Clear Your Clutter in Six Steps

posted by Annie B. Bond

Inspired by Teen Feng Shui, by Susan Levitt (Inner Traditions, 2003).

Clutter makes chaos. Susan Levitt defines clutter as items that are not stored properly (so either you can’t find them when you need them or you’re constantly tripping over them), items you don’t need or use that still take up space, and items you dislike that you feel obligated to keep. But you can conquer your clutter!

Here are six steps to rid your home and your life of clutter forever:

First, categorize your stuff.
You can do this room by room, since most of us are overwhelmed by the thought of doing the whole house all at once. Here are the five categories:

Essential: The things you need and use regularly.

Favorites: Your treasured mementos and favorite pieces of art.

Other people’s stuff: Things that you have borrowed, including rented videos and library books, and items that just don’t feel like they should belong to you anymore.

Annoying: Dirty laundry, junk mail, old magazines. It all piles up quickly.

Disgusting: Moldy food, junk food wrappers, that kind of thing. Eww.

Now you’re ready to conquer your clutter.

Ditch the disgusting stuff. This is the most obvious and easy place to start. Wash, dump, compost, or otherwise get rid of it.

Deal with the annoying stuff. Recycle magazines and junk mail, collect and wash the laundry, file, box, and store the things you think you might need, but get all of it out of sight and out of your space.

Donate. Give borrowed items back to their owners. Donate unwanted stuff to a local charity. Be honest with yourself: if you really detest something, even though it was a gift, get rid of it. You will find this to be remarkable cathartic and freeing.

Display. Your favorite things deserve special places where they can go. Honor your jewelry with a beautiful box, place loose photos in an album, make a shelf to show off your collections.

Devise. Your essential things need to be accessed easily, so devise a system so you’re not always fruitlessly searching for them. Keys can go on a hook by the door, bills in a basket on the desk, dirty laundry in a hamper in your closet, borrowed items in a box that you check every time you’re getting ready to visit someone.


Quiz: Does Clutter Control You?

Is there a stack of mail teetering toward a disaster on your counter? Do you have stacks of magazines from the 1980s that you haven’t looked at since? Find your clutter quotient with this quiz from Unclutter Your Home (Storey Publishing, 1999) by Donna Smallin.

Choose a number between 1 and 4 that best describes your response to each of the following statements.

1: Never or almost never.
2: Sometimes.
3: Usually.
4: All the time.

Then add them up and see how you score below.

1. When I have free time I like to shop.
2. I keep bills, bank statements and other mail in piles, until I have time to file.
3. I have more than 10 plastic bags in my house.
4. I save magazines with interesting articles/recipes.
5. When I look around, I get tired just thinking about what it will take to unclutter my home.
6. I have two or more craft projects going on at any one time.
7. My house may look messy to some people, but I know where to find everything.
8. If someone stops by unexpectedly, I try to avoid letting them in.
9. I leave things out so I know where they are or as a reminder to myself.
10. Time keeps me from getting or being organized.
11. When it comes to clutter, I think, “Why bother? It will just get cluttered again.”
12. I can’t bear to part with things and I consider myself a pack rat.
13. The stress level in our house is directly related to the clutter level.

Next: How did you score?

Rating Your Answers
44 to 52: is indicative of a clutter problem that’s been building for some time. You are in need of some serious clutter-busting!
35 to 43: Your clutter problem is likely growing worse with eash passing year and will continue to do so unless you do something about it.
26 to 34: You have the potential to develop a clutter problem, but you also have the power to change a few old habits.
17 to 25: You may be simply, temporarily disorganized.
Less than 17: Congratulations on controlling your clutter. rather than letting it control you.

Today’s I Ching Hexagram for May 24th is 43: Determination

Tuesday, May 24th, 2011

Hexagram 43

General Meaning: Personal resolution points to a breakthrough, but decisive action is required. As long as you diligently hold your ground and ward off negative tendencies and influences, the good will prevail.

The persistence of negativity, which is that which opposes the good, is a constant in human affairs. Just when it is thought to have been eradicated, up it will pop again, sprouting through some crack in the pavement of civilized society. Evil need not take dramatic or extravagant forms, such as those exhibited in Nazi Germany. Garden-variety lies and deceit are much more common and persistent, but should be rooted out just as diligently. One must be determined to not accidentally feed negativity — either in one’s social or professional life, or in one’s own soul. In either case, definite rules must be followed for the struggle to succeed.

The first rule: do not compromise with evil. Destructive or exploitive actions must be identified openly for what they are, and discredited. The second: one cannot successfully resist negativity on its own terms. New, positive alternatives that lead away from the source of the problem are generally more successful, and appropriate than trying to counter negativity with raw power. The third rule: the means used to counter negativity must be consistent with the end to be achieved. One cannot stop the spreading of lies by spreading more of them

Your Daily Number for May 24th: 8

Open, honest communication is important today. You’re a bottomless well of ideas. Money matters are likely to improve, and it’s a great day to conduct business. Romantic relationships may be a bit shaky.

Fast Facts

About the Number 8

Theme: Power, Responsibility, Good Judgment, Financial Rewards
Astro Association: Leo
Tarot Association: Strength

Today’s Tarot Card for May 24th is The Empress

The Empress

This Tarot Deck: Tarot of the Spirit

General Meaning: Traditionally entitled “Empress,” this major arcana or “trump” card portrays the energy of the Great Mother. She is Nature, around us but also within us, the ever-unfolding Source of life-giving power. She is often pictured as a pre-Christian Goddess, as the one whom the High Priestess is channeling down to earth for the rest of us.

In medieval Europe, the Empress card was painted to represent whatever Queen currently ruled the land, probably to satisfy the Inquisitors. But the scholars of the Renaissance and beyond had no doubt of her true identity, although she could not be fully revealed on Tarot cards as the “woman clothed with the sun” until after the French Revolution.

This supreme archetype of femininity also symbolizes fertility. It is She who provides us nourishment and security. She is also sometimes seen as delighting us with flowers and fruit. A potentially terrifying aspect of this archetype manifests itself whenever karmic mood swings wipe out our plans, like a storm that has come upon us. Whatever happens, the Empress is the Source of our Embodiment and of Natural Law. She might even be called “the Great Recycler.”

Your Daily Horoscopes for May 24th

The intellectual Aquarius Moon shapes the early morning and her entry into compassionate Pisces at 8:23 am EDT shifts our perceptual framework from a conceptual to an emotional one. The Moon’s square to the curious Gemini Sun gets us wondering about how our feelings influence our thoughts. A frustrating Venus-Saturn aspect requires patience, while mental Mercury’s creative quintile to metaphysical Neptune assures us that imagination rules.

Aries Horoscope
Aries Horoscope (Mar 21 – Apr 19)

You may be content with your dreams now, but you’re also aware that there is more to life than your fantasies with so many incomplete projects demanding your attention. Even if you’re able to postpone a deadline for another day or two, you can’t escape thinking about everything you have yet to finish. But worrying in advance doesn’t accomplish anything unless you’re ready to do something about it now. Don’t put off for tomorrow what you can do today.



Taurus Horoscope
Taurus Horoscope (Apr 20 – May 20)

Your reliability can earn the respect of your associates, especially if you’re willing to make a decision today and stand by it. Even if your ideas are unpopular, your serious demeanor convinces others to go along with your choice because they realize how much thought has gone into your response. Nevertheless, picking one side over another is still tricky business, so give yourself permission to change your mind if you are so inclined.



Gemini Horoscope
Gemini Horoscope (May 21 – Jun 20)

You cannot easily settle down because you’re thinking about the possible repercussions to what you’re doing. Your previously optimistic outlook may be sagging because a special opportunity isn’t looking quite as good now. Intuitively, you know that once you make up your mind you won’t be able to go back and undo your decision, so take all the time you need before announcing your final choice.



Cancer Horoscope
Cancer Horoscope (June 21 – Jul 22)

You may be having a difficult time today, but others probably won’t be aware of your stress because you’re able to keep it to yourself. You have a very particular idea of what you want your future to look like, yet you might be convinced that you’re not on the right track. Don’t try to talk yourself out of your dreams, even if they make your life more complicated now. Your self-doubt will eventually fade and you’ll realize that nearly anything is possible once you put your mind to it.



Leo Horoscope
Leo Horoscope (Jul 23 – Aug 22)

You have a unique point of view today, which increases your chances of surprising others, especially if they want to conveniently place you inside a traditional box. Ironically, your perspective isn’t quite as radical as it seems; it’s just that you may overstate your position as you try to make your case. Although you are quite opinionated, you should be able to get the support you need now as long as you mix integrity into your passions.


Virgo Horoscope
Virgo Horoscope (Aug 23 – Sep 22)

You might have an inaccurate view of your partner or co-worker today and yet you’re able to logically justify your opinion. Fortunately, you have an open mind and are willing to shift your perspective as you learn more about what’s actually happening. Although you’re tempted to scatter your energies now, you can achieve better results if you address the tension in a troublesome relationship. Resolving interpersonal dynamics can help you find the time to reach your other goals, too.



Libra Horoscope
Libra Horoscope (Sep 23 – Oct 22)

Instead of concentrating on your tasks at work today, you might be inclined to kick back and enjoy yourself. But you may have to fulfill your responsibilities first, so don’t take on any more than what you must. Your wisest strategy now is to balance work with play, rather than declaring either of them as more important than the other.



Scorpio Horoscope
Scorpio Horoscope (Oct 23 – Nov 21)

It’s odd to think that the Moon’s entry into imaginative Pisces can bring you back to reality, but her square to the Sun in your 8th House of Transformation today actually does have that effect. The dreaminess further fades with a down-to-earth Venus-Saturn aspect, exposing the limitations of your current perspective. But don’t throw the baby out with the bathwater, for your inner child can teach you an important lesson if you let it come out to play.


Sagittarius Horoscope
Sagittarius Horoscope (Nov 22 – Dec 21)

Although you might need to go to work, you probably would prefer disappearing within your own home today. Nevertheless, once you do what is required, you could go back to the seclusion of your residence, turn off the phone and declare temporary independence from the outside world. For someone who normally likes to be the life of the party, hiding out now can be your secret guilty pleasure.



Capricorn Horoscope
Capricorn Horoscope (Dec 22 – Jan 19)

You don’t know what to do as the Moon joins indecisive Neptune in your 3rd House of Information. Although you’re able to say the right things that inspire others, you still might see yourself as a fraud because judgmental Saturn prevents you from perceiving yourself clearly today. Keep in mind that your uplifting words can be even more effective now if you believe in them yourself.



Aquarius Horoscope
Aquarius Horoscope (Jan 20 – Feb 18)

You are full of hope today as the Moon joins idealistic Neptune. But you may also be fearful that your meager efforts might not be enough to make things better. Don’t waste precious time belittling your contribution. Instead, shift the energy and focus on what you can do. Global change will not be the result of extraordinary work by a few people; it will come from the combined smaller deeds of everyone.



Pisces Horoscope
Pisces Horoscope (Feb 19 – Mar 20)

The Moon’s conjunction with spiritual Neptune in your sign today highlights your unique connection to all of humanity and the entire cosmos. You are unable to fully separate yourself from the larger picture, yet, paradoxically, an awkward Venus-Saturn aspect increases your current sense of isolation. Fortunately, taking a bit of time out of your busy day to meditate or pray can be enough to remind you that all fish live in the same sea and that individuality isn’t as important as it seems.

Did you know…

Did you know…

From Wikipedia’s newest articles:

Three bats flying over a misty placid lake. The bat in the foreground is about to swoop down and take a drink from the surface of the lake.

  • … that the many examples of extinct 48-million year old bat genus Palaeochiropteryx (life restoration pictured) found in the Messel lake may have drowned after being rendered unconscious in flight by poisonous volcanic gases?
  • … that Paratroop dog Glen of the 9th Parachute Battalion was killed during the Normandy Landings and is buried in a British war cemetery?
  • … that NGO PSCORE uses the term Corea to promote North Korean and South Korean unity?
  • … that at the 2008 Games, Nick Woodbridge and Sam Weale became the first British men to compete in Olympic modern pentathlon since 1996?
  • … that the evergreen juniper haircap moss is believed to be a powerful diuretic?
  • … that Valentino Garavani cited the moment Julia Roberts collected her Academy Award for Best Actress wearing his gown as the high point of his 45-year career?
  • … that according to The Dog Pillow, wearing armour without underwear makes one’s hair stand on end?