Less Searching, More Living

If you want to make changes to your home and to your life in the new year, it helps to make space and take stock. Simplifying things can help you see more clearly. It’s an important first step for getting organized and setting goals, and it even saves you time. Professional organizer Monika Kristofferson of Lake Stevens-based Efficient Organization shared this terrifying statistic from Mary Anne Lessley’s book “File Anything in Your Home.”: “When someone must search 15 minutes per day for an important document or possession, they lose 11 eight-hour days per year.” Kristofferson recommends targeting these common trouble spots for clutter.


“It sounds silly,” Kristofferson says, “But people tend to have an unmanageable amount of coffee cups that are just spilling out of the cupboard, even though they have favorites that they prefer to use on a daily basis.”

Select only the mugs you need and donate the rest. If you have a large family or regularly host large tea parties or don’t wash dishes frequently and really need extras, consider purchasing a cabinet shelf organizer.


Likewise, a calm and tidy vanity for getting ready in the morning can help set a positive outlook for your day. Many people store make-up in a single drawer or basket, which makes it a great project to tackle in just an hour or two.

The clutter of unused products can quickly add up. Start by throwing away duplicates and expired products. No need to keep clumpy mascara or old, thick nail polish. Next, part ways with lipsticks, eye shadows, and liners that just didn’t work out. You shouldn’t feel obligated to keep something you won’t use just because you spent money on it.


Most people pause to collect the contents of their mailbox before entering their home at the end of the day. Once inside, you may feel too tired to sort through bills, catalogs, and credit card offers. Stop this energy drain by going after its source.

“Mail is its own beast,” Kristofferson says. “That’s probably the number one thing I hear from people. They’re overwhelmed by all the paper.”

Several popular websites make it easy to unsubscribe from junk mail. Visit dmachoice.org for junk mail and catalogchoice.org to manage communications from retailers. There are also resources online for controlling unwanted mail if you have an aging parent or loved one living in your home. For example, there are do-not-contact lists for caregivers and persons who are deceased. “Often people receive mail for a deceased relative for many years,” Kristofferson says, which can be both overwhelming and distressing.


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"Simplifying things can help you see more clearly."