The Gurus of Tidiness: If You Like Marie Kondo …

The Japanese organizer may be the star of the moment, but others have equally appealing theories and strategies for decluttering your home.

Comments: 98

  1. I am firmly in the minimalist camp and have been so for years. The real test of this whole thing is what you don't buy. Fine to clean out and organize, but if you continue to buy unneeded stuff what's the point? And I hope everyone is getting these books out of the library.

  2. @Oh please Exactly!

  3. @Oh please ~ "And I hope everyone is getting these books out of the library." I'm sure many are checking out the books from the library but de-cluttering books are good for publishing profits so they must be selling too. A bit of a contradiction. I bought Marie Kondo's book and was dismayed when I got to the chapter about getting rid of books.

  4. @Oh please I bought my tidying up books at our annual library book sale and will re-donate them once I've figure out how to apply their wisdom to my life. Another thing to aspire to!!

  5. I think that people are feeling less empowered to affect distressing political and ecological situations right now, and find it comforting to get concrete results from these strategies in their personal lives. It really is less stressful to have fewer things in your home, with easier ways to access and maintain them. After "MarieKondoizing" our home, we now only look at the things we value. That will inform (and limit) our future purchases.

  6. @Anita someone said when you're in the store, ask yourself 'do i want this or do i need it?'. it usually gets me to put the thing back on the shelf...

  7. Learn from the Buddhist Monks if you are serious about being a minimalist! Many of us live in consumer dominated societies so we shop. We go to the Mall. We buy stuff. Some of the stuff is stuff we need. Some or most we could live without. Some of us have too much in too little space. While others have mansions with large closets and walls filled with expensive art that they love and collect . Do not forget about the millions of people who nothing and are lucky to have even one nice winter coat !

  8. @old lady cook The mall is a museum where I go once a year to see all the nice things that I don’t want in my house. I am forever grateful that they are willing to store all these things for me to visit on occasion. The admission is free!

  9. @old lady cook People still go to the mall?

  10. I love my stuff. It's a sort-of history of my life. I have books piled up everywhere, tchotchkes hanging from cupboard knobs, travel memorabilia, old newspaper articles taped to the fridge, toys from my childhood, photos, knitting yarn, unfinished projects, boxes of recipes, tatty old notebooks, you know... stuff. I know where everything is. OK, maybe not every single thing. And maybe it is a bit cluttered. But, when I look around, my stuff fills me with delight. I've lived a pretty good life and reminders of it are all around me. And I expect there will be more.

  11. @Victoria Winteringham Oh, it would be lovely to see some photos!

  12. @Victoria Winteringham Thank you for this. I agree completely. I love nature with all its clutter. A sterile minimalist environment reminds me of a manicured lawn or a golf course.

  13. @Victoria Winteringham Exactly, the things you describe "spark joy" and that's one reason you keep them!

  14. Labeling items that can be easily seen, color coding your possessions isn't organization. It's the restlessness of a haunted mind.

  15. @Anon. Good choice of word - haunted. I was thinking of something much more pejorative. Life is clutter, and clutter, life.

  16. @Anon I think I love you.

  17. @Anon Anon - I was thinking that all that labeling and color coding was a mark of trying to have control in a pretty out-of-control world.

  18. I admire tidy people from the bottom of the heart and the marrow of the bones. But I like to keep my papers piled on the desk, all within the field of vision and hand's reach. For disclosure, my wife gets eventually annoyed by the disorder, files them away, and I have to ask her where is something that I need.

  19. @Tuvw Xyz Creative people are known to keep everything within a arms length, in a circle, around their working space. In the cubicle world of my working life one can tell the engineers from the creatives instantly from how their desks are arranged.

  20. This trend is not new. Several years ago I sold a box of books all dealing with decluttering, organizing etc. what worked for me is leaving my home of 25 years and moving to a much smaller townhome without an 1100 square foot basement. My closets still need work but overall I am much better off. I also hired a talented designer to arrange the furniture and hang the pictures. Having a home filled with things I truly care abut it is very satisfying.

  21. @JohnFred BIessed are they who have basements! Alas.....many of us live in small apartments in cities. Alas....

  22. @Dot I understand. We moved to Plano, Texas. No basements here for anyone.

  23. In the Riddle of the Sands, the skipper tossed out two items for every one that he brought aboard the boat. When I shop, the first question I ask is where will I put it? The second question is how will I find it?

  24. @Beaconps That's a great book, isn't it? There's also a film version with Michael York.

  25. You can have a lot of stuff without being cluttered. I have 4000 LPs, but they are filed in shelves in closets and cannot be seen, except for the box of recently-played records waiting to be refiled. The books are all in shelves, the clothes are in drawers, the kitchen stuff is in cabinets. Down in the basement, there are boxes on shelves, each one correctly labelled with the contents, and filing cabinets full of alphabetized documents. It works for me. I can put my hand on any record I want to play, or any book I want to read, because they're all stored in the correct place.

  26. @Jonathan Yes, and you probably also enjoy the activity of keeping things organized. I spend hours in my basement labeling bins/cabinet locations of specialty tools, nails and fasteners, and a plethora of stuff that has accumulated over many years of woodworking and home improvement projects. At my house, we pride ourselves on not only knowing where everything is, but because we tend not to throw out useful items, we also pride ourselves on rarely having to go to any sort of home improvement store. If we need a #8 machine screw that's 1-1/2 inches long, I know exactly where the bin is that would have that--even if I bought that box of screws twenty years ago. But, sadly, most people are not like us. Things end up in some random pile that "needs to be organized some day." They need some help or their stuff overwhelms them, especially if they are downsizing. So, yes, it's possible to be hyper-organized on one's own, but let's not be condescending to those who don't share our organizing skills and mindset.

  27. @Jonathan Brilliant! Are you a librarian?

  28. I realized this past December that one of the things making recovery from my current PTSD 'flare' harder was the fact that I had so much stuff. I hate clutter, and the sheer amount of stuff I owned made emotional stability harder to find because I couldn't stabilize my physical space. In the last 3 months I have purged at least 50% of everything I owned, including 70% of my books. I found that what helped most was asking myself if the item had any immediate or even medium-term practical value. If not, it went. It probably helps that I don't attach sentiment to physical items very often. Another helpful strategy was donating everything, the books to a library, everything else to the thrift store. I spent my 20s living in poverty, so knowing that my things (the good quality, good state of repair items) will benefit someone who can't afford it new is great. I wanted my books to bring joy to others, and they'll do that in the library. Knowing my purge would (hopefully) help others kept me motivated to keep going, and prevented me from keeping things I knew deep down I didn't need. I hadn't heard of Marie Kondo until February, so her method didn't jump-start this, but I do agree with her and Joshua Becker that owning less helps one's peace of mind. My PTSD is finally in remission after 3 years of active symptoms, and I think the declutter helped immensely. Clear space really can equal a clear mind; my home is now a space my mind can rest in.

  29. Sheila Chandra deserves a nod of gratitude for being an early starter of this movement -- many years ago...

  30. Twice a year, it's my habit to look through my things and purge, donate, give away what no longer seems to be something I use. With regard to books, I keep what's not easily replaced or borrowed from the library.

  31. My husband’s grandfather had a wonderful saying that we often refer to: the more you own, the more It owns you. Do you have to store it, take care of it, maintain it, is it taking time away from doing other things? Is it costing you more money beyond that initial purchase? Simplify!!!

  32. Martha Stewart was championing an organized, thoughtful and deliberate approach to a clean aesthetic decades ago. She called it “homekeeping”. Everything old is new again.

  33. I've help a lot of people declutter/clean out their homes and listened to even more complain about the stuff they have. I am always a bit surprised the way they talk about the stuff they own (can't repeat what they say in the NYT) and yet how can't bring themselves to get rid of it. 'I hate it but I keep it'. Talk about a dysfunctional relationship

  34. “ The question isn’t whether or not your stuff sparks joy. The question is: can you spark joy all by yourself? Do you remember how that feels?” -from What if This Were Enough, by Heather Havrilesky I am all for not having more than one needs. But simply being tidy is not a panacea.

  35. I read the Kondo book years ago when first published and have stayed true to the principles. The hardest part is not buying something that attracts your eye. How many white shirts do I need, right? And selling many of my watches, scarves, etc. on E bay that did not bring me joy have reaped a few unexpected dollars. The selling part is definitely fun and I use that money to get a massage or buy skin care products.

  36. people making huge money advising others on how to tidy their homes' up pretty much sums things up in this country. people with too much stuff, that they paid too much money for, and with too much disposable income to try and have someone else fix it. we're doomed.

  37. Marie Kondo is very unique in her approach and this uniqueness makes it very successful. In her book she tells about her failures and how those failures made her reach her current methods. Those failures are very familiar to me because i made them all myself too . What helped me most is her philosophy is that a successful tidying has to be driven my your emotions not by your logic . Your logic and reasoning is going to fool you , logic will tell you getting rid of thins is a waste, someday you may need that item or fit in to that dress, someone else in family may need it, you may be able to sell it. Logic fools us , you just need to trust your emotions in this area and hold an item and see if it brings you joy. And the results after this emotional journey are so logical go figure it out

  38. I see a lot of plastic in those pictures. Plastic is part of the problem!

  39. How is it possible you left off this list, "The Gentle Art of Swedish Death Cleaning" by Margareta Magnusson. Short sweet and covers everything covered in any of the other books/movements.

  40. I used to do professional organizing...and here's my best advice: hold off on buying the new containers no matter how cool they look or how happy they make you feel. Get rid of as much stuff as possible first, get down to the essentials of your work or personal life, and then assess your container needs. Very often, if you are tempted to stick it in a box, you don't really need it, so avoid putting "stuff" in a box that you'll never look inside of again. New containers can be a fun reward at the end of the process, but they can also actually add to your clutter and to our environmental waste.

  41. @kglen So true. My husband's fallback approach is to throw every bit of clutter into a box or container without organizing or trying to downsize it. (After his father passed away, we had to clear out his apartment - now I know it's either an inherited or taught trait!). I recently discovered half a dozen boxes that had been buried at the back of the garage since our last move - 15 years ago - which actually contained some treasured family photographs and heirlooms that I've been endlessly searching for! I try to attack my family's clutter one box or drawer at a time. I'll empty a drawer out, put everything I've seen worn in the past year back in, and ask the owner of the drawer to pick up anything else they want to keep out of the pile and put it back into the drawer. The remainder goes to friends, the thrift shop, or (frequently) the rag bag. The sheer amount of "stuff" that accumulates if you don't weed out old items as new comes in is ridiculous, and if you don't handle it yourself, your children will end up burdened and resentful for having to deal with 30-year old stained and worn clothing, excess kitchenware, and so forth. Family heirlooms and pictures are worth saving, as are books or other personally prized possessions, but at this point I have been clearing out stuff steadily for over three years and feel as if I've barely made a dent.

  42. @kglen Good point. I saw all those plastic containers and bins and shuddered for the environment. As my Depression- era grandparents used to say: "Use it up, make it do, wear it out", and "When in doubt, do without."

  43. @kglen Great idea! I don't need a box labeled "Pieces of string that are too short to use for anything."

  44. A word of caution. While decluttering is great and minimalist living is a wonderful aspiration, people would do well to slow down, look at each item they are discarding and spend a long time thinking about who would find joy in the item. Don't just think your local thrift store wants everything. Find good welcoming homes for your stuff. Example: maybe instead of ditching all your old coffee cups at any old thrift store, there is a homeless shelter that wants your cups for its drop in coffee pot. Just unloading on a thrift store or, even worse, the landfill perpetuates the careless attitude that acquired this unwanted stuff in the first place.

  45. I bought all three of the new books mentioned here to declutter my living space but I seem to have misplaced them. I know they're here somewhere. As soon as I find them I'll finally sit down and read them to learn their secrets on how to tidy this place up. It will be such a relief to get that priceless information that only entrepreneurial strangers can know. Wait! Is that them over there on top of my Marie Kondo "compartment shelves" that I bought after reading her book. Nope. Maybe that's them with the Marie Kondo "atmosphere enhancers" on top of them. Uh-uh. Let me check the drawers of my Marie Condo "specialty containers." Not there. Inside the hall closet with my Marie Condo "compartment shelving?" Darn it. In one of my Marie Condo "utility boxes?" Geez. They have to be here somewhere in all this clutter. Is there another entrepreneurial stranger out there who can help me find those three books so I can finally learn the secrets of throwing stuff away?

  46. @Esposito Your response sparked the joy of laughter in me!

  47. Far too many people jump to the conclusion that if they just had a better system or shelves or whatever, they'd be organized. They overlook that the place to start is their mindset. If you're not an organized person, new shelving, or organizers won't help you, it'll end up cluttered and overburdened very quickly, just like the cluttered space with which you started. Start with your brain, you have to want to be organized, if you don't change your mindset first, don't waste your money on products or books (unless they have a few first chapters on changing your behaviors). Just saying.

  48. @Brian Agree completely because "thinking = work". If you don't do the work (in your head) you won't execute. Even if you do go through the motions once, if you haven't adopted a new way of approaching your "stuff", nothing will change in the long run.

  49. You can blame it all on conspicuous consumerism. We wouldn't need to declutter and organize if we didn't buy unnecessary stuff. Of course the root cause is the human nature to keep up with Jonses two rungs above in the social order, helped by the Madison Avenue. Overall the movement would be good for the society if instills even a bit of minimalism in people.

  50. First world problems. You can all beat up on my now...I can take it.

  51. @Trish You would be surprised; I have family and friends in South America from a variety of income levels. Their homes are all in as much need of decluttering than any regular home in the US.

  52. Hey, you missed the flylady, she is about decluttering and maintaining it without turning your world dramatically upside down.

  53. @SW You are correct! My friend was a follower of Fly Lady years ago. Netflix and streaming didn't exist back then. The beauty of the internet (YouTube) is that what worked years ago (generations in fact) can be new again in the 21st century. After all, people are people and they always need storage. How they manage it (if they have any) is what this trend is all about!

  54. And you don't have to buy ANYTHING. It is funny that most answers to decluttering requires more stuff. Too much stuff is the problem.

  55. Meh. I have travelled and moved cities my whole life and really value the few things I have been able to retain that have history to them - they spark so many more emotions than just joy. And I have a life-long inspiration from our graphics teacher in Landscape Architecture school, the enthusiastic Mike Lin, a terrific teacher who was full of short phrases of guidance for good drafting and rendering..One of my favorites from him is: "Messy is Creative." Take that, miss kondo..

  56. I have struggled all my life with organization, tidiness, etc. and have read many books on the subject, most recently Marie Condo's book. What I have learned is that I am a hoarder (in a mild way, not like on TV.) If I'm not careful, I will buy more (shampoo, clothes, coffee pods, etc.) before I use up what I already have or get rid of what I don't like. That is what clutters my home--multiples of the same stuff. I also have problems with paper, mostly mail, receipts, etc. that end up in piles. In the past, I have gone through my house room by room, section by section, purging and organizing, but somehow, it never lasts and before I know it, I'm enveloped in clutter again. I have concluded that to permanently conquer this clutter, I must make deep-down modifications to my behavior. First of all, I have stopped buying anything that I don't absolutely need right away. I'm working now on getting rid of duplicates and other things that I don't need or love. After that, I plan to re-organize what I have so that everything is easy for me to find (by color coding, Marie Kondo folding, labeled containers, etc.). However, I'm going to allow myself one hoarding indulgence. I have four bookcases full of books, some of which I have read and some that I haven't gotten to yet. Those books are the first thing you see when you walk into my house and they express who I am as a person. Reading has been so important to my life and truly makes me happy--I can't give up my books, ever.

  57. @Sophie I used to buy multiples of health and beauty stuff, especially if it were on sale, or it's something I'm buying through mail order (and I wanted to maximize the shipping cost). However, I recently decided that less 'stuff' in my home feels better to me, and if it means I don't save as much money by buying things in bulk, so be it. The lack of savings is worth it to me. So no more buying multiples of health and beauty aids. Also, no more buying the larger sized (cheaper $ by the pound) food staples such as olive oil, sugar, flour, etc., and which I normally take a while to use up anyway. I now buy the smaller sizes. This not only means I have less clutter or things to take up space in my cabinets, but it also means such products are fresher, by virtue of the smaller sizes being used up more quickly, and then needing to be replaced with new, fresher versions. As a NYer who has tended to move to a new apartment every 10 years or so, having smaller sizes of everything, and fewer duplicate/backup supplies of things, also makes it easier for my next apartment move. Typically it's all those random supplies (kitchen cabinet food staples, toiletries, freezer/fridge contents) that make the moving and packing up/unpacking so arduous.

  58. Decluttering for me is a perpetual chore. I have learned to use clear containers and don't write on them. Take the manufacturer's labels off. Replace them with a sturdy tape you can write on, like white duck tape, on all sides and label what's in the container on the tape. That makes it easier to repurpose the containers. One of my biggest challenges is in my workshop with wood cutoffs. Lately, anything shorter than 12" goes in the firepit bag. But, even then I find myself retrieving some of that. There are some days that I feel I'm on an archeological dig in my own home, rediscovering long lost artifacts. That even happens in the back of the fridge and canned goods shelves; and is a particular challenge when the "Use By" dates are no longer legible. Oh well, it does tantalize one's sense of discovery and help keep you entertained in retirement. Maybe, most of us were never meant to live in a photoready IKEA like demo room.

  59. Yes, I can relate. Thanks, you made me laugh.

  60. @John Warnock anything shorter than 12"?. i save every cutoff of good stuff, thinking i'll work it into something down the road. you can barely move in my workshop as a result. one of these days, though......

  61. In the results photos, I see a lot of plastic bags and containers storing all those "things that give one joy and are therefore worth saving." IMHO, that is not environmentally wise or sustainable. One of the most helpful ways to keep your home decluttered and tidy in my experience is to do lots of activities outdoors and stay out of your home as much as possible!

  62. I'd recommend Remodelista: The Organized Home by Julie Carlson and Margot Guralnick-- it offers great, practical, and aesthetically pleasing tidying advice and emphasizes sustainability, which I really appreciate. It has helped us organize our home in a way that makes common tasks more efficient and tidier without sacrificing comfort/homeyness-- it definitely should be in this article.

  63. I recommend The Gentle Art of Swedish Death Cleaning. I can’t remember the author’s name but she is an elderly Swedish lady with life experience. She says it’s your job not to leave a mess for other people to clean up. She gives one permission to dispose of things, even things given to you as a gift

  64. @Semper Liberi Montani I'm of the same belief...that I don't want my family to have to deal with all my 'stuff' once I die. This is yet another good reason to live simply. I also feel no guilt in getting rid of presents that others have given me. I might hold onto it for a year or so, for the next time that person is at my home, so they can see I have it out. But eventually, if it's something I don't want/need, I sell it or donate it. Most of my friends/family should understand by now that I am not a 'stuff' person. But it seems some people just can't stop themselves from buying gifts/stuff for other people. Once we hit a certain age, it's fair to say we don't need more random 'stuff' or gifts. It's one thing if someone gives us something that they KNOW we need, or a particular piece of jewelry they KNOW we were coveting. But a random vase or candlestick holder? Um, thanks but no.

  65. @Semper Liberi Montani, Yes! And it's very nicely read on Audible. :-)

  66. Margareta Magnusson; great book.

  67. i don't care how much stuff i accumulate, i would never pay someone to come in and "help" me organize. the real problem would be getting me to let go of items that i love (or claim to love) but never wear. i'd end up arguing with my professional organizer. i can do that with friends for nothing.

  68. A big part of the problem in the US is the social isolation of people; in other words, Americans only know people of their own socio-economic level, so nobody to give things to.

  69. If it's going into the basement or attic or storage facility it might as well go to the curb. Someone else might find joy in what you're discarding.

  70. As an artist, I learned that being organized is essential for building to a successful end. But, I also know that always being organized will stifle creativity. Sometimes, many times actually, you just have to let it go. Of course, once you have reached your goal you have to reset the clock, so to say, get re-organized and, as such, be ready to do it again. Which reminds me, I have to scrape down the pallet in preparation for the next set of paints.

  71. Here are some of the basic ways I try to live simply: 1) all my worldly possessions are contained within my small 1BR NYC apt. Nothing in my parents' attic...nothing in a rented storage space. I can only have possessions that fit within my apartment. 2) I strive to remember that...one can never own or have too LITTLE in one's home, but one can certain have too MUCH. I am constantly considering what it is in my home...what I can purge/sell/donate... 3) I generally only buy something new to Replace something else already in my home. 4) While I love to cook, I don't buy cooking/baking pans, appliances, etc. unless I know I'll use them quite regularly, and/or they are multi-functional. So for example a special item that is designed/intended SOLELY to make it easier to remove an avocado pit and then slice the avocado and then scoop it all out in one motion?? Not something I would buy! 5) I try to be self-aware, and recognize when I'm starting to feel 'anxious' because my apartment is starting to feel like it's not as minimalist as I'd like it to be. I always feel more calm, the more open space I have in my apartment...on the floor, tabletops, counter, etc. This in turn causes me to once again consider what I can get rid of. 6) Not having much closet space, I employ a folding/shoji screen in the corner of my living room as a 'second closet'. I keep my vacuum, cat carrier, etc. behind the screen. It looks nice, and hides 'ugly' clutter.

  72. Depending on lifestyle, there are all kinds of organizing methods. I'm visually oriented, so anything in a drawer is immediately forgotten. I use shelves and clear bins. It might appear cluttered to someone else, but I need to see what I own. And, since I try to be frugal, I stockpile things when they're on sale. But I live in a 1 bedroom apartment and have never needed to store anything off-site. So I'm not a minimalist, but I am organized.

  73. For starters, it helps to live in a smaller space. Living in a cottage of less than 500 square feet, I think pretty carefully before acquiring any new possession.

  74. Although I laughed at Marie Kondo's method when I bought the book for my husband (whose shelves may fall to the floor soon from overloading), I find her approach particularly helpful in certain areas, especially clothing. Folding items in baskets, bins or drawers bins so you can see everything at once is immensely helpful. No more digging through giant drawers of socks or t-shirts. How many pairs of socks do we need? How many have no mates, but we don't know for certain until we empty the whole drawer? How many t-shirts with holes or stains do I actually need to keep for cooking, cleaning and gardening? Hardware, however, is a whole other issue!

  75. I'm sure trying to de-clutter after a few family members passed away. Not to mention getting rid of my own copious belongings. I know I'm guilty of duplicating items but I really try hard when I want to buy something to think of whether I have the same thing at home already. And I try to keep a bag by the front door of things that I can take to the Goodwill when it's full. And I have lots of things listed on eBay. Still, it's a constant struggle. Especially with items on sale.

  76. 50 years ago we were going to the moon and the Mets were headed to the World Series. Welcome to the Age of Diminished Expectations. Not to worry, though. The new generations - Z and the hapless Millennials won't be able to buy much after rent, student debt and, oh don't forget - retirement.

  77. “It’s about appearances; it’s about the mask that I wear... I want everybody to see me as having a neat, clean, organized house.” Unauthentic. Sad. Such escapes will continue to build to a frenzy as our civilizations devolve due to stresses from influences such as natural changes due to humankind's abuse and neglect of our environment, and class conflicts resulting from unequal distributions of wealth.

  78. @bill . Actually, I considered her honesty refreshing. In one way or another, most of wear masks as we try to negotiate with ourselves who we want and ought to be. Part of getting there is by trying out different identities until we reach the ones we embrace in actuality. In the end, she'll have to admit to herself who she is and will get there on her own.

  79. I find it incredible that people make a living out of organizing others. For me it's common sense, personal preference and in my genes. I can't relate to others telling me how many books to have or that I must love things to keep them.

  80. Throw away my books? They bring me joy every single day. I have never had a problem with "stuff". Throwing away a book just to make my home appear organized is an entirely different matter. My daughter's house is minimalist, and feels cold and uninviting. My house feels like a comfy library. Want a book on a local architect, or the drafting of the Constitution, our current constitutional crisis, or the complete works of William Shakespeare and Leonard Cohen? I'm your man.

  81. I would also add to this list Bea Johnson's Zero Waste Living. In conjunction with Maria Kondo's book, I have been following Bea's pathway. Not only is my home tidier, but I am beginning to eliminate plastic and paper and acquiring so few new-to-me items that my home is paring itself down organically in addition to all my efforts. I'm eating better because I buy most of my food bulk or in its natural state, and that's also saving me money. And, truly, it takes so long so most of clothes to wear out, most of which are classic styles, that I will probably get many more years of mileage on them.

  82. Simply Clean is also an excellent book to help with this process - cleaning and decluttering!

  83. After reading Marie Kondo's "The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying UP," I hopped on an airplane from Paris to LAX, rented a car, drove to my storage of 7years that had been costing me $73/month, emptied it, tossed most things off, gave out some things, filled two small suitcases containing family pictures and some mementos from my late son, hopped on the plane four days later back to Paris. Back in Paris, I donated many things to homeless people. I've warned my beau NEVER to buy me anything without my knowledge or consent otherwise, I'd give them away right away. But he can always surprise me with fine jewelry.

  84. There used to be a TV show called Neat, starring Hellen Buttigieg. She is from Canada, and it shows how she works with people to determine how to organize their homes. It was a great inspiration to me years ago.

  85. My family when I was growing up kept all kinds of junk because they thought one day they would have a need for it. Now that I’m on my own, if I don’t have a use for something I don’t buy it or keep it. That there are plenty of store that sell stuff that is essentially useless says a lot about the American consumer, mindless buying.

  86. Is this a misprint about only keeping five books? Who wants to live in a house, much less bring up children, in a home with only five books?

  87. A bit of a brag: I wrote the book "RIGHTSIZINGYOUR LIFE: Simplifying Your Surroundings While Keeping What Matters Most" Pre-MK--more then a DECADE AGO...2007, named by the Wall treet Journal "One of the 5 Top Books" on the subject of downsizing and retiring to smaller quarters. You don't have to buy the book--get it as an ebook and save shelf space!

  88. I successfully decluttered 5 years ago and have kept it up using mostly two rules 1) Paper is the Enemy of Clean. Do as much as possible to get rid of it and not bring it into your home. 2) (From Dana White of A Slob Comes Clean) The container is the limit. Once it is full it’s time to get rid of something before letting anything else in. Your toy box is a container. So is your closet.

  89. Just please don't buy huge plastic bins to organize, that will not decompose and will clutter the earth for thousands of years in your bid to have a decluttered home!

  90. I have had to move many times and before I started getting rid of things, I would always re-read "How to get rid of your clutter with Feng Shui," by Karen Kingston.. It helped me decide what to toss and what to keep. Now we have lived in the same place for a few years so I no longer have that automatic need to purge things but I try to keep possessions under control. I have a dozen saris in their own lovely armoire, some of which my mother gave me. I have 22 salwaar khameezes (Pakistani tunics and pants outfits) in another closet and finally a closet full of Western clothes that I wear most often. But all these things bring me joy and I wear them regularly. One way of organizing clothes to look beautiful is by following the colors of the rainbow VIBGYOR and putting like colors together. I so follow the rule that if I buy something new to wear then I have to toss something old. The other thing we have a lot of is books, but they are all organized on bookshelves by category and subcategory: Indian authors, African authors, English Literature, cookbooks etc. I have given away some books and very seldom buy books anymore, getting them form the library. Not all of us are drawn to minimalism. I like having the choice of clothes I do, but if you actually wear what you have and organize it well then it's not clutter but wearable art!

  91. I'd like to organize but living with ADD and OCPD makes it so HARD...

  92. So you’re supposed to buy more stuff to store the stuff you never use? How absolutely American and idiotic.

  93. Just please be certain that as soon as you forget about the fashion to be tidy, you won't go out and buy more stuff to replace your waste. All too often, people don't think about the consequences of waste and replacement. It's too easy in our disposable society. Joy is one thing, waste quite another.

  94. An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Quit buying things and the tidying will take care of itself.

  95. And the prequel will be titled, Don't Buy it in the First Place. (That's my goal.) Then maybe, Don't Make it, Either. This will sound terrible, but seeing a few years of gruesome pictures of flood damage, the idea of all that stuff is kind of sickening. I'm working on recycling anything that isn't functional, regularly needed, important documents, or art.

  96. One of the photographs in this article shows an expensive 30- to 36-inch cupboard with two roll-out trays that hold nothing but empty plastic food containers and their covers. What an incredible waste of space.

  97. I can understand getting rid of everything but my books.

  98. For years I have heard the "wise" maxim touted by organizers that one should go through one's clothes by holding up each item and asking, "have I worn this in the last year?" If the answer is no, then get rid of it! This is always stated with great authority. My silent response is, "so what?" I mean this genuinely. So what if I haven't worn it in the past year? I might use it this year or next year. Recently I threw out a floor mat I had by my back door when I realized it was disintegrating from the bottom. I replaced it with a new rug I have kept in my storage room for years. Was I supposed to rid of that rug because I haven't used it till now? When John Richardson, the Picasso expert, died recently I went right to my library to get a book by him that I bought years ago but haven't read in years. It was a delightful read and I'm glad I had it.. I have a lot of stuff, but I know where most of it is and continually return to it. Why would I throw it out? I have a sister who is probably a true hoarder and her home is a problem. But she has an answer that stops people in their tracks. "But my stuff is valuable." She is right. She always bought things (mostly antiques) when she found they had been underpriced by unknowing dealers. She has a good eye. It is, however, very difficult to walk through her house due to the clutter and piles. For some of us clutter is complicated.