I had a great time teaching my clutter class at SeniorsPlus in Lewiston last week. Here are ten take-aways to share:

1.) We get into the clutter mess because of the decisions we make. You are in charge of your life, so if you want to be different, make different decisions! Take action!

2.) Honestly assess your barriers. Why are you not less cluttered? You don’t have the time? Organization? Shelves? Help? Perhaps you need to start your own clutter class!

clutter class can help you control clutter2.) Finish what you start. Lots of clutter is just projects that never got finished or items that don’t get put away. Make it a personal challenge, each time you start something, to finish it right down to the clean up.

3.) You are in charge of what comes into your house. You just have to be smarter than a piece of junk mail.

4.) Your mother is not a box of check receipts with her handwriting, a broken dish or an old sweater. We don’t really want the item, we want the memory. Take a picture or keep a representative, then let the object go.

5.) You don’t have to do everything; you just have to do ONE thing. What’s the one thing you can do in this minute/hour/day to decrease your clutter?

6.) We often don’t want to get rid of stuff “because it’s still good.” It might be still good, but it’s no longer any good for YOU. Send it along so that it can become good for someone else.

7.) Don’t hog your stuff. Don’t be a dog in a manger; if you can’t use it or don’t really want it, release it. Be generous and share.

8.) Clutter often becomes a matter of safety as we age. Look at clutter control as risk management. More than 50% of people who fall and break hips never live in their home again.

9.) Adopt the four heap method: keep, sell/donate, trash, return. Perhaps set up four boxes somewhere and throw the occasional clutter into the correct container.

10.) Stop the inflow. Don’t let anything else come into your house unless it replaces something and has a purpose. And don’t let anyone give you their cast-offs and clutter!