10 Tips for a Clutter-Clearing Cleanse

WomanArmsOutstretchedSunriseSunset_51356326_mlby Jacqueline Fox

The word “cleanse” is often associated with the physical body.  Sometimes neglected is the value of an emotional cleanse, especially when preparing for something as taxing as clearing out our homes or other personal spaces.

Here are a few tips for preparing for a declutter session.

  • Think about “emotional incompletes” that are weighing you down. Make a list of phone calls, e-mails and meetings you intend to schedule, so you can mentally file them away.
  • Limit your engagement with phone calls and e-mails. Set times that you will check in, but otherwise, let others know that you won’t be available for workaday activities.
  • Slow down. Meditate, take a yoga or tai chi class, or walk in the park.
  • Allow yourself to imagine what it will feel like to be more light and free of clutter. Write about your imagined future in a journal.
  • Gather needed materials ahead of time, such as trash bags, recycling containers and storage boxes.
  • Prepare a short mantra that you can repeat to yourself during your de-cluttering, reminding yourself to be present and enjoy the process of releasing what no longer serves you.
  • If you know you might need assistance, hire a coach or professional organizer who can help you.

CRG_JaquelineFox_0416Jacqueline Fox, MEd, MS, is an office organizer and coach for business professionals, serving the greater central Bucks County area.  Connect at JFox@JacquelineFox.com or visit JacquelineFox.com. 

A Glorious Permaclutter


by Stephanie Lee Jackson

permaculture: a system of cultivation intended to maintain permanent agriculture by relying on renewable resources and a self-sustaining ecosystem.

Americans have a junk storage habit. The Self Storage Association estimates that there are 2.3 billion square feet of storage space in the United States, enough for every citizen to stand in a storage unit simultaneously and not get rained on. That space is nearly full—of inherited furniture, broken typewriters, baseball bats, cast-iron pans, trophies, needlepoint and bad, bad novels.

That’s the sustainable decorator’s raw material. Not only does mining this clutter keep treasures out of the landfill, but the results often have more intimacy and flair than an Architectural Digest showcase.

What IKEA concoction can compare to the joy of digging out an heirloom and designing a room around it? The border on an antique rug informs an accent wall color. A silver-plated teapot, too battered to sell and too pretty to throw away—what a fabulous herb planter. That cupboard full of candle holders, cleaned up and distributed, turns any room into the set of Downton Abbey.

Even old cans of paint, generally considered a toxic-waste disposal problem, can become the feature piece of a home design. Draw some sketches on a wall or staircase risers, fill in the colors, and a site-specific custom mural emerges.  Bored with it? Just paint over it; no storage required.

Accumulated stuff can be a burden, or it can be the potential energy that roars into life with the touch of an inspired hand. Home design becomes home permaculture—nothing is wasted, and everything is transformed.

CRG_Permaclutter_StephanieLeeJacksonStephanie Lee Jackson is an artist, designer and healer. Her company, Practical Sanctuary, helps create spaces that allow both customers and their clients to feel the way they want to—inspired, powerful and calm. Visit PracticalSanctuary.com for a free Sanctuary Session. See listing, page 43.