Dear Kathi,

I seem to spend my time constantly tackling piles around my house. I often get rid of two-three piles a week but when I turn around, another one has suddenly materialized. Nothing I do seems to permanently remove the piles from my life. How can I stop this madness?

Debora, Cardiff


Congratulations on tackling two-three piles per week! It appears that you are determined to win in this battle.

Piles beget piles. This means that if we put away everything but one item from a pile, it will reproduce another pile as if by magic. When you tackle piles, do not stop until each and every item has found it’s home.
Clutter always chooses the path of least resistance. When we come home tired and don’t take the time to put away the items we bring into our home, a pile begins.

Our natural tendency is to drop an item beside something else that is waiting to be put away. We rationalize that putting it there will increase the likelihood that both items will be dealt with in the morning. And so begins the pile.

One way to reduce your frustration is to keep two baskets by the front door. One will be for in-bound goods and the other for outbound. When you have a moment, take the in-bound basket on a tour of your home and return each item to its proper space.

The outbound basket will help keep you organized. As you find items that need to leave home like film to be processed or clothing to return, place them in your basket. Before you leave home each day, glance inside to see if you are heading in the direction that any of these items need to go. If so, grab whatever needs a ride and you are on your way to streamlining you errand time.

Make sure your baskets are medium sized (10-12 inches) and you will keep your piles under control and your time dealing with them to a minimum.

Kathi is a professional organizer, image consultant and event planner based in San Diego California.

Please submit your questions to: [email protected]
San Diego Professional Organizer