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Your clutter doesn't have to mount up. Even if does, it doesn't have to paralyze and overwhelm. You can tackle it minutes at a time, which is a lot more palatable than hours at a time. We all have a bit of attention deficit disorder (ADD) in us, I believe. So performing a task for 10 or 20 minutes is certainly do-able for many people. Just give yourself a goal, a small reward (a cup of tea/coffee, a shower, a short nap) and set the alarm!

Most people have clothing and paper/mail issues, and toy issues, if they have children. Here are suggested ways to tackle them a few minutes at a time.


  • Put an old bed sheet over your bed to keep it clean since you will be working on it -- 10 min

  • Set up garbage bags for donation, textile recycling, keeping, dry cleaning/washing, repairing -- 10 min

  • Go through the following and purge -- 10, 20 or 30 min at a time -- however long you can tolerate it.

  • Clothing in drawers

  • Hanging clothes on rods

  • Shoes

  • Bags (purses, schlepp bags, computer bags, backpacks, luggage)

  • Take donations and textile recycling to the thrift store, recycling center -- 20 min (enroute to doing other errands)

  • Take dry cleaning to dry cleaners -- 10 min (enroute to doing other errands)

  • Take clothes to tailor for altering/repairing -- 20 min (enroute to doing other errands)


  • Create/clear an area where you will go through the papers -- 10 min

  • Corral all the paper into this area -- 20 min

  • Set up 3 bags for recycling, shredding and keeping -- 20 min

  • Pull together a stapler, a supply of paper and binder clips, large post-its, marker and folders to organize what you keep -- 20 min

  • In 20 to 30 min increments, one category at a time

  • Pull out all magazines, newspapers, junk mail, anything thick and chunky. school notices. Purge.

  • Pull out all mail still in envelopes. Open if necessary. Purge. Separate out by actionable v. file.

  • Pull out all personal documents regarding medical, car, real estate, finances, pets, children, taxes, bills, etc. Purge. Sort my type. Separate out by actionable v. file.

  • ​Set up TO PAY, TO FILE, TO READ files -- 10 min

  • The above will reduce your piles considerably. What is left is manageable. The worst is over.

NOTE: Roaches love glue. This makes it especially important to stay on top of your mail and continually get the envelopes out of your house/apartment. I speak from experience with clients who have infestations because of backed up unopened mail.

TOYS / BOOKS (do when children are out of the house/apartment)

  • Put an old bed sheet over the bed to keep it clean since you will probably be working on it -- 10 min

  • In 20 to 30 min increments, go through category by category of toys and purge what is broken, aged out of, too young for, etc.

  • Books

  • Art/supplies/activity books

  • Games, puzzles

  • Legos

  • Stuffed animals, dolls, action heroes

  • Sports equipment

  • Other (musical instruments, cash registers, trading cards, etc.)

  • Recycle broken toys, bag up donations, put away toys to grow into -- 20 min

Organizing is a process. It takes time. Baby steps. There is no magic wand. Despite what that TV show on Netflix wants you to believe. :-)

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