3 Easy Steps for Dealing with the Culprits of Clutter!

We’ve all got them, those confounding stacks of receipts, catalogs, bills and magazines that seem to appear out of nowhere and multiply the moment you leave the room.

A gifted few are able to nip the problem in the bud, but for most of us, they’re part of the décor, a roving set of paper sculptures that attach themselves to any available flat surface in the house.

Sarah on ‘Those Piles’

‘My husband, Gardiner, actually invented a term for this particularly annoying kind of clutter: ‘craplets.’ Simply defined, a craplet is something deemed too insignificant to command immediate attention, but too important to toss — like that ‘Men’s Health’ magazine with the great ab workout in the back. The problem is, craplets and their companion, ‘giftlets,’ (those small gifts you don’t actually want, but feel too guilty throwing away or re-gifting), will quickly take over all table tops in your home if you’re not careful.’

Alicia on ‘Their Impact’

‘Dealing with craplets and giftlets stylishly has practically become a cottage industry! And with good reason: according to some statistics, the average American wastes up to one hour per day searching for missing information in messy desks and files. That’s a mind boggling statistic in a world where every second counts. On top of wasting your time, these piles also sap you of energy. They’re the moral equivalent of weeds in your garden — taking over everything and stealing the beauty. Every time you pass a pile, you’re reminded of an unpleasant task you need to do that will drain your energy until you deal with it.’

Getting Your Craplets & Giftlets Buttoned Up

Imagine what you could do with an extra hour and less ‘low level stress’ every day — spend more quality time with your kids, get to the gym, catch up with your spouse…or dare we say it…relax! To help you do just that, we’ve got three simple steps for staying on top of these irksome piles.

#1: Identify the Source
For most people, there are usually one or two spots in the house that serve as ‘ground zero’ for craplets and giftlets. In some instances, it’s the kitchen table or a dresser, while in others, it’s a desk or coffee table. Usually, it’s either the spot where mail gets dumped, or where pockets, briefcases, and purses are emptied after a long day’s work. Identifying the trouble spots makes it easy to focus your energy where it really matters.

#2: Contain the Sprawl
The easiest way to nip sprawl in the bud is to contain it to a specific area. This is easily done with two tools: (1) a basket, bowl, box or some other eye-pleasing container for the inevitable bits and pieces, and (2) a trash can, preferably an elegant one you don’t mind keeping out in the open. Place the container on top of the surface you have identified as a trouble spot and throughout the week, put your ‘stuff’ in this catch-all only. Put the trash can nearby and try to throw out anything you know you really don’t need immediately.

#3: Schedule Weekly Dumps
At the end of each week, take 30 minutes to go through the pile that has built up. File important papers and follow up on next steps — whether it’s buying those gloves in the catalog or writing down that phone number in your address book. Be tough — throw away every scrap the minute you’re done. If you don’t have a place to put something, put it back in the container and give yourself a maximum of 30 days to deal with it. If it’s still there after 1 month, toss it!