Tuesday, November 26

Posted by Laurel Garver on Tuesday, November 26, 2013 4 comments
I can't be the only one whose weekends are often full of chores, chores, a tiny bit of fun, and more chores. There ought to be a way to get out from under the weekly press of it so I have more balanced weekends. I'm realizing my family members' attention deficit issues mean most of the organizing falls to me, because I have the strongest skills. Let me tell you, it gets discouraging pretty quickly.

Years ago I picked up a couple of household organizing books, and as the holidays approach, it's time to revisit them to prepare for the joys of entertaining. Because honestly, if you're prepared, it can be a joy.

For me the trick is to stick to one goal at a time. This week's comes from Streamlining Your Life by Stephanie Culp.

The number one rule of organizing, Culp says, is only organize what deserves your attention. And a lot of things don't.

Tip of the week:
Don't have too much stuff.

Simple, right? We hang on to stuff we don't need or haven't used for years for one of the following reasons:

I might need this someday
It's still perfectly good
Every ____ is precious (scribble, stuffed animal)
But it's an antique!
This might come back in style
A special person gave it to me
It's a piece of my history
Someday I'll take up this hobby again

All these excuses seem on their face logical, but they're actually emotionally-based decisions. Getting rid of "perfectly good" things we "might need" scares us. But hoarding to stave off a fear of deprivation actually CAUSES deprivation. Your life becomes captive to mess. You lose time and energy when you hoard.

What are your organization battle zones? What kinds of stuff are crowding your life? What excuses and emotions are keeping you fettered to belongings you don't need?


  1. oh man I know what you mean about all the chores stealing the joy of the Thanksgiving and Christmas season!

    I'm pretty good about de-cluttering, so I don't think that's my problem. My problem is procrastination!!!!

    1. Overcoming the initial inertia is tricky. The research says the simple act of beginning a task makes you far more likely to succeed in completing it. Sometimes it also helps to build in a reward system for yourself.

  2. YES yes and yes!! I work on Sundays, so my partner and I only have Saturdays together... and that one day is so darn full of chores that we're often glad when it's over - plus we tend to get into fights on Saturdays, probably because we're so freaking busy cleaning, washing clothes, shopping, cooking, and blah blah blah. It's an ongoing struggle to figure out ways to free up that day! I hear you - I could use some tips and help. Thanks for the (hopefully life-saving) rec!!!

    1. There's another good book for helping with the chore thing: Bonnie's Household Helper. She has loads of great suggestions for spreading chores over the course of the week so you're not overwhelmed on the weekend. The laundry, for example, can be done a load per day without much sweat--put in the washer at breakfast and move it to the dryer when you get home. Fifteen-minute power-tidying sessions each day also keep the main living areas livable. Loads of other good tips like that in the book.