There are still little piles of clutter everywhere, still

by | Dec 29, 2008 | housekeeping | 11 comments

Let’s appreciate the fact that, as I sat down to read an article about how I, personally, am conquering clutter, my living room looked like the photo at left. “This is a fun house where no one ever sleeps!” the children said. It took me a minute to realize they were talking about the fort-from-chairs thing they were building, because this [Julie waves her arms generally at house around her] is a fun house where no one ever sleeps.

Yes, ha ha, Dave and my mom (who was visiting) and I all had a hearty laugh over the fact that I am featured in an article on decluttering. The fact is that I am a cluttered person by nature, a pack rat who often finds herself in Goodwill with an armload of cute-but-impractical shoes and small pottery pitchers (and who often then has to say, out loud, “Put it back, Julie”) (thus ensuring that I am a hypocritical decluttering expert who also talks to herself).

I told Dave, “Well, maybe I am more of a real declutterer, you know? Because I am really dealing with it, every day.” He looked skeptical.

It’s just awfully hard to stay clutter free with so many humans in the house who not only make general messes of what’s already there, but also bring in all kinds of new clutter (such as the daily possibly-genius-should-I-save-it art projects). And I have now spent every day post-Christmas walking around in tiny little circles, a new gift toy of some kind in my hand, as I revolve slowly, trying to figure out where this new thing goes.

The key is to stay on top of it. Clutter breeds clutter, and before you know it all of the little piles have hatched into sub-piles and they are marching across the counter and spilling onto the floors. I have to get rid of things daily, or else the piles start to stage a revolution, and they drag down the mood of the whole house, until we’re all suddenly beating back large grey clouds of gloom that can only be removed by taking a large black garbage bag around the house and filling it with junk. I try to deal with it before it gets to that point.


  1. Mary Grace

    Hmmm. Looking at that picture, it all looks pretty clean to me. Even the shadows on the floor of cut-out snowflakes on every window at my house just make my eyes spasm, bowls of clementines and little hand-written notes on hearts saying “I love you, Dad.” IT’S KILLING ME!!!! Just got a note from a friend starting a biz. Her description: “helping people downsize, decrapitize, organize, etc. with our effort also including donations of the clients’ castoffs to local families, and recycling. We’re also going to emphasize the use of local, vetted small businesses we know – cleaning people, contractors, realtors, financial planners, etc.”
    You’re not alone!
    Also, Julie, we just watched It’s a Wonderful Life. Do you call your daughter Zuzu at least in part because of that little girl with the rose petals?
    Happy New Year. Card should be there soon…mgg

  2. Julie

    I am so cruel about sending art projects to the recycling bin. At least when they’re in the recycling bin, they can be removed in an emergency if they are suddenly missed (well, until Thursday’s garbage pickup, at least).

    I love the word “decrapitize.”

    I knew about the Zuzu in “It’s a Wonderful Life” but Dave forgot about it and people kept saying, “Zuzu’s petals!” to him after she was born and he had no idea what they were talking about. He thought maybe it was a girl baby thing or something. Her full name, Zuzanna, is possibly the only name on earth that REALLY goes with Falatko.

  3. Annette

    Hi Julie,

    I read the article featuring your decluttering prowess and was so inspired! I thought “I could get rid of 365 things TODAY!” and then tried really hard. I have 3 kids in the Saco school system and struggle with their art work and all the school paperwork. I will have to read your post about homework. “Decrapitze” is a fabulous word. I embrace it. Happy New Year!

    Yours in decluttering,

  4. Julie

    Annette! How did the decluttering go? I shudder at the thought of 3-kids’-worth of school paperwork, considering the amount Henry brings home. What exactly are we supposed to do with their artwork? I know some moms embroider it on pillows and whatnot, but I don’t really have time for that. Also I don’t know how to embroider. I just take it all and shove it in a giant artist portfolio folder in their closet. I have vague plans of scanning it and making it into a little book or something.

  5. sutswana

    How apt! I am reading you in the basement (where we are temporarily banished for internet access due to router issues) and was just fretting about the bin of Miranda’s artwork. I have similar plans: scan it? portfolio it? 365-day flip calendar? use it as wallpaper? If anyone w/more entrepreneurial sense out there is reading, please come up with a magic solution and get back to us…

  6. Julie

    Love the 365-day flip calendar idea. Wonder how easy it is to get one of those made? To do it yourself would take some work. My thinking is to scan in the photos and then upload them to Shutterfly and do them like the photo books I do every year. Though I saw a blog post that talked about a book specifically for this purpose. Hang on…ah. Here: Very spendy, however (hundreds of dollars). Here’s another cheaper one (maybe not so nice looking?): (why do they all have “Picasso” in the title? is this jumping in the “baby Einstein” bandwagon?).

  7. sutswana

    I’ll take one of each! Really, I just want the Scanner Fairy to visit my house and scan all this stuff for me. Just the thought of getting that far makes me want to crawl back into bed.

  8. Julie

    Seriously, where is the Scanner Fairy? Do you think if I put all the artwork under my pillow she’ll come during the night?

  9. sutswana

    Maybe she’ll at least leave you a dollar bill. Then you can start a savings account to pay for the scanner helper you’ll eventually hire. You know, six thousand years from now.

  10. Christina

    Here is a cute way to display art work- for when the scanner fairy shows up! (The author of that blog must have several “craft fairies” of her own as she always manages to make elaborate crafts while having two young kids…)

  11. Julie

    That is a nice idea. I sort of like the idea of doing a giant collage thing like that. Though did I read that right, that her 4-year-old doesn’t have a critical mass of artwork? That can’t be right. Henry does enough art every day to fill a collage frame.


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