Clutter Rehab: A Picture Is Worth A Hundred Things

For those of you that don’t know, this is Dr. Drew of Celebrity Rehab, a show I don’t watch unless it pops up while I’m changing channels, and then I can’t always look away.

And no, I haven’t exactly relapsed per se, but I think I’d admit to pretty much anything if Dr. Drew was giving me that look. Squirrel pretty much nailed it when he called it the – “You can do better.” look.

Well, I can (and can’t) do better.

Have you ever noticed that you can go along for weeks with all your balls in the air until someone adds just one more, and this happens:

Then no one (especially you) seems to remember that you balanced 100 things for as many days when 101 sets you this far back.

It won’t be news to you that I’m finding out that I am exactly the same person as I was in May of last year, only with 10,000 fewer things.

I’m still an overwhelmed Mom operating just one ball short of a blow out. And as much as I’d like to say that getting rid of 10,000 things changed me, that wouldn’t be the whole truth. The fact is, I may always need a little help keeping decluttering somewhere near the top of my list of priorities.

Looking back on the challenge it amazes/amuses me that it all started with something as simple as a picture. The key to my motivation was simply seeing my stuff through your eyes. And, of course, the fact that you didn’t all cancel your subscriptions upon reading stuff like this.

Well, I think it’s time to pick up the camera again, but let’s leave the numbers out of it this time. Will you join me in a motivation experiment?

Take out your phone, camera, or even just your finger frame and snap a shot of any area in your home where you can (and want) do better (cue: Dr. Drew’s understanding but disappointed look). If you’re really brave, you can imagine how a Home Show host might introduce your picture to their audience.  Now, go on with your life.

What happened? Did you make any changes? Did you get rid of anything? Did you do it all at once or slowly over the course of a week? How did it make you feel?

How does your inner Dr. Drew look now?


17 thoughts on “Clutter Rehab: A Picture Is Worth A Hundred Things

  1. I cleaned out my closet a couple of weeks ago, and blogged about it. I donated (or tossed, depending on the condition) 31 items. I was quite proud of myself, thank you. Then, when I got home, apparently my husband had read my blog, and turned all my hangers around. I wrote about this trick – turn your hangers around, and as you wear the item, you turn the hanger back – if it’s still the wrong way around after 6 months, out it goes. I had been “served”.

    • I like a man with a sense of humour. However, if it was me, I wouldn’t have realized for a couple of weeks then got completely confused about which way the hangers were supposed to be and probably tossed the stuff I’d worn and kept the stuff I hadn’t. Squirrel knows he just can’t play with me like that!
      Congratulations on the closet clear out and great tip – if your significant other isn’t tricky. That just reminded me, I put sticky notes in all of Squirrel’s ski base layers. Any garment with a note still in it gets the (ski)boot next season.

  2. Oh my… I fear I am all too familiar with the 101st ball in the air syndrome. Sometimes the smallest things will throw me completely for a loop. It seems that no matter how much I slow down, de-clutter, minimalize and simplify – I still can’t help but feel that there’s just too much. On some level I think it’s just the price we pay for living in a world of infinite opportunities. I mean, I can get overwhelmed just looking at the zillions upon zillions of things to watch on Netflix! Sometimes I just long for boredom.

    I must say, though, that your kitchen look beautiful… clutter and all – I am seething with jealousy!

  3. I’m totally going to take a picture. And I should have done it yesterday because my kitchen exploded 10x worse than yours. No joke.

    Also, I’m sending lots of hugs your way because I get it. I operate on the “not one more thing!” mentality almost daily. I had one too much the past few days. Thank you for making me feel not so alone and normal.

    P.S. Think what those poor kids of Dr. Drew must go/went through! Please, Daddy, not the look!

    • Sometimes, by the time my oldest and my husband get out the door, I don’t even recognize myself. Then my youngest wants his breakfast and my attention. If I’m not on my game, the day gets away from me by 9am. I think it’s pretty typical for women and mothers to feel the pressure of holding the world together. Ah life!
      Thanks for the hugs – I’m sending some right back at ya!
      Your comment about Dr. Drew’s kids made my day Friday. I had a much needed giggle in the middle of an out of control day. Thanks!

  4. OK… this is totally beside the point, but somehow I just remembered this amusing little story…

    So a dear friend of mine was going through an overwhelmed period in her life, and she and I were commiserating about it. She said to me “I got up in the morning and dragged myself into the bathroom, and as I’m sitting on the toilet I realize that there’s no TP, and I thought – I just can’t handle ONE MORE THING!

    I didn’t dare point out that if the first thing you encounter when you pop out of bed in the morning makes you feel like you can’t handle one “more” thing, it’s probably not a very good sign!

    p.s. I still haven’t managed to take a photo of my “corner of clutter” but I’m trying to work up to it. :~)

    • Oh my! That is just too funny, but the toilet paper gets me all the time too! Especially when I’m the only one who ever changes a roll. I mean, really, how did I become the CEO of TP in my house. I hope your friend has moved past her difficult time.
      I hear you about working up to taking the photo. I find it really hard to get there too. Am thinking of just raising my finger frame and saying click from now on. Being the wordy type I have no trouble coming up with an accompanying narrative to my clutter scene.
      You inspired me with your previous comment about my kitchen. I do have a beautiful kitchen, but I’m too overwhelmed to appreciate it most days. You got me thinking of how much I loved our house before we moved in. I’m going to try to keep that in mind when deciding what else I can let go. Thanks!

  5. Meh, I wouldn’t call that clutter, it just looks like you haven’t had a chance to tidy up. Everyone has that. It’s not clutter until it sits there for a week. Or if that is it’s permanent home.

    • Hi Candi, you know the first picture I took was of the kitchen table with the collection of items (purple sand, rocks, shells, piggy bank, cat photo, and book) on my kitchen table. I’m afraid to say these items have been there for over three weeks. But I thought that kitchen explosion better conveyed my frustration. I did get the kitchen tidied by 3pm that day, and it was NOT as bad as it seemed. 🙂 Now for the purple sand…

  6. I feel your pain, but don’t be too hard on yourself! I’m finding that since decluttering things are much easier, but not pain free – I know that there are certain times of the week (like, ahem, weekends when my husband is home) that the house is more in shambles than others. I just try to not stress during those times and catch up a bit during the quieter times (when it is just me and my youngest at home). I’m know that I’m the only one who really cares when my kitchen is a disaster so I try not to take it out on the rest of my family when every square inch of my kitchen counters are covered in dirty dishes. Even though I want to. Badly.

    • Do you have that voice in your head screaming: “Why can’t anyone but me pick up a dish around here?” That runs through my mind when I notice that not only have my kids left their breakfast dishes on the table, my Squirrel has too! And you’re right it is so much easier after decluttering, if only the kitchen came with a self-clean cycle, I’d be in heaven.

  7. Yes, yes, yes!! I know all about this too! It is easier after decluttering and even living in minimalist surroundings but it still happens easily during busy times – especially with a husband, kids, pets and ever changing schedules!

    • Hi Martha, so glad I’m not alone in the exploding kitchen department. You’re right, it seems to go hand-in-hand with a busy household. We have yet to add a pet to the mix, but promised the kids we’d revisit the pet question next year when my youngest goes to kindergarten. Wish me luck!

  8. Have you found that having an open floor plan where people can see right into the kitchen helps you keep it neat, or was it just a bigger problem when company suddenly showed up? We’re about to knock down a wall to give us an open kitchen. Our question is do we make an island and open it up completely, or just do a half-wall at bar height, which could hide the view of the kitchen counters a bit.

    Nice job staging your house, btw. Gorgeous!

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