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Peter Walsh

Peter Walsh

Design professional and star of TLC's Clean Sweep

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Meryl Starr

Meryl Starr

Organizing expert, author and personal consultant

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Debbie Stanley

Author and owner of Red Letter Day, a professional organizing...

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If you have questions about this change, you're in the right place. Our editors, experts, and community of change optimists have answers!


Question:How do i get organizaed and stay that way? See details below-

How do i begin to tackle the problem when it is so, and i mean so out of control? I do not have any room in my house that is not so cluttered and unorgainized i hate to even begin the job of sorting, pitching out and majorly cleaning.
I always fall back into the same bad habits and become the packrat. It is getting so bad i can't even get a dish out of my cabinet without something falling out onto the avalanche
on the counter top of the kitchen cabinets. I try to sort the junk mail and pitch things out and it just makes more piles of stuff. I started this morning and at 10:00 and it is now 11:30 i took a break to do a load of laundry and remembered i had this email address i wanted to look up yours to see if it could help me out. I have tried working in small areas for a set time so i wouldn't get burnt out. I have even had help from family and friends to get things in shape but it always goes back to the mayham mess! Please help i'm desperate~

Asked by ukoppam on 11/16/08 4 Answers»


I usually get bogged down when there is one item in particularly which I am neglecting. For me that is usually keeping account of my money like I should. The more I avoid it the less motivated I am to take care of other less daunting tasks and the more likely I am to spend money I don't have and collect things I don't need. Things pile up and the situation gets worse. Taking care of money matters isn't the end of all problems but how I deal with that either encourages or discourages my efforts to take care of other things.

Answered by: ThinkAboutIt on 11/22/08


After watching several hours of Dr. Phil, I learned that sometimes when people venture into extreme pack rat territory, there can be something brewing beneath the surface. If you're at the point where you feel its taking over your life, maybe you could think about seeing a therapist in order to help you get to the root of it. There's nothing wrong with being a little messy, but if you're at the point where you're feeling overwhelmed, it might do you good to tackle this from more than one angle.

Answered by: runnindownadream on 11/18/08


This is so hard, but one of the best things you can do is just get rid of anything and everything that you haven't looked at for several months. I usually save this for when I am in the oh-my-gosh-I-cannot-stand-this-anymore stage. Then, I go on a rampage and totally purge. It's always good to know that you can give your stuff away to people who are more in need.

As far as avoiding the return to chaos once you have gotten organized, try cleaning as you go. Hang your shirt up instead of tossing it on the bed and scrub dishes before the pile up in the sink. It makes staying organized much easier!

Answered by: carolineshannon on 11/18/08


Have you thought about hiring someone to help? A professional organizer could get you on the right track. But honestly the best thing you can do is hold yourself accountable. Don't bring anything else in the house, and set aside some time every day to do a little bit of organizing. Check out Peter Walsh's interview here. I find him incredibly helpful. He's also doing this project with Oprah called the "Clean up your messy house tour." Check it out here: Link

Just stick with it! You can do it!

Answered by: LMAYO9 on 11/17/08
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