Thursday, September 1, 2011

Care-less Equals Clutter, Care-full Equals Clear

If you are reading this, it shows you are one of the many who are concerned about clutter. You struggle with it but you are not winning the battle. Somehow the mess continues to develop -- on tables, counters, beds, and maybe even the floor. You are frustrated. You wish it were different. But somehow, although you really do care, it never gets much better.

On the other hand, your friend, Mary (or you fill in the name, you know who this is) seems to live clutter free. The puzzling part is that she does not seem to struggle like you do to keep her house neat. It just seems to stay that way.

The difference often is how much each of you cares. Often, the messy person could do better -- but they don’t put forth the required effort because they lack the pervasive intensity it takes to overcome the hindrances they face in the organizational arena.

They know what to do, they know how to do it. But they just don’t seem to be able to exert the effort necessary to overcome their particular hindrances.

Mary does. Somewhere like an underground river through her psyche, there flows an unstoppable determination to do what it takes to keep a neat house. She is consistently care-full. In other words, she cares enough to do what it takes to keep the house uncluttered.

If you face a chronically cluttered house, care enough to set goals wonderful enough to inspire you,  read books that meet your need, attend classes (in person or on line), ask for or hire help. Do whatever it takes to change what you are doing to make the house cluttered or not doing to make it neat. Caring alone is not enough, but without it nothing is enough.

Care intently, care passionately, care more. In short, raise your determination to a level that makes a difference.

Easy? Definitely not! Worthwhile? Absolutely!

Sandra Felton
Founder, Messies Anonymous
Author, New Book! Smart Office Organizing


Thursday, August 18, 2011

Wishing for a Clutter Genie

“I need help!  Living in a disorganized house is the pits.”

  • Paying bills by mail is hard because that process involves stamps, pen, and keeping up with the bill itself. A hitch in any one of these steps will derail what should have been a quick and easy job.
A genie sure could help. Maybe there is a magic lantern lying around here somewhere.
  •  Laundry’s tough because you have to sort, wash, dry, fold, and put away. A back-up anywhere in this process leads toward piles of sorted unwashed clothes, molding stuff in the washer, wrinkling stuff in the dryer, unfolded clothes waiting attention on the sofa. or folded clothes not yet stored but being used out of the piles where they are.
Extra help would be nice. What’s this I found! A magic lantern? Oh, no. It’s just a creamer.
  • Managing medicine and first aide stuff can get so complicated especially when you use it so seldom. Where did I put that alcohol when I used it last time? Do we have any more adhesive tape?
I need somebody to help me locate what I need. A clutter genie sure would help a whole lot. Where, oh where, can I find a magic lantern?

There is good news and bad news. The bad news is there ain’t no such thing as a clutter genie. The good news is that a sanely organized house will give you the support you need.
To get that help read organizing books by Sandra Felton, sign up for daily encouragement through the Yahoo! group called The Organizer Lady, and join an organizing support group. You can gain access to all three on the very valuable website, Go there. You might just find your genie.

Friday, August 5, 2011

Fall in Love with an Organized Life

Real, long-term change comes only when the heart and mind embrace passionately the dream of a new, organized way of life. Maybe the passion is not there when we first start out, but somewhere in the organizing process we catch a glimpse that stirs a yearning. Seeing how others live, pictures in magazines, our childhood home, a visit to a friend’s house or model home, or even a television or movie settings remind us that another way of life is desirable and possible. Our prime motivation must be love for what we can barely see at this time of a new and better way of life.

Knowing that we can have more causes a strong distaste for clutter and what it does. The desire for release from disorder grows best in the soil of the love of order and beauty.

Many messy people have felt remorse over their life of disarray and  their helplessness to change what they so dislike. But deeper remorse come from knowing they have been denied a wonderful way of life. Pain of clutter prods us to begin the journey of change, but we move forward lured by the dream of what can be.

Fall in love with order and beauty.  Pascal was right when he said, “All men seek happiness without exception. They all aim at this goal however different the means they use to attain it...They will never make the smallest move but with this as its goal.” (Pascal’s Pensees, Section 7)  Seek the happiness you will find by getting the house under control and keeping it the way you dream it can be. You’ll love it!

Sandra Felton
The Organizer Lady ®
Founder, Messies Anonymous

Visit the Messies Website

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

More Is Better? Why we choose clutter.


In nature more actually is considered better. Research done some years ago found that animals are attracted to what is called “supernormal stimuli.” If an Oystercatcher bird is given a choice between her own small egg and a larger egg from another bird, she always chooses the big one. The same is true of the Herring Gull and the Greylag Goose who choose eggs too large for them to have laid.

Butterflies go for supernormal stimuli as well. Male butterflies are drawn to the female that flickers its wings the fastest. When an artificial “butterflly” is presented that flicks her wing even faster, he is prefers it above all others.

The society in which we live every day is awash with supernormal stimuli. Interest has been renewed in how it is affecting the way we live today. Books such as  “The End of Overeating” by David Kessler, MD, are being written about overeating pointing out the excess provided in our food supply and how some people respond to it with overeating.  Hollowell, an expert in the field of Attention Deficit Disorder, reports in his book “Crazy Busy” that in 1981 he began seeing what he calls “pseudo ADD” brought on by people participating in an overabundance of activities.

Finally, and of special interest to us, is the problem of over-acquisition. The question arises, Have those of us who struggle with managing our possessions fallen into the same pattern? Do we respond to the abundance of possessions that have become available in our society in a way similar to those who overeat and become overbusy? In other words, are we attracted to more, more, more and bigger, bigger, bigger like the Oystercatcher and the butterfly? Do we somewhere deep down make choices on the basis that more is better?    

In a TV hamburger ad for Sonic , a teen who bought two sandwiches tells her father, “Buy two of everything. That’s my shopping mantra. Always have one in reserve.”

Realize that in our overstuffed environment we often see oceans of  overabundance of things and activities that attract us to get more or do more that lead to a cluttered and crazy lifestyle.
Recognize that some of us must avoid places that put us in contact with “supernormal stimuli”,  like malls, yard sales, and TV marketing shows. We need to say no to the many activities available as well if we want to be restored to the sanity of a well-lived and moderate lifestyle.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Keep Clutter on the Run by Scooping and Swooping

Disorganized people are easily bored with the tedium of housework. We, and I include myself in the midst of this group, enthusiastically pull out equipment and supplies for an exciting project. We become energized by the creativity and vision of what we are producing. We are building, cooking, painting, or working on any one of a hundred other possible projects that capable people such as ourselves may get caught up in.

But then -- then comes the time to clean up, to put away, to tidy (sigh) up. With our energy spent and with nothing more to create, we mentally turn away from that project and move on to something else exciting, leaving the residue of now abandoned materials behind. Cleaning up seems just too tiresome. We tell ourselves that we will get to it later, hopefully. Now we have an area of clutter.

I have found that reframing the tiresome cleanup process works to my good. The key is to stay on top of the it by putting things back as you work. Use the words SCOOP and SWOOP to make it more fun. “Scoop” what you got out back into place as soon as you are done with it. “Swoop” this thing or that into its rightful storage spot (or into the trash)
while you are in the working process.
If you do that, when the job is done and you look around, you will amaze yourself at how little you have left to do in order to finish things up and leave the work area in good condition. What is even better is that your supplies will be in the correct place the next time you need them.

We who are disorganized by nature not clean up easily. What we can do successfully is SWOOP and SCOOP so consistently that we avoid tedious housework.

Sandra Felton
Founder, Messies Anonymous
Author: NEW! Organizing Your Day