Sunday, July 18, 2010

The Clutter Diet

OK, so as many people know, my "special talent" is writing ditties. I call them ditties anyways. I'm really good at writing rhyming poems and I write them for all occasions: birthday invitations, baby showers, contest entries, etc.

So last Fall (September I believe) I was reading through Good Housekeeping magazine in a doctor's office when I came across an article about clutter. It was an article that the author wrote because she had found a website ( that was a service to help you reduce cluttter and chaos in your home. The author subscribed to the website and then wrote an article about how it helped her clean up the clutter in her home.

I got home from the doctor's office and visited the website and found out that they were working with Good Housekeeping ( and were having a clutter makeover contest. The contest was to write an essay (250 words or less) about why you need a clutter makeover from Lorie Marrero (CEO of and author of The Clutter Diet).

So with the help of my fabulous sister (who usually writes the ditties with me) we wrote a 250 word ditty about the clutter in my home and why I should be chosen to win the contest.
The winner was to receive a signed copy of The Clutter Diet, two days of in home organizing with Lorie Marrero, and a $1000 gift card to the Container Store.

I submitted my entry at the end of October and pretty much forgot about it. Then in June of 2010 a box showed up on my doorstep. I opened it and out falls The Clutter Diet book and a letter stating that I had won the contest and should call to claim my prizes!

Long story short... Lorie Marrero came to my house this past Thursday and Friday to help us organize our office and garage! On top of that, she called in a favor and was able to get overhead garage storage (from - Rich Adams) installed in my garage for free.

Thursday morning at 7:30am Lorie showed up on my doorstep. We had decided in advance that we were going to organize the office and the garage and some small "hot spot" areas in my kitchen and master closet. Thursday morning we got to work on the garage (while it was still relatively "cool"). After lunch on Thursday we started on the office. We left my house at 6:30pm on Thursday night to do some super fun shopping at the Container Store in Southlake. We showed up and they congratulated me and handed me a gift card for $1000! We shopped for 2 hours and ended up spending $725 on storage solutions for the office, garage, kitchen, master bath, and even got something for Little Miss's room. After checking out we headed over to Mi Cocina's for some much needed dinner. She left on Thursday night around 11pm and was back for more early Friday morning.
Ryan worked from home Friday and was able to help with the garage organizing. We finished the garage around 2pm on Friday afternoon, broke for lunch, and then did some shopping at Office Max and Target. The office organization was crazy (and VERY necessary) and we didn't get totally finished until around 1am Saturday morning.

It was an AMAZING two days with Lorie. She was very adament that she didn't want to "organize and run" but really wanted me to learn organizing techniques and routines that worked for us and our life. She wanted to make sure that everything was specifically geared towards fitting into our lives instead of a cookie cutter approach to organizing. I learned some ways to think about items in our home and where we put them that I hadn't thought of but that make so much sense.
My favourite things that I learned included:
* A, B, C, and D - categorizing our items and the location for those items and the frequency with which we use them
* Numbered filing system - this specific system will REALLY work for us and completely fixes my perfectionist problem
* ART - Action, Reference, Trash for papers coming into the house
* NEXT ACTION - What is the NEXT ACTION for this?

By no means is this all that I learned these past two days but these 4 things really changed the way that I think about items in our home and what to do with things as they come into the house.
It was so amazing to have Lorie here for the last couple of days. She really helped me to overcome many of my organizational hurdles and put systems and/or routines into place to keep the house looking as fabulous as it does right now!
Thank you Lorie for all of the HARD WORK and teaching that you did these last two days. I had a blast getting to know you, laughing with you, and learning from you. Thank you for helping us get some sanity back into our home and making our office and garage look so spectacular!
Before and After shots of the garage and office:

My Clutter Makeover Contest Poem (this is my contest entry):

We're a family of four with two young kids
One is six, the other is three
We have a nice big house with tons of space
But when you walk in the door stacks are all you can see

The kitchen counter it seems is where things multiply
Current bills, magazines and old 'to do' lists
The office is where the clutter piles high
Filing papers here doesn't exist

Our office has morphed into the paper cemetery
The piles are put there to die
Trying to run my home business in there is quite hard
My customers just look at me and sigh

Piles upon piles, boxes of stuff
Where to put it of course where we eat
Our dining room table collects frames and old broken lamps
You'll probably never find a seat
Now onto the master bedroom it's one of the worst
With clothes thrown about on the dresser and floor
And books and such overtook the nightstand
Restful sanctuary it's not - I just run for the door

Finally the garage, my husband's retreat
And the home of our family minivan
Problem is you can't find a screw or a wrench when you need it
Because it's buried beneath old saddles and rusting coffee cans
So Lorie please come with your Clutter Diet method
Four years is too long to live in such a mess
Please help us organize our lives and create systems that work
So that we won't have to deal with all of this stress!

1 comment:

Catherine said...

Congratulations, Dana, on the big win!
Your ditty sounds identical to my situation! Hope I can corral the clutter the way you and Lorie have, really soon--I'm starting (again!) today!

from Catherine Dora in Canada