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LifeBalance Blog

Clear Out “Hidden” Clutter This Fall

Are you as clutter-free as you think you are? This sneaky stuff sometimes hides under my radar. Is it hiding under your radar too? These items accumulate together, stick together, and hang around in a household too long. Consider decorations, collections, hobbies or projects you intend to get back to “some day.” Really look at the pictures on the walls or groupings of “decorative” knick-knacks that nobody notices any more. We can become “blind” to items that we have looked for a long time.

Some of this stuff has become so much a part of your home that you no longer even see it. Do these items still support who you are? Or, does this stuff clog your space and vaguely disturb your peace of mind? It is hard to “see” this stuff and even harder to part with it. Give these thoughts a try:

Walk through your rooms with the eyes of a stranger. Pretend you are a real estate agent preparing to market your space. Or, take a “look” by taking photos of your rooms and then review them. What things look tired, dated, out-of-place, or downright boring?

Next, when you look at hobbies on hold and old collections, when was the last time you worked on them or really enjoyed them? How do you feel about this stuff now? Does it excite you or make you feel a bit guilty? Has your taste in art changed but you don’t have any open wall space for something new? Do you find that you don’t even remember who gave you these things? Where did the knick-knacks on the end table come from? Maybe it is time to sort through these items. Maybe keep a few favorites and pass on the rest.

Now here is the rub. We may have become oblivious to or dissatisfied with this stuff, but we are also still attached to it! To move forward, you can ease the pain of separation by finding good homes for these things. Consider these thoughts:

Maybe you have a friend who does the hobby that no longer interests you. You could pass on your photo album stickers or your card making stamps, or anything else. You could make their day! Or, consider selling these things at a garage sale. Obviously, whoever buys your materials plans to finish the project or use the materials.

Collections or treasures can be hard to part with because they are still “perfectly good.” Maybe you could give your family some of their “inheritance” now while you are still around to see the smiles and pleasure you can give. Notice which items that family members who do not live with you enjoy when they come to your home. Maybe you could find a niece who is starting her teacup collection and give her some of yours for the next few Christmas’s and birthdays.

If no one comes to mind, who would appreciate what you have? You might be able to sell items on the Internet. Investigate or You could even finance a new interest or vacation from the proceeds.

Be careful. I try not to part with hobbies or treasures just to rush out and buy more. The purpose is to create space for change and growth. Don’t be afraid of open space. Filled up space is stagnant. Open space has potential. Make clutter-clearing choices to create potential for yourself and your family. You too can zap hidden clutter this fall!

Barbara Tako is a clutter clearing motivational speaker and author of Clutter Clearing Choices: Clear Clutter, Organize Your Home, & Reclaim Your Life (O Books, 2010), a seasonally organized book of clutter clearing tips that readers can pick and choose from to fit their personal style and needs. Sign up for her free monthly clutter clearing tips newsletter at

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