Friday, September 16, 2011


I’ve always had a lot of stuff.  Partly because I’m a bit of collector, partly because I don’t like throwing anything away, and partly because I think I might’ve been a teensy bit spoiled when I was little.  (In my defense, I will say that while I may have been spoiled…I don’t think I was a spoiled brat.)   
Growing up, my small bedroom was always cluttered with dolls, books, bags, stuffed animals, clothes, dollhouses, newts, doll cradles, and, at one time, a guinea pig.  It dawned on me recently that my bedroom wasn’t small.  It was just overfilled with crap stuff.
I never outgrew that tendency. 
My cubicle, my car, and certain rooms in my house are happy habitats for the cousin of the stink bug – the clutterbug.  Even rooms that don’t appear cluttered with stuff…are.  After hosting friends for pre-Thanksgiving Thanksgiving dinner last year, one friend said he didn’t think my house was cluttered at all.  That’s ‘cause I didn’t let anyone look in the closets or under the beds.
Far and away, my biggest problem is paper.  I guess that’s to be expected considering the line of work that I’m in.  I rarely throw any paper away and when I do, I agonize over it.  Now, I’m not talking about the junk mail that ends up in the recycling bin as soon as it comes into the house.  No, I’m talking about credit card statements, receipts, greeting cards, instruction manuals, Chinese fortune cookie fortunes, and on and on.  I’m better than I used to be…when I was younger, I would save ticket stubs from the movies.  I’m pretty sure I still have my ticket from when I saw “I Know What You Did Last Summer.”
I just got a new iron because my old one died and I cannot go unpressed.  The iron came with an instruction manual.  Now, unless it’s a top of the line Rowenta, most irons are gonna work the same way they’ve worked since we stopped heating them with hot coals.  But me?  I need to save the instruction manual just in case I forget how to turn it on one morning. 
I like to save receipts – not for tax purposes.  No.  I like to save them just in case I want to put them in a scrapbook one day.  Because it’s important to remember that I paid $4.56 for ice cream on that vacation in Bar Harbor in 2003. 
Speaking of scrapbooks.  I have 19 scrapbooks in progress.  And by “in progress,” I mean, I bought a bunch of scrapbooking stuff that’s stored in a big container and the pictures are scattered about in photo boxes, envelopes, or wicker baskets.  I have a basket filled with all my pictures, tickets, and programs from when I went to the Summer Olympics.  In 1996.  We just passed the 15 year anniversary.  Do you think I should get working on that scrapbook soon?
This clutterbug is going to try to bring a little order to her chaos.  On Monday night, I went to a great talk about controlling clutter.  The speaker was Andrew Mellen, a professional organizer who’s been featured in a bunch of magazines and wrote a book called “Unstuff Your Life.”  He gave a lot of great tips that I’m going to try to put into practice this weekend as I start to unstuff my life.    
 I’ll let you know how I do.  I’m starting with my receipts.  


  1. Check online for instructions/manuals for your iron and or other appliances. You can save a PDF and toss the paper.

    If you really want to get a-scrappin', you could host a "scrapping" weekend. My cousin does this twice a year. The group (4 - 6 people) usually stays at a hotel and uses the conference room. They sort of make it a party and also inspire each other with scrapping ideas.

    Good luck organizing!!

  2. I'm pretty much the same when it comes to paperwork. The only difference is that I don't save to scrapbook. For me, it's more like "What if I can't get the remote to work one day?? I'm going to need this manual." Or "I might need this document for tax purposes." Or the always a keeper- special occasion cards. My reasoning there is, I remember being little and looking through vintage cards my mom had in an old shoebox and I thought they were SOOO COOOOL.

    I need to break this habit.