Life management insights, strategies, hints, ideas, and tips from Dr. DClutter™.

Wednesday, December 31, 2008

End of the Year Clearance

Doesn't it seem that the year just started and it's almost the end of 2008? I hope you were able to accomplish many of the things you wanted, but if not, prayerfully, there's always next year (well, technically, that's tomorrow, but let's stay in the moment). Take inventory of those things that made your life worth living and made you happy and fulfilled-keep those close. For things that made your life feel disorganized and difficult, throw those out. Take this time to let go of the old things that cluttered your life and let them go out with the old year. Rid yourself of negativity, disorganization, poor time-management and habits that just aren't working for you. Have your own end-of-the-year-clearance!!

Dr. D. Clutter™

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Blues or Reds?

I love the movie Breakfast at Tiffany's. The character, Holly Golightly talks about having the "mean reds", (her description for feeling out of sorts and depressed). I guess for her, the color blue just didn't express how she really felt, so she used red to imply a deep, deep sadness. For multiple reasons, the holiday season may be a difficult time for you. You may be estranged from family or your loved ones may be miles away. Money may be tight (or non-existent) and you're feeling depressed and lonely. Feeling sad or just "not in the Christmas spirit" happens, but it's how you deal with it that matters. Whatever the "color" you ascribe to your mood, make sure you remain keenly aware if it lasts for too long and especially if your "color" affects your everyday functioning. Seek help and share your feelings with someone who can help. It's the best way to organize your life-take control!!

Dr. D. Clutter™

Monday, December 29, 2008

Contain Your Joy

You're aware of the popular plastic multi-gallon storage containers, right? You know the ones that have the tops and hold tons of "stuff"? Here's a concept that usually brings looks of disbelief and confusion when I say it in my seminars. They are not necessarily for organization. "What??!!" They’re for storage, thus the name "Storage Container". "Huh??" Yeah, that's usually what I hear from people. What I mean is that a storage container is not designed to hold things that will be used on a regular basis but is intended for those items that will be cycled in and out of use within the year. They should not be used to hold things that you don’t want to discard and that allow you to justify your clutter. Christmas decorations and seasonal clothing-yes; broken toys and mildewed books-no. Especially forbidden are these:  
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You can't see what's inside, so you'll be less likely to use the contents. Yes, I know, they're on sale every year and you just can’t pass up a bargain, but try. If you must indulge, promise me you'll do this simple exercise. Create a list that you will attach to the visible side of the container that lists EVERYTHING on the inside. I know, I know, that will take time, but just think how you'll impress your family and friends when you can actually find what you're looking for!!

Dr. D. Clutter™

Friday, December 26, 2008


Okay, it's the day after Christmas and you're faced with the task of undecorating (is that even a word ??!!). If you're like me, you'll leave your decorations up at least until the end of the first week of January, but I know there are some die-hards who tackle the task the day after. Did you enjoy the task of decorating this year? Probably not if you had to buy new decorations this year because you couldn't find yours or you became so frustrated with trying to untangle or find your decorations. If you did not feel so jolly, here are a few ideas that will make life easier after the holiday season and for next year.

a. To protect your Christmas wreaths, wrap them in clear garbage bags and hang them (if you have the space in your storage area). If not, remember the idea of using those large gallon trashcans to layer them. For an added layer of protection and to prevent crushing, cut cardboard inserts a little smaller than the actual wreath and lay those between each one.

b. Use the paper towel tubes to wrap lights, garland and if you must, old ribbon. Cut a slit in the top and nestle the beginning of the string for easy unwrapping next year.

c. For delicate items, such as small ornaments or figurines, try using an old egg carton or a box with compartments. If you can't find one, you can make your own with a box and cardboard dividers.  
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Of course, I prefer the clear containers, but if you promise to make a list of the contents, boxes are acceptable.

d. If you decorate more than one room, make your life easier and label each box to the corresponding room. That way, next year it'll be easier to know which decorations are for your living room, dining room or outdoors.

e. Of course if you've kept the original packaging, you won't need these handy, dandy ideas, but if not…happy undecorating.

Dr. D. Clutter™

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Merry Christmas

I hope you're having the best Christmas ever. Merry Christmas!!

Dr. D. Clutter™

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Picture Perfect

You've decorated your house just the way you want it. B. Smith and Martha Stewart would be proud. Why not make it easier for next year? Take pictures of your rooms and use them as a road map for decorating next year. You don't have to follow the same plan each year, but wouldn't it be less stressful to have a guideline for next season? You can also make great Christmas cards by adding the pictures and a personalized note.

Dr. D. Clutter™

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Keep Giving

Take this time to declutter and bless someone else by donating an item or two. Not only will you continue in the Christmas spirit, but you'll also free up valuable space in your home.

Dr. D. Clutter™

Monday, December 22, 2008

A Touchy Subject

This is a subject that many people don't like to talk about, especially around Christmas, but it's necessary. Death is a part of life, but it's often made more difficult to deal with because of lack of preparation. Please, give your family this gift that will serve them during a trying and sad time. Organize your affairs and papers and then discuss them with your family members. Gather your important papers in a central, safe and secure place (a simple and inexpensive fire safe is perfect) and make that information known to those who need to know. It's a gift no one wants to receive, but one that will be greatly appreciated when the time comes.

Dr. D. Clutter™

Friday, December 19, 2008

Recycled Christmas Cards?

Oh the joy of receiving Christmas cards with their inspirational sayings and beautiful pictures. You rush to put them on the coffee table or mantel for all to see, but then what to do with them when Christmas is over?? So as not to add to the after Christmas clutter, you can just throw them away. Oh no, did she just say throw away my Christmas cards?? Okay, take a breath. Here's a quick, cheap and easy idea. You can create an ornament for next year by using the picture and attaching it vertically to a pretty piece of ribbon or string. Embellish as you wish using pinecones or candy canes as dividers and then hang it from a door or in a window.

Dr. D. Clutter™

Thursday, December 18, 2008


You just spent hours buying the perfect gifts for your loved ones and feel extremely proud of yourself for not going over budget. Whew!! You can now relax, or can you?? What happens if the sweater is too big, or the pants too small? Will you know where the receipts are to exchange or return the item? Well, you will if you store your receipts in one place. I personally use an accordion style folder that I have labeled with the alphabet for ease of filing, but use what will work for you. You can also use another low-tech, no–tech method; the tried and true shoebox. Yes, I know, it can become a cluttered mess, but it doesn't have to. If you take the time to paperclip your receipts based on the name of the store, you can keep clutter to a minimum. Final suggestion, get a gift receipt and include it with the gift. That will save you a trip to the store.

Dr. D. Clutter™

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Lose Five Pounds in Minutes

Okay, that's not going to happen, but now that I have your attention...Does your wallet need rubber bands to remain closed? Is your purse so heavy that it causes you walk leaning to one side? Do you carry your life in your wallet or purse? If so, you need to streamline. Carry only what you need on a daily basis especially during the holiday season. Make a copy of all of your credit cards, license, insurance card and other items. In addition, you should create a list of all of contact information just in case anything is ever lost or stolen. Be sure to store in a secure place.

Dr. D. Clutter™

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

The Recession Proof Christmas Child

Should a child old know that the recession might mean fewer presents this year? If that's your situation, and your child asks, then yes. Now, please, don't put your child through an economics class trying to explain why money is tight or absent, but use this time to teach the art of appreciation. Sure, "little junior" or the "princess" may not get all that was on the wish list, but you can sure help your child appreciate the joy of receiving, even if it's not all they expected. Also, teach the joy of giving while you're at it. Homemade gifts from a child are some of the most precious gifts anyone can receive.

Dr. D. Clutter™

Monday, December 15, 2008

Buying Christmas?

If you're a fan of the Christmas cartoon, "How the Grinch Stole Christmas", then this will make sense to you. Does your Christmas come from a store? If you can't buy presents this year, does that mean that Christmas is ruined? In these hard economic times, many people have mentioned to me that they won't be able to buy presents as they did in past years and are worried that Christmas won't be the same. Well, if that's what you base the day on, it probably won't be such a fun time. Take the time to refocus your thoughts on what the holiday is really about. Of course, presents are nice, but they shouldn't be the main focus of the day. I know this is said so much that it has become a cliché, but you can really give love on Christmas.

Dr. D. Clutter™

Friday, December 12, 2008

It's Beginning to Look a Lot like Christmas

I'm putting up our Christmas decorations today. I know people who decorate the day after Thanksgiving (my sister Sharon), but even I don't have the energy to tackle that task so close after the holiday. I'm still recovering from my turkey coma. How many of you are with me? You too have wreaths and bows to hang, Christmas lights to string and trees to decorate. On the other hand, how many of you does this describe? You can't find your decorations, so you have to trek to the store and pay full price for more decorations that you already have, but can't find. Or you become so frustrated with untangling last year's lights that buying new ones seems reasonable? Make the pledge right now that next year will be different. This year, you'll take the time to carefully store your lovingly labeled and masterfully organized decorations so that you can find them next year. You'll save the boxes for those delicate glass blown bulbs and carefully place each one gently back in it's proper space. You'll take the time to wrap your lights around a simple piece of cardboard to ensure they won't become a tangled mess. You'll take the time to store each wreath in a simple container or if you have multiple wreaths, you'll layer them in a plastic trashcan with a lid (cheap, but effective). Yes, you'll give yourself one of the greatest gifts you'll ever receive…ORGANIZATION. You'll thank me later.

Dr. D. Clutter™

Thursday, December 11, 2008

1-Day Rule

This is one of the simplest rules I have in my repertoire. There are those times when you may find you're procrastinating. This is a perfect rule for those rare occasions. They are rare, aren’t they? Although I suggest you don't procrastinate, in those rare instances that you do, only give yourself 1-day to put it off. Whatever the task, one day is the longest you want to let it go. Think about it this way. Once you get it done, that's one less thing you'll have on your list. See there's a silver lining in everything.

Dr. D. Clutter™

Wednesday, December 10, 2008


During the flu season, we’re told to wash our hands frequently, and to avoid those poor sickly folks who are already infected. What do the flu and clutter have in common? They're both preventable (clutter more than the flu). If you find that clutter is slowly creeping into your life, STOP IT!! The old adage is true-an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.

Dr. D. Clutter™

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Organizing the World One Person at a Time

It had to be one of the coldest days of the year. I would like to have spent it in pajamas, wrapped in the warmest, fluffiest blanket I own, but alas... I had organizational issues to address, decluttering dilemmas to deal with and time management queries to answer. The seminar was a whopping success. We discussed the 1-day procrastination rule (only allow yourself one day to put off doing something you don't want to do), the 10-minute tidy™ (once you're organized, it should take you only 10 minutes to tidy your space) and finding the function and purpose of your space (if your office will also serve as a storage place or your bedroom as a study). We also discussed the differences between cleaning and decluttering, as well as the need to declutter before organizing. You can't organize clutter, so don't try, as you'll just waste your time. Finally, we talked about the need for intrinsic motivation. Ultimately, you have to be your own best cheerleader and encourage yourself to get organized, but also recognize when you need to seek the assistance of a trained professional (CALL ME-SMILE). It was a nice way to spend a Saturday and I'm grateful to those who attended. Tell your friends!!

Dr. D. Clutter™

Friday, December 5, 2008

Recession Proof?

Nine letters we didn't want to hear about. R-E-C-E-S-S-I-O-N. It's finally been declared-the US is in a recession. How depressing is that? Sadly, many people will suffer devastation like losing their homes and jobs. Is there a way to weather this recession? Yes. Will it be easy? No. I'm developing a free seminar: Get Organized: Keys to Surviving a Recession. I'll talk about ways to recession proof your life as much as possible with tips for maintaining job security, helpful time management strategies and decluttering and organizing your life to stay afloat in these hard economic times. Stay tuned.

Dr. D. Clutter™

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Jump Start

Imagine you're a car battery and it’s the coldest of winter mornings. Despite your best efforts, the car just won't start (yes, I'm stretching the metaphor here). Do you ever have a day when you feel as if you're dragging the entire day and everything seems to require extra effort, even simple tasks? We all suffer from this from time to time, but what can you do about it? The answer is to "jump start" your day. Imagine the one thing that will "charge" you to want to move, and then do it. Yes, you may be late for work, you may not even make it in or you may have to delay other things. But since you're already dragging, does it really matter? For some it might be a brisk walk, or a warm bath. Whatever "IT" is, do "IT". Now, if your battery is drained more days than it's charged, that's another issue all together and you'll need to take a deeper look into why you're feeling that way. For now, "CHARGE IT".

Dr. D. Clutter™

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Imitation is Flattery

I love a great bargain. If you look closely at a few of my client's before and after pictures, you'll see that a few share the same types of accessories and decorating styles. Take for example the black screen that appears in a picture on my website. It was originally over $400, but I bought it for much, much less (I'm great at haggling for discounts; it's a gift). I loved it so much, that I suggested it for use in the homes of at least two other clients. It's been said that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, but imagine the conversation I have to have each time a prospective client sees the before and after pictures, my office and that screen!! Funny.

Have a wonderfully organized evening.

Dr. D. Clutter™

Monday, December 1, 2008

First to Last

Good glorious afternoon,

It's the first day of the last month of 2008!! What things have you procrastinated about only to wake up and realize that the year is almost over? Go ahead, I'll wait because if you're like most, that list could get pretty long. No need to fret, however, because you can still accomplish some of those tasks. Prioritize and get that long "To Do" list down to a manageable size. Tackle the larger projects first and make sure you have a plan of attack. Write it down. More importantly, don't become discouraged and locked into a mind battle against time-you'll lose. Instead, take the position that there are only so many hours left that you have to work with and get started. Enjoy the journey.

Dr. D. Clutter™

About Me

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Washington, DC, United States
I am Dr. Darnita L. Payden, Executive Director/Owner of Dr. DClutter™ Life Management, a division of PreciousOnes™ LLC. I have a Ph.D. in Counseling Psychology and over 20 years of experience working to help clients discover their strengths and talents. Having worked as a therapist, college professor, grief specialist and trainer, I have encountered in my journey many of the issues my clients may face. I have a sincere desire to help you find clarity, organization and independence in your life and environments. I know that life can be hectic, but I desire to help my clients bring as much order, peace and enjoyment back into their lives as is possible. What separates me from the norm? I focus on the client from a holistic perspective. I realize that most people desire a functional and an organized life, but may simply need support, understanding and information about why they have the habits or tendencies that have led to disorganization. I do not perform “quick fixes” or provide “one-size-fits-all” guidance, but I strive to provide strategies to my clients that will be life changing and useful for a lifetime. Dr. DClutter™ is a name well earned!!

Dr. DClutter's™ Publications

  • Dr. DClutter's™ Wiseisms and Thruthisms™ Daily Inspirations, Observations and Humorous Musings
  • Dr. DClutter's™ One-Day-a-Week-Guide to a Year of Random Acts of Kindness (plus 20 extra days just in case)
  • Dr. DClutter's™ 21-Day Journey to a New You
  • Declutter-Four Benefits of an Organized Life
  • Clutter Makes You S.I.G.H.™
  • Simplify. Simplify. How to Declutter Your Life

Four Benefits of Organization

Four Benefits of Organization

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