When someone you love clutters up the place

Tips & Tricks
August 2014

Quote of the Month
“Easy does it wins the race.”
Author Unknown

I love this quote, especially when it comes to getting organized. It’s so easy to get overwhelmed with the volume of things to tackle. Ten minutes a day is an ‘easy does it’ approach. Try it – you might like it!

A great big “WELCOME!” to all of our new subscribers this month. Thanks for joining us – it’s really great to have you with us.

He said/She said

“What can I do about a husband/wife/boyfriend/child/partner who has a clutter problem?”

I am asked that question ALL the time. It’s a tough situation – it’s hard enough to keep your own life in order and when someone you love is unable to keep their things in order… it can be really stressful. It can cause a range of issues – mild resentment to full blown disharmony. It’s difficult!

Below are some ideas that may help you or your loved one. But, like anything else – it’s easier to work on yourself than to try and change another… but here goes anyway…

  1. Set a good example (without being too annoying). Keep your things in your areas. Contain your clutter as best as you can. Hang your clothes up. Get rid of the dusty papers and use the filing cabinet. Get rid of out of date clothes, medications, food and other space-filling items.
  2. Be honest. Don’t try to trick your loved one by secretly tossing their items in the middle of the night or when they’re at work. That can cause more harm than good. If a person becomes suspicious or paranoid, it can cause them to cling even more tightly to their treasured possessions. Beauty (or value) is in the eye of the beholder.
  3. Set the bar low. When my kids were little, I’d hand each one a small bag and ask them to find 5 things to give away or throw away. One of my sons parted with 5 marbles and my other children parted with 5 different toys. I praised the 5 marbles the same as I praised the 5 toys – it’s a start. Any effort to downsize should be recognized/acknowledged and praised. We all have to start somewhere. (This marble child has now converted to minimalism so one never knows!).
  4. Introduce the concept of a ‘marinade box’ – if your loved one feels too afraid to let go of something that you feel is non-essential, ask if you can place it in a marinade box to sit for 6 months (or in some cases, a year is ok). Mark an expiration date on the box and mark it on your calendar. If the person has not touched the items by the expiration date, then it can go. Of course you have to get their agreement and input on the actual expiration date. Again, it’s a start.

You can ‘try this at home.’ Go for it. And if nothing works, consider giving me a call – I will do my best to gently yet firmly get the momentum going.

What to do with your Stuff

I unexpectedly found an amazing and thorough resource guide. It lists TONS of places that will happily accept your beloved possessions. Even if you’re not from the Baltimore area, you may get some great ideas and leads for your own part of town.

Click on the link below – please note that the link will take you to the Home Page. Scroll to “Waste Reduction and Handling Organic Materials” and click on “Reuse Directory” link. CAUTION – this is too long to print – just save it on your computer, please?


“Helping Baby Boomers and their Parents Lighten their Loads.”

If you are feeling overwhelmed by the amount of stuff in your home, contact me. Together, we can transform your home into a happy, tidy place where you can feel at peace. We can also get you ready for your next move more enjoyably, faster and easier!

Cindy Bernstein, Owner and Professional Organizer

0 replies

Leave a Reply

Want to join the discussion?
Feel free to contribute!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *