Closed September 2017

Are You Sabotaging Yourself with Humor?

Sign When our Clutter Diet® members win our monthly Success Stories contest, they get some cool prizes, such as $25 to use in our store and a 30-minute phone consultation. They send us photos to enter, and recently I saw a couple of them with these cute kitschy kitchen signs, some of which were really funny.

BUT… I don't want those signs to be there! They are negative messages masquerading as humor– messages that continue to sustain someone's identity as an unorganized, messy person who doesn't have it all together. We are always talking about how important it is to reinforce positive messages when you are trying to change! (See previous posts,"The Mental Clutter of Defeatist Language," and "TRYING to Wish You a Happy New Year," among others)

Thoughts become words which become beliefs… I mean, I understand making a joke, but when you're really serious about making changes in your life, maybe these are not the jokes you should have around you every day.

Here are some examples of these funny signs I have collected on the internet. You can laugh for a second, but then consider the message that lingers:

  • I’m creative; you can’t expect me to be neat too! (MESSAGE: Creative people can't be organized.)
  • I clean house every other day…. Today is the other day! (MESSAGE: I don't keep a clean house.)
  • If you write in the dust, please don’t date it! (MESSAGE: I am not going to clean for a long time.)
  • I would cook dinner but I can’t find the can opener! (MESSAGE: I don't have it together to even cook a meal.)
  • My house was clean last week, too bad you missed it! (MESSAGE: I am not going to clean again for a while.)
  • A clean house is the sign of a wasted life. (MESSAGE: Cleaning and organizing is not a worthwhile activity.) 
  • Dull women have immaculate houses. (MESSAGE: If I get things organized, I won't be an interesting person anymore.)

I vote for having this sign instead, from a great catalog called Femail Creations:


Are you sabotaging yourself with jokes like this at your own expense? Share in the comments!

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("Bless This Mess" photo above is a vintage wooden sign for sale on Etsy.)



I’m so guilty of that, but I have my new life’s mantra, and sorry about the cuss word, but it’s “I shall make this day my b….” It’s totally changing my life. Every time I say it to myself, I stop being the victim to circumstance and start taking control. And it’s funny 🙂


Thanks for the great post. I think we forget how powerful our words are in shaping our behavior and self-image.


I loved that quote you showed us. It’s taken me decades to weed out negative, self-deprecating talk. Every little bit of encouragement helps!


@Michelle – I liked your comment so much I had to Tweet it! Thank you! Brandi, Evelyn & Marie – thank you for commenting and congratulations on keeping yourselves uplifted!

Sandi C.

I’ve made my own sign, which I have taped to my fridge. It says “do not keep anything in your home that you do not know to be useful or beautiful.” William Morris. That sign helps me keep perspective as I wonder why I’m still hanging onto stuff.


My favorite one is “I love those three little words, Lets Eat Out!”
Some people are just not positive people able to ever get in an optomistic frame of mind. I am totally one of these people. I’ve suffered from depression and worse since I was 6. 22+ years later and optomistic people piss me off and make me MORE frustrated about what I cannot force myself to do.
Just because we are not always optomistic doesn’t mean we cannot get things done. And there is NOTHING wrong with not being able to clean everyday…


@Lily – I hear what you are saying about how not every one is a positive person. And depression is NOT something you can just wish away with up beat signs. However letting optimistic people “piss” you off and “make” you frustrated implies that you have absolutely no control over how YOU think. The struggle with depression may mean that you can’t always accomplish what you might like each day (like cleaning.) And you don’t have to be optimistic everyday either to get things done. But the decision to clean (or not) to look at the world as positively as possible (or not) is in your control as much as your depression will allow. You don’t need to apologize because you don’t feel up to something – that’s part of your condition. But that also doesn’t mean you should dump on others who are trying to change their lives. If positive messages irritate you, I suggest you focus on the message itself and not the “Up With People” delivery. That way you can let go of any feelings of guilt and just try and learn what you can about yourself. Just my 2 cents. Good luck!


Oh dear. Does this mean I need to get rid of my only refrigerator magnet? It reads: “If it walks out of the fridge, let it go!”


I always enjoy a magnet I’ve seen on a friend’s fridge: “Make yourself at home– clean my kitchen!” but that one doesn’t really suggest that the speaker doesn’t clean or is negative. Maybe she’s a bit rude, though! I don’t have that one up in my house. Generally speaking, I don’t have any “slogan art” up in my house because I find it annoying and cliched. What I do have up in my house are pieces of artwork I’ve created, a rack displaying my six half-marathon medals, and other things that remind me I’m kinda cool. 🙂 Everyone has these kinds of things and should be proud of them. Pictures of your family count as something to display that you’re proud of, too. I also have art made by others that I enjoy (and can get on the cheap), bulletin boards with reminders and little scraps of paper I like (small images, my favorite poem). I don’t mean to dis on those who do like slogan art, and if you find something pre-made that suits you, go for it. But I’m inclined to think that each person who posted here has something unique to them, that no one else has, that’s represented by a tangible item that can go on a wall. Unlike the author of the first negative slogan Lorie cited, I think organized people must be inherently creative to find solutions to often complex problems.


Hi Jasmine! I really like your take on this– display something that is uniquely you and motivating. Thank you so much for sharing!


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