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Last December, I was interviewing organizing experts for an upcoming article. One of them was Julie Morgenstern. You’ve probably seen her here on HGTV.com, or other places like Redbook or Good Morning America.

“Why do people have so much clutter?” I asked.

“Going through stuff requires time and decision-making,” Julie said. Most people don’t have a clear head or a clear schedule, and they hang onto clutter because they need abundance. Or it gives them a feeling of fullness, of having enough.

Some people feel comfortable when their home is 60% full; some people feel better at 20%. There’s not a universally perfect amount of stuff — the key is, if you feel like you’re suffocating, you have too much.

That hit hard, because I was suffocating in stuff. I’d recently gone through a divorce and had one of those shameful rooms. You know the one: boxes leaning in precarious floor-to-ceiling stacks; bags of unsorted bills; piles of old clothes; cat brushes, jars of seashells, even 20-year-old floppy disks….

Clutter on a desk in a home office

I swear my desk is under there somewhere!

I asked Julie if I could use her book, SHED Your Stuff, Change Your Life: A Four-Step Guide to Getting Unstuck, as a template for a reorganizing process, and tackle that room. She said she’d do me one better: she’d coach me through it.

Yeah, I jumped on it.

Starting next Friday, I hope you’ll go with me on the journey as — in 3 coachings — Julie helps me purge that room by targeting why I let that much clutter pile up in the first place.

Until then, here’s a clue: You clear out the obsolete so you can make room to move forward. When I say it’s fueling and energizing…well…you’ll see.

10 Responses

  1. Dee says:

    Charmingly dishelved is going to be my next pseudonym!

  2. Claire says:

    Your room of shame = my computer room. Eagerly awaiting tips I can put into use there!

  3. Grantley says:

    Can't wait!

  4. Becky says:

    I so need some good decluttering tips. We live in such a small houser, even a tiny bit of clutter can seem overwhelming, especially with a seven month old.

  5. Lisa says:

    Jealous. Would LOVE a declutter coach!

  6. Mary Wiseman says:

    Can't wait to see this transformation

  7. Liz_HGTV says:

    Okay, I give, I still have a box room, too, and it ain't pretty. Looking forward to seeing your office transformation!

  8. [...] Julie Morgenstern, author of SHED Your Stuff, Change Your Life: A Four-Step Guide to Getting Unstuck is helping me organize my embarrassingly disorganized home office. [...]

  9. Erika Salloux, CPO&r says:

    Do you know what a “Rotating Box” is and how it can help you declutter? This can be of great aid in an office or home.

    This simple solution lets you keep a bit more stuff and still stick to the “less is more” motto. Like Anne Morrow Lindbergh says in her Gift from the Sea, “One cannot collect all the beautiful shells on the beach.” If you do, then none of them stand out for you. It reminds me of the time I was helping a client declutter her living room. She was planning on moving. Her realtor happened to stop by near the end of our session. And she remarked on the new beautiful orchid in the space. My client told her that it wasn’t new. It had been there for ages. It just wasn’t very visible before, since there was so much else in the room distracting you from its presence. So try this and see if the orchids in your life regain their pop. So you have more decorations than will comfortably and uncluttered-like fit into the rooms of your home. Do not fear. After taking an honest look at them and only keeping those that uplift you, go find a nice looking container to hold your extra decorations. Store it somewhere like the basement, and once in a while take one out and put one away. There you have it: revolving beauty.

    Erika Salloux, CPO® http://www.living-harmony.org

  10. ghibagarbac says:


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