Spring Cleaning Tips From Rita Emmett


declutterHappy Spring (cleaning) time!! Are you ready to start your clutter-busting journey but don’t know how to begin?

When I first started, I knew I didn’t have the discipline or organizational skills to get rid of my stuff, so I asked my clutter-free friends for help. (You don’t want to ask your totally cluttered friends for help because they will just tell you to keep everything, right?) Different friends helped in different ways.

For example, every time I went on a clutter-busting spree, I’d end up with several bags of stuff to donate. But my habit was to put them in the car with sincere intentions of delivering them to the Salvation Army. But then, three months later when I was going to drive some friends to the airport and I needed the space, I’d schlep the bags back into the house. Then of course I’d open them to remind myself what I was donating and ….well….you can probably guess the rest.

So my friend Mary agreed to come over after each clutter-busting spree, and take my bags to the Salvation Army. Now that I am a “Recovered Pack Rat”, I can do that all by myself, but I needed Mary’s help for the first year… or two…or more.

My friend Sandra offered to help me make decisions when clutter-busting my closet. She is much too kind to tell me how awful I look in certain outfits, so she came up with the words “I have no need to ever, ever see you in that again.”

Then when I finally got serious about getting rid of those things that I don’t need or use, I asked my clutter-free neighbor Dorothy to help me. We were not close friends when we started, but we became close during the process. She actually made up LIES about how a poor man would love my seven broken toasters so he could fix them and earn money to buy food for his family. I KNEW — as Dorothy walked away pulling a red wagon filled with broken toasters — that she was going to throw them out. But both of us knew that I could not yet throw them out all by myself. So that is how we did it.

Now you would be so proud of me. I can get rid of stuff I don’t need or use, and have stopped bringing useless stuff into my life.

But at the beginning, I needed help. I didn’t need an “organizer”, just someone who would take away my bags of donations or facilitate making tough decisions or dispose of stuff that I WANTED get rid of but was still unable to. THAT’s the kind of help I needed. Now I can do all that by myself, but I needed a few friends to lend a hand when I began the process of breaking my clutter habit.

Don’t feel that it is a weakness to ask for help. You’d be surprised how some of your clutter-free friends would gleefully delight in de-cluttering you. Try it. However you tackle your clutter, I wish you every success.

Rita Emmett is the author of The Procrastinator’s Handbook, The Clutter-Busting Handbook and Manage Your Time To Reduce Your Stress: A Handbook for the Overworked, Overscheduled, and Overwhelmed


3 thoughts on “Spring Cleaning Tips From Rita Emmett

  • April 15, 2011 at 8:50 am

    Great story and probably everyone needs support when getting rid of junk. There are companies like “Got Junk?” that will come to your home anytime to take the stuff away too. Thanks!

  • April 26, 2011 at 4:35 pm

    Actually, there might have been a man who wanted the toasters…if you have the time, post items on the “free” section of Craig’s List or Yahoo’s “Freecycle.” I held a Freecycle rummage sale once and it was successful. It’s always fun to see people in person get something for free and find your “garbage” a “treasure.”

    Or, participate in a neighborhood rummage sale, and have a “free” bin in addition to stuff you sell.

  • April 27, 2011 at 8:48 am

    Thanks, Marbelous – Freecycle and yard sales/giveaways are ALWAYS a great idea!

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