Closed September 2017

Is There Such a Thing as “Clutter Free?”

Ghcoverapr2009 When I hear someone say the phrase "Clutter Free," I cringe a little. I am quite certain that somewhere out there I am guilty of referring to it at times, and the media definitely loves to say that phrase. (This cover is from our big 2009 feature story in Good Housekeeping, on the inside entitled, "I Went On A Clutter Diet.") 

It goes against one of the main messages I try to put out there: ORGANIZING IS NOT ABOUT BEING PERFECT.

Not only is "Clutter Free" difficult to strive for as a goal, I am not sure there is even such a thing that exists in the real world. Maybe in a model home or a photograph, but not in a real person's home. My own home is definitely not Clutter Free– it's not cluttered, but if you look around there will be something out of place somewhere and a pile of something on some kind of surface at some time or other. I have two teenage sons… and we all LIVE in our homes, we don't just gaze upon them.

Striving to be "Clutter Free" will set you up for disappointment. The key is striving for constant improvement over your current situation. If you have a room you can barely walk into, success means clearing a path and making the room usable. If you have a pretty functional home office, success means getting that filing finally done. It's all relative.

Organizing is really a journey, not a destination. There is not some perfect nirvana status of "Clutter Free" that will finally be achieved at some point in time– you will always have areas of improvement to work on.

I really believe I am in the personal change business, and organizing is just my topic. Getting organized is a vehicle to help clear your path for what you want to do in life. When you're organized, you can spend your time more intentionally and purposefully instead of wasting it looking for your sunglasses or making wasted trips to the store. If you wait to be completely "Clutter Free" before doing what is truly important to you, that day may never come.

As I always say, I preach "The Gospel of Good Enough." What realistic, incremental goals can you set for yourself today? What area of your life, once organized well-enough, could give you a return on your time and energy that would allow you to do something bigger and better? Share in the comments! And if you need help, our online team is standing by, 7 days a week, to support you and answer your questions. Read more here about how we can help you, for about the price of a pizza.

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Melissa Prell

I appreciate this article so much, Lorie! I am one of those people who thinks that life will be perfect once I get organized. Thank you for reminding me that it is about progress, not perfection.
If I could get organized well-enough, I could spend more time growing my home-based business.

Patricia Morales

Lorie: I not only like this approach to organization, I practice it as well.
As the co-owner of the first (and only) PO business in Colombia, this is probably one of the messages/concepts we most deliver to our clients: organization is no perfection and it is a relative concept. Said this, people become more open to our approach, and understand that this is about how things work, about functionality, about enjoying life more!


My goals have changed to fit each season of my life. As a single gal, being organized meant clean surfaces everwhere but the edge of the bathtub, where I stored my shampoo. When first married, it was a once a year cleaning spree to prepare for a Christmas party. Now as a wife and mother of 4 little ones, being organized means having at least 3 diapers on hand wherever I go and having enough milk in the fridge for morning cereal. My best days I can vacuum up to 3 square feet of carpet without having to toss a plethera of misc. items in an empty box before moving forward. My worst days I try not to curse in my head after stepping on another lego that I didn’t see under the other items strewn around the floor. Today was a good day, enough clean forks in the drawer that no one had to stand at the sink and wash one before a meal! I really appreciate Lorie’s willingness to be open and vulnerable with her own stories of working through organizing issues. Thank you for the free tips. I find your blog helps me stay motivated in keeping our house a liveable home.


Hi Sinea, that is exactly my point. You can’t click your heels 3 times and have no clutter :). There will always be clutter, the point is your expectations and abilities. Than kyou for reading!

Arizona Farm Lady

I have to deal with frustration a lot for not having things looking the way I would like. For instance, after moving back into my larger home, I would like to spend more time with my horses and crocheting, but I spend most of my time cleaning and putting things away. Also, cleaning up after 5 dogs. I have a small farm, so by the time I finish one part – the other part is completely undone and I feel overwhelmed and frustrated.

Lorie Marrero

Hi Arizona Farm Lady, so glad you found us- I call this preaching the gospel of “Good Enough”. Sometimes you have to just let it go and take a break. Can you find someone to help you, maybe even barter services with a friend?


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