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

An excerpt from The Clutter Remedy: A Guide to Getting Organized for Those Who Love Their Stuff,

by Marla Stone

To live perpetually organized in a clear space using efficient and effective strategies makes your life easier, more relaxing, and productive. If you think getting organized is about getting rid of your stuff, it’s not. Instead my Clutter Remedy strategy is inspired by working with people who love their stuff but also feel encumbered by clutter. I see people, worldly goods, and space in a unique way. I don’t care how much stuff you own and how much space you have. I don’t care what things you keep or discard.

It doesn’t matter whether you are a millennial, a minimalist, or you have gobs of stuff; what matters is there is a better way to go through your items, admire them, and keep it all rocking your world without upsetting yourself, your space, or your schedule.
Instead of wanting to hurl everything out the window or into a dumpster, transforming your life — and space — with stability and confidence is the path to perpetual organized living. My goal is to help you become organized forever, which is accomplished by examining how you view yourself, your life, and your objects.

Reaching the truth about what you value in life is one of the most powerful ways of knowing yourself, your stuff, and your space intimately. By knowing what you truly value in life, you will know how to organize all that you own. Desiring a creative
and simplified way to get yourself and your space organized is a normal response to living with clutter. Yet the life you want to lead — full of activity, fun, and purpose — is more important than being a weary and downtrodden clutter caretaker. You want to declutter with grace and dignity — and with a professional flair instead of feeling embarrassed and flustered.

Typically, the fluster and frenzy heighten when you want to find something important before walking out the door, and it’s nowhere in sight, making you late and anxious. Or you struggle with an inadequate, failing system of disorganized, evergrowing
piles. To stay calm and functioning, day to day, you find yourself hiding your stuff, shoving it in drawers, moving it around, and storing it haphazardly — but you know this is not how to live with the stuff that you love. The round and round “human in a hamster wheel” behavior of going from clutter to clear and back to clutter is exhausting. It tires you out and makes you itch for more things to covet, instead of appreciating what
you already own.

From my perspective, getting organized is not about cleaning up a closet or a pantry. It’s about analyzing the causes and personal challenges associated with cluttered and disorganized environments. Realizing that outer space is a reflection of the inner self helps motivate people to look deeper for the cause of clutter. When a person’s mood is off-kilter, it colors how their space will appear. Instead of living in a sacred and splendid space, they will end up living in a cluttered and out-of-control space. A cyclone
effect within a home or workspace is often correlated with inner turbulence and commotion. The inner self will also influence how you look at what you own and how you feel about yourself and your appearance.

For instance, an outfit you loved a week ago will suddenly make you feel miserable, but it’s not the outfit that is causing your angst. Feelings come from your inner self, processing thoughts and formulating conclusions about your life. When the inner self is cluttered with self-doubt and insecurity, even the most elegant clothing won’t inspire feeling confident or beautiful. Your inner state can blind you to the beauty of life and all the things that you love. Since inner, emotional clutter will trigger physical clutter over and over again, it’s important to first declutter your emotions and your thoughts. This begins with understanding and articulating what matters to you most. Then and only then will you be able to move forward with the Clutter Remedy strategy. The strategy gives you well-thought-out and specific criteria for all the objects you own, and it helps you become decisive and make good decisions about what to keep in your life. The clutter surrounding you has more meaning than you realize. Matter matters. It has energy,deeper meaning, and charge.

I meet with people regularly who consider their clutter a “secret.” Their closest friends are not allowed to see their clutter or are sometimes not even invited into their homes. Some people remark that their excessive clutter or messy space brings on so much “confusion and derailment” that they’ve stopped enjoying life and feel desperate and isolated. Others share that they are what I call “décor challenged” with blank or overloaded walls, barren or cluttered mantels, and dated or misplaced furniture. However,
most admit they have consistent and mild clutter challenges within their closets, drawers, cabinets, and garage, and they want tips for getting and staying organized. Some have overcollected for years with no idea what to do with anything, and they are caught up in the mire and muck, believing they are “tied” to it. Others have collected out of boredom and own doubles of everything with no space to store it all.

Ultimately you want to love your stuff and know that everything you own is in your space for a reason. You want to stop having a love/hate relationship with stuff. I know there are days of loving your stuff, your collections, your books, bags, clothes, shoes, jewelry, tchotchkes, and sporting goods, and other days the stuff takes over and becomes an irritant and you want to set it on fire or take an ax to it and bury it in the backyard. Remaining in love with your stuff instead of being at war with it becomes easier
when things you own are in alignment with your ideal lifestyle. Then, everything you own will imbue the sparkle and radiance that is part of the inner you. You will shine in your space as much as your space shines back at you in its image of perfection.

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. More information at

Excerpted from the book The Clutter Remedy. Copyright © 2019 by Marla Stone. Printed with permission from New World Library.