Overwhelming Clutter


lav_flowerThis was submitted by Linda Kessel. It’s not really a reader-hack, but I figured she needs an answer.

I’m at the end of my rope, looking at the clutter in my home and unable to ever catch up. I’m disabled and I physically can’t move the mess. My partner recently underwent back surgery so he’s not able to help. The mess is overwhelming, and all my counselors can say is to pace myself. But at this rate, I’ll never have a comfortable home to live in. Please, I NEED HELP!!!


There is something to be said for pacing yourself and having patience. But I understand your frustration! It sounds like you and your partner need to call upon the kindness of family and friends for some help and support. You could have a clutter-buster party! Maybe provide some snacks and beverages? You might be surprised at how people will step up and help out when you really need it!

Any other words of wisdom for Linda?


4 thoughts on “Overwhelming Clutter

  • October 29, 2007 at 8:00 pm

    This is the first thing that came to mind: hire a professional organizer, even if it’s just for one session.

    You’ll get much more done, and that will give you a boost for moving forward on your own. The organizer can also strategize with you, so you’ll have a plan of attack – which could include making the best use of family and friends.

    Another thought: Read one of the following for information (and inspiration) about working through a lot of clutter, bit by bit:

    * The Messies Manual, by Sandra Felton

    * Sink Reflections, by Marla Cilley, the Flylady – or her web site & e-mails.

  • October 30, 2007 at 8:42 pm

    The church I attend has a woman who holds a calling which is called “Compassionate Service Leader”. I was approached by her the other evening and she asked if I had time to help another woman in our congregation who is disabled. She told me she needed her closet decluttered. As a new professional organizer, I am always looking for things to do and for me, the joy and experience outweighs the money. The joyful expressions on the person’s face when they look and see what progress has been made!

    I would suggest that if you attend a church that you ask around and find out if there is someone….even if they are not a professional organizer…..who would be willing to come in for a few hours here and there to help. Get commitment dates and be ready to get to work whether it is making the decisions or actually moving the articles. Often, I find that the decision making process is stressful and wears a person out easily……prepare yourself!

  • October 30, 2007 at 10:34 pm

    I agree with asking for help from friends and family wholeheartedly. Here’s my story:

    A friend and her partner were spending tons of time away from our group on weekends. Every time we asked what they were up to, they said, working on the house. They wanted to get it on the market and get it sold. So we, the group, decided to butt in and help mainly because we missed their company.

    We had our friends make a list of everything that needed to be done to get the house ready for sale, from cleaning and cleaning out, to yard work, flower beds, and painting. One Saturday last month we had a “get their house ready to sell” party. We all joined in and did whatever it is we did best. I painted a lot of trim and spackled holes in walls. There were about 15 of us including the owners. They bought food and provided soft drinks and everyone split up the jobs.

    We even rearranged rooms to make the house look more “normal”. The big screen TV was in front of the fireplace so we could see it while sitting on the back porch during sports parties:).

    Very little was left to do when that Saturday was over, and they finished the rest up after work a few days the following week. They put the house on the market the week after that.

    From the perspective of someone asked to help, it was great fun and I really felt good about helping my friends when they needed it. I welcome opportunities like this because it builds community and a strong sense of caring about things outside your own doors. I got to have long conversations with people I usually don’t get to talk with much while we worked in a room together. It was just great. When I visit family or they visit me, we always put in some time on task that needs to be completed and get it done together.

  • October 31, 2007 at 1:37 pm

    Thanks so much for your comments, ladies! Very helpful advice.


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