The Difference between Cluttered and Organized

Have you ever thought about the meaning of these words? And how they relate to you?

Cluttered Office

Organzed office

Below are distinguishing definitions I have quoted from
with some of my own thoughts added.


noun: clut•ter
1. A confused or disordered state or collection; a jumble: “It’s impossible to find anything in all this clutter.”

verb: clut•tered, clut•ter•ing, clut•ters
1. To make disorderly or hard to use or find by filling or covering with things. “Boxes filled with all kinds of stuff cluttered the living room.”


verb: or•gan•ize, or•gan•ized, or•gan•iz•ing, or•gan•iz•es
1. To put together into an orderly, functional, structured whole. “We are organizing all of the books.”
2. To arrange in a coherent form; systematize: “Organize your file cabinet using the alphabetical, chronological, color-coded, or like-with-like method.”

I imagine that you’d prefer an organized space over a cluttered one. It’s never too late to begin to sort through your things and make decisions as to what to do with them; give away, throw away, recycle, shred, keep. Start today using baby steps to get rid of your clutter and get organized. Ask a friend, family member, or professional organizer to help so you don’t have to do this alone. And, let me know how it goes.

To schedule a complimentary 1/2 hour telephone consultation, contact Judy at



William Morris’ – Golden Rule

William Morris textile design

(By William Morris – Planet Art CD of royalty-free PD images William Morris: Selected Works, Public Domain, )

William Morris knew something about keeping one’s home free from clutter; meaning unneeded things. And this was in the 19th century! Below is a quote he wrote on February 19, 1880.

“Believe me, if we want art to begin at home, as it must, we must clear our houses of troublesome superfluities that are forever in our way, conventional comforts that are no real comforts, and do but make work for servants and doctors. If you want a golden rule that will fit everybody, this is it: Have nothing in your houses that you do not know to be useful, or believe to be beautiful.”   (William Morris, 19 February 1880)

William Morris (24 March 1834 – 3 October 1896) was an English textile designer, poet, novelist, translator, and socialist activist. Associated with the British Arts and Crafts Movement, he was a major contributor to the revival of traditional British textile arts and methods of production. His literary contributions helped to establish the modern fantasy genre, while he played a significant role in propagating the early socialist movement in Britain. (copied from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia)

Do you follow this golden rule, and have only useful and beautiful things in your home?

To schedule a FREE 1/2 hour telephone consultation, contact Judy at

Perfectionism and Procrastination

Piled clothing

Are you a perfectionist who procrastinates? If there is clutter in your home or office, or projects you have started and not completed, you may just be a perfectionist.

Wouldn’t it seem that a perfectionist would want to get things done now and not procrastinate? Not necessarily. Extreme perfectionists only see the goal they want to accomplish, but have such high standards for themselves that they rarely achieve their goal. They will sometimes worry so much about doing things incorrectly or imperfectly that they don’t do anything at all and become paralyzed with fear; scared of making any progress that might cause them to fail.

I don’t think I’m a perfectionist, but I am a procrastinator.

I’d been meaning to get two broken lamps in my study repaired. I procrastinated, kept meaning to take care of them, but failed to do so. After about a year, I finally took the lamps to be fixed at a local antique lamp and repair shop. The owner fixed the lamps while I waited (took him 15 minutes) and I was so happy to once again have more than just the overhead lamp in my study. Can you believe that I took so long to get the lamps repaired?

Don’t expect to accomplish doing various tasks or un-cluttering your kitchen, bedroom, etc, at once. Rome wasn’t built in a day. You will certainly fail if you have such huge expectations. Make the decision to accomplish just one task a day. Take small steps, and reward yourself for each step you take by doing something that makes you happy.

To begin with, choose one area in a room such as your bedroom, and focus on the clothes piled on the floor or chair. Start by sorting the clothing into three piles; the love/need pile, the don’t love/don’t need pile, and the maybe pile. The piles can be messy and not perfectly stacked. Once you’ve finished sorting, the next day, or in the next few days, find homes for the love/need clothing in your bureau, closet, or any containers you might be using. Don’t procrastinate! Schedule a time close to doing these two steps to get rid of your don’t love/don’t needs, and make those choices about they maybe’s.

Let yourself feel good about the results by telling yourself that accomplishing this fear is enough for now! One little step at a time will aid you in decreasing your fears of perfection.   

(I’d love to hear how you are dealing with your own perfectionism and procrastination during your sorting session.)

To schedule a FREE 1/2 hour telephone consultation, contact Judy at

Letting go of ‘baggage’

Home Office BEFORE

Home Office BEFORE

Since November 2015, I have been working weekly to help a client un-clutter and organize his home office. As you can see in the before photo I’ve posted, his office was quite cluttered and in disarray. On the floor throughout the room, there were a number of bags, boxes and suitcases filled with paper documents and cassette tapes of music he’d recorded. Office supplies, printing paper, used and unused envelopes of various sizes, magazines, and reusable bags were also taking up space in the room, making it difficult to get around.

My client’s name is Dick Lourie, a poet and musician living in Somerville, MA. (I have his permission to write about him, and to publish his poem ‘baggage’ on my Clutter Clearer Coach blog – see poem below).  NOTE: Please do not share this post on FACEBOOK

For many years he just was not ready to let go. I asked Dick what it was that motivated him to be ready. He told me he had reached the point where he couldn’t do the things that were important to him. He was not creating new poetry or music, he could not sort his mail, he had no place to store his musical instruments, etc . His office space was in a gridlock. Also, he and his wife would be downsizing and moving in a few years and wanted to clear things out. But now he is ready, and he’s doing a fine job of it.

Since we began the un-cluttering process, Dick has recycled many trash bags of paper stuff, thrown out a lot of unusable items he’d saved, sorted and downsized his many cassette tapes, and worked on organizing his office supplies and his files. At times, this has not been easy for him to do.  I am so proud of him, as is his wife. He has very creative ideas for setting up his office to the best advantage; where to store his musical instruments, buying two new file cabinets to replace the large broken one, and a stand up desk for his laptop. Together, Dick and I will continue to get his office organized, and then move on to stuff in the front part of the upstairs hallway, and finally the basement.

Home Office in PROCESS

Home Office IN PROCESS

Are you a person with a thousand containers? Do you stuff your clutter everywhere to keep past memories safe? Perhaps it’s time for you to allow yourself to be ready to let go of some or all of that stuff you hold on to. Take the step, the risk, the challenge, and start today. And, let me know how it goes.

‘baggage’ by Dick Lourie

(from his book Ghost Radio, published in 1998 by Hanging Loose Press)

when I think of myself in my mother’s
body I imagine some kind of bag
with me inside it    when my friends tease me
it’s often about my suitcases    brief-
cases     shopping bags     shoulder bags     gym bags
milk crates     back packs     and instrument cases

I’m the man of a thousand containers
born from the child with his baggage always
packed to travel between divorced parents
famous for my car’s back seat      my basement

my study     the clutter I try to stuff
everywhere so I can just have it
with me and not be forced to choose what of
my past it might be safe to throw away

stop me before I pack my things again:
bringing them out to the car each morning
on safari to the office     keep me
from showing up at band rehearsal with
my luggage carrier     tape recorder
wireless mike and attachments     extra long
cables     spare amplifier just in case—–
they tell me I’m only the sax player
why do I have more stuff than ten drummers

and why do short weekend trips resemble
diasporas      vast tribal migrations      why
indeed      or as Doctor Kriegsfeld great wise-
ass of therapists used to say “who should
we ask?”     how do you expect me to choose
which parent to keep      what things I won’t need
on my next trip?      I can’t do that–any
more than I could decide to just throw it
all away and climb back into the bag

NOTE: Please do not share this post on FACEBOOK
as Dick Lourie has copyright and ownership of this poem

Duplicate Buying

Popcorn duplicates.

 How many of you go to the grocery store, hardware store, clothing store, etc., and buy an item you think you need, and then get home and find that you already have at least one or two of the same item?

I’ve done this before. I’ll buy a bag of pre-popped popcorn and realize that I already have an unopened bag on the pantry shelf. This could be a good thing, as when I run out of the first bag, I’ll already have more popcorn. The same goes with the soap I buy. I think I need another package of soap and then find I have some at home.

If you do this kind of buying, chances are you are spending money you don’t need to spend, plus the items are taking up space on a shelf that could be used for something else.

Can you identify with this? Do you have a ‘what if I run out’ way of thinking behind buying in quantity? Are you afraid there might be a shortage and you won’t be able to get what you need? Don’t worry, stores are well stocked, plus most items can be purchased via the internet.

Or, ‘do you have so much clutter that you don’t know what you have’ on the shelf or in the closet because things are stocked so tightly, or piled up and covering up stuff underneath. And, once you buy the item you think you need, you find it at home and exclaim “I didn’t realize I already had this!”

To conquer this habit, the next time you are going shopping, take a photo on your phone of the pantry shelf or closet. While at the store, refer to this image and be aware that you already possess the item. Or, to keep track, keep a written/typed inventory of the things you buy regularly, and put a check next to each item you finish or use up. Or, tackle your clutter and let go of excess stuff so you don’t buy duplicates.

Let me know if you buy ‘extras’ and how you control this habit.

To learn more about how Judy can help you de-clutter your home, email her at:

Six Things to Throw Out Now!

Hazardous waste containers

Like myself, you most likely have some or a lot of items you can throw out or recycle now.

Here is a list of six of these things.

1. Empty Boxes: So many of us hold on to boxes once we take out the items inside. And, where do we put these empty boxes? In a closet, spare room, the basement, the attic, the garage where they pile up and take up space, plus become a fire hazard. After the item is opened and you’ve used it for a month, you probably won’t be returning it. Recently, I was going through my attic attacking clothing moths that had never been a problem before, and while moving stuff around, I found an empty computer box from a computer that I no longer have! I tell my clients to recycle these types of empty boxes rather than keep them. I am guilty as charged! Time for me to put it in the recycle bin.

2. Reusable Shopping Bags: The environmentally correct thing to do these days is to use reusable shopping bags. Your local supermarket, hardware store, big box store either sell them or give them away. But, how many of these bags do we really need? And, are they cluttering up your space? I have two bags full of plastic & canvas bags from various charity’s and stores that I am taking to Good Will for a client who was willing to let go of them. She kept only about ten bags that she liked the most.

3. Magazines and Newspapers: Old magazines & newspapers! I save garden magazines and catalogs thinking I will use some of their information someday. I usually don’t do this, so periodically, I sort and recycle most of them.

4. Electronic Cords and Attachments: So many of the cables from old electronics (land lines, Smart phones, ipads, computers, etc,) we purchased in the past have been stored away in our drawers, boxes, closets because we might need them someday. Take a look, and you will probably find some that you don’t even remember what they were for!

5. Outdated Electronics: Old computers, ancient cell phones, broken paper shredders, toasters, hair dryers, you name it, pile up. Your town’s DPW usually has a dumping area for this kind of electronic stuff, or a couple of recycling days a year when they do a pick up at your home. I have an old Dell printer (doesn’t have a scan feature) that has been in my attic for a long time as backup if my newer printer breaks. I am going to put it out on the street as a Freebee, and if no one takes it, I’ll bring it to the local DPW.

6. Old paint and Hazardous Waste: Once the paint in latex paint cans has dried completely, you can throw it in your trash because it is not considered hazardous waste. But, how many empty or partially full cans of paint thinner, bug spray, cleaning products, shellac, and more… pile up because you don’t know what to do with them. Your town should have a couple days a year where you can drop off hazardous waste to the DPW grounds.

Do you have things on this list that you need to get rid of, or recycle? Let me know how you are doing with your letting go.

To learn more about how Judy can help you de-clutter your home, email her at: