Taming Whole House Clutter

As Seen in the Winter 2006 Issue of Washington Spaces

Exerpt from Washington Spaces Magazine, WITH AN ORGANIZATIONAL OVERHAUL


extra expert tips…

“More often than not clutter represents something deeper, more personal than the stuff itself. Fear of change, a wish to hold onto the past, some trauma, a missed opportunity … to understand the clutter you have is to identify and understand the underlying issues,” Walsh says.

Housekeepers have helped homeowners for generations clean, cook, and keep homes looking presentable, but most housecleaning services won’t tackle the clutter. They clean around it. Solution:Clutterbusters!!®, clutter-free catalyst, and Cluttershrink™; they’re all out there waiting to help those in need.

“Actually, it’s sometimes difficult for professional organizers to make homeowners realize we are not a cleaning service, but rather professionals who require considerable training and experience,” says Betsy Fein, president of Clutterbusters!!®, a Derwood, MD company. “Over the last four years of running Clutterbusters!!®, I have rarely come across someone who says they didn’t need us,” she says. “I always like to stress that having clutter is the ‘norm’ and a truly clutter-free home is rarely found in practice.” So one service that Clutterbusters!!® offers is the “Frequent Piler Program” to help homeowners maintain the space once it’s been professionally organized.


Disorganized people can learn to be organized and stay that way, says Monica Ricci, owner of Catalyst Organizing Solutions in Atlanta and author of Organize Your Office In No Time (Que Publishing, 2005). She suggests having “F.A.I.T.H.” when dealing with paper: File it, Act on it, hold it in an In-process file, Toss it, or Hand it off to someone else. “The home office is the most requested redo,” says Ricci, who has organized spaces on HGTV’s “Mission: Organization.”

“I shrink clutter,” says Cluttershrink™ owner Crystal Sabalaske in Huntingdon Valley, PA, who has also appeared on HGTV’s “Mission: Organization.” “Getting organized is not difficult if you take it step-by-step, stay focused, and schedule time to get it done,” she says. “Being clutter free clears the mind … you’ll also spend less time looking for things.”


“Disorganization is seldom about ‘the stuff,’ ” says Peter Walsh, organizational consultant, host of TLC’s “Clean Sweep,” and author of How to Organize Just About Everything (Free Press, 2005).

“The most important thing in getting organized and staying clutter free is to counter-intuitively not focus on ‘the stuff,’ ” he says. “First, imagine the life you want to live. ‘What does that life look like? What does your home, your relationship, your career look like in that vision?’ Once you have a clear vision for the life you want to live, then look at what you own,” Walsh says. “Ask yourself, ‘Does this item advance or impede the vision I have for the life I want to live?’ If it enhances your vision, great! Keep it. If not, why do you have it? It’s a question of whether you own your stuff or your stuff owns you.”

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