ONE WAY TO GIVE your home a new look in the new year is
to get rid of the clutter. Costco member Lorie Marrero, creator
of the Clutter Diet® (
www.clutterdiet.com), a subscription-based
Web site, offers some tips below.
If you’re ready to tackle a big project, such as painting
or remodeling, see “Brushing up on paint” and “Ten do’s
and don’ts of home renovation” (at right). And don’t
forget to check Costco and Costco.com for the supplies
Put the house on a clutter diet
The Costco Connection: It’s February. boxes. Label them “Keep,” “Toss,” “Give away,” It takes systems and routines to maintain
You’ve already blown your resolution to get etc. How can one “break out of the box,” so to what you have accomplished with the project
organized. What to do now? speak, when thinking about organizing? work; otherwise it will quickly revert to the
Lorie Marrero: Focus on small changes LM: In writing my book [ The Clutter Diet: way things were. People need to approach
you can make that you can add to as new hab- The Skinny on Organizing Your Home and their projects by planning them first—
think-its become more ingrained. We recommend Taking Control of Your Life, available at
www.ing through the functions of the space, the
focusing first on having good morning and
clutterdiet.com], I identified three different needs of the people using and sharing the
evening routines, since those support you kinds of organizing. If you imagine a pyramid space, and the maintenance tasks that will be
throughout your day and affect you and your shape, the smallest top part is planning. The required to keep the space functioning the
family the most. middle section is projects—those major areas way they want it.
You can start with the morning “To you tackle, like a closet or garage. And the
D.E.W.” list: Dishes (empty the dishwasher to foundation and largest part is systems and CC: What do you do if you still have too
be ready for the day), Eating (plan what you’re routines. The focus has been too much on the many things in the “Keep” box?
going to eat later today) and Wash (take the projects and not enough on the other kinds LM: We work with our clients quite a bit on
laundry to the next stage). In the evening you of organizing. the motivational aspects of organizing. What
can focus on the “Triple S” routine: Start the is your vision for your life and how does
dishwasher (so the dishes are ready to put your personal environment support that
away in the morning), Straighten up (do vision? Does the stuff you have keep you
“clutter patrol” of flat surfaces and the floor) mired in the past or focused on the future?
and Set for tomorrow (gather whatever you What is the worst that could happen if you
need for the next day). didn’t have a particular item?
Then you can focus on the When you embark on a journey
organizing projects that have the of personal change—which is what
largest impact on your daily life, getting organized is for many peo-probably the kitchen, utility room ple—one of the pitfalls is the idea that
and bedroom/closet. You want to you are either good or bad. You will have
get the most frequently used areas up and down days, but don’t just give up.
figured out first, with all of the sys- You want to always be trending toward
tems that support them, then move improvement over time. Imagine a tradi-on to projects such as the spare room tional line graph chart of a business in
or the garage that have less impact on growth mode … it has smaller jagged
your day. lines up and down, but it is overall trend-
ing upward. Ultimately you end up growing
CC: It seems that most professional organiz- and improving when you know that you don’t
ers have the same prescription: Get three have to be perfect every day. C