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Category Archives: Declutter

Kids are so good at creating messes and accumulating clutter, which usually sends us a little crazy, giving us the illusion it is impossible to declutter and organise your home. However, with a few simple rules it is possible to have kids, a tidy home and keep it that way.

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  • Lisa

    great tips Kat! With a toddler and a baby my house is a constant disaster zone!ReplyCancel

    • Katrina - The Organised Housewife

      Oh thank you Lisa! .:)ReplyCancel

  • I’m inspired to get onto our clutter, but one of our biggest problems is the toys. Do you have any tips to get kids to part with outgrown toys? Or do you just get rid of them without their knowledge? Thanks.ReplyCancel

    • Katrina - The Organised Housewife

      Hi Shell, Depending on how old your children are, i sat down with mine and asked them to donate toys they had out grown and or no longer played with. If your children are quite young you could consider storing them away. Kids like the idea of donating and giving to charity.ReplyCancel

    • My mum tried to smuggle all my soft toys to vinnies when i was in my teens. I caught her and was horrified! I saved as many as i could carry lolReplyCancel

      • Katrina - The Organised Housewife

        LOL i love it, Jacinta.:) x ~ KateReplyCancel

    • Laura

      Leading up to Christmas and birthdays we have a little clean out and ask the kids (5 &3) to pick a few toys they feel they have outgrown or no longer play with to donate to kids that don’t have toys. They are happy to do this as we explain it is a really good thing to do and it will make room for the new toys they will get. We let them pick what to donate so they don’t feel like we are just getting rid of their toys.ReplyCancel

      • Katrina - The Organised Housewife

        A wonderful idea, Laura! I also do the exact same thing. It teaches kids so many wonderful qualities.ReplyCancel

  • I would love to declutter but my house has zero storage space! Will be getting my litte man into cleaning as soon as he can walk though lol Start em early, a cloth and some water.ReplyCancel

  • Shelley R

    My daughter has not started to like polly pocket, Lego and barbi all with some very small bits! I’m walking round the house finding barbi shoes in the carpet! What’s the best way to keep these bits together so they are easy to find and so she knows what item goes with what toys…ReplyCancel

    • Katrina - The Organised Housewife

      Hi Shelley, I hear what you are saying! Barbie shoes are so little and tend to get sucked up in the vacuum cleaner if not stored away correctly. I have kept all of mine in a plastic container that way they are all there and not like to get lost or misplaced.ReplyCancel

  • Deanne Shannon

    Just wondering if by any chance did anyone else see somewhere a thing about letting kids know what we expect them to do when cleaning their rooms???? I have a nine year old and she just doesn’t get what I mean when I ask her to tidy her room.

    Thanks in advance


    • son

      Deanne, you go in with them the first few times and do it with them. Explain what you are doing or what things are called, I asked my 7yr old to wipe the skirting boards last week and he did his, the hallway our bed room and the kitchen! He said it was so much fun he just kept going!!ReplyCancel

      • Katrina - The Organised Housewife

        LOL i love it! Good on him.:) ~ KateReplyCancel

  • Molly

    i will be taking on board so many of your tips and ideas over the coming weeks. we have just today moved house and i am so overwhelmed by how much stuff we have, even though over the past couple of years i have been culling so much…i have no idea where to start!!!
    im sitting here looking at all our ‘stuff’ and wondering why we have so much. really do we actually need it…i need to get tough and get rid of some. thanks for your wonderful tips!ReplyCancel

    • Katrina - The Organised Housewife

      Hi Molly, I totally understand what you are saying, it can be very overwhelming. Try starting in one room and then moving on to the next once that room is completely finished. I think once the beds are set and made the next room i would concentrate on would by the kitchen and go from there.ReplyCancel

      • Molly

        thanks Kat! i have almost finished the kids rooms now, just a few things to put away and create a school bag nook. started the kitchen and feeling a little more like i have some control. have been cleaning our old rental, so tomorrow i am so ready to tackle our new place and will create a list of what storage i need to get.ReplyCancel

        • Katrina - The Organised Housewife

          WOW you are doing a wonderful job! I bet it looks just beautiful.:) ~ KateReplyCancel

  • Yvonne

    Hi Kat, we are on track with most things but just wondering if you could help with this one. Our granddaughter lives with us, she knows to do her bedroom etc. She isn’t to bad, so yesterday I decided i would get her to do something else and watched her also supervise her clean her bathroom and toilet. Because she has done something extra she wants pocket money. How much should we give her?…she is 12 in July. Should we pay her more for doing extra. What do you do with your twins. ThanksReplyCancel

    • Emma

      Hi Yvonne, as pre teens we started with the bathroom cleaning and pocket money started at $3 per week and went up 50c per year. My parents did buy all necessities. Chores also went up every year. I.e cook a meal do ironing etc.ReplyCancel

      • Katrina - The Organised Housewife

        That is fantastic, Emma!ReplyCancel

    • Katrina - The Organised Housewife

      Hi Yvonne, Okay firstly i want to say it sounds like you are doing a great job raising your grand daughter. With my children i give them $10 a week pocket money, $5 of which goes straight into their bank account and the other $5 is for them to spend. In saying that if they fail to do one of their chores i take 50 cents off them. I personally wouldn’t give extra money for extra chores as i believe at the age of 12 (same age as my daughter) they need to have some responsibility around the home and with every extra chore they will want extra pocket money. Maybe it is something that can be revised every 6 – 12 months. I hope this helps you. ~ KateReplyCancel

  • All great ideas, but have you tried making cleaning games so as to engage your kids in the cleaning process? Recently I came across something called “game theory” and was wondering if anyone has given that a try. My kids are 4 and 6 and me and my wife are looking for a way to make home cleaning a bit more appealing to them. All input will be greatly appreciated, tnx!ReplyCancel

  • Helen

    How would you combat the toy,clothes,storage issue if you are quite organised but have all ages…? (1,6 and 10). ThanksReplyCancel

    • Katrina - The Organised Housewife

      Hi Helen, I would suggest with the kiddies clothes anything that they are not currently wearing to place in vacuum storage bags. Toys is a tricker one because they are a lot more bulky but if you can store them in boxes and rotate them according to their ages, maybe storing them in an unused cupboard. Hope these ideas help.:)ReplyCancel

A new Decluttering task will be published on the blog each Tuesday from February (during January it will be randomly as I am publishing The Back to School Series).  I will share a link to the task on facebook and in the Tuesday Daily Task newsletter (subscribe to newsletter here). Follow along on instagram with […]

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  • Miss Maudy

    Ah yes, the little basket for the bloke stuff – that accumulates all manner of other crap because, despite endless cries of “where’s my…”, the ONLY time the bloke’s stuff ends up in the basket is when I put it there!

    Of course, I am blessed with being naturally perfect {ahem} and always hang my keys and handbag on their respective hooks when I walk in the door so I don’t waste hours of my life searching for keys (except when aforementioned blokes ‘borrow’ my keys to look in the shed for all their stuff).

    Now, my reading glasses are another thing all together! yes, they DO SO live in the fruit bowl.ReplyCancel

    • Julia K

      Oh – HAD to laugh about the reading glasses – don’t know HOW many times I’ve run around looking for them only to discover they’re perched on my head !ReplyCancel

  • I am always trying new ways to organise the ‘drop zone’. I fear that I am fighting a losing battle. HOW DO YOU GET YOUR HUSBAND TO GO ALONG WITH IT?! 😉ReplyCancel

    • Perhaps you could give him his very own basket to drop all his things in? At least then all his things are together in one spot?ReplyCancel

      • I think you’re onto something. Maybe I can find a way to make his “drop zone” really cool and blokey.ReplyCancel

  • Kay Dekker

    We receive advice from our Neighbour hood watch service that at night keys to cars and handbags etc should be hidden so that if you do happen to have a break in they can’t steal your car. I always worry about the drop zone as it would make it so easy for a burglar to just grab everything. I am probably paranoid but wonder if anyone else feels like this or has any great hiding places for keys and bags at night?ReplyCancel

    • Eszter

      I’d prefer the thief to steal my insured car than come into my bedroom searching for the keys. If someone is brave enough to brake in to a house with me in it I wonder what else they are brave enough to do?? A car is not as important as our safety.ReplyCancel

    • Miss Maudy

      I think you would need to do a mini cost benefit analysis and weigh up the definite benefit of having things where you can find them against the relatively low risk of a break in while you and the car are at home – and if you lock the front door while you’re at home, the risk is even lower. It might be easier to remember to snib the security door and make sure the accessible windows aren’t open at night than remember to hide everything and get it all out in the mornings.ReplyCancel

    • Kate

      Hi, we had a break-in at about 4 am on Christmas morning, while we were asleep for a few hours between Church services. The thieves very obviously knew where people customarily place valuables as they come home. We had been smart enough not to keep things in 3 of the 5 spots searched, unfortunately some precious items were in the remaining 2 spots. And our doors were locked, one window just hadn’t latched properly. It has changed my thinking about these matters.
      Just so you know, here are the 5 places obviously searched:
      1. Just inside the front door.
      2. Bottom drawer of filing cabinet in office
      3. Desk drawer in office
      4. Top of the fridge
      5. The shelf just inside the kitchen door.ReplyCancel

  • Jennifer Hawkins

    Our our drop zone is a dressing table inside the front door, but.. I have a system so this doesn’t get too cluttered. Keys either stay in the car or go straight into the basket on the bench, as do phones. Shopping goes to respective bedrooms, and tags removed and binned. It’s become a routine now, even hubby is in on it most of the time. The quicker things like this are done, the easier it is to keep the entry tidy and have less tripping hazards. I have a bookcase in the dining room/kitchen where I keep my handbag so I know where it is.ReplyCancel

    • Good on you! Once it’s become a habit, you’re set!ReplyCancel

    • SmittenKitten

      Hi, sounds like you are super organised, just wanted to let you know up here in North QLD we are having huge problems with car thefts, some are the standard unlocked car but the theives also easily jimmy open roller doors and if the keys are still swinging in the ignition bingo! Off they go with your car keys and whatever else you keep on the keychain.

      Police encourage us to lock our cars in our locked garage and hide our keys and handbags as there is a lot of break and enter grab and run thefts. Not trying to scare you but make you aware, hopefully you live in a nice suburb where this isn’t a problemReplyCancel

  • Karen

    My biggest problem is my receipt box and finding the time to enter the information into my budget. Does anyone know of a good app that is multiuser across various platforms where users can enter spending straight in. This would save me heaps of time and reduce clutter as important receipts could be filed straight away. ReplyCancel

    • Bee

      I use Quicken. I see the major advantage as a way of reconciling with bank statements online.ReplyCancel

    • Mon

      We have track my spend, not sure if it is the kind of thing you are after though. Its put out by money smart (by government). Hubby has it on his phone (iphone) i have it on mine (android) and we can access it on the desktop as well.ReplyCancel

    • Megan Jamieson

      My husband and I use bank that is integrated with our Bank, I’m pretty sure it works with all banks, and it’s great because I just need to go back in and change the categories and it has a budget and everything. We don’t use all the functionality, but it’s great for what we want.ReplyCancel

  • Sarah Hudson

    I like the breadbox charging station. I think the idea has merit with older children too – you can make it a family rule that all phones go in the box, on silent, at bedtime.ReplyCancel

    • Yes, exactly! And also good to make sure us adults wind down away from the screens too :)ReplyCancel

    • Carissa

      I love that idea too! So tidy. We have a USB multibox type thing which is really handy for all the phones, ipods etc. I would love to convince the kids (teens) to leave them in there overnight. Maybe moving to the hallway and then we all have to move in the mornings when the alarms all go off!!ReplyCancel

  • Jade

    I love all these decultter ideas! I just bought some old lockers of gumtree to keep bags, shoes, keys, shopping bags and other things in. Its a bank of four, one each for the family. The industrial style doesn’t necessarily suit everyones decor, but man, it’s handy and tidy!ReplyCancel

  • Gayle

    My kids bags are driving me insane and they’ve only bene back to school a few days. I love the idea of jooks, pin up boards butt he challenge is finding a suitable place to locate it. I was thinking of trying to find a “locker” style cupbaord where everyone has their own pigeon hole for bags, etc. I’ve got me thinking and inspired to up date my most hated area.ReplyCancel

    • That’s great you’ve started brainstorming! If you don’t mind the open shelves, the Ikea Expedit can be good to use for kids – and it works horizontally or vertically!ReplyCancel

  • claire

    I have just converted our old change table to a drop zone inside our entrance hall along with a hat stand for hats, coats amd bags. Top shelf bowl for keys, toast rack for mail to read sort and file, bowl for change plus a pen and paper.five boxes (repurposed cardboard boxes from a4 paper reams from work… covered in matching contact and labelled … recycle, return, donate, repair, library books) sit on the shelves below creating homes for previously homeless items … have saved a tonne of time since creating the zone mostly from not having to hunt for keys (our previous place for keys was too out of the way for everytime I walked in the door, arms laden, sleeping kid in arms, busting to go to the loo etc.)ReplyCancel

  • […] Meer praktische oplossingen om je Drop Zone aan te pakken.  […]ReplyCancel

  • Laura

    This is a really cool idea :)

Helen from Clutter Rescue shared this video at a conference I attended earlier this year, Helen was sharing her ideas and tips on keeping an organised office.  She showed us this video from LifeEdited Founder Graham Hill at TED 2011.   Top 3 tips Edit ruthlessly Think small Make multifunctional It will help you to […]

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  • A-M

    Great video! I am a declutterer from way back! Love culling and sorting. I can pack our life up in a day to move house. It’s a good feeling living simply with just what you need and a few pretties for the soul! A-M xxReplyCancel

  • brella

    wow! I love this! it really sums it. Thanks for sharing this with us. ReplyCancel

  • Lisa

    Hey Katrina – yet again you blow us away with your inspirational finds.  After moving into our house 12 yrs ago – I have finally this year (thanks only to your blog & inspiration) got rid of the last of those “boxes”.  Our “first home” was 1/2 the size of our rental house!!   And would you believe, we have actually during this time “hired” a storage unit to store our “stuff” while we renovated.  Most of that “stuff” we stored, never came back into the house, but we paid $100s to store it – ABSOLUTELY CRAZY!

    Re the EDITING, I find that I cannot sit down & “declutter” but I CAN look at your “pictures” and reorganise a space without realising that I am decluttering.  I get fired up by a good organisational session but I feel deflated if I have to just “declutter”.  So… keep the pics coming! BTW, this week’s organising session saw me declutter no less than a box of batteries that did not work + 15 torches + 5 headlights.  This still left us with 4 torches + 4 headlights for camping & we could probably even EDIT some more :) 

    Good luck in the USA – hope it is everything + more.  We know that this has come at a difficult time.  Hoping that you find the mind space to actually find the JOY in this very special moment. You SO DESERVE IT!  xxReplyCancel

  • whiningattheworld

    Thanks. I really need this t the moment.ReplyCancel

  • Holly N.

    That was awesome and definitely a motivator as we will be moving soon.  I still have things in boxes from several moves ago.  ReplyCancel

  • Jenna @ Reunite Child Assist

    Wow. That’s some serious multi-functionality going on in that apartment! My partner and I are always moaning about how tiny our 2 bed workers cottage is…really, it’s just too full of ‘stuff’. This weekend, I’m going to edit. Starting with that box I’ve been dragged from Brisbane, to Hamilton Island, to Melbourne, to Dublin, to Brisbane. Lol.ReplyCancel

  • Erin Thomson

    Wow!! That is really inspirational! Thank you so much for sharing!! I know I definitely have a few of “those” boxes about the house!ReplyCancel

  • Roslyn

    I really need some expert help . As I am hopelessReplyCancel

  • I personally don’t have much problem getting rid of boxes of stuff. Moving thigns around the home is quite commonplace for me. I just find it very irritating when I’ve thrown something away only to realise that I actually needed it a few days down the road! But that’s life for you, and whatever items in your house have gone through the removals process, should stay removed!ReplyCancel

  • Barbara Guge

    During my short illness, my cleaning put things in boxes. I need help getting thing put away.ReplyCancel

    • Katrina - The Organised Housewife

      I truly believe not in making a job too big, try doing one box, or half a box a day, eventually you will get through it without feeling overwhelmed.ReplyCancel

If you have been following you will know that my mum recently passed away very suddenly.  Mum and I were different in so many ways, I love baking she wasn’t a fan, my favourite colour is pink she can’t stand anything pink, I’m a minimilist and she lived in a very cluttered home.  Mum did […]

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  • Josiebishop_1987

    Big hugs Kat! I wish you all the strength in this terribly hard time.  xxReplyCancel

  • Mamacass51

    We will all be here to support you through this, I am sure your Mum is watching over you as you all work through it.  Maybe she was too embarrassed to let you help her, as many suffer with the issue of hoarding and just don’t know how to get out of it or stop it.  I know my Mum, bless her sole, was also a hoarder.  Take care ?ReplyCancel

  • Katrina
    Sending prayers, love and ((HUGS)) your way Katrina. Its hard to lose someone that you love.
    Keep the strength that you have.
    Luv TracyReplyCancel

  • Mandy

    Wow!  I can’t even imagine.  Good luck with the task ahead of you.  I’m sure amongst the sadness of it all you will stumble along a few gems that make you smile. ReplyCancel

  • Suzy

    Wow, that’s a lot of boxes! We had a similar situation after my Mum died, but she had things hidden away in various cupboards, so we weren’t aware of the extent of the hoarding. Similar to your mum’s peanut butter jars, my mum had kept icecream containers and old towels. In some ways, those types of things were the easiest to get rid of, although sad because they were obviously important to her. The harder things to deal with were the special items like costume jewellery and clothes, as well as all my dolls from when I was a child. I felt that if she had kept these things for so long (40 years in some cases), then who was I to just get rid of them? In fact, some of these things have joined the clutter in my house and I have found it too emotional to deal with them. But it’s been a few years now, and you’ve inspired me to start to deal with some of my mum-clutter. We can do it together!ReplyCancel

  • Mariah

    Whoa. This was a major wake up call for me. I’m only 35 but I have a whole room of office & life stuff that I have been needing to go through/unable to get rid of… needless to say, your video just gave me the courage to grant my husband his long sought wish of letting him throw it all out. I’m calling him now. It will all be gone within a week I’m sure and we will be free. Free as you say to do the things I truly enjoy… I’m so sincerely sorry for your loss. I hope it brings a teeny bit of comfort to know that you just saved my life. Seriously. Love and prayers, MariahReplyCancel

  • Leungchoip

    Thank you for sharing this journey.  I have been working through my mums clutter for the past two years, a little at a time, so by the time she passes it won’t be such a problem.  You will be able to deal with everything, as long as you don’t overtax yourself and remember  that it has taken many years to get this way so it won’t disappear overnight.  Good luck.  Think how much happiness you will be able to bring to others as you donate/sell/keep and give away.  Thinking of you and looking forward to sharing the journey with you.  thanks.  ReplyCancel

  • Shell-B

    You are so brave to share this with us. Hope you do find solace in the fact that you  really do inspire so many.
    I am sorry for your loss and hope you will be kind to yourself to get through this.ReplyCancel

  • Susie F

    I am so sorry for ur loss Katrina…. this has hit a nerve with me as i sit here in my pj’s at 1.30 pm after feeding my 5 week old baby and trying to entertain my 3.5yo son while looking at all my storage boxes full of stuff, piles of mementos that need to be sorted and all of the mess and clutter that adorns my home – my name is Susie and I am a hoarder :)  I am sick of it and continually tell myself that i need to declutter and throw stuff and it is impacting on time with my family….. i too seem to go through things, moving them from one room to another in my attempt to declutter and become more organised………… i should be outside enjoying the sun with my kids, not worried about what to start on in my poor attempts to fix the state of our home.  I am inspired and I am going to follow you on your journey and hopefully will finally get to enjoy the more organised, less cluttered life that i dream of :)  much love to you and your familyReplyCancel

  • Eliza

    Katrina, Thanks for you sharing your story. It must be very hard for you on so many levels. Please take all the time you need – away from this blog, if you need to – to give the decluttering and grief time. Will enjoy reading your blog whenver you are able to come back to it. ElizaReplyCancel

  • Jazzmum

    hugs to you during this difficult time. ReplyCancel

  • Vicki (N.Z.)

    Thank you so much for sharing this with us.  I too am a hoarder and have taken this week off to clean out my worst room.  One thing we all need to remember is that people hold onto things for many different reasons.  During the war/depression our parents/grandparents probably never threw anything out, it possibly became a habit, and that may be why some of our parents/grandparents have so much stuff.  We were quite “poor” when I was a child and Mum reused everything she possibly could, which may be where my hoarding “habit” came from.  However I do not want my friends/family to have to clear it out after I am gone so I am starting!  Bless you and your Dad and your family as you go through this difficult time.ReplyCancel

  • Lisa

    Thanks Kat – you are such a lovely mentor to us who struggle (the non-born organised amongst us).  Alot of us are visual people and so your pics & videos are what inspire us.  (Your video has just inspired me to go & tackle something on my procrastination list!)  Please also know, that your taking a little bit of time away from the blog has allowed some of us with a big list to catch up!  Just finished my gift wrapping centre & it looks sensational…  please feel free to post some of the archives, as they might be oldies but they’re all goodies.  Looking forward to tackling the kids’ wardrobes & have also just got the lunchbox things a bit more organised in time for back-to-school.  Big hugs {{{ }}}.  **Absolutely love your work**  Big hugs also to your Dad & Brothers for them allowing us to follow your journey.ReplyCancel

  • So sorry to read about your Mum. What a hard journey. Thanks for being so open and honest, I shall be following along. Need to organise my own home, and shed the clutter as well. Thanks.  ReplyCancel

  • Leah

    Im sorry for your loss Kåt and I will follow your story. I love your blog and it has some wonderful inspiring information. All the best xReplyCancel

  • Kelley @ magnetoboldtoo

    oh sweetie… so very very hard.

    My husband and my parents are hoarders and I know how hard it is for them to throw anything out.  And how hard it is for me to see them keep such – to me – useless things.

    I will be following along and sending strength.ReplyCancel

  • Jo

    As everyone else has said I am sorry to hear about your mums passing.  I have never been a overly tidy person, although I am an organiser and mostly organised we live in semi organised caios. My small 3 bed home is FULL to the rafters with STUFF.  My hubby is a horder from a family of horders … (his mother gave me a box 2 years ago with EVERY little thing he had ever given her from kinda through to he was 18 and expected me to keep it as safely as she had done … it went in the bin – much to her discussed). Hubby keeps newspapers never reads them but keeps the whole thing.  The mess gets to me so much that once every couple of months I have an almost breakdown take a few days of work and through everything I can get away with out … the bad part about doing it this way is I loose important things.  I can also be part of the problem as I will see something on special and think “oh, I want that” and just get it soo we have soo much JUNK not stuff that we would ever need or use but just cus I thought it COULD oneday be usefull.  I am going to try and follow your recomendations and try and get my house organised.  Thanks and good luck with your parents place.ReplyCancel

  • Sam

    We recently lost a member of our family, and it truly has an unfathomable impact. The loss is very hard to come to terms with. Wishing you every strength. Take heart from your opportunity now to really help your Dad deal with an enormous task.

    Your blog has inspired so many small changes in my home that have made a big difference… and yes, there’s a way to go yet!! Many thanks. S ReplyCancel

  • Deborah

    My absolute love to you Kat. This particular blog has given me goosebumps. I am not a hoarder but my husband tries… despite the fact that he hated living in a “hoarders” home growing up! Its such a tricky, intensely emotional and overwhelming process to go through. I helped my husband in this process when his father passed away 7 years ago. It was hard – his mother (who no longer lived there as she had left a few years before hand) came in as my husband and his brothers were going through everything and throwing out most of it, She went off at my Husband and then me for getting rid of “important things”… I won’t go into how those things were NOT important, but I did my best to shelter my Husband and his brothers from the outburst. As it was not benefiting them as they were all ready to move on and do what their dad needed several years before his passing – he hated the clutter but didn’t know what to do about it, and they (my husband and his brothers) didn’t know how to help.
    Its amazing to be free of these “things”, as My husband tells me – he is so glad that he was able to go through all of those things. It was an almost “cleansing” from him, it was something he didn’t know how to do, until I could hold his hand and be there right with him.

  • Bianca

    Kat, thinking of you during these hard times and sending love. It’s a hard hard job and I hope you are able to find strength from family and friends. x

    bianca – a little delightful xReplyCancel

  • Tamkennedy

    What a tower of strength you are, I love getting your tips, thinking of you. I don’t know what I would do without my mum xxReplyCancel

  • Jenn

    OMG Katrina.  This is so close to my heart.  I too lost my mother suddenly and unexpected, in fact, a few days before your mum’s passing.  I know I must watch your video but cannot find the courage to hit the play button.  My mother was a hoarder and the thing that stops me at the play button is the photo of all those boxes.  This could be my mother’s house.  I am currently co-caring for my father who suffers early onset of Alzehemiers and soon to take on full time care.  Every time I step into my parents home, the pain is heightened as I realised that I am yet faced with the fact that I must dispose of all the stuff she couldn’t. I have to watch my father amongst this mess which only leaves him confused, overwhelmed, lost and anxious.  How sad that all the clutter was adding to my father’s Alzehemiers.  I’m also faced with the fact that I need to declutter my own home which I was slowly progressing with but now realise that I need to speed up the process.  My heart goes out to you and the bravery you have shown by facing it and tackling it.  There will come a day that I will hit that play button but for now your video sits quietly waiting for me.   

  • Alisha Luxford

    My mum and I read this together and both shed a little tear for you. 

    Mum tried to explain some of the thoughts that can go through your mind when you’re getting on in age, and especially menopausal. 

    You want to hang onto everything that has memories attached to it. You can get a bit sentimental about the strangest things. For instance, Mum crocheted my newborn twins some blankets, and she didn’t want to get rid of the tiny bundles of wool she had left. They were pretty much useless to make anything. 

    After seeing this blog and video, she can understand that really, it’s the memory she wanted to keep, not the wool. Perhaps that’s how your dear Mum started? 

    In any sense, I wish you, and your family strength at this hard time. My prayers will be for you tonight. 

    Alisha. ReplyCancel

  • I’m glad you have the support of your Dad and brothers to tackle this job. I wish you all the very best Katrina, and hope that as the clutter is sorted, you can think more about your mum and not the stuff she was hoarding. Hugs.ReplyCancel

  • Fion a

    I am feeling for you and the huge task ahead of you. My inlaws are hoarders and their house had a tree through it during the 2008 storms that hit brisbane. We removed 80 cubic metres of stuff from their house and sadly less than 4 years later it is all starting to build up again. I hope you can give your dad some peace and restore some space in their house for him. All my loveReplyCancel

  • Angela

    Thank you so much for sharing your journey with us. I’m sure you will inspire many others with your strength and bravery – thinking of you at this difficult time.ReplyCancel

  • Kath Wong

    Oh Kat, you are so brave. Brave to go through all of the boxes your mum had collected so close after her passing, brave to let us see the process (it is of course so personal to you), and brave to show your face to us while doing it! I wish you luck and strength as you tread this path. Deepest sympathy
    Kath ReplyCancel

  • Carrie

    Dear Kat, as always you never cease to inspire me, even in your times of sadness you continue to share and inspire!!!  Thank you.  I have my very elderly mum living with me and my poor husband has no garage space now with all her ‘special, precious STUFF’ stored there.  I will follow your journey with interest and know you will continue to motivate me as you always do.  good luck with the journey, be strong and treat yourself gently.  hugs and thanksReplyCancel

  • Emma

    Dear Kat

    Your video brought me to tears as I realised the very sad and difficult time you are experiencing right now.  Please try not to beat yourself up about removing your Mum’s things from the home.  It will be such a help to your Dad and I believe your Mum is now in a place where she can appreciate the things you are doing to care for him.  How lucky he is to have you & your brothers around him.

    Thank you so much for your courage in sharing this post with us, it has inspired me not to put off those things I should have been getting organised around my own home, and also to give both my parents extra good hugs this week!

    Take care of yourself (you know you need to in order to take care of others right?) and know that there will be a light at the end of the tunnel very soon.

    Emma xReplyCancel

  • Terry

    This must be so difficult for your family to go through all your Moms things. makes me miss my Mom so much, she’s been gone for 12 years now and she had the emptiest closets I had ever seen. I wish they would’ve been some stuff to go through. my heart goes out to you and your family. How you didn’t shed a tear while making the video is beyond me, I have a huge lump in my throat. Take care and wishing you comfort as you tackle this heartbreaking task.

  • Anon

    Oh sweetheart thank you for sharing your journey.  Hang in there, you’ve given your father an amazing gift.  Remember your mum for all the ways you loved her.  Our parents are fallible, and an important life lesson is to let go of the things that you can’t change – it is hard to let go of the ideal picture of what we want them to be and accept as they are,  Good luck with the next stepsReplyCancel

  • My mother in law is a hoarder. It breaks my heart. She has a styrofoam cup from when her sister ws in the hospital when she was 2. She will not get rid of it because her sister may want it back one day. UGG, She says she wants change. My husband wants to use all his vacation time to help her. ReplyCancel

  • FJW

    Thanks for sharing and thanks for being strong for your mum.  Take courage in knowing you have helped many of us along your own journey and will continue to do so as we journey with you. Cheers!ReplyCancel

  • Tammy James

    Hello beautiful! I don’t visit any blogs as much as I used to but saw this in my facebook feed and wanted to say hi and pass on my condolences to you and your family. I see how difficult this is for you and admire you and your brothers for tackling this with your dad to help him have a free-er environment. Sending you love and strength and thank you for sharing :)ReplyCancel

  • barbara001

    Thankyou for sharing your blog on decluttering your mum’s place. I am so glad i found your site. You have given me alot of inspiration and ideas on how to do things better. My condolences to you & family during this sad time. I lost my father 7 mths ago and still dealing with his passing. As you say we can go through this journey together. Take care xo

  • Organizing services NYC

    This sounds to be an amazing way to keep up the home away  from de-clutter.ReplyCancel

  • sophie.hills

    Thanks so much for sharing Katrina.  I think we get a deeper insight into why you want to help us to get organised.  Take care, and I’m looking forward to sharing the journey with you (and helping myself get better de-cluttered)! Hugs for your loss.ReplyCancel

  • Anita

    First of all, I am so sorry about losing your mum, especially so suddenly. My prayers are with you.

    I have only just recently found your site and I wish I had found it 12 months ago when I had a breakdown over my clutter. I ended up seeing a councillor to sort through what was holding me back from sorting out all my junk. 12 months later, I am still on the journey, but there is a light at the end of the tunnel.

    I saw the pictures of your mums home and I have to say it scared me. It is almost exactly like my mothers. While she does not store peanut butter jars and the like, she just cant stop buying stuff she doesn’t need. It is only her and dad in the family home now and she doesn’t need eight baking pans, as an example. She has two shipping containers, full of apple boxes with costumes in it from when she was a costume mistress. She has not done any plays in years, but she continually adds to the collection. I just fear that it will get worse and eventually it will just take over. I also know that you can’t force anyone to begin to de-clutter. Some people will never be able to get to that stage. I can empathise with your feelings towards your mum and dads home and I hope it all goes well. ReplyCancel

    • It sounds like you know exactly how I am feeling. Mum too has a shipping container I am yet to look in. I wish you well on your journey and I am so pleased that you found my site too JReplyCancel

  • tomi

    So sorry to hear about your mum. Thinking of you and your family, take care. ReplyCancel

  • Davistrans

    Thank you for sharing your video and story. I’m sure it will be truley inspirational for so many people. Sorry to hear about the loss of you mum, my thoughts are with you.ReplyCancel

  • Kyles93

    Your story touched me today as today is 6 years since my mother unexpectedly passed away.  Unlike you, I have only a few things of hers as my sister has mental health problems and had thrown most things away over the years.  Anyway, thinking of you and your family.  Hold onto each other – it is a very difficulty heartaching time xxxooo ReplyCancel

  • Danelle69

    One thing I heard from someone who helps with de-cluttering in the US, there is a point when the clutter starts to collect, something triggers it.  He suggested that you have a look at the magazine in the bottom of the  stack (if they are collecting them) for an idea on the trigger date.  Was an intersting thought.ReplyCancel

    • Absolutely and I have learnt what the trigger was, sadly we missed all the signs at the time.ReplyCancel

  • Liz

    Well done Kat, you are doing a wonderful job. We have just finished cleaning out my brothers house, he passed a few days after your mum, and although it was sad and difficult we did manage to have a few giggles at things we found and old memories that these items brought back. Our loss has inspired me to de clutter my house and my life and I will be following you for advice, tips and motivation. Much love to you and your family xoReplyCancel

  • Monique

    Hi Katrina, thank you for sharing this difficult journey you and your family are now taking.  I have been following your blog for quite some time now, as I have too much stuff and am not organised enough, so it’s a regular inspiration to see what ideas you have for us.  I remember reading some time ago about your reasons for starting up this blog, to help your friend who had lost her mother.   It hit a nerve with me as we lost our dad 20 years ago, and my mother like yours, began to expand on her ‘collecting’ hobby, from teddy bears to old bottles and all sorts in between.  She said it was an interest, but sadly got to the point that we could no longer stay with her when visiting, as there is just not enough room, because of her stuff, she lives in a 4 bedroom family home on her own.  Hoarding creates stresses in relationships, as the hoarders become very defensive of their stuff, (in my mums case even cardboard boxes and old toothbrushes).  I have not been to her house in years now, even though we have recently moved from the other side of the country to within a short drive.   I know that she is avoiding having my family visit.  She says she is clearing out things, but I know that this is difficult.  I have now chosen to step back, for the sake of my own sanity, (and my husbands).  It is in someway reassuring that there others experiencing the same emotions.  Best wishes to you and your family and keep up the great work on the website. ReplyCancel

  • My mum passed away suddenly on the 27th March 2011, i’m a solo mum and she was my world apart from my children. She was also a hoarder of everything, you described my mum to a tee. Only she didn’t have neat organised boxes, it was everywhere, to the point there was no where to sit when we visited. My brother and i filled a large skip bin in one day when we had to empty out the house she rented. Time is passing and it does get easier but i am glad i found your website as i can see myself heading down her track and i hope that this will give me a new start. Much love and prayers to you, it isn’t easy.ReplyCancel

    • Ooh Katrina (wonderful name), it’s such a hard process and I feel that because of the hoarding it has really drawn the process of loosing mum more than I can bare. I am pleased that my website can possibly help you to keep an uncluttered home xReplyCancel

  • Bec Waterhouse

    Your poor mum. She must have been so embarrassed about her hoarding :( It must have been hard for you to watch her go through that.

    I’m very sorry for your loss.ReplyCancel

  • […] my parents house after the passing of mum.  If you are new to the blog, you can read further about the first step of decluttering mums home.   […]ReplyCancel

  • Jilly

    {{{{hugs&prayers}}}} Katrina, as you and your family cope with this sad event! You are very brave!

    Jilly oxoxoReplyCancel

  • Mira

    I feel for your loss and pray for you and your mom,but I wonder why you have a need to embarrass your mom by airing her ” hoarding” it did not bother her,why is it bothering you and why does the world need to know?…It should be private ,I think she would preferred it that way.You can get support and fulfilment in other ways.
    May God give you and her peace.ReplyCancel

    • Caris

      If it did not ‘bother’ her then it cannot ’embarrass’ her now. Kat is fantastic about being honest and real – and it doesn’t get more honest and real than facing the fact that your parent is a flawed human being like everyone else. I read no criticism in this page – this is part of who her mother was in the end, part of their relationship. And if someone else who is going through the same thing right here and now can see this and know that they are not alone, that it is nothing to be ashamed about and that they can talk about it, then I think it is a wonderful thing.ReplyCancel

    • Mira, I shared this post because of the experience I was left to help my Dad and brothers with. That was to go through all her items, her treasures, her … stuff. She was a hoarder and it made the process of her passing away so much harder. It was a really long and slow process of clearing that took us months. To be honest I didn’t really come to terms with what had happened to her so suddenly passing away until we finished moving my Dad. I will forever miss my mum but that grieving process was so long and drawn out, I was not myself for a good 9 months. My hope from this post was that somebody that is a hoarder to realise how hard it is on the family that is left behind to go through the things and hopefully they can make a change.ReplyCancel

      • Cath

        Hi Katrina,

        I was wondering if you were comfortable, and have the time, if you could possibly write a series of more extensive posts on what you did to clear out your mum’s stuff. Did you sell anything? Give things away to family/friends/school/op shop? Did you get a skip? Were there any disagreements about what to do with things? How did you manage those? Was it more challenging because your Dad wanted to keep things the way they were? How did you manage your grief amongst all of this? Did you keep anything yourself? And how long did you work on it?

        I’m facing a similar task within the next twelve months and the thought of it is almost overwhelming.

        Many thanks.ReplyCancel

  • JH

    Thank you for sharing your story, I felt your pain but can also tell you are a very strong person who will move forwards with this process. To part with the belongings of someone we loved is very tough, but when the volume of items is mammoth it makes the process so much longer and harder to deal with doesn’t it.
    I wish you peace and happy times ahead, with good memories of your Mum in your heart.ReplyCancel

  • Desré Nikolich

    From what you have said about your Mum it seems that she was very organised as a young parent and its seems when she lost her mother something inside of her changed. Do you think your Mum may have had a lot of grief and loss which affected her emotionally? Maybe she slipped into depression and was having troubles coping. Maybe it all became too much for her and she was going through the motions. It seems despite your difference you were close to your Mum. You should never feel a sense of failure and shame about not being able to help your Mum. Maybe she felt like a failure and shameful as she couldn’t pull it all together like you. Maybe your competence showed her of her incompetence to keep her life in order. She needed love just as you need love. We all need love to function. Maybe her mother was a huge part of her source of love. We all live and grow and change with the seasons of our lives.ReplyCancel

  • Desré Nikolich

    By the way Katrina my Mum is a hoarder too. I have been trying to get her for years to start decluttering but she also has difficulties letting go of things as she puts emotional attachment to things. She has had many losses too – her mother had Alzheimer’s and disappeared and was never found. She has lost my Dad and a second husband to cancer. She has lost her sister to cancer. I too have too many things due to renovating and having things stored. Before I had a hard time letting go of things but now appreciate the opportunity to purge – let things go – to free myself up. I guess it is a bit like dieting. One needs to be in the right head space to make changes. I guess how I can most inspire my Mum is to show by example and take time with her and assist her to start decluttering at her own pace.ReplyCancel

  • Susan Lavigne

    First, thank you for sharing your story. even if it seems to have been two years loosing a parent has to be rough. She has a great legacy though. Her family loved her and she must have done a great job raising you if you turned out as amazing as you did never mind the cluttered house ( though it must have been horrendous to have dealt with)
    I have just found you this morning and I think you are just what I need. I am a new Mom and have moved six times in the last 3 years. Life has been good to me though, with a great family and a loving husband to be, I am finally settling after a tumultuous decade that was my 20’s.
    The final barrier is the mess that is the house. I still feel overwhelmed and unbalanced but one step at a time things will get better. One more move though as we are buying a house this year. Trying to make it our last move.

    Thank you againReplyCancel

  • Anonymous

    I can relate with your mum’s habit of not wanting to throw anything away. Over the years I have too become a lot like your mum. I used to have a clean organized home, nothing out of place. Then, when my second child turned 2-3 years of age, that’s when it started for me. I didnt want to throw anything of my kids’ things away. I have slowly become a hoarder. I am embarrassed to have people come over because my home is not so nice to look at anymore. I’ve been wanting to declutter for so long, but I don’t know where to begin. It seems so overwhelming. I’ll get these little bursts where I’ll start small but then I lose the interest and fall back into old habits. I really do need to take charge and get working on it, because my husband does not like my bad cluttering habits. He tries to throw things out and I say no.I’m really torn.ReplyCancel

  • Nicola Shepherd

    Oh Kat, thank you for sharing. Big hugs to you xxReplyCancel

  • Magic

    Dear Katrina,

    Tis over three years since you posted this, but I’ve only just stumbled across it now. I’m loving what I’m reading thus far, though will have to bookmark it and come back *smiles*

    What struck me about this post is how your mother was so tidy when you were growing up, yet began holding onto things and purchasing unnecessary things after she lost her own mother. It made me think of the grief she must have experienced at the time, and I can’t help wondering about the relationship between this change in behaviour and that painful loss. I wonder what it meant to her, and I wonder what it means to you as you reflect upon it. It seems so very relevant, though you’d be in a better position to untangle it than I!

    Much warmth and gentleness to you,

Tips to help prepare, organise and plan a garage sale to sell items from your home.

Continue Reading...

  • Great tips there Alyce. I’ve never had one even when we moved simply because we couldn’t be bothered to get ourselves organised, especially since we had to also fix up our house before selling it. Instead we gave the stuff away and those that we wanted to replace, we sold on Ebay . ReplyCancel

  • Price everything, especially what you’ve advertised & want to sell; even if it’s a general sign that says “cheap-just ask!” (use quiet times to price what you ran out of time to do).
    Rope off entry until advertised start time. It builds impatience & excitement in buyers & they will tend to make purchases as soon as they see something they like instead of thinking about it & just so somebody else doesn’t buy it!
    You can’t sell space! Don’t spread out too much. Keep items close & grouped together; stand books so you can read spines, hang clothes in garment styles, label linen in sets, etc etcReplyCancel

  • […] 5 easy tips for a successful garage sale […]ReplyCancel

  • Terri

    Have plenty of plastic bags and small change.ReplyCancel

    • Katrina

      Ooh yes! I must have. Thanks Terri.:)ReplyCancel