Heather Sanders

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February 2011



Eliminating Clutter

Written by , Posted in Everything Else, Home Projects


As the schoolroom overhaul wraps-up, it is more and more evident that I have a definite aesthetic for clean, uncluttered spaces. While I recognize it is absolutely essential to personalize our schoolroom, it is equally as important for decorations not to hinder function. We are, after all, there for a purpose.

Take for instance my stuffed monsters. I have a strange affection for these crazy cute monsters. That said, there are too few places to sit them about–plus, I get a bit itchy when decorations or collections break the utilitarian flow of our daily workspace.

Before we painted, I moved the dry goods pantry out of the schoolroom. Not having a place for my monsters to sit, I initially decided to hang them on the wall, but that only lasted a few weeks. The eye-clutter became more than I could handle and I finally took them down to preserve my sanity.

Shortly thereafter, the kids’ Monster bathroom came together; they helped me select a few of favorites for the two shelves in there and then, I kept my two OMSH monsters in honor of this site; the rest were given away.

I am not the kind of person that collects things.

Other than books and boots I am not the kind of person to “collect” things. In fact, the older I get, the more important it becomes to maintain uncluttered, open, organized, and best yet, delightfully and aesthetically utilitarian, areas in our home.

Admittedly, this means when birthdays and holidays roll-around I am the mother and friend who, along with the gift purchase, also buys the right size gift bag, wrapping paper, matching tissue, gift card(s) and ribbon before heading home. While that might seem an excessive expenditure to some, I prefer the arrangement. The additional $2.00 to $4.00 I spend is entirely worth the mental relief of knowing my closets aren’t stuffed with superfluous “just in case I need it” wrapping items.

Another way I cut clutter is the way I “read” my magazines. First, I remove all loose subscription cards and place them in the recycle bin. Then, as I read each new page I tear it off and place it in one of three stacks:

1. The recycle bin stack.
2. The design, color or lay-out inspiration stack.
3. The “try this recipe” stack.

The pages are immediately recycled or slipped into plastic page protectors and clipped into my Inspiration or Recipe binders.

At any given time I know exactly where I am in a magazine–whatever page shows on top is where I left off. It also explains why Emelie requests to read all my new magazines before I get to them. If she doesn’t, there won’t be a magazine left to read. In the end I get everything I want from the magazine, without any of the unnecessary clutter.

The kids have picked-up on a lot of my habits.

They routinely go through their belongings and make decisions about what they use, what they don’t use, what they can give to friends, what they can give to the local shelter, what they should simply throw away, and what they want to keep for a keepsake. Thankfully, all three of the kids, in their own volition, willingly let go of items they don’t regularly use.

Now, if only Jeff could learn that his “stacks” ARE clutter too–any ideas on how to tackle that one?

Heather Sanders


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