The Clutter Remedy: A Guide to Getting Organized for Those Who Love Their Stuff

The Clutter Remedy: A Guide to Getting Organized for Those Who Love Their Stuff

by Marla Stone
The Clutter Remedy: A Guide to Getting Organized for Those Who Love Their Stuff

The Clutter Remedy: A Guide to Getting Organized for Those Who Love Their Stuff

by Marla Stone


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The Way to a Perpetually Organized Lifestyle

There are many valid approaches to creating neat and tidy spaces, but these approaches tend to fail over time because they suggest that we dispose of our stuff, and most of us love our stuff! Marla Stone’s fresh and friendly approach, based on her work as both a professional organizer and a former psychotherapist, goes beyond tidying up to offer the Clutter Remedy strategy that will create spaces you love and keep you perpetually organized. Marla walks you through a process of getting to know yourself and your values and then visualizing your ideal lifestyle and optimal surroundings. From that perspective, you’ll learn step by step (and room by room) how to create your ideal lifestyle and organize your space to support it.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781608686292
Publisher: New World Library
Publication date: 12/03/2019
Pages: 176
Sales rank: 662,646
Product dimensions: 5.40(w) x 8.40(h) x 0.50(d)

About the Author

Marla Stone, MSW, is the owner of I-Deal-Lifestyle Inc., which provides decluttering, design, corporate training, and lifestyle coaching services. She is a former social worker and psychotherapist turned professional organizer who helps people live an ideal lifestyle by getting to the root of their mental, emotional, spiritual, and environmental challenges. She lives in Orange County, California.

Read an Excerpt



The process of identifying your core values and an ideal lifestyle — what you truly want to accomplish in life — creates the desire for order, harmony, and a clutter-free residence and work space. The concept of an ideal lifestyle may prove confusing at first because you are so busy putting one foot in front of the other, making decisions throughout the day, and regularly tending to the more mundane aspects of life: work, housekeeping, errands, chauffeuring, cooking, shopping, and everyday tasks. Focusing on your loftiest and forgotten dreams and recognizing your aspirations is the beginning of an emotionally freeing and enlightening journey.

You can experience as much difficulty talking about your innermost secret dreams and desires as you do discussing and revealing your most difficult clutter challenges and the frustrations that go along with staying organized. Having a messy, chaotic, and unpresentable home or workplace can cause deep embarrassment, conflicts, and mixed feelings. When your life goals and desires are not being fulfilled, talking about what you want most out of life can trigger feelings of confusion, regret, and sadness. Becoming open about all that you want is essential to knowing how to live an ideal and clutter-free life.

Some people think they will be able to dig themselves out of their convoluted mess by themselves or with the help of family members. Ironically, fixating on the clutter derails them from focusing on the inner challenges they face: the mess inside of themselves. You are not alone with your clutter challenges. Clutter is an epidemic around the world, and fixing clutter starts by focusing on the inner self.


Clutter can be mystifying at times, and you will notice that "decluttering" methods are not the cure-all for feeling more optimistic about yourself or better about your life, especially because they rarely last. However, identifying and fulfilling life's larger purpose successfully, and seeing your space and your clutter clearly, will help you maintain an organized space and a clutter-free lifestyle, one that sticks with you for good. What you don't realize is that clutter is simply a camouflage for what you truly want in life. It conceals your dreams and goals. It makes it difficult to see what direction or path to take. Clutter camouflage blows you off course. It can lead to an unintentional and directionless life. You can literally be tripping, not only over your stuff, but over your life purpose as well. In Jeri's case, tripping over books represented avoiding her dreams of being a writer.

For years Jeri had talked about writing poetry, and she had collected hundreds upon hundreds of poetry books, how-to guides, and an enormous amount of writing apparatuses. When I suggested she could open a small stationery shop, she laughed. Then we discussed the more serious side of things. Jeri had spent a lot of time and money collecting items that she believed would help make her a great writer. From all appearances, the contents of Jeri's small apartment alluded to the idea that she was a fine writer or even a scholar. Yet the more Jeri collected, the less space she had to write. Her desk was unusable, since it was completely covered with books, paper, pens, journals, and highlighters. Jeri's bookshelves were overloaded with books. Books were stacked on the floor and other flat surfaces, the couch, and in her bedroom. Most of her cabinets and drawers were filled to the brim with every possible writing tool imaginable. The more I looked around her space, the clearer the truth became: Jeri's stuff was blocking her from writing and stomping out her dreams of becoming a prolific poet.

Jeri recognized that collecting and owning lots of stuff did not make her more creative. The thing Jeri valued most was self-expression, and she realized her focus was sharing her innermost thoughts about life, not collecting writing tools. By getting her goals straightened out and in clearing up her space, Jeri cleared a spot in her life for writing. She kept most of her stuff, both by utilizing the Clutter Remedy space-planning strategy and by adding a few more bookshelves and cabinets. Jeri kept everything that was useful, everything that served a purpose, sentimental items, and all the things she loved. Jeri's place was whipped into shape, first by broadly categorizing everything she owned, then fine-tuning her items, and finally by finding the perfect containment and home for everything she cherished. Can you relate to Jeri's situation by looking at what you've collected and never used? Is all the stuff you're not using a sign that you are not "using" your inner gifts for loftier goals?

You can go out and buy gadgets, supplies, ingredients, manuals, equipment, electronics, information, and a surplus of products, but if you don't use them, are they a diversion from fulfilling your dreams or a way to fill the emptiness you have inside yourself? Possessions and material objects are not the seeds for growth and development. You know those objects do not define you as a person. You know things don't make situations you desire happen. Obviously, certain things are helpful, once you have the determination and know-how to accomplish your dreams and goals, but things don't get you there, you do.


You know stuff is just stuff. It's inanimate. It is not alive. Personal effects do not have thoughts or feelings, but you may treat them like they do. Possessions can trigger feelings, but they do not create feelings within you. You know you want material objects around, otherwise you wouldn't allow them in your space in the first place. If you didn't love all your wares and worldly goods and you decided to live in an empty room with a minimal amount, I guarantee over time you would start to miss the things you once cherished. But you know the big stuff in life is not stuff. The big stuff in life is loved ones, health, happiness, and living the best life you can.

Living with the basic essentials like a bed, lamps, chairs, a desk, a table, and a couch makes life livable, comfortable, and convenient. Living with shelves, cooking utensils, office supplies, kitchen and bath products, electronics, bedding and towels, toys, and hobby stuff makes life functional, active, and settling. Owning books, trinkets, jewelry, knickknacks, artwork, collections, clothes, and accessories creates an aesthetically pleasing, interesting, and special life. You love stuff for a reason; so there is no reason, at all, to struggle and stress over stuff — ever.

Cluttered environments are not caused by laziness, but rather the lack of a personal, proven strategy. Knowing how to decipher what is important and what is not, by using the Clear and Concise Criteria, prevents clutter from piling up and allows it to be easily processed. The most important thing about conquering clutter, and organizing mounds and pounds of stuff, is having a way to declutter easily, quickly, and efficiently. You don't want to be looking for things you want to use; you want those things quickly and easily. You want your stuff when you want it, in a timely manner, so you will be on time for appointments, events, and meetings. You want things at your fingertips, or at the very least at arm's length, to feel confident and at peace walking out the door or to be spontaneously creative. Your stuff is not supposed to be mysterious — lurking around corners, under the bed, hunted down, or hidden. Your stuff is supposed to be categorized, cherished, and in a special home all of its own.

In cluttered environments, it is near impossible to concentrate on the things that are important to you. The quandary over stuff mostly stems from not knowing and identifying what you value, what to keep, and how to store it all. Solving those three things ends your struggle with stuff immediately. The "tug of war" with stuff starts when things can't be found, when things start to pile up, and when your space becomes full of unruly landmines.

I know you're eager to get decluttered, but before you jump into all of the aerobics involved in space organizing, consider revealing to yourself how you created the clutter in the first place so you will stay organized long-term. Getting decluttered and having your space über-organized is not rocket science, but staying organized for good is. It takes some effort to look into your inner self and to cope with and emit any emotional clutter that is perpetuating outer clutter. Delving into your inner processes lights up your path to clarity.


Organizing your inner self and your well-being is about the removal of any negativity, past wounds, and emotional blocks, coupled with becoming healthy and authentically happy, with a great attitude, and optimal communication skills. When your inner self is not organized, and you are without a clear sense of being, your surroundings will always be chaotic. That being said, no matter how disorganized you are, you will be able to get organized with insight into your inner self.

Even the most organized people have blips into a disorganized state but will recover quickly by noticing and rectifying self-defeating cluttering behavior. Perhaps the self-defeating behavior starts by placing a reminder on a bare kitchen counter, then a magazine finds its way on top of the reminder note, followed by collections of random and unrelated items. Meanwhile, a large lump of clothes begins to grow on the bedroom chair, waiting to be relocated to the closet. So, when you personally start to get wayward, something is more than likely going on with you internally for this ungovernable chaos to rise up. You will not eliminate moments of disorganization, but by having a specific home for everything you own and using the strategies and the steps you're going to learn, you will recover to an organized state quickly and with ease.

A systemic approach for a satisfying space, and understanding your stuff, is achieved by connecting to your inner self, dreams, interests, and goals, and learning to symbolize aggregated collections. Once you realize the deeper meaning to everything you own, what you love to do in life, and what makes life worth living, then, and only then, will you know what "good" stuff to keep around versus what is simply clutter. Your life purpose helps you understand what material objects are useful, purposeful, sentimental, and loved. Investing in a peaceful, tranquil, orderly, and sustainable strategy for decluttering comes from being self-aware and patient with the changes that will take place. The physical aspect of getting organized happens rapidly, yet the preparation internally takes thoughtfulness, tenacity, and strategizing. Ultimately, revealing to yourself what you love to do in life will help you understand what you love about your stuff versus what is simply cluttering your life.


Decluttering effectively requires self-honesty, since the goal is to remove from your home whatever is inauthentic, out of date, and burying or blocking your authentic self and aspirations. As you do, little and big gems of understanding will fall into your lap, astounding and dazzling you. Clearing up hazy half-truths and stupefying, self-defeating behaviors clears the path to becoming a champion and builder of your empire.

Ironically, one of the things people discover is how they could have fooled or misled themselves about their own lives, often with good intentions, yet in very unsettling ways. Santa Claus and the Tooth Fairy are innocent, well-meaning untruths, but as a child I remember feeling a little squeamish when I realized I had been duped. Since then, it's made me wonder: Do these early fictions teach us that it's okay and sometimes preferred to lie and dupe ourselves? To tell "little white lies" or say yes when we want to say no? To pick a career that does not interest us because parents or society convince us that it is the only way to succeed? Or to choose a particular path because we think it will be the only thing we will be good at? Are we supposed to deny what we enjoy because others will judge us or we believe it's wrong? When people are confused about what they want in life, the Clutter Remedy is an excellent process for recognizing personal truth.

For this reason, I always advise people to approach decluttering from the stance of "no judgment." See clearly, be honest, and avoid blame. Foster unconditional love and regard for yourself. Be kind, no matter what you discover. By going through this process, you've committed to remedying the accumulated clutter in your space, and this usually requires seeing and addressing your inner clutter: the issues, emotions, pain, and untruths that led to it. No one, including yourself, is allowed to judge you, criticize you, or complain about how much you own, how you collected it, or what you will keep. No one should be eyeing your stuff for themselves. It's your stuff and nobody else's business. Accepting your clutter as you find it, without feeling shame or regret, is the optimal stance. This will help you see more clearly and will help you recognize any negative patterns and attitudes that you will want to work through prior to going through all your stuff. Focusing on blame and getting mired in judgment will only stress you out and bog you down.

One thing that helps make the experience fun and uplifting is to remember that everything you own was chosen for a reason. You acquired things with good intentions; they were useful or they served a purpose or you simply loved them. So when you look at your possessions objectively, ask yourself, "Why is this in my real estate? Why did I think this was a good idea?" You could have chosen certain items because they reminded you of good times. Or they were expensive items that conveyed a certain status you desired. We buy and keep items for lots of reasons. Some items you find during decluttering will remain useful and serve a purpose and still be loved, while some will make no sense at all. Remaining nonjudgmental and enthusiastic rather than ashamed and befuddled over your stuff is easier when you see how it relates to your core values. Remember, the goal of decluttering is to create an organized, satisfying, and productive lifestyle.


Reflecting on what you truly value, and absorbing what your current life interests are, is the beginning and most important step to getting organized and knowing what to keep in your life. It's a big deal and can feel daunting to articulate what you value in life. Before going through the decluttering process, ask yourself, "What do I love to do in life? What are my core values?"

Delving into your personal world helps you understand your personal effects and how they align with your life. Do you value relationships, children, money, power, career, fame, independence, travel, sleep, appearance, health, and/or spirituality?

To help identify what you truly want out of life, make a list of your top ten core values. For example, the core values you name could be intimacy, an ideal partner, relaxation, friendship, family time, optimal health, creativity, and a thriving business. They could include vacation time, increased income, particular hobbies, an ideal career, or an ideal social life.

Figuring out the top ten things you value will motivate you to make changes and to get organized. For instance, if you long for a relationship leading to marriage and children, but you will not invite a new person to your tangled home, are you ready to go forward with a relationship? Or do you value your independence more? If you value rest and sleep, why is there an abundance of stuff on your bed, so much so that you sack out on a bumpy couch instead? If you value travel, why are your receipts and paperwork for your taxes buried all over your home, leaving you hesitant to spend money on a vacation? If you value expanding your business, why is your office and your company car filled with junk mail, papers, unpacked boxes, and yesterday's dry cleaning?

After naming ten core values, next make certain they reflect the aspirations that are most meaningful to you in your current life. Are they past desires, or what someone else wants for you, or things you believe you should value? You're the only one who knows what you want out of life.

Now memorize your top ten core values, and contemplate what your life would look like with those ten core values developed and manifested in your life. Obviously, you want your values to align with your capabilities and be achievable, but reach high and imagine your wildest and most extraordinary dreams at this very moment. Now make a strong wish to have the top ten values fulfilled. Ask for these wishes to become present in your life. Write each of your top ten values as goals, and write three specific ways you will fulfill each one of them. Create a timeline to achieve them.


Excerpted from "The Clutter Remedy"
by .
Copyright © 2019 Marla Stone.
Excerpted by permission of New World Library.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Table of Contents

Chapter 1: The Enlightened Way to Declutter Your Life

The Definition of Clutter

Physical Clutter

Emotional Clutter

The Logistics of Getting Organized

Friendly Visitors

Chapter 2: Preparing to Become Perpetually Organized

Traits and Attributes of an Ideal Organizer

Chapter 3: Perpetual Disorganization vs. Perpetual Organization

The Clutter Remedy for Self

Know Your Values

How You Think

The Clutter Remedy Language Tool

Need vs. Want Language

Indecisive vs. Decisive Language

Chapter 4: Remedying Inner Clutter

Disorganized vs. Organized Self

The Clutter Remedy Strategies

“Know Thyself”

Creating Your Ideal Lifestyle

Example Goals to an Ideal Lifestyle

Understanding Your Capabilities Towards Reaching Your Goals

Current Life Status Inventory

Clearing and Healing Strategy

“Ideal” Lifestyle Dream Board

Understanding Your Truth

The Clutter Remedy Positive Attitude Strategies

Chapter 5: Summoning Up Motivation and Wellness for an Ideal Lifestyle

Motivation and Wellness Tips

Physical, Mental, Emotional and Spiritual Health for an Organized Self

Getting Positively Organized

Developing a Positive Support System and Social Life

The Clutter Remedy’s Self Protection Steps

Understanding Your Spiritual Belief System

You’re An Ever Changing Being with an Ever Changing Space

Chapter 6: Outer Space Organization

Clutter Remedy Strategies Organizing Space

Break Down The Wall

The Clutter Remedy for Space

The Clutter Remedy for Decluttering

Categorize All Items

Determine What You Will Keep and What Will Go

Clutter Remedy Criteria for What is Kept

Contain Each and Every Category

Keep Daily, Weekly Monthly Items in Immediate Space

Chapter 7: Whole Home Organizing with The Clutter Remedy for Space

The Kitcshy and Coordinated Kitchen

Drawers and Cabinets


Creating a Spa-Like Bathroom

Organized Office Bliss

Creating a Filing System for Your Papers

Sufficient Storing Areas

Creatively Stored Clothing and Designed Closets

Chapter 8: Your Self and Space - Seasonally

Seasonal Transitions

How To Shop Without Dropping Too Much

New Year’s Realizations

Processing Paperwork

Smooth Moving vs. Moving Madness

Preparing the Kids and Their Space for School and Life

About the Author


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