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Blog: Clutter-Free Forever
Clutter Free Forever, How Do I get There?

Clutter Free Forever, How do I get there? Frances L D'Amato As I enter a client's homes for the first time, I ask how did this house get this way? As you will imagine there are numerous answers, I've listed some: I've just been too busy at work. My aging parents now need my help daily. My children have returned because of the lagging economy. I just haven't been able to keep up with the mail and things. I buy multiple things because I don't know where to find what I have. The more clutter there is the less incentive I have to do anything. I'm sure you will be able to add your own excuses and for now I will share my experiences with clients who have dealt with these questions. I've just been too busy at work. In today's economy most of us are working harder for less pay. Some feel if they don't put in extra hours they may be the next one on the downsizing list. While this may be true, it really isn't a very good excuse because if our home is a mess often times our life is too. Balance will certainly help. Do give 100% when you are at work, and another 100% when you are at home. Balance means that you will give equal attention to yourself and your own needs as you do to work. Learn to do your work in the allotted hours. Spend an hour a day clearing out messes at home. Write down your goals and decide what part of the house you could organize in one hour. List it, then choose to do that or to continue with the list and do spend one hour at the task. My aging parents now need my help daily. Yes parents become children as they age and become dependent on you their child. Reversing roles isn't easy and needs to be considered. If you were lucky enough to be brought up in a disciplined home, you learned limits. Your parents not only detailed your duties as a member of the family, but they also taught you to wait till they were ready to help you. Or even more productive they encouraged you to try and do it yourself and they would help at a latter time. Now you have the right to make the same or similar ground rules like: I will do your grocery shopping once a week, so together we'll make a list. You may want to put a standard list on your computer with often used items: Dairy: milk, butter, eggs, cheese. Proteins Fruits/vegetables Paper products Misc. If you actually take the time to make a list and keep to the promise that you will only shop once a week, it may take time but eventually your parents will comply with the system. I will prepare your medicines once a week Have large enough daily containers and depend on each parent to take their pills on time and from the container. This may require a phone call to be sure they will or have taken the daily medicine. In the meantime you might want to take all the prescription bottles with you when you take a parent to the doctor. In some instances you may be able to eliminate some prescriptions. My children have returned because of the lagging economy. This recession is a challenge for all of us. Be clear before your adult child agrees to move back home that there will be house rules. Decide on how much rent they will pay, what duties will be expected, what hours will be acceptable for coming home at night. Etc. I just haven't been able to keep up with the mail and things. Start today with the mail. Open the mail near a waste paper basket, most items will go in the trash, answer all letters, take action with bills. Then once a week take a pile of mail and open it. Give enough time to deal with each piece. As for clutter hire an organizer or invite a friend to help and promise to do the same for the friend. Always give yourself a certain amount of time and a goal for each clutter free project. Reward yourself afterwards with a long walk or a swim. I buy multiple things because I don't know where to find what I have. Make yourself a grocery list and check out your cabinets before listing the item. Don't be fooled by sales; if you don't need it today don't buy it. The more clutter there is the less incentive I have to do anything. Start by clearing an area that you spend most of your time in. Once you see the value of clean space you will be encouraged to continue. The payoff is a house you enjoy being in and one you may invite friends to share. These suggestions may help you get started to reclaim your home. Please let me know what worked for you. Ccfld7/12/09

posted on: 7/15/2009 8:00:00 AM by Frances D'Amato
category: Clutter

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Clutter-Free Forever

by Frances D'Amato

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About Frances:

Frances L. D'Amato, M.A. M.Ed. is an Organizational Psychologist as well as a working artist. She founded the Tree Group in 1981 and has been helping Organizations reduce clutter and streamline systems for more efficient management. About ten years ago she expanded her focus to include individuals who work at home and then individuals who need help decluttering their homes. Frances works with the individual to discover the meaning of clutter and develops a process to allow people to let go and live in a more clutter and stress free environment.

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