ClutterIn previous emails to you (and in many of my workshops), I’ve mentioned Rita Emmett’s book, The Procrastinator’s Handbook. One area where many of us procrastinate (and have resultant chaos) is dealing with clutter.  Clutter can really get you down. Huge quantities of clutter, in every space of your life, can leave you feeling squished and lifeless.

Rita Emmett, author of The Clutter Busting Handbook in addition to the book mentioned above, sent out an amazingly encouraging letter earlier this year to help encourage all of us to have our best clutter-busting year ever! She has given me permission to include her letter in this week’s Keys to Keeping Chaos at Bay. Here is her letter (and for more information about Rita Emmett, go to her website).

Let’s make this the year of CLUTTER BUSTING.

It’s true — all that clutter discourages you, makes you feel like a disorganized loser, overwhelms you and sucks the energy out of the marrow of your bones.  Here’s the good news: Clutter does NOT come from being lazy, messy or disorganized. It comes from 4 habits. Clutter comes when you:

  1. Save stuff you don’t need or use
  1. Insist on bringing stuff into your life that you don’t need or use
  1. Never assign places for stuff to belong
  1. Set stuff down planning to put it away later

So how to get started? Just a few attitude changes and some new behaviors and you’re on your way.

Examine and think about how those 4 habits fit in your life.

Select one small spot to declutter. Not the whole closet, just a shelf or part of the floor. Not your whole desk. Just a drawer or corner of the desk. Not the whole car, just the front seat or floor.

Start asking yourself “Why do I hang on to this?” Really pay attention to your answers. If you keep it because it brings memories, realize that memories are in your mind and heart, NOT in that theater program or the sequined velvet Elvis pillow from Las Vegas.

Every single day, “process” three pieces of paper or clutter. By “process”, we mean either put it where it belongs, or decide on a place for it to belong then put it there or (and this is the BEST decision of all) toss it.

Decide on a person or organization who will love and cherish your discarded stuff as much as you do. That will make it easy to get rid of stuff you don’t need or use, without breaking your heart.

Set up a box or big plastic bag in a designated area. Then when anyone decides they can live without something, they can put it in there to be donated or sold in a garage sale or on ebay.

Decide to treat yourself to The Clutter-Busting Handbook (it’s short, inexpensive, fun and easy to read) or a CD on Conquering Clutter to reinforce all your attitude changes.

Go to and order a book or CD now to help you become a great Clutter Buster.

Ask yourself again “Why am I keeping this?” Is it because maybe some day you or somebody might need it? But you KNOW that if you or anyone needs it you’ll forget you had it OR if you remembered you had it, you can’t find it. So get rid of it.

If it takes less than a minute, do it now. Put the paper back where it came from. Hang up that shirt. Put the cup in the dishwasher. Taking one minute to put the toothpaste back where it belongs & hang up the towel won’t make you late for work, but will have a profound impact on your clutter.

OK – these are some ideas to get you started. You can adopt one or many of these suggestions, but decide NOW to make at least one change to help you start conquering all the clutter in your life.  You will be amazed how terrific, organized and energized you’ll feel once your clutter starts to evaporate. Do it now!!



Thanks again, Rita Emmett for allowing me to include this letter.  It helps all of us!!

declutterAnd if you’d like more ideas to help you find balance in your space you will want to access the Get a Plan! Guide® to De-clutter & De-stress: A Dozen Ways to Decrease Your Clutter and Decrease Your Stress. This Get a Plan! Guide® will help you learn a dozen specific ways to start dealing deliberately with your clutter – and then experiencing a reduction in your stress.