storage space to store ‘other peoples stuff’ and the other change of thought I had was that there are people out there right now that need and could benefit from me donating this ‘stuff’ to a charity that helps the less fortunate. Aside from getting the warm feeling that I was helping others by donating, I also quickly came to realize that the more clutter I removed and the more space I created in my home…the more I felt I could breathe. For me it started with the spare bedroom in my house and when it was completely free of clutter I would find myself going back in occasionally just to look around at the order and cleanliness of it and feel calm. It definitely inspired me to carry on with the process, that is still ongoing.

      Reply
  • Judy August 27,

    It is a bigggggg problem for me. My children are grown and have families of their own. I used to save items for them, now I realize the don’t want my junk they have created their own. Now I need to get rid of all that and more. Your idea is a sound one. Thank you for being a part of the Vintage week!

    Reply
  • Hollie S. August 27,

    My kids’ dresser used to be a huge issue. They were great about putting their clothes away, but didn’t keep them in neat piles and we could never find anything in their dresser. I purchased two cubby shelves and canvas bins, made and laminated tags (i.e. shirts, pants, shorts, underwear/socks, etc), and tied them to the front of their bins. Now everything is neatly organized in bins.
    My next project is to tackle the basement. Yikes!

    Reply
  • Sonya August 27,

    Count me in! And thank you for your post. Some of the things are things we “know”, but don’t internalize. Thank you for the reminder and the examples!

    Reply
  • Samantha August 27,

    The hardest thing for me is feeling like I can’t give away or repurpose things that were given to me. As the youngest in my family, I have so many hand-me-downs; I’m almost living in everyone else’s house instead of a place with my own style. Working to purchase and repurpose things that I absolutley love and can make fit my personality, and being able to store, or discard things that don’t – these are my biggest challenges!

    Reply
  • Lisa August 27,

    Loved this post! It seemed written just for me! My biggest struggle is keeping things for a “rainy day”. After some financial setbacks due to job losses, it seemed wasteful to throw things out, knowing there wouldn’t be money for it to be replaced. Now it seems more important to just let things go. Most things just really aren’t needed and just take up space. I feel inspired!! Thanks!

    Reply
  • Terry August 27,

    I think my biggest struggle with decluttering is letting go. I always think that I will eventually need or use the item. (For example, that skirt will be perfect if I just lose 10 pounds or I’ll use the photo printer one day even though I have had it for 7 years and never taken it out of the box.) I am not sure what keeps me from being more organized. Time is a factor but prioritization is probably a bigger factor. I need to prioritize, focus, and make the time. Very helpful post! Thank you!

    Reply
  • Rochelle August 27,

    This is an awesome post! I love the idea of easy living and, a clutter-free lifestyle. I would say my biggest obstacle in keeping clutter to a minimum is time, and focus. Whenever I make time, it usually gets done in amazing speeds. But, I rarely have the drive to do so. I am great with hiding my clutter. So, because it is generally out of sight… it’s out of mind. But, I definitely feel motivated to clean out my office closet this weekend! :) Thanks again! (Not sure where to post… So, I’m posting again)

    Reply
  • Karen S. August 27,

    I loved this post! My almost 20-year old has been on a minimalist journey for the past year. I was shocked at the stuff she was parting with. I am determined to get there………..all of my closets. cupboards, and drawers are overflowing! I was in Target yesterday and immediately stopped at a huge clearance section ~ I looked for a minute and then told myself I don’t need any of it and walked away. I was so proud of myself!!! I have been slowly purging my daughter’s toys without her knowledge. She is 5 and won’t part with much, so I have to take matters into my own hands. Thanks for the push….. ;-)

    Reply
  • Shari August 27,

    We are so blessed to have the finances and the conveniences that were not available to our parents and grandparents, but we have somehow not been the stewards that we need to be to handle it all. It really hit me smack in the face that our desires dictate our needs and we all know that we can live life more fully without all of the “stuff”. I am truly going to focus more on living more simply and without the distractions of the clutter. I don’t expect the process to be easy, but I do believe that if I use the sort process to eliminate the overabundance, I can overcome my tendency to hang on to things. If I can rationalize that I helping someone else, it is much easier for me to part with the many items I have acquired.
    Your tips are straightforward and honest. Thank you.

    Reply
  • Ann Simmons August 27,

    The place I’m most proud of is my closet, I discovered just how few clothes I need and I love being organized in that area. The kitchen is another story. I have too much, and I know it. I packed up for a cross country move 3 months ago, leaving out only what I felt was essential. We haven’t moved yet due to delays and after unpacking a couple of baking items I realize that everything else that is in boxes I can actually live without!

    Reply
  • Charlotte August 27,

    Biggest challenge: Sentimentality. I am pretty good about not getting sentimental about every little thing but the stuff that is sentimental sometimes has a vice gripe hold on me.

    Reply
  • Cheryl V. August 27,

    It’s amazing how quickly too much stuff becomes clutter. We have been purging and it is work, but so nice to keep only what we really like and need. We all realized we really don’t need so much and this really helps to keep the house clean and have better attitudes. Great tips h

    Reply
  • Brittany R. August 27,

    You hit the nail on the head. I have way too much stuff. My biggest problem organizing is figuring out where to put it all. My kids closets are where I need the most help.

    Reply
  • Lisa Rettig August 27,

    I struggle with my whole house. I let things build up, then feel overwhelmed trying to clear it up. My fall project will be to get it done finally. I have even picked up totes for the things I will keep. I want to get this done so the mess does not constantly interfere with our daily lives, and I am not so discouraged with myself for never accomplishing anything.

    Reply
  • Carissa D. Huffman August 27,

    I have the toughest time just getting rid of things–I really need to become more ruthless with what I keep. I have really cut back on what I purchase for myself and my hubby. I do still get a lot of things for my son. I hate housework, if I am honest, but you hit the nail on the head–I have too much stuff, and there is just no way to clean.
    Thank you for such a simple appraoch–I needed the reminder!

    Carissa in eastern Iowa

    Reply
  • Anneli August 27,

    Thanks for this post. It’s something I need to work on. My biggest struggle when it comes to decluttering is that someone just may want it in the future, like future grandchildren… So I have a hard time getting rid of clothes that no longer fit and toys and even things I think I may want for myself in the future.

    Reply
  • jen August 27,

    “Give yourself permission to only keep the things that are currently useful, despite who gave them to you or how much they cost. ” I soooooo needed this. I had my grandmother’s mindset of : ” but (so-and-so) gave this to me Christmas of ’95″ etc. Or “I spend $x on this and WHAT IF I needed to buy this again?”. I’m going to take that sentence, print it out, and stick it on the wall of the next room I decide to declutter. Thank you. Jen

    Reply
  • Michelle August 27,

    My biggest struggle is letting go of things I have, not so much the desire to buy new things (I have gotten much better about curbing this urge…it is not really much of an urge any more and I don’t really like to shop anyway!). We lived outside the country for 6 years, so anything we bought then is hard to discard. Also hard to give away things that were my grandparents and parents…holding on to things from my grandparents now that they are gone, thinking same about things from my parents (though, thankfully, they are still alive). To increase the difficulty, it seems whenever I get purposeful at purging, there is always something that I give away that someone else in the home says “oh no, you gave away xxx???”. I long for less stuff so I can get on with doing some projects that I have so much desire to do, but can’t give myself permission/time due to the clutter I have to plow through first.

    Reply
  • Tricia August 27,

    I’m very sentimental and have a hard time getting rid of things if I think there’s a chance I’ll use them again. Our duplex is small and we’re getting ready to add another little body, so I must de-clutter! Thanks for the article!

    Reply
  • Crystal August 27,

    My biggest struggle with clutter is sort of like a triple threat: sentimentality, fear of getting rid of something in case we might need it later, and lack of finances (which drives the fear). We’ve been adding on to our house for nearly 17 years, as we have the money to do so (which is why it’s taking so long). For example, my husband may find a tool at a garage sale that he knows he will need someday, so he buys it. Problem is that when he does need it, he can’t find it. Or, the kids are ready to get rid of stuffed animals, and he finds them in a bag ready to go to the Goodwill and pulls them out and says, “You don’t want to get rid of this, do you?” To get rid of toys they have outgrown means admitting they are growing up! Hard for both of us, but I think it might possibly be even harder for him. Since I don’t want to the woman who nags or controls, I let these things go, but I have to admit that the clutter drives me batty on some days.

    Reply
  • Lydia August 27,

    I think I am older than most of your readers, but we are getting ready to downsize. My biggest problem is getting rid of wedding gifts from over 50 years ago. These are things that mean something to me, but most of it is meaningless to my children. I have been able to box gifts from family and friends thru the years, but still hate to get rid of the wedding gifts.

    Reply
  • Polly Schneider August 27,

    I think my biggest struggle is paper clutter. Right now our mail is not organized at all. I also have a lot of personal papers that need to be gotten rid of. But where do I start?
    My email is momndad243@Yahoo.com

    Reply
  • Anonymous August 27,

    This article is a keeper, one I know I will come back to and reread when my motivation starts to flag. I have the same problem with Target and now I have so much stuff that I really don’t need and is actually filling up one bedroom until I can find a better place to put it. And I under normal circumstances have more than enough storage for the things I NEED. Just not for all of the stuff that I just wanted and bought. Looking forward to more articles like this one.

    Reply
  • Linda S August 27,

    My biggest struggle is letting go of things… Someone somewhere might need them!! My son, daughter in law and grand kids are amazing examples of the de-cluttered life…. I will try harder!!!

    Reply
  • Deborah August 27,

    Love to purge

    Reply
  • Stephanie Watkinson August 27,

    Love this article! My biggest problem is too much stuff. I love to organize and find better ways to keep stuff ,but really need to purge more and get the rest of the family onto this way of thinking. Thanks for the great tips.

    Reply
  • Stacie August 27,

    Great article with great timing! I’ve been working on cleaning out our house for the past several weeks. The part of my house that I really want to get in order the most right now are the TWO junk rooms. They are where things get stashed when company shows up in the driveway and we just need to hide the mess. They are also both right off the entryway to our home.

    Reply
  • Connie August 27,

    My closet is my Achilles heal. My bedroom runs a close second. With 3 kids I am always on the run, and don’t have the time needed to do a purge. One day I will get to it. Everything has memories, and I have a difficult time letting go. Some things might be worth something someday, or so goes my train of thought. Praying for the self control needed to say “good bye” to my (stuff). An Amazon card could be the push needed to purchase organizers for my closet and to help me say good bye once and for all.

    Reply
  • Kim H August 27,

    Thank you for posting this. I feel the place that is always cluttered is one special little countertop in the kitchen, its the one place if I don’t feel like putting something away the counter is always there calling me so then it always has a pile of something on it . Im looking at it right now :( I am going to clean now !

    Reply
  • Connie W August 27,

    Thanks. You definitely give us things to think about in our own homes and how things are functioning for us. We presently have our house on the market. In order to do this we ended up filling up a storage unit to get rid of some of the clutter. When we move we are planning a “big” garage sale as we haven’t missed the stuff out there in storage too much. In three months I’ve only had to go to the storage unit once to get something out and there are only a couple toys the kids have asked for.

    Reply
  • Kelley W August 27,

    I came to the same realization a couple of years back, that the problem isn’t storage or organization but too much stuff! I try to stick with the rule that if a thing isn’t beautiful, useful, or meaningful, it should go away. Another thing I try to remember is that someone else could be using this thing I’m trying to find room for, so take it to the thrift store. When I’m shopping, I don’t buy anything I don’t absolutely love. Our biggest problem is well-meaning grandparents who buy way too much stuff for the kids.

    Reply
  • Amy S August 27,

    The kids’ rooms are my places of clutter. Our nine year old loves Legos that have been built into cars and spaceships and trying to find spots to store them without breaking is always a challenge. Thank you for the reminders to get rid of what we don’t need!

    Reply
  • Susan K August 27,

    My hardest struggle comes from my childhood experience of being told to keep everything! I know things change but I can still feel this pull in me to keep things “just in case” for myself or for my family.

    Reply
  • Linda Dye August 27,

    At the point in my life when all I wanted was a room with a platform bed, one bookshelf, and a lamp, I met a man who has every book he has ever owned, who cannot pass up an old clock or radio, and will not let go of the shirts in his closet that he never wears, plus 2 sets, not 1, 2 sets of Old House Journal. Every time I fix up a room neatly, he brings in his things to “display,” or he brings his tools and all the supplies for the current renovation project. I get overwhelmed, feel helpless, and stop trying. In 9 years, I have invited only 2 people over who are not related to me by birth. Now we are building a log cabin, and my mission is to simplify the upstairs area and the loft, while giving him the entire basement to put in clock shelves, work on things, put all his parents and brother’s things, which we inherited, and hope he will not need a GPS to find his way out. I can be neat if I start out organized, but I cannot create the system from chaos.

    Reply
  • Amy Juett August 27,

    Great post with some great reminders. I’ve lived in two of those old houses without much storage space, but it hasn’t been until this last year that I really started purging. I guess after moving 5 times in 5 years, I was tired of moving excess stuff. My biggest hurdle in keeping the clutter away is not hanging on to things that I “might use someday” or that I “could fix.” If I made time for those things it wouldn’t be such a problem, but instead, the just get shoved in a box or a closet until I’m out of space and purge again. Thanks for the reminder to let the stuff go so I have room for the things that really matter.

    Reply
  • Carmen Smith August 27,

    Oh man. Our house was built 70+ years ago and our closets are NON existent. We had to turn one bedroom into a walkin closet but it was actually beneficial because while moving things over, I was able to purge and give away a TON of things I can’t believe I even still had … INCLUDING A TANK TOP I HAVE HAD FOR ELEVEN YEARS! ;)

    ps.
    my email is carmensmithsc@gmail.com

    Reply
  • Brandy Weaver August 27,

    I would like to get my kitchen more organized. It is fairly small, but I keep buying retro kitchen items! :/

    Reply
  • cindy schueneman August 27,

    my problem is two fold raised by parents born during depression who taught me not to waste. I have my son and his family who moved into my house and have taken over every inch of my 3 story house plus full basement with their conspicuous consumption plus my son’s love of vintage and thrift store finds, coupled with OCD so he throws himself into one thing and before seeing it through he moves on to another interest. he does spend a lot of time with his children, the two oldest are gifted and cyber schooled due to living in a city with a failing school system but it is getting old any time he has any money after groceries etc he is at a thrift store checking out what is new he does know a lot about selling collectibles but never has time to actually sell. sorry to sound so whiny sometimes I just need to vent.

    Reply
  • Anne August 27,

    I have been yearning for a less cluttered life for sometime now and been inspired by your blog and Simple Mom. This year I and my family of five had the opportunity to sell, give away and store away most of our stuff and move to another country, with just seven boxes and five suitcases of stuff. Moving into our new home was so easy and it felt great. However I had excitedly thought that doing this would force a simpler life on me and free me of my consumerism. What I have learned however is that it takes more than simply a change in circumstances – the temptation to go out and replace all the things we no longer have is huge. In reality I need a change of heart and attitude, just like you mention in this article, and that is just as feasible for those still sitting in all their clutter. So don’t wait for a change of circumstances or location. If you really want to change – make a conscious decision to do so and little by little make it a new way of living.

    Reply
  • chelsea hickey August 27,

    So funny that I stumbled upon this post today. I’m staring a workout challenge tomorrow & decided I will challenge myself not to go to Target during that time, too. It’s going to be hard, especially since they get new clothes every few days. My bank account will thank me. chelseahickey@gmail.com

    Reply
  • Lesley August 27,

    My dining room table has become the catch-all for all the mail/papers/random stuff that never seems to get organized — I would love to tackle this area so we can eat somewhere else other than just in the kitchen again!

    Reply
  • Angie August 27,

    My biggest struggle in decluttering is my clothing and my craft supplies. Everything else in my home I have under control but these two areas are where I like to have choices. I had ruthlessly cut down my closet last year but find myself adding and adding because I really really hated the limitation of three sweaters. I’m trying to find a balance but it is hard. Same with the craft stuff. I have more than enough but I like the choices more brings :/
    trapcd at gmail dot com

    Reply
  • Debra Schramm August 27,

    Great post! I’ve been purging for almost 2 years, had 2 huge yard sales and need to have one more. It’s just overwhelming. My real struggle is with the fact that I may need that item one day! Sounds silly when I put it in writing! Thanks for the motivation.

    Reply
  • Courtney August 27,

    I have trouble with toys everywhere. My child has EVERYTHING he could want, through either good deals or gifts, and they’ve taken over my entire house! Cewoodruff@yahoo.com

    Reply
  • Anna August 27,

    Wonderful post. My biggest problem area when it comes to clutter is paper! Mail, coupons, receipts, etc. I’ve tried multiple different organization systems, but it always seems to revert to chaos in no time at all.

    Reply
  • Tiffiny August 27,

    I struggle cause a lot of times I feel I am the only who cares and then I get frustrated because I have to get on my husband and 3 kids about things. I have tried everything and never seems to work. So then I get to a point where I just don’t care anymore. I don’t like feeling like I am the maid. And then there is what to do with papers any and all kinds of papers. They always land on the counter in the kitchen. There have been many stressful things going on and I just don’t want to deal with it anymore. I have some how lost the motivation…I used to be a lot better and it didn’t feel overwhelming. But now it all feels overwhelming. Thank you for a great post….hoping that this will help me. tiffpalm75@gmail.com

    Reply
  • Carrie August 27,

    With children, even though we attempt to keep the toys/accessories to a minimum and live simply—we still have 3 of them and they still have birthdays and Christmases. We don’t splurge throughout the year. And our gifts are well planned at the holidays. But, it’s still 3 kids worth of stuff. And the 3rd kid still needs gifts even if we’ve already provided for the first before. So that’s a challenge. And we haven’t gotten to the relative aspect. We’re very “clean sweep” minded, and do a reasonable job of purging. But between having my husband’s work space (he works at home), my sewing/craft space, and our children’s toys, sometimes our one small-den-sized room where all of these worlds collide can feel like it’s not in proper control.

    As well, our garage, which also serves as laundry room, is a challenge. We moved in about 3 years ago and my husband wants to re-finish the walls with dry-wall. Until we can tackle that, we can’t properly organize the tools, kids outdoor gear, laundry, etc… It just seems we’re in wait mode.

    Reply
  • Megan August 27,

    The hardest thing for me is getting rid of things that my mom gave me, or that remind me of her (she passed away 7 years ago). I try to live by the motto: “memories, not mementos” but sometimes catching a glimpse of an object that reminds me of my mom will bring back memories that I probably wouldn’t have thought of otherwise.

    Reply
  • Kristie Lawrence August 27,

    Great post! I really struggle with getting rid of items that my parents gave me. I need to work on that. I just discovered your blog a few days ago and I love it!

    Reply
  • Kristin O August 27,

    My struggle is letting go of things because of how much they cost, and that they could be used again in some way. I really want to start doing what you’re doing!

    Reply
  • Caitlin Anderson August 27,

    Thanks for a wonderful post Ruth! I think my biggest clutter struggle is getting rid of things someone has given to me (I have a really hard time not feeling guilty,) and things with sentimental value. Taking on too much at once prevents me from becoming more organized. I have these huge plans, but once underway, I become overwhelmed and have a difficult time making progress. I find I am more successful if I force myself to choose one project/area to attack and not to move on until it is complete. I would most like to get in order my personal schedule and routine. There is organizing in my home to do as well, but I think that would happen more efficiently if I had a more consistent routine. Thanks again for the post… your blog is so wonderfully inspiring! It is where I come when I need encouragement and tools. Be blessed today! -Caitlin CaitlinLChisholm@gmail.com

    Reply
  • Crystal Storms August 27,

    I struggle with getting rid of items that hold sentimental value or were a gift… but I’m getting better.

    Reply
  • Crystal @ Serving Joyfully August 27,

    Great post. We live in a TINY house (around 800 square feet), and I have been doing a lot of those same things over the past year since we moved here. We were already pretty simple people, but nothing reminds you of how far you can still cut back like moving into a home half the size of your previous one! lol

    Would love to win :)

    Reply
  • Lisa Quick August 27,

    Loved this article. I’ve been thinking about this a lot lately. My mother in law is a huge keeper of everything. (I hate to use the word hoarder…but it’s pretty close). I think because I see her living so miserably (in our in law apartment) I am so careful about what I keep and why I keep it. Right now, my biggest organizational challenge is probably craft/paper supplies. I am not using them much right now, but I know that there are times when I need them so I need to see what can go and what should stay. Thanks for your blog and for all the inspiration and encouragement.

    Reply
  • Tamra Hager August 27,

    Thanks for all the tips.. GREAT

    Reply
  • Christine August 27,

    Great post! I think my biggest struggle when it comes to clutter is deciding what I truly need versus things I just can’t seem to part with because I might need “some day”!

    Reply
  • Judith August 27,

    These ideas are great. I definitely don’t go buy things at the store needlessly b/c, for one thing, lack of money, and the other thing, I think of how it will end up being something gathering dust, etc. etc. I don’t want to have to get rid of more useless stuff.

    Reply
  • Kim August 27,

    I so needed this!! I struggle with thinking I need to keep everything!! Then I get discouraged and procrastinate as to whether to get rid of or keep.

    Reply
  • Christie August 27,

    My biggest issue is that I love to shop! Currently my kitchen is my clutter spot. I love to cook and have accumulated way too many gadgets for my tiny kitchen. About a year and a half ago I had read on a blog to help purge your house get rid of two items a day for a year. After a year your house will be lighter by over 700 items. I did this all last year and was surprised at how many things I didn’t miss. I think I’m going to start this again.

    Reply
  • Heather August 27,

    Biggest struggle is time and trying to balance cleaning/organizing house with spending time w/3 kids and hubby!!!

    Reply
  • Diane G August 27,

    My biggest issue is that I love to have new things. I get tired of stuff and, instead of getting rid of it or giving it away, I just buy something to replace it. I am working hard to try to stop this, both for my self and my kids (toys). It will take a while but I want to do this.

    Reply
  • Cassie August 27,

    Found your blog this weekend and am enjoying reading it. Thanks. We’re going spend free for September!

    Reply
  • Liz August 27,

    I would really like to get my bedroom in order. We do a pretty good job of keeping the front room clean (because that’s what guests will see) but the bedroom is where we drop off stuff to be put away later. Also need to figure out my clothes situation, I’m sure I have too much, but it’s hard to get rid of!! What if that outfit comes back into style? And yes I hardly wear it, but it still fits….

    Reply
  • Darlene Dunlap August 27,

    this post is awesome and just in time, I am moving and packing is a big chore. I will use this to carefully pick and chose what to save and what to give away. I think my biggest challenge when it comes to clutter is I just have to have it, or I may need it in the future. I have solved my buying problem, I avoid stores, my husband does most of the shopping.

    Reply
  • Cara E August 27,

    I want to go through our last few boxes left from moving last year. We have gotten rid of so much junk since then…tons to the thrift store, recycling center, or dump (last resort). Our house is 1300 sq. ft. with 3 kids, so the less unnecessary stuff we have, the better! (And less for me to clean!)

    Reply
  • Kelly Lake August 27,

    I just have a hard time making myself stay organized and put things away. I tend to be cluttery with little stacks here and there. Hard to get rid of books, although I made myself get rid of a lot of them last year and I don’t miss any! A friend who is a great organizer came over to help me and she said ‘you don’t have one clear surface space, there’s something on everything!!” All my drawers/cupboards/closets/dressers are filled to the brim. It’s ridiculous! I have been in my house 23 years so it’s easy to just let stuff pile up. But the older I get ( I am 55) I really desire less and more peace as it stresses me out just looking at stuff I need to get rid of, organize & put away, etc….so I just get overwhelmed and ignore it. The trouble is, it’s getting harder to ignore, as it’s robbing my peace!!

    Reply
  • Debi August 27,

    Inspiring! Thank you!
    Stopping the flow would be my biggest challenge. I try to be selective, but need more discipline in my yard sale hobby. I JUST KNOW a .25 terrific find is out there, waiting. Of course, finds add up. I think about what better ways I can use my money…Compassion International…etc.

    Reply
  • brenda August 27,

    great timin for this article . gives everyone time to be in order before the holidays. even tho I seriously adhere to the one in one out rule, I still seem to have a lot of disorder. paper is still my biggest bugaboo. that hesitation about needing the right piece of paper proof for some govt inquiry sends chills all over. I do not think they will accept the same excuses they have been giving lately

    Reply
  • Britny August 27,

    I think the hardest things for me to pass up are thrift store finds! I love finding good quality clothing at a cheap price, but I have to be careful I only buy things I will actually use and love. I try to think about what I already have at home and the item must be pretty versatile for me to take it home. This is still a struggle!

    Reply
  • Sarah Zylik August 27,

    My biggest struggle to keep organized is time, time, time. I NEVER have enough of it. With 2 kids and both in sports it seems like we are ALWAYS on the go. Between work and schedules for everyone it is just insane. What prevents me from being organized is paperwork, paperwork, paperwork. We have a built in dresser in our room that had come with the house. I cannot tell you how much paperwork is in those drawers and how long it would take me to file and seperate all those hundreds of pieces of paper. All of the stuff my kids bring home from school, what I should keep, what I should throw away, so in the end I just keep it all and stuff it in the dresser drawers. The biggest part of my life I would like to get in order is my scheduling and meal preparing. Like I said between work, school and our schedules I sometimes feel like I can’t do it all.

    Reply
  • Annette August 27,

    Such good practical advice that’s easy to put into practice. Thank you!
    I have 5 children, which now range in age from grown and married with
    children to college to teens. A practice that we started years ago when
    they were little is for Christmas, each child gets 3 gifts, a take off of the
    3 gifts Jesus received. For birthdays parties our invitation asked that their only
    present be their presence and then I took the birthday child shopping
    and they bought a nice little gift for their friends. It really is more blessed
    to give than to receive. The kids loved it.

    Reply
  • Stacy M in OK August 27,

    Mine would be putting things away immediately. I put it off or I do one thing and turn around to start another without finishing the other first. This happens overall —- I do this in housecleaning and even in reading books. I have a stack of books to read on my nightstand! I do have a mom who gives me things for my home and when we talk on the phone she asks me where they are – her effort to make sure that I don’t get rid of them!

    Reply
  • Jennifer Haley August 27,

    Every once in awhile I do well with this. Right now is not that time. Thanks for the reminder!

    Reply
  • Barb K. in FL August 27,

    Great post-my biggest organizational challenge is our garage! We have so many dissimilar things (used often-seasonally) that need to be stored inside, around our 2 large vehicles! We’ve organized using many SHELVES for like items stored in labeled bins, pegboards for tools, but it never seems to stay organized. Purging unused items helped, but not total solution for us. Have accepted that it is an ongoing challenge

    Reply
  • Laurie August 27,

    My biggest struggle with clutter is as much time as I spent cleaning up I can never seem to gain much ground. Time shortage and too much stuff is my problem. I would like to have less cleaning to do so I can spend more time with my family doing family activities.

    Reply
  • Suzanne August 27,

    I need to reread this post once a month as a gentle reminder. Thanks!

    Reply
  • Carlie Linde August 27,

    It’s always nice to hear that I’m not alone in this! Most of my friends think I’m nuts for getting rid of all this stuff I don’t need. It’s hard because I just got married two years ago, so it’s actually a lot of stuff people gave us, and I feel really bad for not wanting it, but the stuff I expel doesn’t help my life and could potentially help someone else.

    Reply
  • Katrina C. August 27,

    I love having less stuff in the house..it is so freeing. We all have to much stuff and it can be very hard to manage. Stuff just has a way of creeping in to the house little by little so having a plan in place like…One in one thing out…really helps!

    Reply
  • sara August 27,

    i enjoy this – as a single mom living in a 950sq.ft. house with 1950′s closets, we have very little space for storage. i like the rationale behind your explanations; it makes a lot of *common* sense.
    my struggle is with donating rather than yard-saling/craigslisting/fb-group-selling. i’ve made mucho dinero that way, but i’m down to a bunch of mostly $5 and $1 items in a huge pile in my basement. oh, to do a clear-out yardsale (because i can use every dollar,) or just donate it and be done with it. My dilemma. :)

    Reply
  • Kate August 27,

    I just love all of your inspiring posts. There’s always a good reminder to simplify. Thanks. Anyways, my biggest area of struggle would have to be in the clothes kids have outgrown. I ask myself should I sell them? give them? or will we have more kids? What prevents me from being organized is that it’s not a priority and that once you organize you forget it needs constant up-keep to stay that way. Who woulda’ thunk?! It’s hard to choose just one area that would the most rewarding for being clutter and fancy free but I would choose the TEE-OH-WHY-ESS. It so hard to get the kids to sluff off the excess and ward off the need to keep for sentiment. Especially when I’m sentimental about “things” myself. As always thanks for the motivation! I shall be simplified! kate@justcutekate.com

    Reply
  • Karen C August 27,

    My biggest struggle when it comes to clutter is paperwork – stuff that I need to go through and either file or toss.

    Reply
  • Gina Howren August 27,

    My biggest areas of clutter are my crafts and paperwork- they are not the same, I don’t really do paper crafting. I am talking about receipts, magazines, recipes, etc. My craft supplies run the gamut because I don’t excel in any one area. Rather, I dabble in lots of different things, which means I have all manner of supplies!! I have a desk and a designated craft room, both of which are in disarray, in addition to piles all over the place! It’s a mess~~

    Reply
  • Sandra August 27,

    I really need to take control of my bedroom. I have clothes in a range of different sizes, things I hope to fit into someday, ones I pray to never have to wear again… but can’t get myself to purge because what if? I struggle with ADHD and so do my children… so I start projects and never get back to them. Actually when I start to clean something it gets messier.

    Reply
  • Anonymous August 27,

    How inspiring! Thank you for putting trimming down and purging our extras in a new light….comparing us to our ancestors!
    dixiejoytaylor@gmail.com

    Reply
  • Chastity Johnson August 27,

    Thank you so much for posting this! I have been working hard at scaling down the amount of stuff we have, and now I will tackle the garage with a whole new attitude!

    Reply
  • Lesa Maust August 27,

    My biggest issue is fear that I am gonna do a really good job of decluttering, only to get rid of something that I am gonna regret, and then later need to buy a similar item. :)

    Reply
  • Angela August 27,

    Enjoyed this I have decluttered so much thanks to help from family. My biggest struggle is getting the other members to put stuff back and pick up after themselves.

    Reply
  • Deb August 27,

    Time! (And the fact that it is an overwhelming task.) When I do get rid of things, I often see see something “cute” I could have done with it, etc., which makes it harder to let things go.

    Reply
  • Jennifer August 27,

    Very timely post. My greatest challange to being organized is ‘the bargain’ and the fear that I might need ‘this’ in the future.

    Reply
  • M@SSBD August 28,

    /sigh. We are working on this whole purging thing now. I am having such a difficult time getting rid of stuff I *might* use at some point!

    Reply
  • Haley August 28,

    I struggle with wanting more, because I’m always comparing what I do or don’t have to others. I think what prevents me right now is just time. I have 3 children under 4 and that takes up time and makes it harder to organize. I’d like to organize every inch of my house!

    Reply
  • Lisa H. August 28,

    Really helpful article…The hardest aspect of the clutter challenge for me is definitely stopping the flow. You’ve given me food for thought and now I’m off to count the hangers in my closet! :o)

    Reply
  • Miranda August 28,

    I think my biggest struggle with clutter is time – it seems like there isn’t enough time in the day to get everything done on my to-do list at home [especially when you add in school and work!]. It’s something I’ve struggled with for the past couple of years as my role in life seems to be constantly shifting. I’ve recently got on the kick of getting rid of the clutter just so I have less to manage! Thanks for writing such a wonderful blog with wonderful ideas!

    Reply
  • Stacy August 28,

    My biggest barrier to becoming more organized in my life is that my brain likes to write checks that my body can no longer cash due to illness. It takes me so long to do even the smallest tasks and the effort results in my being in pain for hours. It’s very hard to motivate myself to do battle in a war with my home that never seems to end and that causes me pain and frustration because I never make enough of a dent to feel like it could be over. The other part of my problem is that I’m a creative and artistic person (more so in my head than in actual practice since I’ve been sick) and I can see many possibilities for an object and it makes it harder to release them. My therapist said I need someone to be my arms and legs, that’s truer than she probably realized.

    Reply
  • Valaree August 28,

    Great article! The area I think I need to work on most is the garage. It quickly becomes a catch all for random things we don’t use. (Now if only my husband would be more organized..! 95% of the stuff in the garage is his!)
    I live by a “proper place” method. If something does not have a place to be used, displayed, or stored…it has to go! I am much happier when my home is clean and organized.

    Reply
  • Clem Bond August 28,

    I can totally relate to the Target story! Every time I go there, I am tempted to buy “stuff” that often ends up cluttering the house. I have two main areas of my life i would like to declutter. The first is our current home/shopping habit. We want a fourth child and keep thinking we need more room, a bigger house and more stuff for the kids all the time when really we are perfectly happy and already have so much. And second is my grocery shopping. I love to cook healthy and from scratch! Iconsider my grocery trips my “me” time but it is so easy to over buy and not use all our food in a timely manner.

    Thank you for the inspiring post!!

    Reply
  • Richard Holter August 28,

    One of the biggest issues I have in maintaining a clutter free life is my four beautiful children. That being stated, they learn from who?, Me. I have ADHD that has recently been diagnosed as an adult. I am not trying to use this as a crutch, because there are no excuses. But, now that the condition has been recognized and diagnosed, and more information is being learned every day, things are starting to get better. Slowly but surely. Now, if time could slow down and I could retrain my children while they are young and I could find some time in my daddy run me here life, Things would get better that much fast.

    Reply
  • Wendy August 28,

    My biggest struggle is learning to let go of the “but I might need it someday” mindset. I’m working on it – little by little.

    Reply
  • Katelyn August 28,

    I like to think I am generally pretty organized. I generally know where everything is, but the CLUTTER accumulates. I think I really need to come up with a better system for my newspaper/mail/bills/magazines/grocery ads. They always pile up and clutter up my flat desk space. It makes me and the hubby bonkers!

    Reply
  • Sarah August 28,

    I have just discovered the need for less stuff. After opening the silverware drawer and looking in the sink at the dishes that need to be washed, I began to think about the garage that was so full I couldn’t park in it and the closets I couldn’t use due to “stuff to sell” I am storing in there. What am I waiting for – I’d be so much happier with less stuff. I know, I know, bad consumer. When we moved in here I was happy just to have a roof and heat… when and why did that change.

    Reply
  • Valerie August 28,

    I love it! I have been very picky about what enters our home lately because we don’t need more stuff!

    Reply
  • Lizz August 28,

    This article inspires me! I have begun to declutter my home, but have a bit to go yet. :) In answer to the question “What part of your home or life would you most like to get in order?” I’d have to say that it’s my basement. I have decluttered my main living area…but the basement is where everything seems to be stashed, and I’m sure I don’t need even 1/2 of it anymore, as some things have been in a box for more than 5 years!!!

    Reply
  • TJ Jay August 28,

    I love to organize everything but the most difficult part is getting my family on board. I can label and align everything and within a week it needs to be done again.

    Reply
  • Norma Hilton August 28,

    I need an area designated to my sewing. I’m currently working on a quilt and my sewing machine, ironing board and material are in my dining room….even though I have a large basement!

    Reply
  • Jenn August 28,

    I found your blog just a few days ago and I’m hooked! Great stuff.

    Reply
  • Robin Still August 28,

    Your post really hit home with me today. I have never ending battle with clutter. I have my stuff, my husbands stuff and then the stuff of my 4 children. It is everywhere. I think that I don’t get rid of stuff because I don’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings. I run out of time because I am busy being a mom, taxi driver, chef, housekeeper, etc… I believe that if I just stopped and took a timeout then I could focus on decluttering. Your post has driven that home to me. As far as which part do I wish to get organized is my spiritual life then my home. I am often so busy that God gets put on the backburner. Thank you for your thoughts…I will be following you from now on. Have a blessed day!

    Smiles & Blessings,
    Robin :)

    Reply
  • Janelle Hancock August 28,

    My husband and I live in a tiny apartment above a shop with little-to-no storage space, and while this place is and has been a huge blessing and perfect for us in this season of life, it has always been clearly understood that it is a temporary arrangement. We’re enjoying life here, but are looking forward to one day (soon!) making a “real house” our a home. And so, I tend to hang onto “stuff” that will be useful in the coming season of life, but for now is just clutter (and not enough to justify renting a storage unit). (Example: the apartment here is furnished, so any furniture we’re given is needed and saved for our future home.) Nonetheless, there ARE things that can be gotten rid of, and do I tend to hang onto things more than I should. Coming from a homesteading family of 13, minimizing is not a mentality I was raised with (and for good reason!), but is the lifestyle I’ve been pursuing lately. I’m really looking forward to de-cluttering our home in the coming weeks/months and keeping it that way! I’ve already experienced how freeing it is to live with less… less really is more.

    Blessings,
    Janelle
    (janelle.h.hancock@gmail.com)

    Reply
  • Liz I August 28,

    this is a fantastic article, thank you! I think I struggle most with papers…mail, bills, kids artwork, etc. It piles up soo fast!

    Reply
  • Ashley Lane August 28,

    As we have looked at buying a home, I’ve realized our need to consolidate. My biggest problem with doing so I just feeling guilty for all the money we or other people have spent on those items to just be gotten rid of. But I agree, we have too much and we don’t need all this excess just because society says we need it.

    Reply
  • Amberly Selle August 28,

    I love decluttering. I feel a weight lift each time. The thing we struggle with is exit strategy. My husband wants to try and sell whatever he can (which means waiting till he has time). While I want to donate it to goodwill and get it out of the house as quickly as possible. :)

    Reply
  • Linda August 28,

    My husband and I are looking to downsize our house and we both have trouble getting rid of things with “sentimental meaning”. I need to let things go that I really don’t need and don’t use but I find it hard to part with some things.

    Reply
  • Kayla Starrett August 28,

    Definitely clothes. I always think “Oh I’ll wear that one day…” but nope! It’s just taking up unnecessary space in my closet!

    Reply
  • Karla August 28,

    I love decluttering! I’m sort of unsentimental, so I don’t find it too hard to get rid of stuff. It is amazing though, how I can create space by decluttering, and then it somehow fills up again! I guess I need to work on the other side of the equation and quit buying so much.

    Reply
  • Mary Macri August 28,

    I love organizing but have a hard time letting go of the items that can be reused . To cut down on appliances I try to make sure it can be used for multiple purposes or that nothing else I own can do the same thing.

    Reply
  • Jessie August 28,

    This is a Wonderful post! I really needed to read this right now. My biggest challenge is that I love stuff and I bring way too much of it in. I Love going to thrift stores and yard sales and because everything is so much cheaper ,I end up buying more stuff to bring into the house. All of the clutter has really been bothering me for a while, but I don’t know where to start and how to get rid of stuff……when I go to get rid of anything it is like I just can’t stand to get rid of it even though all of this mess is driving me crazy. I am in desperate need of help. Thank you for this post. :)

    Reply
  • Kristen @ Joyfullythriving August 28,

    Relentless purging…especially when it comes to papers! That’s my biggest challenge. Great article – as usual, Ruth!

    Reply
  • Jaima August 28,

    Thanks for this! So true. When we lived in a tiny two bedroom apartment I was strict about following the life raft rule- ever time i brought in something new, something else got tossed. Then we moved to a house with more space . . . Except there’s not much space anymore!
    I’m printing off the questions and starting a purge!

    Reply
  • Jennifer August 28,

    I would love/need to organize my closets, I need a system! I’m excited to start purging!

    Reply
  • jennie August 28,

    I get really sentimental about stuff, especially because of where it came from, even if I don’t “love” the item. And we do have a fair amount of storage space, so I am not ruthless about purging. But I’m working on it! Now that my kids are all in school, I’ve made lots of progress already!

    Reply
  • Crystal L. August 28,

    Excellent article, Ruth! I so struggle with clutter…which I find so strange, since I love to organize! How weird is that? I feel like it all started with kids. Not to blame them, just saying I can easily pinpoint that’s where it started. It starts when they are babies. A blanket here, burp cloth close by, an excersaucer over there, the swing here, book there…it all seemed to go downhill from there, lol! Now, they leave things all over…and I’ll admit it, I do to some degree as well. :) It’s a constant struggle to keep after them about messes, and feel like I’m constantly picking things up. What a vicious cycle! I would say my biggest problem in organizing/deciding which things to keep, is that I seem to keep things “just in case I’ll need them someday.” We moved to a bigger place, and I STILL see clutter everywhere. I would love to change things. I would love to have a place for everything, and everything in it’s place. I want to organize the WHOLE house! I want the girls to be responsible and not balk at picking things up, I want to simplify. It’s a goal…one that I plan on implementing now that the school year has started again. :)

    Reply
  • Anita August 28,

    My biggest struggle is soon to be the mountain of paper my kids bring home from school. Every day it’s a new ream of cute drawings, darling stories from writer’s workshop or a big science project they spent a week on. Of course none of it can be tossed, they just have to keep it all.

    What prevents me from being organized is that no one else sees or understands (or cares about) my current scheme. I’ve tried many in the hope that one will work! That and a lack of discipline for completing my housework in a more timely manner.

    What I most desperately need organized is my ‘office’ /gigantic pile of medical bills (the real reason cancer sucks, btw). It became so massive, it overtook the space i had allotted for my office. Now what used to be my baking station is now a paper blob from hell. I don’t want to spend one cent on products, cleaning costs nothing! I just need inspiration and about 6 hours without the kids underfoot.

    P.S. here is my shameless plug, thanks for all you frugal/homesteading moms for blogging. I was beginning to think i was going off the deep end with my choices until i found so many others doing the same thing. Fantastic stuff from aprons to keeping the beds made. Love thrifty thursdays, too.

    Reply
  • Taylor August 28,

    Great post! I definitely struggle with – what if I need this item soon?! Especially glass jars/containers. I can’t get rid of them!

    Reply
  • Mindy August 28,

    My biggest struggle with clutter is not letting go of paperwork and not having a good organization system for things that I do want to keep.

    Reply
  • Megan T. August 28,

    So inspiring and true! Will think of my grandparents and how they live for motivation! Thanks!

    Reply
  • Jane August 28,

    My struggle is keeping things because I might need it some day. I have trouble wasting stuff.

    Reply
  • Elaine August 28,

    Ever since reading your post about taking your kids’ toys away I have been inspired to declutter toys!! Only thing is, compared to most people, my kids don’t have as many toys! I am very intentional about what toys I allow into the house. NO ‘junk toys’ although some to slip in as gifts. Anyway this past week I went through toys and have two bags full to give away. I want to go through again and see if I can weed out anymore. I HATE clutter and go through my house consistently getting rid of stuff we don’t need/use anymore. I need to tackle my clothes!! I went through them all when we moved this past Spring, but I need to get rid of more! Love your blog. :)

    Reply
    • Anonymous August 28,

      Toys are the bane of my existence !!! Especially the cheap clutter toys that walk in from wherever and no one ever knows where it came from! Cheap gift toys from school , a found trinket at the play ground, a “gift ” from a sweet cousin. My kids cry! I’ve learned to get them gone on the sly! Trash or Salvation Army donation boxes love me! Good luck in your quest for peace and tranquility!

      Reply
  • Wanda K Tyndall August 28,

    I really need to get my bedroom and closet organized! Lack of space, too many things to try to squeeze into an already small home! I’m my own problem as far as getting things organized, it’s very overwhelming!
    Wanda at email:
    seawsunkiss@yahoo.com

    Reply
  • Lauren August 28,

    I would most like to organize my closet at this point. I have clothes of all different sizes, folded up in a corner for years! It’s crazy.

    Reply
  • Amy Haught August 28,

    Really enjoy your articles! Glad I ran across your page. Thank you!

    Reply
  • Betsy August 28,

    My biggest problem with clutter is paper. I’m unemployed so looking for a job. I have soooo many articles on job hunting, changing careers. job hunting tips, and papers from my old job. Oh, and then toss in some info on finances etc. Yowza. I know I should just toss the info since I could find it online but I think, oh, I should read this article, this tip. Never ends. And, I think the stress of it all, makes it harder to tackle. I would love to get my hall closet organized — if I get rid of much of the stuff that is not needed — the closet would be practically any empty walk in. Great post.

    Reply
  • Laurie Cassano August 28,

    I really needed this article, thank you so much! With homeschooling 4 little kids, it is definitely a challenge to keep the clutter from overcoming us. I have gotten a lot better, but our basement is still in need of some major organizing!
    Laurie C
    EWELLLA@YAHOO.COM

    Reply
  • Lauren Abate August 28,

    The hardest thing about clutter is getting rid of things you really don’t need!

    Reply
  • Leslie August 28,

    Great post! I am definitely working on being a more mindful spender – not necessarily spend less, but buy fewer things of higher quality. Thanks for the reminders. Our Grandparents really did have it right.

    Reply
  • Joy C. August 28,

    My struggle with clutter started when I said “yes” to people asking us if we wanted/needed this or that. I didn’t want to say no, because what if they never asked again!? I’ve since learned how ridiculous that really is – and I say “no” WAY MORE often than “yes.” Thanks for the great giveaway!

    Reply
  • Christina Kibalko August 29,

    I’m a very sentimental person. I tend to hang on to things that remind me of a good memory or a person. Sometimes that means I just throw stuff in a box, stick it in a closet, and forget about it for a few years until I’m feeling nostalgic. My closets definitely accumulate the most clutter. Eventually they spill into the rest of my house and then I know it’s time to do the dreadful thing: sort through it and get rid of some things! Unfortunately, I don’t think I ever get rid of nearly enough. It’s usually just enough to once again stash all my memories in a closet. I suppose that would be the area I need to work on the most.

    Reply
  • Rachel August 29,

    Sewing is my passion. For two years I shopped the 99cent sale at Value Village Andre bought 100s of yards of fabric just because it was so cheap. Now, wearer moving and I have to deal with all this stuff I got (plus I bought clothes to repurpose that I never did anything with).

    Reply
  • Patti T. August 29,

    I’m working so hard on getting organized. I’m getting there slowly. This was a helpful and needed read! Thank you!!

    Reply
  • Tracey Riddle August 29,

    When I read your question to answer for the amazon give-away, I didn’t even have to think about it. It’s toys. OH the toys!!! I just stumbled on your blog this morning because I clicked on a link from Facebook about how you downsized your kids toys. I am so convicted here!! We just moved into a new house (my husband is a pastor, so it’s the church parsonage) where I was thrilled to see a huge basement with a beautiful, and what I THOUGHT was very large, playroom attached. I thought it was large until we moved our kids toys in. We have 3 kids, but our youngest is only 4 months old, so the toys are only for our 2 older kids. They filled that room!! We have various shelves and organizing toy boxes completely lining the walls and it’s still not enough. It honestly just makes me shutter. With a good amount of prayer and discussion with my husband, I will be seriously thinking about your blog and how to implement something along those lines into our family. So thank you!! Have a blessed day :-)

    Reply
  • SUE August 29,

    Thank you for all the time you put into posting these ideas…..you
    would have to be organized to have time to tell us about…..ha :)

    Reply
  • Kelly August 29,

    We have two huge sources of clutter — our kids’ closets and the playroom full of toys!

    Reply
  • Manuela@ A Cultivated Nest August 29,

    I totally do the same thing when I go to Target! That’s why I only try to go once a month. I also try to get my husband to go if I need just one or two things. He seems immune :)

    I’d love to get my garage organized. Being a home decor blogger I have lot’s of stuff – in bins on shelves etc. It’s just everywhere. I’d love to have time to really go through everything, get rid of what I don’t want/use and then find a way to store it so it’s accessible but not out where it all looks cluttered.

    Reply
  • Jill T. August 29,

    I LOVE the idea of organization….in fact I have millions of ideas of the areas in my house I would like to organize…..if I had more uninterrupted time without my children pulling 10 things out for every 5 I put away :) Such is life! We will get there one room at a time and I know when all those little feet are grown and out of my house I will miss them terribly…and their clutter too! If I could pick one specific area that I would really like to organize first it would be our basement – craft area/family room. It’s good space that will be great for the entire family to hang out in once everything has a home and everything is in it’s place :)

    Reply
  • Neila August 29,

    My hardest thing is letting things go. I accumulate things and then think well, I’d better keep it because I might need it someday. Or I just haven’t had time to go through it and get rid of things I know I need to get rid of. We’re actually working on a purge in our house since we’re thinking about moving and don’t want to take a bunch of things we don’t need.

    Reply
  • Danica August 29,

    I love this post! I was just talking to a friend the other day about how much I love older homes but hate that they have no closet space. We joke that our guest bedroom is really hubby’s closet because there’s just not enough room. I’ve been trying to declutter for a long time now, but my biggest challenge is my husband. How do you get a husband on board when he won’t get rid of anything? It’s hard to tell my kids to declutter when they see their dad hoarding so much stuff!

    Reply
  • Marcy B August 29,

    I would love to get my room over the garage organized so that when I want to make something crafty I don’t spend all my time looking for supplies instead of actually crafting!!

    Reply
  • Chelsea August 29,

    This post resonates so much with me. I live in a 1940s bungalow and I am currently struggling with this very issue!

    Reply
  • Kristin August 29,

    What part of your home or life would you most like to get in order?
    Definitely the office… we just got married in April and I moved all my stuff from OH to PA. It’s taking awhile to go through it so everything I don’t have time or energy to go through gets dumped in there. Plus we don’t have an office desk yet, so none of our office supplies are in the right place.

    Reply
  • Sherri Van Ryn August 29,

    Definitely I struggle the most with the kitchen. School paperwork and art builds up, notes, random stuff. This is my biggest challenge area. I think what makes it so hard is the constant flow of more paperwork every day in the mail, and home from school.

    Reply
  • Tabitha N. August 29,

    My biggest struggle with simplifying and organizing our home is making time to attack the beast. I also feel that regret is what stops me from doing it, regret of tossing something with sentimental value….well that and getting lost in the memories as I go through boxes from the past.

    Reply
  • Donna August 29,

    Clutter is definitely an issue in my life. Part of the problem is I don’t know where to start and I save pretty much everything. I still have packed boxes from our move 4 years ago. Thanks for the tips…now to put them into practice. Love the hanger tip, I just bought more to accomodate back to school clothes….clothing/ laundry is definately a good place to start for me.

    Reply
  • Myra of Mommy+Me Lunchbox August 29,

    Great post! I really need to declutter its hard to find a bigger chunk of time to organize! I am not very good at doing “a little bit at at time” because then it doesn’t get done at all!

    Reply
  • Jen August 29,

    What would I most LOVE to bring order to? My limited closet spaces!

    Reply
  • Mandy Jo August 29,

    Oye! I am so unorganized…partly due to my sheer laziness…partly due to my superb procrastination abilities…and partly because when I get overwhelmed, I just do NOTHING instead. Thanks for these and all of your tips…super helpful! I will probably use them…….tomorrow! ;)

    Reply
  • Carlyn P August 29,

    I have a hard time getting rid of sentimental items or things that I think might be repurposed. Trouble is finding the time to do it!

    Reply
  • Lisa August 29,

    Oh my gosh this post speaks to me! My frame of reference with so many things is, how did people do things 50 or 100 years ago? Because somehow they made it with 1/10 the amount of “stuff” we had, with fewer tools and gadgets and “conveniences”. It is an interesting exercise for me to think about what is my biggest obstacle to getting rid of clutter. I can say that I could probably get rid of 25% of our things with no looking back. I would love to read more tips about how to live simply. Especially because we are expecting our fourth child. We have a 5 bedroom house. My husband thinks we live a somewhat simple life. Ha! It’s going to get infinitely more complicated and I want and need ways to make things easier and more simple. Thanks for this post!

    Reply
  • Michelle Spradlin August 29,

    I struggle with my child’s room. I have always been a very organized person but after having my son & realized a child can accumulate a lot of things. I have tried to set up baskets & things in his room to help give his room a better place to play but it’s not working. He likes being organized too but doesn’t like to stop long enough to clean. I need help.

    Reply
  • Krystal Arnold August 29,

    My biggest struggle is feeling like “I will probably need this someday!” I constantly feel I’m helping my family out by keeping things that will someday be put to use without a cost :) But the space is a cost and can make us feel cluttered! Also, staying on top of the in-coming flow of stuff!! After each birthday or holiday, and season change for growing kids, it is easy to feel behind! But I guess the key is regular repeat. repeat. repeat! :) Thanks for your post!

    Reply
  • Stephanie Zimmerman August 29,

    I think my biggest problem stems from the fact the I grew up dirt poor. My folks were farmers in the 80′s and it was not pretty. I am afraid to throw things out because I might need it later, I might fit it later, someone else might need it later… Reading your blog, may give me the courage to just give it up. I don’t need it and my kids don’t either.

    Reply
  • Anonymous August 29,

    my big struggle…I have three kids with lots of toys and live in and old farm house that has ONE closet!

    Reply
  • Amy August 29,

    my big struggle…I have three kids with lots of toys and live in and old farm house that has ONE closet!

    Reply
  • Jude August 29,

    My home is a beautiful 10′ by 24′ space :) And that’s the part of my life I’d most like to get together….all 240 sq ft of it!

    Reply
  • Dana August 29,

    I’m trying to get us clutter-free, too. We’re getting ready to move so hopefully we’ll leave the clutter behind.

    Reply
  • Dani C August 29,

    When we moved I tried my best to become clutter free. I have almost succeeded except for two rooms – the kitchen and my younger 3 boys bedroom. These two rooms drive me crazy and no matter how many times I have tried to de-clutter them a miraculous thing happens. They become cluttered all over again. :(

    Reply
  • Leah Brislin August 29,

    Thanks for more ammo in my quest to get my family to join me in decluttering!

    Reply
  • Lindsay Lee August 29,

    We have been working really hard these last few months trying to get rid of anything we don’t use or need. It’s amazing house clean my house is now that we don’t have anything we don’t need!

    linzaleetus at gmail dot com

    Reply
  • Nicole August 29,

    My biggest struggle with organizing is finding the time and energy to work on it! With three little kids, including a toddler who does.not.sleep, my mind has grand ideas and desires for getting ahead of the clutter, but my body is just too exhausted to do the work! Thank you for the giveaway!

    Reply
  • Rachel August 29,

    I have five kiddos and I always feel like I am wasteful if I don’t keep everything. I also struggle letting go of things. We live in a small cape cod style house, so accessing our storage is hard so things don’t get put away. We have way too much. I would like to get clothing managed in this house once and for all.

    Knlrachel at hotmail dot com

    Reply
  • Jenn Porter August 29,

    My biggest issue is kids’ clothing and toys! We are so blessed with hand me downs from several sources and I always feel a little guilty giving away something that was so kindly gifted to me!

    Reply
  • Kyrie Zimmerman August 29,

    I am just like my mother. I’m always afraid that I’m going to need something someday, or that it has too much sentimental value, when I rarely ever even look at all the stuff I keep. I wish I could just declutter everything!

    Reply
  • Amanda August 29,

    My biggest downfall is probably letting go! I love to change things, curtains, pillows, accessories, art. So I have a lot of extras and in a tiny 1 bedroom house it gets kind of cramped! I have to learn to simplify and not hang on to things “just in case.”

    Reply
  • Heather August 29,

    I have been so inspired by your toy removal post! Still working on it around here. Love the guidelines of this post. I’ve been going through closets this last week getting ready for a yard sale. NEED MORE SIMPLICITY!

    Reply
  • Vickie Ludwig August 30,

    So true! My home has no coat closets and people think I am nuts for building it that way. I have empty cupboards and drawers that have been that way since I built my home 13 years ago. We thought we needed so many drawers and cabinets..and I really have fewer than most homes with my square footage…but now I wish I would have opted for fewer. A little decluttering at home everyday is therapeutic even if you only clear one item…now on to my science classroom!

    Reply
  • hana August 30,

    In anticipation of a recent move, we recommitted to our process of simplifying and decluttering.. That was six months ago and I am still at it every day! I have learned to keep a basket on top of my dryer for things to be donated, and try to put at least a few things in it each day. Although our new house is bigger, it has much less storage space -one closet in the entire house- so we have learned to become creative for storage and also to pare down our belongings. The largest struggle that I had was holding onto my (now 7 year old) son’s baby clothes, as I has always hoped they would find use in our family again – but I have a dear friend who is expecting to welcome a new little one this spring, and so this week, (finally!) I gently washed and folded each tiny lovely thing in anticipation of a happy baby wearing it, rather than sitting in a bin tucked away for more years. Letting go is always a process! My son loves to keep his art projects and is incensed when he ‘catches’ them in the recycle box. We have begun to take photographs of them, which has helped him let go of some of the larger works of art! Ideally, I would love to feel that every corner of our house is uncluttered and simple, and it feels so lovely in some spaces already, that I am inspired to keep working at it; to cultivate gratitude for the immensity of our blessings, while doing my best to pass it on and share with others, as well as creating our home to be a calm place of ‘enough’.

    Reply
  • Jetta Seboly August 30,

    Fabulous post!

    My greatest clutter struggle is paper. Paper, paper, paper everywhere. We homeschool our 3 kids, so there is constantly a mountain of paper-things that I must deal with…not counting all our household paper stuff like bills and letters and couponing stuff, etc. I know my grandmother didn’t have that problem! I even doubt her kids brought papers home from school because that would have been before copiers and such. Paper clutter is definitely a more modern problem. What do I do with all this paper!?!
    Jetta

    Reply
  • shelleyb August 30,

    My biggest struggle with clutter lately is papers…the over flowing “mail” counter and the kids’ school papers. The mail I am still searching for a solution. I struggle with throwing the school stuff away. I did find a plastic dresser style organizer. Each kid has their own drawer and other drawers are for available craft paper and one for school newsletters. It’s not pretty by our kitchen table, but better than piles of papers.

    Reply
  • Melanie August 30,

    Thanks so much for the tips and chance to win!!

    Reply
  • Katie August 30,

    I so badly NEED to de-clutter our bedroom. I’ve worked, over the past year, to commit to de-clutter our home and have managed to do okay in most living areas. Unfortunately, it’s been all too easy to shut the door to our bedroom when company comes and this has suffered.

    Reply
  • Betty Winslow August 30,

    My biggest problem is paper: mail, newspapers, magazines, flyers, school stuff, writing career stuff, clippings, torn-out pix of ideas for my jewelry design busines…. you get the idea. I also wear a lot of hats, including three part-time jobs, a house, a husband, an elderly dad with cancer, Bible study, several friends in crisis, and trying to stay in touch with family, friends, and myself. I have a hard time making time for it all! I do have my eye on some things on Amazon that would help, so the card would be very welcome!

    Reply
  • Jerrica August 30,

    My biggest obstacle in overcoming my clutter is my procrastination. I way too easily just go into default cleaning, like the laundry, dishes, baking and tidying rooms….while avoiding the clutter and closets that need to be attacked.

    Reply
  • Samantha August 30,

    You make a very good point!
    I’m definitely a struggling pack rat. I have way too many things which makes it hard to stay organized in any area of my house. But my problem is actually less of the consumerism (a good portion of my clutter has been given to me, not bought by me) and more of an inability to purge. I don’t like to get rid of things unless I know someone else will be able to use it. I hate the idea of waste. Jeans have a hole in them in a spot that doesn’t allow me to wear them? My thought process goes something like this: “Oh well, I’ll keep them just in case I can think of something else to do with the fabric or something. If I donate them, they’ll just get thrown away!” This means that I have a closet full of clothes that I can’t wear, cabinets full of dishes I never use (but might need someday!), and a craft room full of random project supplies. I’m constantly torn between having an organized house and having stuff on hand that could (and sometimes does) come in handy.
    My kitchen and my closet are the two places I’d most like to get in order. I’m working on convincing myself that I don’t need to keep the extra stuff even if it does come in handy once in a blue moon. It’s really an ongoing process…

    Reply
  • Jen S August 30,

    My biggest struggle when it comes to clutter is just purging. We have so much stuff and I think I attribute a lot of sentimental value to many of the things in my home. This hinders me from purging and I can never seem to get it all organized! I would love to be able to get a handle on my kids’ toys and on our basement- the ultimate collecting spot of “stuff”

    Reply
  • Twila August 30,

    My biggest problem is that we are a military family so I constantly think that even if we don’t use something in this house, we might need it in our next house. Makes us hang onto to large furniture pieces and decor type things.

    Reply
  • Anonymous August 30,

    I am so thankful for the encouragement your posts give as I continue this task. Such a challenge, but one that is freeing and brings a lot of peace. It is so important to show this way of life to our children; they are growing up in so much excess.

    Reply
  • Jennifer August 30,

    I am so thankful for the encouragement your posts give as I continue this task. Such a challenge, but one that is freeing and brings a lot of peace. It is so important to show this way of life to our children; they are growing up in so much excess.

    Reply
  • jaimee August 30,

    One of my biggest clutter issues is so many great school/art/just because projects from the kids that I really want to keep. I’m going to start taking pictures of them and put them in a Shutterfly book, just keeping a few originals.

    Reply
  • Melody August 30,

    Right now I’m working on getting my wardrobe into shape. I don’t know if I’ll get down to 40 hangers, but I certainly have plenty of room for improvement. :)

    Reply
  • Megan S. August 30,

    My biggest struggle is dealing with living with relatives who can’t let things go, and having to live in that enviroment.

    Reply
  • l bryant August 30,

    I have too much paperwork. I am constantly having to work to catch up and avoid due dates. With a self employed husband, (I keep the books), 5 kids, an elderly father and a household with chickens, dogs cats and multiple obligations (church, school, athletics, 4h, and several non profits I feel strongly about I often say I will get to it. I feel if I could get a better handle on getting all of this done electronically I would be more organize and up to date, If I could get the office area organized, streamlined and CLEAN I might feel good about working in it.

    Reply
  • Jen August 30,

    I’m just a sucker for a sale! I’ve bought way too many items with the justification that it was too cheap to pass up. Thanks for these tips!

    Reply
  • Sarah August 30,

    My biggest problem is when I’m cleaning just putting things in drawers/closets etc to get it out of sight! I would love to have my closet more organized! Problem being lack of time :)

    Reply
  • Kimberly Schotz August 30,

    I have to learn that everything doesn’t have a sentimental value and it is okay to get rid of things.

    Reply
  • Katie Wilmot August 30,

    My biggest clutter-causing struggle has to be antiques of the family sort. Things that my dad hunted for, things my grandmother “saved just for me,” things my family brought over in covered wagons, for goodness sake! What do I do with this stuff?! And though I also can’t imagine parting with it either because no one will love it like it’s meant to be loved, right…?! On what prevents me from becoming more organized, I know it’s all me and my head. I have this notion that if I could just focus for a couple hours, it’d be done. We know that’s not true, that being organized it in keeping up, not being organized at one time. But the thought still prevails! And on what part of my home I’d most like to be organized, I’ve got to say PAPERWORK, which feels like it’s everywhere. So there you have it…all my dirty secrets! :)

    Reply
  • Elizabeth August 30,

    yes, yes, yes, If I bypass it even coming in the house, it never will be a clutter problem.

    Reply
  • Katie Warner August 30,

    I accumulate paperwork very easily AND I think if I throw something or give it away I’ll end up finding a use/need for it later.

    Reply
  • Sarah P August 30,

    Great post! Once school starts the first thing on my list is to organize and purge. Thanks!

    Reply
  • Marie Lenz-Varas August 30,

    Thank you for making me feel supported. I share a lot of your ideas and ways of doing things and I feel so awkward, no one around me (except for my husband and children ) seem to understand the point of stopping our overwhelming problems with mass consuption. You even inspired me to start a website and maybe a blog.

    Reply
  • Amy M August 30,

    I have been intentionally letting go of clutter this year and it feels fantastic! This week I have gotten rid of two pickup truck loads of stuff at a consignment sale and one truck load to a friend’s education fund-raising yard sale. I think I’ll start on my closet next. I love the comparison to our grandmothers’ closets. Thanks for the excellent advice and inspiration!

    Reply
  • Mandy D August 30,

    I would say my biggest struggle is sentimentalism. Is that a word? When it evokes a memory, I have a hard time letting go. I also have 7 people in 2200 square feet and we homeschool.. Excuses, excuses! My top areas of oncern right now is my closet and bookshelves with kids toys a close third. Whew!

    Reply
  • Kellye A August 30,

    It used to be my husband! My in-laws never get rid of anything, so he was brought up that way. It has taken a few years for me to help him see the value in getting rid of stuff…of having control over the clutter. In turn, it’s eased my stress from having to keep it all organized!! That doesn’t mean we don’t both still have a long way to go on that though :)

    I do have a hard time giving up things that have family history. I think at some point my house will be full of antique furniture & quilts. Maybe I’ll have to start saying no…but how can I turn my back on them???

    Reply
  • Branalyn August 30,

    I do live in a house from the late 30s/early 40s and it does have limited storage, but it also has a big ole storage room outside so we do tend to accumulate there. My biggest challenge to keep in check is fabric. It’s so hard for me to pass up a cute remnant or awesome fabric sale!

    Reply
  • Sarah August 30,

    This is great! I, too, am a shopaholic and bring IN way too much. The house is thankfully very organized, but it would be so much easier with less stuff!

    Reply
  • Elizabeth August 30,

    When it comes to clutter, my biggest struggle is paper, followed by clothes. I used to be organized when I was in my twenties, then I developed a chronic illness and that makes it very difficult for me to have the energy to tackle the clutter and to be able to think clearly enough to make the decisions involved in where everything is going to go. I would love to get my office, my bedroom and my kitchen in order–and really my basement, since everything keeps getting stuffed down there. Okay, I guess I should have said, “My whole house.” ;-)

    Reply
  • Kay August 31,

    Stuff!! the bane of my life. I am trying to learn to purge…

    Reply
  • Chelsea August 31,

    I am great about getting rid of things, I am horrible about controlling the flow at which they are brought in. Can you say buyer’s remorse?

    Reply
  • Eileen August 31,

    My biggest struggle is me. I want a clean organized house but can’t seem to keep to a schedule. I get home at night, and barely make dinner. I have spurts of energy, and clean using a timer, but can’t get beyond the basics to the organizing that i would like to see done. I need a cleaning fairy.

    Reply
  • Janie B August 31,

    Ruth, you really hit the nail on the head. When is it all enough? You have some great “old” ideas and even though it’s midnight I want to start clearing away the excess Junk. (mjburlingame@charter.net)

    Reply
  • Jolene August 31,

    Great article! That’s me for sure…buying when I don’t need to be. I will think of you whenever I am tempted to buy something cutesie that I really don’t need! Thank you!

    Reply
  • Eliesje Hummelman August 31,

    I am a pack-rat. I get it from my dad, who gets it from his mom… Not sure if it is a result of growing up during WWII, but she doesn’t get rid of anything! So, I’m not that bad, but I always worry that if I throw something away, I’m going to need it.
    Since I got married and don’t have access to a lot of storage space, I’ve gotten a bit better by going through my boxes of stuff every few months and trying to find 5-10 things in each one that I can get rid of… usually this means I end up with one less box each time. Next time I go through my boxes, I’ll have to try asking myself your 5 questions… wonder how much I’ll be able to purge then?
    Thanks for the post!

    Reply
  • jaime August 31,

    Thanks for this great article! It reminds me of the importance of simplifying!

    Reply
  • Danielle Hardwick August 31,

    My biggest struggle is toys! I have five children ranging in age from 2-13. They are getting toys all year long with birthdays and christmas, and a grandma who liked to spoil them with cheap toys. My plan this year for Christmas is to only ask for money so we can take the kids to Disneyland.

    Reply
  • Lori H August 31,

    This was a very helpful post! Thanks for the inspiration :)

    Reply
  • Kate August 31,

    What great tips! My husband & I have spent most of the last year minimizing and trying to be content with what we have. However, I can get sucked into feeling like I “need” something for the house very quickly. I can see it is going to be a struggle… I think reading too many magazines and spending too much time on Pinterest affects my thinking.

    Reply
  • Tristi August 31,

    Too much stuff for sure. My daughter just received new clothes for her birthday. As I held up the new jean dress she was given, I was reminded of the old jean dress (same size) hanging in her closet. I’m returning it to hold onto the gift card for when there is clothing that truly is needed. How many clothes does a 5-year-old need anyway? Thanks for the encouragement to purge and think a little more!

    Reply
  • Kyla August 31,

    My biggest struggle is gifts that my family and my husband’s family give our kids! I honestly just don’t know what to do about it and is so frustrating. We try to live simply but both of our families are of the “more is better” mindset and flood are children with cheap junk at birthdays and Christmas. I’ve tried asking for books or a few specific toys, and am constantly saying they don’t need anything, but my requests seem to fall on deaf ears. I would really love to see a post on ways to handle this sort of thing! I’m sure we are not the only ones struggling with this!

    Reply
  • Grace August 31,

    Biggest struggles: 1) too many interests and projects that got waylaid when I was unrealistic about what I could accomplish with babies -> toddlers -> preschoolers and running my home. 2) clothes that I love but don’t wear lately because face it, not going to wear that and chase down a toddler! But don’t know if I’ll ever wear it again! 3) gifting! I love collecting things to gift!
    What’s keeping me: perfectionism, indecision and uncertainty about my future…. AND… Two busy boys, getting three meals on the table, housework, all of which take all day!
    Where I want to get organized most right now: we just moved and into a smaller apartment! So…everywhere! Okay, I’ll settle for getting my boys’ room done first, but oy! I barely get in 15 minutes a day with all my other responsibilities!

    But thanks for your post. I do appreciate it. Your headers and bullet points are right on. Gonna post them on the fridge as good reminders!

    Reply
  • Trish August 31,

    Biggest struggle when it comes to clutter?
    1) incoming paper/magazines/junk mail/coupons
    2) projects – so many things I WANT to do/make

    What do you think prevents you from becoming more organized?
    1) Never enough time
    2) So overwhelmed I don’t know where to start

    What part of your home or life would you most like to get in order?
    1) desk/office area

    Reply
  • denise kossan August 31,

    My biggest struggle with purging is my husband, he digs things out of the garbage

    Reply
  • Sarah August 31,

    My greatest struggle is my desire to keep everything. I lean toward the hoarder mentality. I feel that something is NEEDED for so many different reasons (memory trigger, good deal, might need it in the future, etc).

    Reply
  • Rachel August 31,

    My biggest struggle to being organized is needing to get rid of more stuff. We recently moved to a vintage house circa 1918, and at just under 1200sq feet, it’s much smaller than anything we’ve lived in.

    Reply
  • Katie August 31,

    My biggest struggle is with paper – legal documents, receipts, bank statements, important receipts, birth certificates, kid’s stuff, etc. I’ve had a goal to go “paperless” for the last two years, but haven’t made much headway. The task is really overwhelming and there seems to be a constant stream of new paper coming in.

    Loved your tips and am thinking about trying the 40 hanger closet. Thanks!

    Reply
  • Jo August 31,

    Enjoy your posts. I am trying to cut back on clutter in my own house, always reinforced after visiting my not so healthy parents and dreading the days we have to sort thru all of their stuff, but can’t convince them to get rid of anything yet. Really appreciate my Grandma now, in her last few yrs, everytime I visited, she always had some thing she was giving away to decrease her stuff

    Reply
  • Mandy B August 31,

    My closets are in desperate need of a purge. Finding the time is the problem!

    Reply
  • Anonymous August 31,

    Thanks so much for this! I need to read everything I can to change my mindset about keeping everything in case I need it later. I feel like i’m literally drowning in clutter! I’m trying hard to clear it all out but it’s slow going since I have very little time to tackle it.

    Reply
  • Bonnie August 31,

    I have problems in many areas: too much stuff in general, flat surfaces are a constant battle, papers, books, and clothes.

    Reply
  • Lori August 31,

    Thinking back to grandparents’ lives is very convicting and convincing. I often feel guilty getting rid of something that was given to me or my family or something that “could” be usefu l—- even if it’s not currently—– thank you for this thoughtful reminder.

    Reply
  • Nicole August 31,

    I think the most difficult thing for me is that I am a big picture person; I tend to not see little details (little clutter piles) til they are an eyesore. I also have a hard time figuring outthe best way to organize. I agree, though, getting rid of stuff is SO freeing!

    Reply
  • Elizabeth August 31,

    In the past five years we’ve had three kids and made two moves, one temporary before our big move. As a result, I’ve got several sizes of clothes and lots of stuff that was in storage so I’m not even sure what I’ve got or what fits. We’ve also amassed quite the collection of “stuff” in our basement. With three little ones finding the time to deal with it all is difficult.

    Reply
  • Carol August 31,

    Hey Ruth! Awesome post! I find it so hard to get rid of things. You are right though, I just need to ask myself those simple questions, and just bite the bullet and go for it. When you have less, it’s so much easier to keep everything clean, too. :) Keep these clutter free lifestyle posts coming.. I sure can use them!

    Reply
  • Paige September 1,

    My biggest struggle with clutter is the constant need to de-clutter. I am a minimalist and I am really good at purging. However, the thing I hate the most is the constant need to do it over and over again as b-day’s, Christmas, back to school and on and on…One time is never enough, it has to become a lifestyle and oh how I love it! Loved your article, it was awesome with some great tips!

    Reply
  • Alexis Tidwell September 1,

    Struggle: clothing…laundry. Reason: a lit if children & growing boys. Sifting through laundry alone is hard with our big family as it is..during griwth spurt time & season changes, it is a very exhausting, and time consuming ordeal. Then transferring the off season clithes into boxes and finding storage spots is another task, especially when putting away heftier winter gear. i seriously udually break down & cry during transition time due to exhaustion. Other culprit, as noted before- time & ebergy. with little ones, my daily cleaning , cooking & laundry tasks are already enough…(we line dry clothes..another energy/time sucker), clothing sorting takes more energy.
    Area to irganize..clothes storage/laundry area.

    Reply
  • Mylene September 1,

    I’m about to marry into a family of collectors. I myself collect things but it is not an obsession like my fiancé. Since I’m more of a person who likes to display things it is hard sometimes to display his collections. So I had to talk to him about putting a priority on what really matters to him. If a collection has more sentimental value then I try to display them more. Collections that don’t have value to him I always successful convince to him to donate . Luckily he is not a hoarder but sometimes it becomes a weird obsession ( past childhood collections … Pencils and keychains).

    What I wish that is more organized in my life is my finances. I’m not broke nor is he yet we have different financial styles. He is the type to put everything on list ( good habit) and he wants us to combine ALL finances. I don’t keep a list of what I spend. I pretty much just buy essentials and splurge on small things. I do pretty good considering I always end up saving. I’m not in to combining ALL finances. For me the combining everything starts to get complicated because we both have investments and mortgages. He also buys anything he wants if he has the money. Whereas I always think if I can live without an item perhaps I really don’t need to purchase it at that moment.

    Reply
  • Chris N September 1,

    I think our biggest struggles are toys. We actually don’t buy a lot of toys for our son, but he often gets things from well-meaning grandparents. I really need to find the time to put away (or donate) some of his toys when he’s not looking!

    Reply
  • Katie Pomeroy September 1,

    My biggest struggle when it comes to clutter is managing all the different “areas” of stuff. It seems even though I feel like I purge things often I still have too much. The kids stuff is the worst. We don’t have a toyroom so everything must go in their small bedroom and it gets out of control. I feel like I spent my whole day just moving things around from place to place! The area however, I’d like to get organized and on top of the most is my grocery shopping and menu planning. It always get put on the bottom of the to-do list:(

    Reply
  • Stacy September 1,

    I so needed to read this post! Thanks so much for encouraging me to de-clutter my house. I agree that things have gotten more affordable and we buy more of something that is cheap instead of buying one thing of higher quailty.

    Reply
  • Maggie Oh September 1,

    Having kids is my biggest struggle with clutter. Grandparents buy them way too much stuff! And I’m tempted myself too :/

    Reply
  • Claire September 1,

    We bought a house built in 1956 and have tried to keep these principles to mind, but it is so difficult! Great reminders and tips! I love the way my home looks when I’ve purged of extra stuff and cleaned. This school year, I need to rededicate myself to this task.

    Reply
  • Cindy Anderson September 1,

    Rencently my husband and I sold our 4,000 sq ft home. We are moving back to our first home which is almost 100 yrs old and is being totally remodeled and only has 1600 sq ft. I have accumulated so much stuff because of living in such a big home. I will be having a massive sale when we finally move in. Time to downsize. I love all of your ideas on this website. It is really helping me have some perspective on downsizing. Thank you!

    Reply
  • Michele Pasbrig September 1,

    Thanks for the fantastic tips! Trying to declutter every aspect of my life!

    Reply
  • Becky Phipps September 1,

    I have to stay away from shopping. The it’s just a dollar mentality is cluttering my space.

    Reply
  • Kendall September 1,

    The main struggle I have is perseverance. It is such a constant process. I will declutter…and then stuff will multiply again and again. That’s my thing…not giving up.

    Reply
  • Steph September 1,

    Thanks for these great tips! When hubby and I married (we actually met on the internet!), we had two households to combine. The first thing we did was have a garage sale. :) Then what didn’t sell, we gave to our adult kids and/or a local charity. However, here is my problem….hubby has lots of STUFF. He is not as bad as some, mind you, but the garage is full of tools, power tools, and more tools. You get the picture. The sad thing is that due to his health, he can no longer do the things he used to like to do like have a garden, pretty up the yard, change the oil in our cars (yes, he liked doing it). So, how do I get him to pare down his stuff? I am open to any and all suggestions. He is a hoarder by nature although not nearly as bad as he was. Example: we had four cookie jars! I got us down to two. :) Thanks in advance.

    Reply
  • Anonymous September 1,

    What is your biggest struggle when it comes to clutter? I think it’s hard for me to donate things. I seem to keep memories with items.
    What do you think prevents you from becoming more organized? I have to learn to give up more items.
    What part of your home or life would you most like to get in order? Our den. It’s been a thorn in my side for so long. Seems to be a catch all for storage items.

    Reply
  • Just Another Modest Mom September 1,

    Sorry, I forgot to enter in my information.
    What is your biggest struggle when it comes to clutter? I think it’s hard for me to donate things. I seem to keep memories with items. What do you think prevents you from becoming more organized? I have to learn to give up more items. What part of your home or life would you most like to get in order? Our den. It’s been a thorn in my side for so long. Seems to be a catch all for storage items.

    Reply
  • Kara September 1,

    I dream of living simply. The area I need it most is in my closet and my kids’ toys. A husband who likes to keep everything doesn’t helping either. ;)

    Reply
  • Ells September 1,

    We move every 1-2 years, so I have a golden opportunity to touch every single thing we own and determine if it is still necessary. I just did it this past month in fact, and discovered that I have 17 serving trays. 17!!!! It’s hard for me to give up sentimental or beautiful things. I can always imagine an occasion when I might use/need/want it.

    Reply
  • kim September 1,

    Oh, how I needed this reminder! I struggle so with the ruthless purging, and then give up completely.

    Reply
  • Courtney September 1,

    This is fantastic– I’m really making an effort to differentiate between wants and needs. I find it’s getting easier but Target is still my downfall!

    Reply
  • Eva September 1,

    This was so encouraging to read! We are about to buy our first home (1,500 sq. and limited closet/storage) and we’ve received a lot of neigh-saying that we aren’t going to have enough space. But I love the simplicity of the home and will just HAVE to limit our things like my grandparents did. THANK YOU!

    Reply
  • christie September 1,

    it is a continual process, isn’t it?

    Reply
  • Mary September 2,

    The clutter that is hardest for me to organize is all the papers the kids bring home from school, projects, paintings, stories, report cards, etc…you don’t want to throw it all away but you cant keep all of it!

    Reply
  • Wendy September 2,

    I really don’t love stuff. I want to get rid of stuff. I don’t like shopping or acquiring. But I fear taking opportunities away from my kids. I had a teacher mom who always had cool stuff around for us to create with. I work in developmental therapy, so I want the right things for my kids to develop their motor and academic skills. And homeschooling doesn’t help, because our dining room table is also our classroom! I liked your post on taking your kids toys away and how you saw them play more creatively. That is challenging me to get rid of some of the stuff and prevent new stuff from coming in. We have plenty already! My area to improve is my desk. I always put off “my” stuff, like the filing and mailing, and finding a place for things. Consequently, a desk with piles. I need to learn to be more discerning with paperwork…what to keep and what to toss. Thank you for the encouragement to keep working toward simplicity!

    Reply
  • April September 2,

    My biggest downfall with clutter began in my childhood. My parents were older so a lot of their friends passed away when I was young. I inherited all kinds of things that I can’t get rid of. Over the years, more family members have passed away, including my own father, so I have a garage full of stuff and a house that I can’t get organized. I am struggling to keep most of my home clutter free. It is hard to let go of stuff and I am working on doing just that. We need to downsize in order to move to a better life and we need to give up things that are not being used. My grandparents were teenagers in the great depression so their home was full of items that no longer had any use. My father was a closet hoarder. Even my mom didn’t know how bad it had become until he passed away and we had to clear out the clutter in order for her to try to move and get money for her to live on. It’s a huge struggle. I am trying and someday I am going to beat it. Time is a huge issue for me since I work full time, write for a magazine, run my own side business, take care of my elderly mom, take care of our son, commute to work 2 hours a day and still have to do household chores. There just isn’t enough time in the day to do it during the week and sometimes on weekends. I need to get my whole house decluttered. It isn’t a want, it’s a need. It’s affecting my family and our ability to pick up and move.

    Reply
  • Joyce C. September 2,

    Paper clutter…ACK! Seems like it reproduces overnight!! Then add in all the other stuff. So started purging things in July and feels good to donate the things we don’t use, don’t need, out grown, out played. We are donating to few local charities that will give the stuff to families in need. I could have a garage sale, but don’t want to mess so give it away instead.

    Reply
  • Jenna September 2,

    my biggest struggle is the kids toys. They have so much lego and the like. And I stuggle with my fabric hording habit

    Reply
  • Jessica September 2,

    I did my best on getting rid of clutter when my husband was deployed. He has a problem letting things go. He is constantly making me second guess things I want to get rid of. This last time I decided to go through things and he asked me if I was sure I wanted to get rid of something I stuck by my decisions. I am hoping that instead of him rubbing off on me that I will rub off on him.

    Reply
  • Pam Wasielewski September 2,

    Great post! I always enjoy reading your blog! : )

    Reply
  • Jodi D. September 2,

    I love this! I am in the middle of de-cluttering. I love the question…Could someone use it more? My biggest struggle is paper, magazines, etc. I hate getting rid of magazines without reading them first, but I never have time to read them.

    jodidawson at hotmail dot com

    Reply
  • Kirstin Krekelberg September 2,

    The area in my life that prevents me from getting organized is my sentimental value in everything I own. Everything has a story and if I can remember that story, chances are, I will not be able to get rid of it. I had boxes full of pictures, reports and even daily reports of my son in preschool. I feel like if I throw it away, I will be throwing the memory away too.

    Reply
  • Lynn September 2,

    I have a couple of things that hold me back. One is that feeling, “I could use that for something else.” Another thing is time, I just haven’t had the time to do the decluttering I would like to do. Another is that my husband and I do not always agree on what to keep and what not to, and he is more of an impulse buyer than I am. So glad I found your blog!

    Reply
  • Sheila Pearson September 2,

    My biggest struggle is with just always wanting something new. Everywhere I look I see beautiful things, and whether they are in budget (what’s that?) or not is sort of besides the point. I know this. I know I don’t really NEED anything, but I work hard and don’t I deserve it; like a spoiled child, I have a hard time telling myself no. I can see I need to do some re-evaluating and priority setting. I think I need to unplug from social media, blogs, internet, television and magazines, etc., for a while and see if that helps.

    Reply
  • Paula Jackson September 2,

    Purged my closet o

    Reply
  • Courtney P September 2,

    I think my biggest struggle would be the “but what if I get rid of it then I need it!” But that doesn’t stop me from buying more and more! Another struggle would be buying an excess of stuff for our lil boy! I need a total declutter overhaul!! Thanks for the tips!

    Reply
  • Nadia D September 2,

    Mine biggest problems are toys, clothes, & electronic gadgets.

    Reply
  • kathy pender September 2,

    My mantra lately has become…Simplify! I find myself yearning for a much simpler life. So, I’ve been trying hard to get rid of all the things I really don’t need. I think the hardest things to part with are ones that have an emotional attachment for me.

    Reply
  • Teresa D September 2,

    My greatest clutter challenge is all of the gifts from family members and/or items I’ve been given that were my now-deceased grandparents. They aren’t necessarily things that I will use, but I love them because of the memories!

    Reply
  • suzi September 2,

    Well we homeschool so one if the big issues in our house is buying books we dont need it and and then me not wanting to get rid of them. Im also sentimental and want to keep everything the kids evee ake

    Reply
  • Anonymous September 2,

    All of it…

    Reply
  • Gee September 2,

    All of it… Can be so overwhelming.

    Reply
  • Jennifer A September 2,

    Awesome article! We are in the middle of de-cluttering right now. I’m so over it that I’m ready to get rid of all “things”. My biggest struggle is kids’ toys, clothes and piles of paper/kids art work.

    Reply
  • Peg September 2,

    I have to say my husband who will not throw anything away and doesn’t put things back where they belong so when hee needs it he ends up buying a new one of whatever it is. I have to clean a certain area where he drops everything when he is not home and when he does come home, the first thing he asks is what did you throw out. I can see how anxious he becomes. It’s like a sickness.

    Reply
  • Becky Kalianov September 2,

    I have a huge problem with clutter. About the only time I declutter is when I have company and sometimes having company is “my excuse to declutter”. And even then, I sometimes only surface clean. I think the thing that truly holds me back is that after awhile it all just seems so overwhelming that I don’t even know where to start. I have trouble letting go of most things. I feel guilty for some reason if someone gave me something and I throw it away or give it away. In reality, they probably don’t even remember giving it to me. For a few years in the past, I would spend one or two evenings a year and stay up the whole night and just clean, clean, clean. I haven’t even done that in many years. The funny thing is that it makes me feel sooo much better when everything is clean and in their proper places; I can breathe better and I feel freer. I do have a major problem with consistency. I know if I was consistent in doing a little every day, things wouldn’t pile up and get cluttered. Unfortunately, another problem is laziness. I keep letting it go and let piles build up and then I sit and ponder it A LOT but my actions don’t follow my thinking. I do get a lot of thinking done so my brain cells are getting quite the workout. I wish I was more of a clean freak.

    Reply
  • von September 2,

    good thoughts…..something with which to challenge myself

    shopping Amazon is one way to reduce impulse buying…..I can put that gift card to good (frugal) use :-)

    Reply
  • fatima September 2,

    I currently live abroad so I have stuff at home and stuff abroad and I spend so much time in both places. A challenge that I’ve found (not being a person who has too many things to begin with) is that I honestly forget what I have! Maybe another thing to add to the strategies on a clutter free world is an inventory of what we have so we don’t forget. There must be an app for this that we can refer to every time we want to buy something.

    Fingers crossed on this gift card ;)

    Reply
  • Renee September 2,

    Between this & the Why I Took My Kids’ Toys Away post, you have given me a lot to think about today!

    My biggest issue is the piles of PAPER. And the fact that I grew up in a packrat home, so I don’t ‘see’ the clutter the way other people do. It looks normal to me. Which is sad bc I don’t want my kids to think that clutter is normal. (sigh).

    Oh and another challenge is the fact that I work for myself, so I can’t seem to limit work hours. When I hear the ‘ding’ from Etsy indicating a sale, I value getting it to my customer as quickly as possible so I let myself work all hours of the day & don’t do a good job of setting specific work times.

    Thanks so much for your insight!

    Reply
  • Summer September 2,

    My biggest

    Reply
  • Summer September 2,

    My biggest struggle is getting rid of clothes!

    Reply
  • JoDee Sharp September 2,

    This is so great! All this “needed” stuff cluttering up everywhere and still I find myself wanting to spend money on dumb things! jcrazzzy@yahoo.com

    Reply
  • Erin September 2,

    My biggest area to struggle with clutter is with my daughters things. We have very generous family and friends that love to purcHase gifts for her…but it just seemS to add up way to quickly.

    Reply
  • Stephanie@Mrs.Debtfighter September 2,

    My biggest struggles are my kid’s rooms (which are very modest compared to some but we suffer from Grandparents buying too much :) ) and paperwork. We are working on the kid’s rooms now as they choose stuff to sell to earn money for their own kindles. I will begin organizing the paperwork when they are back in school this week!

    Reply
  • Leann Lewis September 2,

    I grew up poor and moved around a lot. A lot of my stuff would go missing or get lost during those moves. It has been very difficult for me to let go of possessions because of that.

    I also found it is difficult to get rid of clutter with my husband. What he values and what I value are different. We need to find a way to get on the same page

    Reply
  • Beth September 2,

    My biggest issue is kids clothes. Grandma LOVES shopping for the girls. I am so appreciative of the cute clothes, but sometimes it can be too much! I literally have a clothing rotation to make sure everything gets worn. Tough problem, I know, but sometimes what-to-wear battles with my 4 year old make me wish we only had a few choices!

    Reply
  • Anonymous September 2,

    I am so glad I fond this site. You are a wealth of knowledge and I love the way you express yourself. I hope you are well and I think the secret to peace and joy in your heart and in your home is to realize how rich we already are. If we can learn to streamline, reuse and recycle and live on less, we will full our burden lighten and our stress melt more effortlessly away.

    Reply
  • Marie slone September 2,

    I love to hear my grandmother talk about the simpler times. I have a 2 and 4 year old and I am discovering that instead of buying more toys, using open and creative storage options lets them see what they already have and encourages them to take better care of it. It is a process to declutter but we are trying. (:

    Reply
  • Emily September 2,

    My husband and I bought a house with just under 1400 square feet and a coat and linen closet that have doors half the width of a standard closet door. It has been a challenge, but we are committed to purging and being creative with storage because when we are blessed with little ones we hope to stay here for several years. I am constantly convicted over how much more time, energy, and money owning a larger home will entail. We hope to be one income, so I know one part of my ‘job’ with being home will be to make sure we don’t accumulate stuff so we can stay in this home longer.

    Reply
  • Karen Guerrette September 2,

    My biggest challenge is the mental barrier of getting rid of the stuff that other people bring to my house, hand me downs I am too polite to decline, and gifts that my mother in law insists on bringing every time she comes for a visit. It’s a never ending stream, and coupled with my own select impulse buys, I find myself constantly wondering where it all comes from!

    Reply
  • Pam September 2,

    Great advice! My greatest struggle is finding a place for some of the things that I need to keep but don’t have a logical place to put them. I like things to be in places that make sense, and some things just don’t seem to have one of those places. So they just sit on the desk or counter or in the spare room waiting for me to decide.

    Reply
  • Amanda MacB September 2,

    We live in a simple house with not a lot of fluff. My biggest clutter struggle is the toys of my two preschool boys (and we limit those) and just the day to day clutter that piles on the kitchen counter and then is transferred to our bedroom when need be.

    Reply
  • crystal r September 2,

    I live in 1950 1200 sf home with 3 children and a husband. I have been trying to figure out how to downsize since we wont be moving anytime soon. I was able to inspire my children to live with less by having them help re-do their bedrooms. I showed them what they had and the storage space available. They realized pretty fast, that some things had to go. I did a $500 re-do that they just love and feel like they have more space to live in now. The budget got everything from paint to furniture that fit/functioned as they needed. Now, I just need to get my husband on track and able to get rid of clothing and move items to the garage that serve no function in the home.
    remodeling for function lost some cabinets. So the turkey roasted I feel I dealt want/need has yet to be purchased purchased.

    Reply
  • Susan September 2,

    I think my biggest struggle is a combination of laziness and the issue of doing things “right”. I have tons of stuff I want to get rid of, but it seems like it will be such a hassle. I want to get rid of it properly so I would have to take the unusable clothing to Goodwill, return the plastic planters to the local nursery, post lots of items on craigslist, facebook, and/or ebay (and then manage them), donate baby clothes to a proper non-profit, donate surplus remodeling materials to Restore, etc. It’s so overwhelming and can be discouraging when I don’t see huge results immediately.
    My organizational skills are resume worthy in the workplace setting, but I can’t seem to get ahead in a house with a toddler. While I’m cleaning/organizing in one part of the house, my 2yo is destroying another part. On top of that, my husband brings home cheap, plastic toys (baby and manly) on a regular basis so I’m continually having to get rid of things.
    I think if I could get one room organized in my house, it would be the office. It’s kinda the catch-all of the house because it’s right next to the garage door. When we come in from the garage we tend to drop our jackets, mail, and random junk into that room because it’s convenient. Likewise, if we have any tools or other garage worthy items in the house we tend to put them in the office thinking that we’ll put them back in the garage next time we go somewhere. Ugh.

    Reply
  • nita September 2,

    Great topic! It is a constant struggle for me. I can relate to much of what the others said. For me, I think being sentimental is the hardest. Those little things my Grandma gave me or cards from people, etc. Just today my daughter was cleaning the laundry room and had two bags of garbage, I pulled out this little tiny vase that my grandma gave me. Although I did part with some old clothes and other things cluttering up things.
    The other problem is having grown children move back home after being on their own with their own furnishings and now storing them back home again! Thankfully one is getting married in Oct and it will free up some space here!

    Reply
  • Hannah Walz September 2,

    My biggest problem with clutter is I love to shop and blur the lines of want and need. What prevents me from being more organize

    Reply
  • Hannah Walz September 3,

    My biggest problem with clutter is I love to shop and blur the lines of want and need!! What prevents me from being more organized is knowing where to put things like office supplies when I don’t have a office, blankets with no linen closets.. (We have a very small rent house with a family of four.) The area I most need help with is the kitchen which also serves as the mail center/office & home school supply room/catch all for randoms! :)

    Reply
  • Cristina September 3,

    My biggest battle to becoming organized is saving things for their sentimental value! I need to work on developing a whole new set of values and learn to repurpose those items by moving them out of precious storage space and into the hands of people who may need them.

    Reply
  • Tanya September 3,

    Great reminder that we just have too much stuff, and we can all be pretty indiscriminate when it comes to buying more. My challenge is finding a place for everything in a small space – even though I’ve purged, and purged, there’s still more stuff than space. It’s an ongoing challege to find clever storage solutions while figuring out what I really need to keep.

    Reply
  • Monica September 3,

    It’s all the clothes! Especially for the kids, I can’t keep track of what they’ve out grown!

    Reply
  • Karen Sue September 3,

    Paper clutter, magazines, newspapers, bills – just can’t get it organized.

    Reply
  • Kendra September 3,

    Love all your articles! It’s so hard to just donate to the Goodwill and not go inside when the children are with me!

    Reply
  • sandi November 10,

    I don’t even know where to begin. I love pretty stuff and my house is filled with it. Added to that, I am an artist…a creator at heart and it is hard to let go. I also used to sell in the craft section at a antique store and don’t now and it is hard. Everywhere I go I am still in the buying mode mentality…especially when I see an antique item that could be worth so much more. Don’t get me wrong, we can walk and move around in our house ,but something needs to give. I believe the Lord has been laying this on my heart as well. It will be hard, but I am determined…starting tomorrow. PLEASE pray for me! ,lol…Oh…we live in one of those old houses with one tiny closet in our bedroom and that is all! We did raise three kids here though and we all survived…even with only one bathroom as well. God bless you!!

    Reply
    • Sally December 13,

      Where did you get your closet system? It looks sort of like Elfa from the Container Store, but different. Elfa is nice, but pricey. Did you have it installed, or did you install yourself? Being able to hang skirts and blouses on short racks really helps make space work for you. Also, I like having little drawers and baskets to put things in. As it stands now, we have super-long closets with one rod and the hangers just fall off. There is no place for skirts, pants, shoes, sweaters, etc. Please tell me soon where you got your system, because I am trying to buy a system for both my children’s closet and for our master bedroom closet.

      Reply
      • Ruth Soukup December 14,

        It is not a closet system, just the standard wire shelves that came with the house. We bought more of them at Home Depot to make the shelves–they are pretty cheap! We did the same thing in my kids’ closet. Hope that helps!

        Reply
  • Emily Counts January 6,

    Living more simply is such a great goal. Seriously, it’s so true – our grandparents had so much less storage space! Your advice about focusing on stopping the flow of more stuff resonates with me. Thanks for sharing.

    Reply
  • jessica January 17,

    Great article! I do pretty well with ruthless purging, especially when it comes to my own things. It’s a little harder with the kids’ things, especially when grandparents are always dropping by with little gifties. My question is what to do when you are simplistic and a purger married to a saver of things? My husband is not a hoarder but definitely veers more that way than I ever would. How do you find a happy medium?

    Reply
  • Julia February 10,

    It’s so refreshing to read tough, no-nonsense tip articles like this one. Sometimes the only way to really de-clutter your living space is to be strict with yourself.

    Reply
  • Kathy Patton March 17,

    I was introduced to your blog today, saw it on a friends Facebook. It is a wonderfully helpful and encouraging blog. I read clutter free tips first and then decided I needed to get to know you better. Thank you for writing your life story with such transparency in spite of the pain that comes from remembering. I know there will be many women who can relate when they read of your struggles and rejoice to know that God was doing something even in the difficult and discouraging times. May God continue to empower your writing and bless it with eternal fruit. P.S. I too made a decision many years ago to make my bed while my husband showers in the morning so he can start his day in an atmosphere of order. I believe this one little thing helps us both begin the day with positive attitude. Last year I added one exception. I do not make my bed on Sunday. I simply straighten the covers and fluff the pillows which allows him the freedom of an afternoon nap after church if he wants one. When I had the bed made he did not want to mess it up. I told him that he is the king of this castle, this is one way I help him feel like it. (he seldom actually goes back in to lay down but every time he goes in to the master bathroom it is there as a reminder that he is welcome to if he so desires) Your new friend, Kathy We will have been married 44 yrs in May. We were high school sweethearts.

    Reply
  • April March 20,

    My biggest struggle would be our tight budget. We have two girls under two and plan to have a few more kids so everything we have and receive I want to keep so we don’t have to rebuy in the future (toys, clothes, bottles, etc). I also think another problem is me thinking well I could make money if I sold this rather than give it away. OR I will think to myself we should keep all of this house decor that we have stored in the attic because one day we will move into a bigger house or will make more money and I can repaint/repurpose these things instead of buying new decor. Help!!!! And what in the world do you do to declutter mail, important paper documents, etc. right now they gather in a huge pile on our table!

    Reply
  • Anonymous April 1,

    Books can be sold at Half Price Books. Find a thrift shop to donate to.

    Reply
  • Brian April 22,

    These are good tips for the guy who also wants/needs to declutter because he’s combining households, moving to a smaller space, or just wants to simplify his life.

    Reply
  • CJ Bell April 23,

    I am a shopaholic and get a “high” form buying stuff, especially on-line. I know it causes me trouble with clutter. I guess I need a 12 step program.

    Reply
  • Lkr May 15,

    Gifting for Xmas or Bdays: Something they want, something they need, something to wear and something to read. 4 gifts they WILL remember the next year having received! Got this from a Mountainwings.com contributor Nola Parton-Jones several years ago. It works and saves you money!!!

    Reply
  • rea May 25,

    I all the time emailed this blog post page to all my contacts, for the reason that if like to
    read it after thgat my contacts will too.

    Reply
  • novels September 2,

    Hey There. I found your blog using msn. This is a very well written article.

    I’ll make sure to bookmark it and come back to read more of your useful information. Thanks for the post.
    I will definitely comeback.

    Reply
  • home remodeling September 11,

    My family all the time say that I am killing my time here at web, but
    I know I am getting knowledge every day by reading thes nice articles.

    Reply
  • Michelle September 30,

    Amen. Well said. you have inspired me to hit my master closet right now

    Reply
  • Alice October 3,

    I signed up for the Clutter Free Challange, and it’s now October 3rd, and I never received an email on the 2nd.

    Reply
  • Bert October 8,

    Good day! I could have sworn I’ve been to this site before but after checking through some of
    the post I realized it’s new to me. Nonetheless, I’m definitely glad I found it and
    I’ll be book-marking and checking back often!

    Reply
  • Kristi October 16,

    Stay away from stores without a list in hand. Have you noticed how many things exist that we didn’t know we needed? WE DON’T NEED THAT STUFF!!!

    Reply

Leave a Comment

Next post:

Previous post:

First Name *
 
Email *