Clear your clutter!

Barbara Tako the expert clutter clearerClutter isn’t harmless. It gets in your way, slows you down, embarrasses you, and saps your energy. Why not get a handle on your stuff. Learn how to declutter and get organized with help from Barbara Tako author of Clutter Clearing Choices: Clear Clutter, Organize Your Home, & Reclaim Your Life. She had tips and insights for the slightly-disorganized as well as the hopelessly messy.

Barbara is a motivational speaker who provides tools to help people simplify their lives and free up time and energy for their priorities.  Her book is seasonally organized. It provides a variety of clutter-clearing tips. Readers are encouraged to pick and choose tips that meet their needs. Barbara’s passion is to provide people with tools to simplify their lives.
Read our interview with Barbara for helpful and simple tips on how to get started clearing your clutter!
DD: Why is clutter such an issue? Why do so many people have a clutter problem?
BT: We live therefore we acquire. Life always has "stuff" associated with it. We marry, divorce, have children, or lose family members; all these things bring new stuff into our lives. A new hobby or a new season can all create clutter. Many of us have clutter in our homes because we haven’t learned how to let stuff flow in and out of our lives. We don’t make sure that the stuff that lingers around us is a reflection of our current lives. We hang onto the past.
DD: Can you suggest how a person can begin to clear clutter?
BT: Be gentle with yourself. Clutter often needs to come off in layers rather than all at once. Start with the visible areas of your home rather than a remote spot. Set a timer for as little as 15 minutes and you will be pleased with the amount of progress.
DD:  Do you have any tricks to stay on top of clutter day to day?
BT: Push the reset button on your most lived-in rooms at the end of each day. Sweep through rooms and restore order by putting things away and cleaning up a little before you head off to bed. Have places for room items to be stored, so they don’t have to be out adding to your visual clutter and distress. Keep a donation box somewhere in your home where you can take items to donate on a regular basis. If you have a place to put things to be donated, you will add to it almost daily! That is a simple and easy way to keep clutter under control that takes no time. Also, sign up for my free monthly clutter clearing tips newsletter to help you stay on track at
DD: What are your organizational secrets?
BT: Group like things together: To make good decisions about what to keep and what to toss, gather all items that are in the same category together first. Also, think like a professional organizer and group things by frequency of use. Things you use most often can be in more accessible locations than things you don’t use very often.
DD: Can you talk about your mother-in-law, the “June Cleaver in your life” and how she influenced you? Also, can you please share her housekeeping tips?
BT: She taught me that the purpose of clearing clutter isn’t to have a home that looks like a magazine cover. The purpose is to free up time and energy for your priorities in life — your passions. My mother-in-law cleans and organizes no more or less often than necessary. Unlike many of us, though, she has formed really good habits in terms of daily, weekly, monthly, and quarterly routines. 
DD: Does clearing clutter also improve our quality of life – and how?
BT: Clearing clutter opens up space physically, mentally, and emotionally to let new things into your life. It frees up time and energy for you to live your life.
If you need more help with organizing issues Clutter Clearing Choices is a thoughtful and helpful guide to organizing. It addresses the practical and emotional issues of dealing with clutter.