no more clutter logo no more clutter newsletter for July/August 2005

Getting in the mood to declutter

How often have you walked away from the spare room or shoved all your unruly possessions back into the overstuffed drawer, because you simply aren't in the mood. You tell yourself that tomorrow will be better or maybe next'll deal with it...... So months pass and more junk is added to the pile and every time you look you're even less in the mood. I know this feeling so well - yet I'm often amazed when I get round to the ironing or grooming my dog Barney (who is old, blind and grumpy) it's not nearly as bad as I thought.

Use the bad days to your advantage

I'm a big fan of decluttering when I'm in a bad mood. There's something about being in a temper that seems to loosen my attachment to things I've been holding onto needlessly. They just don't seem very important in the scheme of things. So next time life is getting you down throw out some clutter. I bet you'll feel a lot better. If you're scared you'll make a mistake allow yourself a day to cool off before you cart the bags off to the charity shop. Probably best to avoid important paperwork if you're in a mood. Though many people have told me they thoroughly enjoy shredding or ripping old paperwork.

Better days and clutter

Summer weather make us all feel lighter and happier. So why not take small decluttering projects outdoors - that way you get to enjoy the sunshine and get organised at the same time. Dig out old packs of photos and do an initial sort and discard all the blurry ones, endless duplicates or my least favourite - views of places you can't remember. Memory does fade so it's worth writing on the back of snaps where (and of who) they are.

Or take a stack of old magazines out that you've been keeping because you want to pull out the article on Feng Shui or cut price DVD recorders. Flick through quickly before recycling and file the article or put it in your action tray.

Take advantage of the summer to actually hold that car boot sale you've been talking about for the past few years. Perhaps get together with a friend - search the local newspaper and put a date in the diary. Having a target to work towards and someone to do it with - is a great motivator.

Have a look round your garden and discard any broken kid's toys or general detritus that is lying around. If you're well on the way on your decluttering journey it's a good time to tackle the shed or garage. Both these places tend to be dumping places for clutter to go and lurk before it is finally discarded or in many cases disintegrates. Do think about the recycling potential of things like paint that is still OK or the metal in broken gardening tools can be reused. Things like excess plant pots - I'd just stick out in front of my house and say "Take me." It never fails in north London!

If you would like more ideas on how to kick-start and then maintain the decluttering process plus gain insight into the psychology behind hoarding have a look at my new book "No more clutter"

no more clutter - the book

July's Clutter Clinic

Lesley asks

I can never decide quickly about anything. I hum and ha - finally put something in the box for donating. Then I feel odd and take it back out again. In the past I've found I usually regret things I've got rid of. What can I do?

Sue replies

There's quite a lot of fear attached to hoarding. Do you really regret everything you've given away or is it just the odd thing? Life isn't perfect and there is bound to be the odd mistake. But don't dwell on this or let it stop you getting your home in order.

I recently read the book Blink by Malcolm Gladwell which I can thoroughly recommend. He talks about how experts often make unconscious but correct decisions in seconds. He uses the example of various art experts knowing immediately a piece of sculpture is a fake. Yet they then they allow scientific facts and test results to dissuade them of their first right instinct. In the same way I think we all know pretty quickly how we feel about objects but we too allow the facts - the price, who gave it to us, how long we've had it to change our minds. Try "blinking" your response to each thing. Do you really want to keep it. Trust your gut instinct and you'll rarely go wrong.

Good luck and I hope that helps. I'd be delighted to hear any successful strategies that have worked or any other decluttering ideas you have at

July Tip

Use it or lose it

Media request

Prima magazine are planning to do a feature on decluttering. It will involve them taking photos of the problem areas of your home and then I'll be giving advice on how to solve them. You'll get your make-up and hair professionally done for your photo in the magazine. It's UK only - if you are interested email me by the 8th July at

And finally...

This summer really start to be honest with yourself about whether you are going to use things ever again. Identify areas like cleaning products, shampoo or tinned tomatoes where you have enough to last a year or more. Stop buying them and start to work your way through your stocks. With all the money you'll save, reward yourself with a great bottle of wine to enjoy in the summer sunshine.

I'm going to take my own advice and dust off those pink trainers and expensive suede sandals I bought last summer. As far as I remember I wore the trainers once and felt like mutton dressed as lamb. The sandals gave me terrible blisters. So I'll free them from the back of the wardrobe - wear them or donate them straight to charity!

There will no newsletter in August but in the meantime do keep your ideas, comments and questions coming. Have a fantastic summer.


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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