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Friday, January 14, 2011

Decluttering the Clutter Collector

Today, in my Better Homes and Gardens decluttering challenge, I decided to tackle Tip 10 from the January issue's article, Cool, Calm and Decluttered; 25 Ways to Pare Down and Get Organized for a Fresh New Year. I had to skip Tip 9 due to absurdity.

Tip 9 reads something like, "A tighter focus for your to-do list clears mental clutter. Include only your three most important tasks, and don't let less important busywork distract you. If you complete everything on your list, great. If not, at least you'll know you spent time on the highest priority tasks." (submitted to BH&G courtesy of Meredith Schwartz,

The problem for me with Tip 9 is that there is no woman on the face of this planet who can focus on only three tasks each day. Women work, mother, homekeep, volunteer and entertain. The curse of being female is that everyone else's priorities are my priorities, in addition to my own priorities. The joy of being female is crossing things off of a lengthy to-do list as a sign of success. In fact, I believe in and promote the Book of Lists.

Thus I went with Tip 10 (which makes a lot of sense to me): Spend a few minutes every night before bed restoring order to your purse. Remove all trash, return floating change to your wallet, and replenish tissues and business cards. It makes you feel ready to start the day. (submitted to BH&G by Claire Kurtz, courtesy of the

Before I tell how I did with this task, let me tell you about my college roommate. In our sorority house, we were never mistaken for being the neat freaks. We had clothes on our floor 6 inches deep. We never made our beds before class because we knew we'd just be getting back in them for a nap later. Chemistry homework regularly mingled with English lit essays.

When we graduated, she got a job in Atlanta and moved to an apartment there. After about a year in that apartment, shortly before her lease was ready for renewal, she decided to move. She did the same thing in her next apartment and in the one after that. I finally told her I was having a hard time keeping up with her address and remembering where she lived. "Why do you keep moving?" I exclaimed.

"Because," she said, "my apartment keeps getting dirty. It's easier to move than to clean it."

What does this have to do with my purse? Well, I started in on cleaning it out. I discovered receipts I'd lost, deposit slips I needed to file, money I didn't know I had, a toothbrush from a past dental visit, a bouncy ball, pens galore, and a few bottle caps. But when I pulled a sticky half-piece of gum sans wrapper from the bottom of my bag and a wadded napkin and a mangled lipstick missing its cap and some frayed feminine products from the depths, however, I came to the rapid conclusion that it would be easier to buy a new purse than to clean out the one I had. So I went to the store, selected a brand new bag and took all the crap from my old bag, except for the bouncy ball, the bottle caps, the sticky gum and the toothbrush, and neatly arranged it in my new one.

And I must say, I do feel fresh and ready to start the day. With a clean, tidy purse slung over my shoulder, I'm feeling very optimistic about this organization quest I'm on.

What did you do today to get organized?

Lucy Adams is the author of two books:Tuck Your Skirt in Your Panties and Run and If Mama Don't Laugh, It Ain't Funny.


william2233 said...

Nice site, from a children author

Lucy Adams said...

Thank you, William. Do you have a list of published titles you'd like to share here?

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