Information Clutter

Organizers talk a lot about physical clutter.  The stuff that fills up the space in your home, car, desk, etc.  But there is something else we talk about that doesn’t get as much notice most of the time… information clutter.

One source of information clutter is your email.  Buy something online and the next thing you know you’re on 6 mailing lists for sister sites.  I get “helpful” emails from my bank, retailers, alumni clubs, the church, etc, etc, etc.  It’s a lot.  I try to unsubscribe from those I don’t truly want to read.

In fact, if you are looking to save a little money then removing the temptation of the “HUGE SALE 50% OFF EVERYTHING” email from all your favorite online retailers is a great place to start.

But my current source of information clutter is on my smart phone.

Today I got a Twitter direct message. Here’s a list of all the ways I was notified of the message:
1. a text message from Twitter
2. a text message from Twitter through my “handsent” application
3. an email from Twitter to my gmail app
4. an email from Twitter via my “universal inbox”
5. a notification from my Twitter app
6. a notification from my TweetDeck app
7. a notification from my HootSuite app

Um, yeah… the message was not that important.  One of those would have been sufficient.  Two at most.  

So this afternoon I’ll be updating my twitter settings to remove a few of those. I’ll start with email & text notification since on my phone twitter can notify me directly I don’t need those additional outlets. 

The point is, clearing all those notifications from my phone took me probably 1 minute.  Not much time.  But if I get 10 messages a day, that’s 10 minutes of time just spent clearing something I’ve already read.  What clutter!

Where can you cut information clutter from your life?

Pimp Your Mixer

I recently discovered Shelley over at Wonderfully Wordy Vinyl Lettering and House of Smiths.  Her vinyl creations are adorable and fun.  Just looking through them all gets my creative juices flowing.

But when I came across this one, I knew I had to share it with all of you. 

{photo courtesy Wonderfully Wordy}

Vinyl Decals for Your Kitchenaid Mixer!  These really have nothing to do with organizing but they are so.darn.cute.  These are so going on my wish list.  My favorite is the Curly Sue.  Which is yours?

Declutter Challenge #20 & Downloadable File

It’s the last day!  Spring begins this afternoon and hopefully your home feels a bit more ready to welcome spring by being a bit lighter in the clutter department.  Today’s Challenge:


Gather up all those things you’ve decided you don’t want or need anymore and get them out of your home for good!

As you box and bag things up, make a list of what you are donating.  Keep this with the receipt you get from the place you donate and add it to your 2011 Taxes file for next year.  To help with this I’m offering my first downloadable file!  This Charitable Donation Worksheet is what I use to mark things down before I drop them off to charity.

Here’s how it works:

1. Click on the photo of  the document you want (with kids or child-free)
2. Download or print the document
3. Fill it out!
4. Donate your stuff.  Do this now.  Today.  Tomorrow at the latest. Don’t let the stuff stick around your house. It will continue to be clutter in your home until it’s GONE!
5. Staple your charitable donation receipt to the form.
6. File in your 2011 Taxes file (if you haven’t made one, now is the time)
7. Add the items from your list to your It’s Deductible account. If you use Turbo Tax, you can import the data into your taxes for next year. 

For families with kids

For families without kids

  Why keep a list of what you donate?  Well, if you don’t have a list, you can’t deduct the value on your taxes. And if you want to deduct you need to have a reasonably detailed listing according to the IRS.

What should you do after today? Print out a few copies of the document and put them on a clipboard.  Put the clipboard wherever your normally keep your stuff to be donated. Whenever you add something to the box or bag, note it on the worksheet.  Then you won’t need to do any work next time you have a full box to donate.  Just drop it off and file your paperwork.

Declutter Challenge #19

Just two more…. And today we’re back in:

The Kids’ Closet

If you have more than one child, try the other kid’s room today.  If you only have one child or your children share a room, head back into the closet again today.

And of course, if you are child-free, pick another room – like the guest room or office.

Declutter Challenge #18

We’re down to the wire!  Spring is right around the corner.  Are you as anxious as I am?  Just 3 challenges remain.  And today we’re checking out:

The Kids Closet

If you have more than 1 kid, just start in one room.  If you don’t have any kids, you get to pick a room of your choice – maybe the guest room or a home office.
The key for this room is to make this challenge for a limited amount of time.  You could easily spend all day working in here, but that’s not the goal for now.  Give yourself 5 or 15 or 50 minutes… whatever fits in your day.  Pick off the “low hanging fruit” – the things you can see immediately do not belong, no longer fit, you don’t like, etc.
If your child is old enough, get them involved in the process.  Let them know they can give their unwanted items to kids who may not have something like it.

You Should Be Reading

As we move forward into Spring, it’s a good time to keep life in perspective.

1. Keeping House by Nester @ Nesting Place – an excellent recap of what homekeeping and organization is all about.  It’s not about being perfect.  It’s about finding what works for you.

2. For When You Don’t Live Up by Emily @ Chatting at the Sky – Sister of Nester, Emily offers wonderful refreshing insight for a woman’s soul. 

3. Frost Yourself by Allison @ VAMH – This is an awesome, easy, inexpensive and attractive solution to jewelry storage.  Thanks for inspiring us, Allison!

4. Does Saying No Mean You are Lazy by Laura @ I’m An Organizing Junkie – We all need to know our limits and boundaries and embrace them.  Another great read on this topic is Boundaries by Henry Cloud & John Townsend.

5. Paper Goodie Bags {tutorial} by Emily @ Jones Design Company – I have many talents but crafting is not at the top of that list.  However, I do believe that even I can make these adorable bags.

6. 30 Day Cut The Clutter Challenge by Jo-Lynne @ Musings of a Housewife – Apparently Jo-Lynne and I were thinking alike at making March a declutter month.  Her progress is inspiring.

7. The Gift of Laughter by Jill @ The Diaper Diaries – We all need a good laugh and the embedded video of Bill Cosby & his chocolate cake for breakfast is an all-time favorite around my house.

8. Decorating a Large Wall by Shelley @ House of Smiths – Sometimes we get so stuck in how things are that we can’t see how they could be.  I love the “style shift”

St. Patrick’s Day Inspired Organizational Tools

Since it’s a fun day for celebrating all things Irish I thought we could review a few fun, functional and green-colored tools for organizing your home.

And just for fun…

May the road rise to meet you,
May the wind be always at your back,
May the sun shine warm upon your face,
The rains fall soft upon your fields and,
Until we meet again,
May God hold you in the palm of His hand.

Declutter Challenge #17

Just 4 more days left until SPRING!!!  Hooray!  Are you getting worn out yet?  Hang in there with me a few more days.  You’ll feel so much lighter when things are decluttered.  Today’s challenge:

Laundry Room

Whether you have a room, a closet or a corner of the basement for laundry, it’s time to make that spot as happy as can be for your laundry needs.  Now, few people really love doing laundry but we all have to do it anyway.  Make your space one that doesn’t totally frighten you away.  Take 10 minutes today and do a quick sweep of your laundry area and get rid of anything that doesn’t belong or needs to go.

And you might even want to toss a load in while you work!

Declutter Challenge #16

Today’s challenge might be a bit harder.  Not because of volume, but attachment.

Your Collection

{Photo via iStock}

Most people have at least one collection of something.  It might be stamps or figurines or strollers or {ahem} diaper bags.  Doesn’t matter.  We’re going to cull the masses a bit.  This might be tough.  These are things you have collected into a grouping.  But do you really LOVE them all?  I’m betting there are a few that were gifts from people that heard you were into owls (or whatever) and bought you the ugliest owl item they could find for 10 Christmases in a row.  Don’t keep things just because they are part of the theme despite the fact that you don’t like them.  Keep what you love.  Make your collection something that brings you joy.  If you are only able to get rid of one item I’ll be proud of you!  It’s the effort that counts at this point.

Oh… if you have more than 1 collection, I’m only challenging you to take on one of them.  But if you want to do more, I won’t stop you!

Declutter Challenge #15

We’re keeping in the theme of reading materials and moving on to:

The “Library”
Strahov Library, Prague
{via iStock}

Now, I’m guessing most of you don’t have a “Beauty & the Beast” castle style library (and if you do, please invite me over for a week of perusing!).  But you probably have a bookcase or 5 with reading materials collected over a lifetime of reading. 

The challenge: decide what you’ll really read again and/or want to keep for some kind of sentimental value.  I recently rid my bookcase of a few books from college that I had never actually read.  They were great philosophy type books and I wanted to be the type of person who would read them for pleasure.  But I had to own up to the fact that I am not.
Now, in full disclosure, I still haven’t rid my bookcase of my advanced mathematics text books from undergrad. While I will very likely never have a need for them again, they are such a part of who I am that I cannot yet bring myself to get rid of them. However, I have limited the space I allocated for books and only keep the amount that will fit in that space.  So if you have some books you don’t really need anymore, don’t worry… just make sure they are given the proper amount of space and not taking over your entire room.