Clutter Clearing Can Decrease Stress

clutter v. stress graph

Lifehacker has another great post about how and why to clear clutter.

The amount of clutter at some arbitrary point A is the “critical mass of clutter.” At this level of messiness, you to start losing bills or feel like you can’t quickly clean up when it becomes distracting to the work at hand. In other words, going from pristine to A causes you some stress level of C, but getting to the slightly messier B suddenly doubles the stress to D.

They recommend using “Maintenance Mondays” to get back to equilibrium each week.

De-stressing Your Living Room

The Huffington Post published a useful little article on how to de-stress your living room, mostly through decluttering.


They suggest clearing out unwanted items (like books) and organizing the rest, keeping a few spaces clear, and hiding clutter in boxes or in furniture that hides storage spaces, like a trunk for a coffee table.

Paring Down (Or Filling Out) Your Wardrobe


I’ve been sewing a bit lately, and reading patternmaker Sarai Mitnick’s blog. In a recent post she shared her own process of revamping her wardrobe.  This method isn’t for everyone–it involves spreadsheets!

Sarai took an inventory of what she had, decided on a desired number to have of various types of garments, and then calculated whether she should toss out a few things or acquire something she would use more often.


She even offers a link to download her spreadsheet template!

Apartment Therapy’s “January Cure”

I like Apartment Therapy’s take on home improvements: making a list of things that bother you, narrowing down, and tackling them step by step.  Follow along here.

Picture 2

Fresh Start, Fresh Art

The new year is a good time to change up your space.  Hanging new artwork can change the feelings your space gives you. Do you have a painting leaning against your wall, waiting to be hung?

unhung artworks

I spotted these at my parents’ house last week.

My sister, a therapist who uses home visits to help her clients identify what is holding them back, tells the story of a single woman frustrated by her lack of romantic success. Visiting the client’s home, my sister noticed that all of the woman’s art depicted women alone. She recommended art with a more romantic, sexy vibe, especially in the bedroom. Can you use art in your environment to reflect your goals and desires for the coming year?

I like to browse the artworks on 20×200 for ideas. Would you take more vacations if you looked at this every day?

Praia Piquinia 28/08/11 15h24

Praia Piquinia 28/08/11 15h24
by Christian Chaize

Looking for something small? Transfomer Gallery’s Flat File program offers small works by local and international artists.

Invisible Clutter

Sometimes we get so used to clutter that we don’t even see it anymore. Excuse the poor quality of this photo I took while at my parents’ house over the holidays:

invisible clutter

These few things have been sitting in my mother’s sewing room for months, if not years. They have been sitting in this room for so long that they have become invisible. We don’t notice as we walk by that they are not things that belong in my mother’s sewing room. They include: a chipped mirror, a long wooden stick whose purpose is a mystery, a shoebox full of tissue paper, a book given to my brother in his childhood, a plastic case for a blanket, a broken cuckoo clock with sentimental value, my grandmother’s recipe box, a piece of yellow fleece, a small quilt, a hatbox holding a very small tophat belonging to my grandfather, and two boxes of sheet music.

The only thing to do about a space like this is to set aside 20 minutes and ask lots of questions. What is this? What shall we do with this? Does this have sentimental value? Would anyone want this? Where does it make sense to put this? This process can move quickly, but it can also be difficult when the answer is I don’t know or I’m not ready to decide. My father said,

Your grandmother carried that cuckoo clock all over Europe. Two! One for me and one for my sister.

This time I don’t have an after photo…yet. The mirror was taken out with the trash. The tissue paper went in a container with other wrapping paper, the book went into my brother’s room, the recipe box went into my mother’s office, the fleece went into a cabinet full of fabric. A few things remain, including the cuckoo clock.

But the space is clearer, and the things that remain are easier to see.

Entertaining Season

A good way to enjoy the holiday season more is to keep your to-do list in check.  If people are stopping by your house, assume they’re happy to be there and aren’t paying attention to your housekeeping skills.  Both the Hairpin and Lifehacker offered a plan for speed-cleaning your home in preparation for a visit.  Take a cue from them and spend your energy on the fun stuff this month.

sweeping up during the holidays


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