Archives for December 2016

Decluttering: Getting It OUT is Sometimes the Hardest Part!




Did you declutter this week? I’d love to hear about your successes and struggles!

As this Decluttering Mania Week comes to an end, don’t forget the most important part.

Get it OUT. Like, totally out of the house.

I’ve become pretty good at recognizing clutter, purging spaces, and loving having less in my home so I can actually maintain it more easily.

But somehow, the actual getting it out of the house is such a struggle. Especially since we no longer have a lovely donation service making monthly pickups in our neighborhood.




So this week, we loaded up the Suburban and my husband drove to the nearest donation place to drop it off.

Don’t skip this step. I’d skipped it a few too many times, and we had quite the load to haul.

If you’re not sure what to do with your donations, here are some ideas:

  1. Load it up and drop off at your nearest Salvation Army, Goodwill, or other charity thrift store. I like this option because it’s under my control. If I want it gone NOW, this is the way to go.
  2. If you’re not sure where to take things, ask your local friends on Facebook where they take their donations. You most likely have a friend who knows where to go.
  3. Join a Facebook garage sale group and ask if anyone knows who picks up garage sale leftovers. If you find someone, ask if they want ALL your stuff, even if you didn’t have a garage sale. Just be clear that they “must take all.”

The feeling of all that stuff being GONE is shockingly lovely. Really. As someone who once thought stuff (in large quantities) made her happy, I’m still astonished at the physical lightness I feel once all a lot of that stuff is gone.

If you’re not there yet, don’t worry! ANYthing you do to get stuff out of your home, even if the Donate Boxes sit in the garage for a while, will improve your home and your life.

If your home needs an overhaul or even if you just feel like you need to reset your mentality on managing it, you need my book: How to Manage Your Home Without Losing Your Mind. It’s available wherever books are sold. Find out more here.

Join in on 30 Days of Decluttering Inspiration (free!) here. 

Also check out these decluttering strategies:

How to Get Started When You Don’t Know Where to Start

What Baskets are Really For

Finding Storage Space in Your Home

How to Declutter Without Making a Bigger Mess

How to Not Get Distracted from One Decluttering Project by Other Decluttering Projects

Decluttering Momentum – a podcast

Containers and Limits and How They’ll Change Your Life – a podcast






10 Easy Ways to Have a Neater Home in the New Year


Don’t worry. I’m not over-simplifying or assuming your home is a few tweaks away from perfection. But these ten simple things that I’ve learned the (very) hard way over the past seven years of my own deslobification process have had a big impact. A much bigger impact that I would have ever believed possible.

1. Do your dishes. I could go on and on (and I do go on and on in my book), but this is THE task that, when done daily, made the biggest impact on my home. Go here to understand how it works: Why I Have to Run the Dishwasher EVERY Night. If you don’t have a dishwasher, read this: 5 Truths about a Clean Kitchen that are Still True if You Don’t Have a Dishwasher. 

2. Reduce the flow of paper coming into your home. As bills or financial reports arrive in the mail, go online and choose the digital delivery option.  Most of these pieces of mail include instructions on how to switch to digital delivery right on the envelope or the report itself. More paper-clutter-reducing ideas: How to Reduce Paper Clutter

3. Declutter your dishes until they all fit inside your cabinets. At the same time.  This one separates the why-would-anyone-have-more-dishes-than-fit-in-their-cabinets types from my target audience. If you’ve ever been frustrated that on the rare occasion when your dishes are done (like, every single last one) there isn’t room for all of them to be put away, you’re my people. If the thought of decluttering plates or coffee cups sends panic through your soul because you fear running out, just focus on #1. Once you get that figured out, this will make so much more sense. For more on this general concept that I had to learn the hard way, listen to this: Containers and Limits and How They’ll Change Your Life! Podcast

4.  Store your food containers with the lids on. Really. It will make your life so much easier. I explain the ins and outs of why here: Strange Organizing Solutions that Work: Storing Food Containers.

5. Create a Donate Spot. Grab an empty box and mark it DONATE. Choose a place for it (by the back door, in the garage, wherever it’s not in the way but is still easily accessible). As the kids mention they don’t like a toy or that their sleeves are suddenly two inches shorter than they were last week, have them throw the suddenly-unloved item immediately into the Donate Box. More on this: What a Lifestyle of Decluttering Looks Like – Podcast

6. Fold clothes straight out of the dryer. I resisted this for YEARS. I came up with every logical reason not to do it this way. But y’all, this simple thing is a game-changer. When I fold straight out of the dryer, I don’t have piles of clean laundry on my couch. My living room looks way better without piles of clean laundry on my couch. Really. Read more here: The Laundry Management Method that is Rocking My World

7. Hang instead of fold. When I’m doing #6, my clothes don’t get wrinkled. If I hang them instead of folding, they stay wrinkle-free. Need more words on this topic? Clothing Management – Hanging vs Folding

8. Whenever you think of it, do a 5 Minute Pickup. Set a timer and spend 5 minutes picking things up and putting them away. If you don’t believe this will make enough of a difference to be worth your time, try it anyway. You have nothing to lose but 5 minutes. And this is the very best way to start getting the kids involved: Family Pick Up Time

9. Buy a soap-in-the-handle dish scrubber, mark it “BATHROOM ONLY” with a permanent marker, and hang it on a hook or over the door in your shower. Scrub a little here and there as you shower. Read more here: Making Shower Cleaning as EASY as Possible and How to Clean the Shower Without Getting Your Clothes Wet.

10. Throw away (or recycle if you have an available and established recycling routine) pens that don’t work. As soon as you realize they don’t work. I have no idea why this is so UNnatural to me, but it is. More on this: Planning to be Desperate and 2 Second Task – Throw Away the Pen

There you go. Ten simple, easy, pretty-much-duh-but-why-don’t-I-do-these-things-naturally ways to have a tidier home in the new year. Pick one or two or do them all. Any one of these things will make your life easier. 

If you need a guide to getting your home under control and keeping it under control, you need my new book: How to Manage Your Home Without Losing Your Mind! It is the handbook you need to go from completely overwhelmed to I’ve-got-this, no matter your starting point. I love this review that was recently posted on Amazon:

This book has changed my life!!! Finally someone who gets me. This isn’t just a collection of organizing ideas that you can find on Pinterest. This book changes your whole approach. The most helpful part for me was how she says to deal with the guilt of getting rid of stuff. I feel as if Dana was in my head as I read this. She had already written the counter-argument to every argument I had started to say in my head while reading. I’ve already ordered a second copy for my mom for Christmas.

If you want to keep the decluttering momentum going, join 30 Days of Decluttering Inspiration. It’s free!

You can also listen to a podcast on this subject here!




Strange Organizing Strategies that Work – Storing Food Containers


Does organizing your Tupperware cabinet make you crazy? Do you automatically cover your head every time you open the door to protect yourself from falling food storage containers?

I get it. I’ve totally been there.

I arranged and re-arranged and organized and re-organized that space so many times. It seemed that no matter what I did, the mess re-appeared.

How did I solve my tumbling container problem?

Short answer: I started storing my Tupperware and other food storage containers with the lids already on the containers.

Long (like, really long) answer: I accepted I had a Clutter Threshold. A clutter threshold isn’t the point at which stuff irritates me. It’s the point at which totally useful things turn into clutter.

Food storage containers are totally useful things. My husband (thankfully) lives off of dinner leftovers for his lunches. I can turn one meal into two (sometimes, three!) using these totally necessary kitchen items.

Once upon a time, however, I had too many of them.

I didn’t realize it was possible to have too many because they were useful. Because they were useful, any time I saw pretty ones at a garage sale or on deep discount at a store, I bought them.

Which increased the frequency (and the painfulness) of the tumbling.

My (hard-learned) definition of clutter: anything I can’t keep under control easily.

When I had way too many food containers, I had to get creative with how I stored them.

Lids here, sorted by size, and squeezed into some fancy contraption to keep them standing up straight.

Bowls together, nested inside one another, stacked as high as possible.

But then, I always needed the container in the middle of the stack.


And I never (like, ever) needed it in a slow and easy moment when I had the time or desire or energy to methodically pull out the teetering tower of containers, gently remove the one from the middle, and then neatly replace the slightly-lower tower.

And I was never patient about analyzing which single lid was the one I needed before pulling it carefully from its vertical home without sending the other 67 lids flying across the kitchen.


I’m a grabber, a finagler, an I-need-this-thing-right-now-before-I-run-to-do-something-way-more-interesting-than-maintaining-the-neatness-of-a-Tupperware-cabinet type.

How does storing food storage containers with the lids on help me live below my Clutter Threshold?

  1. The cabinet naturally stays neater. (I’d say “neat” but we’re still talking about me.) I reach into the cabinet and in one step grab the container I need. No digging, no matching, no need to rearrange.
  2. I’m forced to limit the number of containers I keep. Because significantly fewer containers fit in my cabinet when they are stored with the lids on them, I can’t live under the delusion that there’s no such thing as too many totally-useful containers.
  3. My home, overall, stays under control more easily because I have fewer containers. Because I don’t have an endless supply of containers for leftovers, I can’t keep shoving them into the fridge to grow science projects while they wait for The Big Fridge Cleanout to happen. Because I don’t have as many, I’m forced to wash them consistently and keep things moving.

I totally understand why the naturally organized person would never consider leaving unmatched pieces strewn and shoved in the cabinet in complete disarray when she spent hours perfecting her system for maximum-storage-in-minimum-space.

But I’m not naturally organized. I’m pretty much the opposite of naturally organized.

So I have to go with what works for me. For my unique brain in my unique home.

That’s what matters. What works. Not what should work. What does work.

And I’ve heard from so many of you who function better this way, too.

I’d love to hear what works for YOU, that might be contrary to what works for others!


Helpful stuff (some referral links included): 

If you suspect your brain might be closer to mine than to that of a naturally organized person, you need my book. It’s called How to Manage Your Home Without Losing Your Mind and it’s available wherever books are sold. Go here to read more than 100 reviews that will let you know if it’s for you.

If you’re desperate to declutter, but fear the fizzle of that determination, sign up for 30 Days of Decluttering Inspiration and get 30 days of ridiculously practical decluttering strategies delivered free to your inbox to keep you going.

I’ve actually now switched almost exclusively to glass food storage containers. I feel better about using them in the microwave and they don’t stain. These are similar to the ones I have.





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