Closed September 2017

Shine from Yahoo: How to Fix Trouble Clutter Spots For Good


By Lorie Marrero

Even the best-kept home will always have one or two trouble spots… Even being a professional organizer like me does not mean that you won’t have something that always bothers you to some degree! The good news is that the majority of these trouble spots can be fixed or at least improved.

Embrace these problem areas as a teaching tool! Observe carefully what is going on so you can figure out how to stop it from recurring.

Here are some questions to ask as you look at the evidence:

  • What are the functions of the space? If there are too many major functions in a room it will be difficult to accommodate all of them and some functions may need to be relocated. Your spare bedroom cannot realistically be a combination home office/guest room/craft room/exercise room/meditation space.
  • Does your space have structure like a “”skeleton to support the functions you require? We see “”boneless”” spaces most often in garages where there are bare walls and no shelving or cabinets. Everything gets piled up next to the wall and encroaches inward. Closets can also be “”boneless”” because they may have only the standard One-Rod-One-Shelf that is put in by a builder. Some simple hooks mounted on the bare walls of a hallway would keep bags and jackets off the floor.
  • Are you letting aesthetics get in the way of function? You can find versatile and functional furniture pieces that maximize storage while still meeting your style requirements. Using an antique dining table for a desk is beautiful but then you have no drawer space for files or supplies. Remember form FOLLOWS function.
  • Do you have a “”Clutter Cemetery””  a place where things “”go to die?”” Your basement or garage may be full of items that require some tough love. Remember that organizing is all about decision-making and it’s not enough to decide only to remove something from the main part of the house. Go all the way and decide where to donate it (like Goodwill.) or where to dispose of it.
  • Are you sharing the use of the space with others who are uncooperative? Kids may never cooperate fully but have you tried labeling things clearly making things visible at their eye level and making it as easy as possible for them to maintain (hooks instead of hangers)? Does this system realistically work with their natural habits?
  • Does anyone really have ownership of this shared space? When there is no clarity of ownership of tasks everyone thinks that someone else is going to do it and it never gets done. Assign tasks and responsibilities so that the ownership is clear.

Overall act like a three-year-old and keep asking yourself “Why? Why? Why?” until you get to the root of the problem. We actually do this with clients and it does work! Just don’t tug at someone’s pant leg while you’re asking or say it in a whiny voice.


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