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Clutter Through the Eyes of a Child

Lifehacker had a article up recently that outlines some weekend cleaning ideas for the house. The last link in the article was from Uncluterer which I read fairly often. It was all about seeing clutter in your house that you normally don’t notice. There were several great ideas, but the two that jumped out at me were: Take pictures around the house and have a toddler walk around your house to see what they grab.

I thought I might combine the two and adjust a little. So I handed my child (nine year old boy) a camera and asked him to take a picture of the messiest part of the house. He walked around the house for less than two minutes, I saw the flash go off a few times and then he handed me the camera back. I think he might have even muttered “DUH” under his breath.

I was thinking…. wow that was quick?! I barely had time to switch the laundry from the washer to the dryer. I wonder what he found. I popped in the memory card to my reader and was surprised to find a picture of the very desk I was sitting at. I obviously spend too much time in my desk chair and didn’t really notice the comfortable clutter around me.

Here is the picture he took.

You will even see my copy of the The Joy of Less (miss minimalist) in my pile of papers on the left.

<shaking my head> He was so right. There was a stack of chargers, CDs, 23 pens (I counted), empty product boxes, photo albums I hadn’t scanned in yet and a pile of bills and magazines that was taking up half of my desktop. I knew what I was doing tonight!

Here is my AFTER picture.

I hung a print from my favorite photographer (and friend) Michael Hardeman. I moved my printer and scanner to the other side of the desk to simplify the wires. Moved the magazines I wanted to keep to holders. I rearranged the CD holders and removed the unused magazine holders. I scanned in the photo album images. Recycled the product boxes. I sorted through all of the paperwork. Trashed/recycled/shredded what I could. Then I moved all of the remaining paper to the place I had the printer originally. Clearing it off my desktop entirely. I figured if it wouldn’t fit in that small location, then I had too much stuff.

I even installed a high-tech charging station for all of my devices!

I must say I feel good after the evenings activities. But honestly I’m a little afraid to hand my kid the camera again to see what he finds next!

{ 4 comments… add one }
  • Kim January 11, 2011, 12:08 pm

    Hmm. It is an interesting experiment to have the little person tell you what *he* thinks is cluttered.

    Perhaps I’ll try this.


  • Christa Hill January 18, 2011, 5:47 pm

    Okay, that was hilarious to see the Joy of Less sitting on top of all that. I have that very same book, and it has sat on some piles just like that. In my defense, I was working through the house at the time for the first round of decluttering. Now we are on about the 100th round and still finding stuff. Aarrgghhh.

    • Marc Morgan January 18, 2011, 11:02 pm

      It is funny how clutter slips back into our lives. Sometime you have to meet him at the door, ask him to take his shoes off and invite him in for a while. Just don’t let him get comfortable.

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