Tuesday, May 2, 2017


"The word 'clutter' literally means being stuck together.  When we have clutter, we are preventing flow in our lives.  We are not allowing new things to come into our life, like relationships or hobbies."

"Clutter is a lot of unmade decisions."

"Envision your home and ask yourself: does it encourage your favorite activities? Does it reflect your values and the things that you love?  Can you easily access the things that you love?"

These quotes are from Colleen McDonnell (setmefreeonline.com) in an article by Alison Pidgeon in the March 2017 issue of Susquehanna Style.  These thoughts really got my attention and made me think.  I haven't been feeling like my home in general is cluttered and truly, the photos I used on this post are not meant to suggest my idea of clutter - just unstaged life at my house.  But I do have some trouble spots - the basement, a few closets, an off-site storage space - that I would like to redd out and organize ("redd out" is a local saying meaning to clean up or tidy up).

What are your thoughts?  Does your house (life) feel cluttered these days?  What, if anything, are you planning to do about it?  I could use inspiration!


Tammy said...

I am wrapping up the last week of our homeschool, and then I have plans to clean out and organize every last drawer and cupboard in our house. I don't know how that plan will go, but I'm going to try! :-) You see, we moved from MI to SC, and were in an apartment for 2 months with most of our stuff in a storage unit. When we moved into our house we had started school, so things got pushed into cupboards, drawers, and closets with the simple goal of putting things in the general area we were going to use them.

Yesterday I did a great clean out of my daughter's room. Mind boggling. I didn't realize how disastrous it was.

Anyhow, I don't like clutter. At all. But it does have a tendency to build up behind your back!

Rozy Lass said...

I manage to keep the public rooms (LR, kitchen, bathroom) of our home uncluttered, but my office and sewing studio are always a disaster. I keep trying to get things under control, but it really is a matter of "I have too much!" And I need to learn to let go. My hope is to do it before I die so my children won't have to be bothered with it.

Becky said...

The clutter in my house drives me nuts! We are short a good closet or two as well as an entry space that can double as a mudroom. My husband primarily works from home, so in addition to our family stuff, we have his overflow work items all over the place - paddling gear, water monitoring equipment, festival displays, etc, etc. And short of buying a bigger house, there's not much I can do about it.

I like the phrase 'unstaged life'. Yes, much of my life is not staged and not perfect, but as everyone who comes into our house says, it's cozy and well lived in.

jenny_o said...

The only way I've ever had success at decluttering (and I've been sincerely trying for four years now) is in small doses. I read somewhere that "the clutter didn't appear overnight and it's not going to disappear overnight either" and that resonated with me.

We have a doorstep pickup every few weeks in our area that benefits provincial charities, and I find that a great motivator, since all I have to do is get it out the front door onto the steps!

And I am much happier since our local landfill started taking fibre of all kinds (clothing, footwear, bedding, even insoles, hats, belts, etc.) The guilt that I felt about sending those things to the everlasting landfill was indeed interfering with my ability to declutter in a timely manner, so that's been a huge relief.

I don't think this is much help, but one never knows where the next bit of inspiration will come from!

Anonymous said...

I can't stand clutter so I am constantly editing our stuff. I keep a box in the basement and drop stuff in there that I decide I don't need/use/want. When it fills up, I decide whether it's worth trying to sell or donate it. Having a husband and teenage sons who don't mind clutter doesn't help! I encourage them to edit their stuff, but don't harp on it. I always have in the back of my mind, "What if we have to move?" If ever I should move I don't want to be burdened by all the stuff and having to deal with it all at that stressful time. Matthew 6:19 also inspires me: Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. There are many blogs that inspire me to simplify. Two of my favorites are: thegardenerscottage.blogspot.com and www.carmellarayone.com

BLD in MT said...

We're in the middle of a little house reconfiguration and so there are little piles of things all over the place. I know it is temporary, but boy, it is also a motivation to finish up with this project. (We're creating a library/music room that doubles as a guest room and my craft space moved down to the basement with Matt's tie-dye workshop.) I have sent two trunk-loads to the thrift shop. I hadn't been feeling cluttered, but clearly there was excess--once I actually had to move it around that became clear. And in going through all the sewing whatnot I found two things I'd been looking for! Good quotes, things to ponder as I finish. "Clutter is a lot of unmade decisions." That especially rings true with me.

BLD in MT said...

I had to come back to say that I was reading Miss Hickory (a fairly charming little old children's book) over my lunch break today after catching up on my blog reading. The author just said Miss Hickory had "...busy days of redding up her little corncob house...." What are the odds!?! You teach me a new word and then a variation shows up in my reading within the hour. I thought that was pretty neat.

Margo said...

BLD, I love Miss Hickory!! And wow, maybe "redding up" is New England, not PA Dutch!?

BLD in MT said...

I actually thought Miss Hickory would be the sort of story that'd be right your alley. ;)

I'm a word/language-dork so I had to do a bit of reading in my trusty Oxford English Dictionary. "Redd-up" is considered a regional American expression, chiefly northern. It is Scotch in origin, but also used by the Northern Irish. The earliest recorded use of "redd-up" is from 1880.

"Red" or "redd" without the "up" is even older (earliest citations being from the late 1400s) and again, chiefly Scottish. It still meant "An act or the action of clearing away, removing, or tidying up." Bur that is also could me the "act of clearing the throat." The OED says use of this word is quite rare while "redd-up" is still common at least regionally--your region I guess, since Matt nor I had heard of it.

And now we know a little more! Thanks, Margo, for inspiring that linguistic treasure hunt.

Margo said...

BLD, thank you for this treasure! So fascinating.