Northeast Wisconsin
  • Northeast Wisconsin
  • July 2017
Written by 

Is clutter the culprit?

Turns out our mothers were right: “A place for everything and everything in its place.”

Tell me if this has happened to you. You are leaving for an appointment or an errand and the papers or items you need to bring are nowhere to be found. Maybe you’ve lost track of items in the pantry and you’re in the middle of a recipe and realize you don’t have enough flour, sugar or whatever it is you need.

Have you wasted money purchasing something only to find out there are duplicates at home?

Could clutter be the culprit? Pantries, closets and the kitchen table are prime areas for clutter. When there isn’t a dedicated spot for the clutter items then it’s time to rethink and redirect your stuff.

It all starts with a pile. You lay some papers down telling yourself “I’ll deal with this later.” The pile grows and grows. It becomes a magnet for more stuff like magazines, maybe a book or your children’s artwork.

Organizing as a whole is big business. Books, magazines and stores are cashing in on our need to be organized. Nearly everyone I meet tells me how unorganized they are but they don’t take the next step and get help.

A few tips to cut the clutter that plagues us all

Everyone has time to get it right. Your paper pile that became a huge stack started because there wasn’t time to take care of it. If you aren’t going to deal with the mail immediately then don’t open it until you are ready. Then with a recycling bag, shredder and file system in place you may open the mail. The mail is full of fliers that may not interest you. Shred or rip it up and recycle.

Open the bills and put into a file that says “To Pay.” That file should be readily available so bills are paid on time. Even better is to have your computer open and do your bill paying right then and there. Mark the paper bills “Paid” and file away.

I’ve simplified my filing system over the years. I used to file each individual bill into its corresponding folder. Not anymore. I have a basket that I put all receipts and paid bills. I rarely need to pull them out until tax time. When I purchase something with the thought of possibly returning it that receipt does not go into the basket. I tack it to the bulletin board until I keep or return item. Then I file the receipt if needed at tax time or throw it away.

Do you have a system in place that works well — when you use it? I have a client who doesn’t open his mail. He’ll mainly open the school mail so he’s aware of the kids’ schedules and events. How does he pay his bills? That’s set up in his computer. Paying bills is not the problem. Piling bills in a box, on the flo or or worse on the dining room table is the problem. It accumulates faster than dust. Then I swoop in to open and shred and file. Thankfully we have a sense of humor and have a good laugh through the process. Having a system, any system, is great when you use it.

Think about your process with all of the incoming paperwork. Do you procrastinate because there is no system in place? File folders may be your first step. Label them in ways that make sense to you. File in the order of importance. What needs your attention now? What can wait?

Spring cleaning does not mean April and May only. Deep cleaning can happen anytime of the year and anywhere in the home. The thought of doing the whole house in a short period of time can be daunting. Clutter collects all over the house so spring clean one room at a time, one closet at a time or even one drawer at a time. Rummage sales are born from spring cleaning.

I personally love the process and results of deep cleaning. Cleaning out a drawer can be done while talking on the phone. Have a trash can handy and a “give-away” bag ready.

I remember hearing this adage a long time ago: how do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time. Each drawer, cupboard or closet is your one bite at a time. The experience will pleasantly surprise you with accomplishment and peace of mind.

When the spring cleaning overwhelms you there are people you can hire to help. Maybe all it takes is someone showing you how to set up a system that fits your personality and lifestyle. The goal would be to save you time and money in the long run.

Once you find a place for everything and put everything in its place you can get your mom’s voice out of your head. 

Juli Schmiel

Juli Schmiel’s question has always been, “What will I be when I grow up?” I am not one particular being. After working several different jobs and using my organizational skills, my husband and I took on a challenge that not only tested my driving skills, it tested my efficient use of space. We became team truck drivers. The lesson for me was that a person can live without their stuff and never miss it. I’m on a mission to help people see that. Then Clever Container came into my life. I look forward to helping my clients achieve efficiency and calm with their belongings. That might mean cleaning out the unnecessary. Or it may mean bringing closets or whole rooms to order in a way that makes sense to the client. For more information, visit, call 920-664-6999 or email [email protected]

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