• Wendy Wrzos

Is Clutter a dirty word?

With the Holidays fast approaching I have noticed my home has become to sprout little piles of miscellany, carefully covering any flat surface they can inhabit. As I came upstairs with my cup of tea I smiled to myself; my dining room table reminded me of a friend’s house which is constantly filled with little piles of books. Dozens of them; all neat, waiting to be read, in categories that are the constant decoration in his home. My dining room table has now become the same way; we are eating breakfast in puzzle formation, moving each pile around to make room for another.

I aspire to be a minimalist, a person who has very little clutter and is organized, but it doesn’t seem to happen. I wish I knew where other people put their bills and library books. Scraps of paper with phone numbers, DVDs to be returned and receipts to take to the dry cleaners. Where do they all go? Are they piled in an office and dealt with once a week, accompanied by a glass of wine and an aspirin? Are people so efficient that they have baskets by the door for things that need to be returned? Are bills highlighted, pre-stamped and filed according to date?

For me, I am a bit inbetween. I don’t want my clutter to become decoration, but I convince myself that as long as it is in neat piles, and the bills are paid on time, I am organized.

One thing I have realized is that my clutter stems from a need to be able to see things. If I can’t see what I have then I tend to forget. I need visual reminders of things I need to do, and as I am inspired by what I see, I seem to be predisposed to live in a loosely haphazard, decorative way.

With Thanksgiving and Christmas almost here I thought I would write a few of my own ideas on how I try to keep ahead of the clutter and staying organized without making myself crazy.

– Spend a few minutes each night writing out what you need to do the next day. It will help you sleep better. – If you send out a lot of cards at this time of year, keep them in a box with a pen, your address book, stamps and labels, ready to work on when you have time. Make a note on your calendar to remind you to write them. Allocate enough time, over several days if needed. Send them off as soon as they are done. – Plan who you need to buy for and write a list of ideas (make a budget). If you are buying online try to consolidate as much as possible. Many places offer free shipping if you spend over a certain amount, plus it’s easier to keep track of your orders if you just use one or two places. (www.amazon.com and http://www.anthropologie.com are very good for inexpensive and unique gifts) – Go through the mail when it arrives and discard what you don’t want immediately. Especially at this time of year; don’t keep catalogs and “free offer” coupons unless you were planning on buying from them anyway. – Pay bills early if you are going to be away over the Holidays. Don’t be caught by bank closings and late fees. – Hang a sturdy bag on the door handle and put in it anything that needs to be returned or dropped off. Take it with you each time you leave the house. – Keep pens, pencils and a good supply of paper by the telephone, computer and in the car. – Clean out your car each week. Or, put a medium sized container in the trunk and throw absolutely everything in there (get the kids to pitch it over the back seat). When it gets filled with too much stuff, take it into the house and go through it.

Finally, if it all gets too much, go to bed with a book and a bar of chocolate.

For more by Wendy and the Blue Giraffe, go to: http://www.thebluegiraffe.com/

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