no more clutter logo no more clutter newsletter for January 2005

Happy New Year!

and apologies for the late arrival of the January 2005 newsletter - I've been suffering from flu, but am feeling much more lively now!

New Year is a time when we reflect on the past year, then look at our goals and dreams for the year ahead. Yet for many of us these resolutions - whether to get fit, become more organised, be more pro-active in our recycling or shop more wisely already seem to be slipping away from us.

For others the devastating effects of the Asian Tsunami has made them stop and think what it would be like to lose everything. Thanks to all of you who have emailed and said this really has given you a sense of perspective and made it easier to donate unwanted goods to charity. Why not make this the year you see donating to charity as a Win-Win-Win situation.

You win - less stuff, less junk and a positive feeling that you are helping others.

The new owner wins because they get a bargain for a few pounds.

The charity wins because it raises much needed funds. Charities like Oxfam, the Red Cross and Save the Children will need ongoing funds to support the rebuilding in all the affected countries. This will be equally true in 6 months when the media coverage has died down.

Keep your motivation going this year

I believe the most important part of decluttering goes on in your head. I'm still shocked by how hard my clients are on themselves when they describe their homes to me. I'd like you to spend 10 minutes considering how hoarding, being disorganised or living in a perpetual muddle affects how you see yourself. Write down all the words - both positive and negative that you call yourself when you think about your clutter situation. They might be :

Packrat, like my father, creative, free spirit, too busy, too tired, slob, ashamed, overwhelmed.............

How do you feel about these labels? Do you feel that being a hoarder is a crucial part of who you are? Is it a way of rebelling against the values of perfect domestic order that we seem to be constantly fed by the media? Or is a constant source of friction with your partner?

Now imagine in a month's time where you'd like to be. What words would you like to substitute for the original ones:

Perhaps :

Less stressed, more organised, find my keys. Personally I want my home to be relaxing but not a show home where people are afraid to put down a coffee cup or mess up the cushions.

It's your dream and it's important to remind yourself every day that you are becoming a non-hoarder. Silence those negative judgements you make about yourself. Next time you hear yourself say I'll never get on top of this mess. I'd like you to counter with your new vision. And take those small steps. Take your unwanted Xmas presents to the charity shop, finish a job - write your thank you letters and post them, sort out kitchen noticeboard. You can do it!

January competition

Do send your thoughts on how to change your self-image to me. What inspired you to stop a lifetime of hoarding and tell me about all the little steps you are taking The prize this month is one of my favourite decluttering books "Clear your clutter with Feng Shui" by Karen Kingston. Send your contributions to

January tip

Collect up your small change (here)

The Clutter Clinic

Jeff asks

"I keep trying to get going sorting out the spare room I use as an office but the minute I put something in a bin or in a bag for charity - I feel a kind of panic. What if I need it later. So I get it back out. I know I'm driving my wife crazy. Can you help?"

Sue answers:

You're not alone Jeff. You're being overwhelmed by what I call "clutter thoughts" - the what-if catastrophic thoughts that often set off when we try and part with something. I was recently clearing out my linen cupboard and picked up a spare duvet I don't even like. As I earmarked it for charity I suddenly thought what if a lot of guests descended at once, I might need it after all. Anyway it's till in good condition and so it went on.

Then I stopped for a minute and reminded myself of my original aim to have a streamlined and well organised linen closet. I regained my perspective by thinking about how much better this duvet cover raises £5 for Oxfam than clutters up my cupboard and irritates me.

So don't get sucked down by clutter thoughts. Keep focused on the bigger picture - of having an well-organised office space and trust me you'll miss very little of what you let go.

If you have any questions send them to Sue at

Sue Kay works with a wide range of clients to organise home offices, small businesses, declutter before a house move, prepare your spare room for a new baby and organise your wardrobe ready for the new season. If you're selling your home, she can help you present it clutter-free for the market to achieve a quick and profitable sale. For practical sympathetic help call Sue on 07974 076 675 or 020 8444 5149 or check out the website at


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