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

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Manual Labor?

Do manuals of items past overrun you? Have you long since discarded the item, but kept the manual? Set yourself free from that clutter. As an item "leaves" your space, make sure to evict with it, the manual. Even better, many are now available online, so you can stop the madness of clutter before it starts. No more manual labor!!

Dr. D. Clutter™

Monday, March 30, 2009


Recently, I "accidentally" deleted photos from my photo memory card. For a moment, I was panic stricken, but only for a moment. Thankfully, I'd also saved most of them in another place, but a few I had not (hey, I never claimed perfection. Read a few of my posts and you'll see). I started searching the Internet for photo recovery software. To my surprise and delight, there were many free or partially free programs available. Of course, the pictures were valuable enough to me that I would have paid to have them recovered. I love free things. I can AFFORD "free". What about you? I love to give things away and apparently, so do many other people in this wonderfully, giving world of ours. Sure, I'm not technologically savvy enough to donate free software, but I have the valuable gift of my time and knowledge; both of which I freely give. What is your talent? What can you give to the world or just one person for free today?

Dr. D. Clutter™

Saturday, March 28, 2009

A Teenager!!

She's officially a teenager today. Where did the time go? Wasn't it just yesterday when I was fixing bottles and changing diapers? I don't know whether to laugh or cry!! Happy 13th birthday to my precious niece!! I pray this day brings you everything you deserve and desire!! Love you, most, much!!


Friday, March 27, 2009

Check the Dates

This is an easy one to do. Go to your pantry and look at the expiration dates on the items. Go, ahead, I’ll wait. Okay, how may expired items did you find? Probably a few. I just worked with someone who had mayo that expired three years ago, and ketchup that had turned a nice blood curdling dark red from four years ago-yum!! Here’s an easy way to keep track of older food items. As you shop, place the newer items in the back of the cabinet and bring the older items to the front. Of course, doing a periodic “date check” won’t hurt and could save you and your family from the ills of the 3-year-old mayo.

Dr. D. Clutter™

Thursday, March 26, 2009

A Runner

Do you find yourself often “running?" No, not for exercise, but because you’re late? If you find that your life goes from zero to 60 in less than a minute more times than not, then you probably have a time management problem. Often people who have physical clutter, also have cluttered time management skills. First, slow down. Then make a plan of action to use your time as wisely as possible. Perhaps there’s a “time stealing monster” in your life-get rid of it. Identify those areas that are causing you the most distress, reassess and create more productive ways of using your time. Save the running for getting or staying fit.

Dr. D. Clutter™

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Small and Consistent

When you’re trying to regain control of your environment, keep these two concepts in mind-small steps and consistent. Take small steps towards getting organized and decluttering and do it consistently. Don’t make it a grand event and don’t attempt to maintain change only on certain days. I actually had a potential client tell me that she could only devote time to becoming organized and maintaining her new lifestyle on Fridays. “Really and how is that working for you”, I asked? You already know the answer. Organize and declutter as you go. It makes it easier to maintain your progress.

Dr. D. Clutter™

Tuesday, March 24, 2009


Here’s a quick stress buster-find a quiet place and breathe. Sounds overly simple doesn’t it? Well, simple is sometimes best. Go breathe!!

Dr. D. Clutter™

Monday, March 23, 2009

Time: Friend or Foe?

How do you view time? If you feel in control of time, then it’s probably your friend. Are you often harried and playing catch up? If so, you probably view time as a foe. You decide. Control your time and don’t let it control you.

Dr. D. Clutter™

Friday, March 20, 2009

Who Are You?

When I ask clients to tell me about themselves, I usually get a speech about what type of work they do. When I ask the question again and ask them to tell me something else about themselves, I get a family history. After the third time, I say to them that I’m asking them to tell me who they are without giving me a job description or a family history. I know it can be difficult to separate what we “do” from who we are, but I think it’s extremely important that we learn to do so. What happens if you lose your job or you divorce? Will you cease to be whom you described? Of course not, but if your self-identity is tied to a position or another person, you may feel that way. Redefine who you are so that the next time someone asks who you are, you’ll have a great answer.

Dr. D. Clutter™

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Organized and Helpful Kids

As soon as a child can walk, they can be taught to be helpful and maintain some semblance of order. Am I telling you to make little Jessica, Diamond or Jymia line their toys up perfectly and organize their diapers? Of course not!! But you will do a great service to your children if you start teaching them to be organized and helpful at an early age. Have your toddler bring you a cup or a favorite toy and then show her where it “goes” when you’re done; lead by example. Here are six steps you can follow to help raise an organized and helpful child:

1. Don’t Encourage Clutter-children aren’t natural clutterers-it’s a learned behavior (and often parent influenced). Many children will willingly give away items until an “adult” says, “Hey, don’t give that away, it’s your favorite...” or “Oh no, we (I) can’t let that go, it has so many memories”.

2. Create an Optimal Environment-don’t buy too much for your child. A few precious items will be more cherished, appreciated and take up less space. After all, how many children have been given a “great gift” only to end up playing with the box or relegating the item to a corner never to be played with again?

3. Make it Fun-Don’t make being organized and helpful seem like a chore. Make a game out of it and make it enjoyable for your child.

4. Praise Often-I often say it’s easier to “catch” a child being good than it is to focus on the negative behaviors, so give praise freely. Praise often; it doesn’t take up any space!!

5. Maintain-As with adults, it’s easier to maintain a space than it is to have to constantly reorganize it. See number 3 and do it.

6. Don’t be a Pain-no explanation needed.

Dr. D. Clutter™

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Just Do It

How many times have you uttered these phrases: “I’m waiting for the perfect time”, or “As soon as everything is perfect, I will…” I’ve said it before and it bears repeating; someday is nowhere on the calendar. So, don’t waste valuable time procrastinating when you can simply, “Just do it”.

Dr. D. Clutter™

Tuesday, March 17, 2009


There are probably many “things” you want or plan to do today, aren’t there? How many of those things will improve your life or make you feel better? I spend time with clients, young and old, who don’t have a clue or an idea of the type of life they want to live. Are you happy, content, frustrated, or anxious about the state of your life right now? What can you do right now, in this moment to improve your life? So, today I challenge you to spend some time finding out what and how you want your life to be. After all, who knows what you want better than you?

Dr. D. Clutter™

Monday, March 16, 2009


We are the sum of our experiences, as well as shaped by our history and past, but that doesn’t mean we are destined to be one way or the other forever. If we desire change, seek after it and are willing to do the work, we really can be what we want to be. What will you change today?

Dr. D. Clutter™

Friday, March 13, 2009

Ready, Plan, Move

Have you been blessed to finally buy your own home? Congratulations!! Here are a few tips to help ease the transition:

1. Plan, plan and plan some more. Don’t just expect your move to progress smoothly without proper preparation.

2. Declutter BEFORE you move. Don’t move clutter from one place to another.

3. Have the proper tools. You’ll need sturdy boxes, strong bags, tape, scissors, markers, labels, and packaging materials (recyclable if possible).

4. Label, label, label. It will help you to know what’s in each box or bag. No need to have to guess. That just adds to your stress level rising.

5. Pack in an organized manner. Don’t just throw things in containers. See the next step.

6. Pack according to rooms. Place all items for the kitchen, bedroom, bathroom, and etc. together. As much as possible, don’t mix unlike room items.

7. Unpack as soon as possible. No procrastinating allowed. The longer you live out boxes and bags, the easier it will be to continue to live that way or have to spend money unnecessarily because you can’t find something. Of course, if you followed tip number 4, you won’t have any problem.

8. Ask for help. Moving can be a huge endeavor. Don’t make it harder by being a lone ranger.

Dr. D. Clutter™

Thursday, March 12, 2009


It really irks me when people don't plan and then expect my life to be altered to fit their needs. Does this sound familiar? You have your day planned and someone calls and says they need your help. They say, "Hey, I need you to take me somewhere". "When?” you ask. "Right now.” "What??!! Are you serious?” "How long have you known you needed a ride?" "Oh, I've known for a week or so, but I just thought you'd be able to help." By now, you're possibly flabbergasted. Scene over. If you're like me, I ask what the favor is before I offer my help. I never want to commit myself to something without knowing the full picture. Does that mean that I'm not flexible or not spontaneous? No!! It's selfish on the other person's part to expect you to alter your routine because of their lack of planning. Of course, if it is a true emergency or you’re able to help, do so. As a general rule, I suggest not putting anyone in that position. Plan so that you can keep the peace.

Dr. D. Clutter™

Wednesday, March 11, 2009


Is your life a true reflection of the person you are or want to be? Or are you living a lie? Does the face you put forward really reflect the life you live? Make your public and private faces match. Be honest with yourself about who you really are and want to be.

Dr. D. Clutter™

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Walden Webinar

I just had the pleasure of presenting a webinar for Walden University on decluttering your life. To Steve, Shannon and Delores-thanks for the great opportunity. To the participants who took the time to submit your questions, I congratulate you on making the decision and taking the first step towards changing your life, regaining control and getting organized!! I look forward to hearing from you.

Dr. D. Clutter™

Let Go

Don’t seek perfection. Let go of things, situations and relationships that are causing you strife, pain or confusion. Stop worrying, plan for the things that you can and you can let go of the rest. Without a plan you hold on to things and continue to worry, but if you’ve done the work and put in the effort, you’ll find that relief is not often far away. If you don’t plan, you’ll probably find that your mind and thoughts continue to race and your heart continues to pound as if it will burst from your chest. Let go of the need to be perfect. Let go of the need to please everyone and complete every task.

Dr. D. Clutter™

Monday, March 9, 2009

Be a Quitter

Quit doing things that don't bring you joy, that are not positive, and that hold you back.

Dr. D. Clutter™

Friday, March 6, 2009


Many, many moons ago, I wrote a little something; okay, it was a big something, my dissertation. I was just thinking about it, (which happens on occasion), but this time my thoughts went in another direction. To bring you up to speed: my dissertation, Life Outside the Bars: The Psychosocial Effects of Incarceration on the African-American Spouse, dealt with the problems the spouse faced because of the imprisonment of a loved one, with a focus on the shame and guilt, stigma, loneliness and financial issues many of them experienced. I started thinking that those were similar to the feelings many people who live a cluttered and disorganized existence experience as well.

Here's my disclaimer: I am certainly not saying that the two experiences are the same, but they do have a few commonalities. The spouse of an inmate can often suffer from the shame, guilt and stigma from society due to the incarceration of their spouse (sometimes guilt by association). The CD (cluttered and disorganized) may also have feelings of shame and guilt at having allowed life to spiral out of control and the stigma of being seen as "dirty", "a slob", "irresponsible", "late" or "unprepared". Both can experience loneliness because of isolation from family and friends, but the CD's isolation is usually self-imposed, because of the state of their physical surroundings and life. Both can suffer financial hardships; the spouse due to possibly becoming the primary source of income and the CD because of the lost income associated with having to pay repeatedly for items that can't be found or used or lost wages due to tardiness or absences. It's a sad state no matter what the circumstance. But, thankfully, there's hope in both situations. One day the inmate may come home and family reunification may occur. For the CD, seeking help and reclaiming control of surroundings and life can bring peace, relief and a second chance at living an organized life.

Dr. D. Clutter™

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Love the List

I once met a lady who told me she could walk into her pantry in the dark and find any item. Further, she said, she could walk around during a power outage and never trip over anything, in any room in her house. Impressive and very high maintenance, I'm sure, but that's one organized lady!!

I'm not there and I don't strive to be, but I like knowing the contents of my spaces, especially in the kitchen. Do you know what's in your pantry, freezer or refrigerator right now? Using itemized lists have been a valuable, successful and useful tool for my family and clients (it has served me well too). I have a list for all three areas (pantry, freezer, refigerator). Click on the list to see an enlarged view.

As I use an item, I check it off. That way, I have a visual reminder of what I have and what items need to be replaced. Be sure to keep it in a highly conspicuous area where you'll have easy access for viewing. When it's time to shop, I can easily prepare my shopping list because I can clearly see what I need. I don't repeat buy, which saves money and I don't have to guess what I need, which saves time, reduces stress and improves productivity. Using this technique has helped me (and my clients and family) maintain a clutter-free environment, and it has been a great life organizational and time management tool as well. It is easily transferable to any aspect of your life, so don't limit yourself to just the kitchen. It's a win, win situation.

Dr. D. Clutter™

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Dr. D. Clutter's™ Ten Easy, Quick and Cheap Ideas

1. To save valuable shelf or table space, store family pictures online instead of using photo albums. The pictures will be easily accessible, ready to share in an email or printed as needed.

2. Place multiple trash bags in each trashcan. That way, when you remove one, you'll always have another bag available.

3. Reuse plastic bags to take out daily trash and for recycling. Just don't accumulate more than you can reasonably use!!

4. Use sturdy cardboard, cut to size, as a drawer organizer to separate socks, underwear and other small items. They are cheaper than the pre-made variety and are easily customizable.

5. When is a plastic shoebox not a shoebox? When it's used to hold plastic tableware, condiment packages or other small items. Use the clear boxes so you can easily see the contents.

6. Need to cover bowls in your refrigerator or at an outdoor function? Use new, plastic caps with the elastic band that are normally used as shower caps. They can be purchased in bulk, come in multiple colors, and are very cost effective. What's also important and helpful is that they are easier to track down than those elusive plastic tops.

7. Another use for those caps? Dust repellant covers. Place them over small baskets full of your travel-sized bottles in your bathroom. If the dust settles-simply throw the cap away and replace.

8. Love magazines, but hate the clutter? Cut or tear out your favorite story or picture and scan it onto your computer.

9. Having trouble finding the proper socks? To save time, after washing, place socks in the shoes you'll wear. This is especially helpful for gym shoes.

10. Use Velcro for a temporary "hold" when a needle and thread is not available.

Dr. D. Clutter™

Tuesday, March 3, 2009


Today is PreciousOnes’™ anniversary!! I’m so excited!! I would like to thank all of my past and current clients for your business and support; it's been a pleasure working with you all. To my family-thank you for your support, prayers and the sacrifices you've made to help make my business a success. I couldn't have done it without you!!

Join me for cake. What’s your choice, chocolate or white?

Don’t worry, they’re only virtual calories!!

Dr. D. Clutter™

Monday, March 2, 2009

The Snow Pics

It has been a great Monday!! If you've read previous posts or my books, you know that Mondays and I are not the best of friends. At any rate, here are the pics I promised, along with a handy, dandy tip to help make your next snow removal endeavor much easier. A little effort equals a big reward. Prepare now and reap the benefits later; it's a win-win situation.

The Paths of Least Resistance

The Method
Here's the method to my madness. I love the snow, as I mentioned above and I even enjoy shoveling it after-to a point. To save time and my back-I invest in a little effort before the snow starts (it saves money and energy too). I've purchased a few yards (about 20) of the heavy-duty plastic runner (you know the type that some people use to cover their carpet in heavy traffic areas) and at the mention of snow, I spring into action. I cover the iron and concrete stairs and walkway (inside our property) with the plastic and I use bricks to weigh it down. I usually only cover one side because the plastic is only a couple of feet wide. Yes, I could purchase double and cover both sides, but for me, one clear side suffices. Next, I hang signs to let visitors know to walk on the "safe" side (after all, I don't want anyone injured). Then, I sit back and wait for the snow.

This time we got a little over five inches, which is a blizzard for those of us in DC. I have my niece Diamond to thank for the artwork on my red measuring ruler. Anyway, after the snow has blanketed everything and I've uttered my "ooh" and "aah" at the splendid beauty, I swing into action. Instead of having to shovel and sweep the stairs and walkway, I simply pull up the plastic (being careful not to allow the snow to fall everywhere) and presto-I'm done. Well, I'm done with those areas because I can't cover the bricks in front of my house-safety issues, you know. Can't have anyone falling (and suing).

Ugly, but Effective
This is a picture of the plastic as I've started to pull it up. I'm almost half done at this point. You can see the bricks I used to weigh it down, to the right. It's not a pretty sight, thus the name of the picture, but it's effective.

Time Saved
This is a picture of the stairs after I've pulled the plastic runner completely off (notice my sign on the left). I've posted it as a close-up so that you can see it clearly. Oh, for that I simply printed it and put in in a plastic zip top bag to protect it from the elements. The signs and the plastic are both reusable and recyclable. Go green!!

My Girls
These are "My Girls"; my shovels that help make the job as easy as shoveling can possibly be. You have to have the proper tools.

Footprints in the Snow
Now, the sidewalk must be conquered!! The trick to easy snow removal is to get to it as soon as the snow stops falling. Some like to shovel multiple times to "keep up", but to me, that's too much effort, especially for a "DC Blizzard" of five inches, but do what works best for you.

The Red Bricks-I Can See Them!!
I love this after picture-success. "My girls" and I are proud of our effort.

What a day!! Now it's time to rest. Whew!! I worked hard, but not as hard as I would have had to without the plastic. I also had fun, which is one of the purposes of snow!!

Dr. D. Clutter™

It's Snowing Again!!

Yep, it's snowing again!! If I didn't mention it the last time, let me say it here: I love snow!! I'll post pictures later, but in the meantime, I'm going to use the day to catch up on some projects around the house, create more posts for you all and of course, shovel some snow.

What would be on your list of things to do if you were relegated (happily for me) to the indoors because of beautiful, white, fluffy, cleansing, smile inducing snow? Although I wholeheartedly believe that you should be as productive as possible when the situation warrants and allows, even I won't blame you if you just want to go outdoors and play. Go ahead-have a snow day and enjoy!!

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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Dr. DClutter™ featured on Walden University Radio

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