A historical look at cutting clutter
July 07, 2008
“In (Desperately) Seeking a Clutter Cure,” which appeared in the February 2008 issue of Domino magazine, Cynthia Kling, a self-professed thing-aholic, took a humorous look at clutter books.
The prime motivator of clutter books is guilt, Kling said, who reviewed more than 30 books on the topic for the article. Some of the books she took a look at include:
- “Mrs. Beeton’s Book of Household Management” by Isabella Beeton, 1861, which set the standard of housekeeping with its Victorian, keep-everything-in-place moralistic lectures.
- “The I Hate to Housekeep Book” by Peg Bracken and “Nobody Said You Had to Eat Off the Floor” by Carol Eisen, 1960s, two books that offered a total change of attitude with the arrival of the feminist movement.
- “Clutter’s Last Stand” by Don Aslett, 1984, that was the first book to use the term clutter. Aslett advised people to get rid of their rubbish, which he called stuff they couldn’t make decisions about.
- Martha Steward's books and magazines, 1980s, that told people they need to do all household tasks wonderfully and store things beautifully, despite space limitations.
- “Best Organizing Tips” by Stephanie Winston and “Clutter Control” by Jeff Campbell, 1990s, which ushered in an era of more sophisticated clutter books.
- “Organizing from the Inside Out” by Julie Morgenstern, 2004, that offered advice Kling liked – get pretty storage boxes you like to solve your clutter problems.
Kling closes her article with a list of Clutter-Control Wisdom of the Ages:
- Open mail over the trash or recycling bin, and conduct all of your bill-paying online.
- Do a daily 5-minute cleanup of hot spots throughout the house where things tend to gather, and make a quick sweep.
- File newspapers and magazines once a week, and throw away those you haven't read.
- Purge wire hangers monthly.
- Clear closets yearly.
- Arrange wardrobe by type.
- Fold sheet sets inside one of the pillow cases, and store in the linen closet as a unit.
- Don’t overstuff drawers or they'll become a jammed mess.
- Eliminate unused items in the kitchen.
- Make a list before you shop for storage items and be sure to measure to get the right size.
If you’re unable to get your clutter under control, you can hire an organizer to help you from the National Association of Professional Organizers.
Another article in this issue of Domino, "The 5-Step Clutter Cure," shows how one storage piece plus four accessories equals "organized bliss." The article offer some great suggestions for entry ways, mail centers, bedrooms, and bathrooms. However, the Cape Lodge chest for the bedroom from Ralph Lauren priced at $9,885 would be too expensive for most homes.
These articles aren't available online. The link above is one that mentions the first article.
Check your local library for a copy of the February 2008 issue of Domino. Or, if you're interested, you can contact Domino to find out how to order a reprint.
Tomorrow's post will offer more clutter tips, Taking a look at clutter control for each room in your home.
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