Saturday, April 21, 2012

It's a while since I last posted, but life has been interesting! I have been studying digital art, and it's starting to pay off with commissions. The Clutter Busting hasn't worked out as a full time job, but it is still fun and is a nice filler between art assignments.

I  just spent yesterday helping a Mom get her home a bit more organized in anticipation of a graduation party. It will be ongoing work for her, since her husband is quite the clutter bug. She just needed someone to help out and give her a few pointers- she's doing quite well otherwise.

It's nice to help people and do hands-on work. So if you live in the Champaign/Urbana area and need some Clutter-Busting, send me an email and we'll see what we can do!

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

New perspectives on the economy

It's been awhile since I last posted. The semester is over, and I aced all my classes! Now as I continue my studies at only one class per semester, I need to return my attention to my various projects.

With all the changes that life has brought me, and the state of the economy, I have decided that Clutter Busting will remain a part-time venture. My primary purpose has always been to offer a service to others, and to that end, I'm making some adjustments.

I've lowered and frozen my fees. A clutter-busting visit is now a minimum of two hours instead of three. (Though for anything bigger than a few drawers, three hours is needed to really accomplish anything!)

I still offer discounts for seniors 65 and up, and the disabled. Those rates are lower as well.

I do occasionally do volunteer organizing work, if you know of someone in great need. I am also available to give talks and presentations.

Friday, October 8, 2010

Re-Purposing old Fabric

Like many people, I have fabric left over from old projects. As long as one has room to store it properly, there's no problem keeping such items for possible future use. In this case, I had downsized from a big 3 level duplex into a smaller apartment, but loved the material I had made into curtains.
Several months ago I realized my car ceiling was coming loose, and it soon was hanging in shreds. Some investigation revealed that it would cost at least $300 to replace the "headliner" (as it's called) in my wagon. Since the car is 12 years old, and I plan to keep it a while longer, I decided to do it myself. That way, I could use the beautiful fabric I had in my closet, rather than sticking to the boring beige that came with the car. It's not like I'd get much trade-in on such an old vehicle anyways!!
I got instructions over the internet, and took my time over Labor Day Weekend so I wouldn't be rushed. It was a lot of work, but I'm thrilled with the result. I still have to finish details, like reinstalling the light fixtures, but I have quite a feeling of accomplishment, and more room in my closet. It's so much better to put the cloth to good use than to have it sitting in a bag on a shelf!

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

The Secret Life of Garbage

I've been watching a show called "Trash Inc.: The Secret Life of Garbage" on CNBC TV. Wow, what an eye opener. In spite of our growing awareness of the need to recycle, trash is still a huge problem around the world. Even though American companies are finding profitable ways to make carpet and cloth (polyester) out of plastic bottles, Americans only recycle about 20% of their bottles, so the companies have to import most of the plastic from other countries like Canada and Mexico.

The show gave examples of beaches in Pacific islands like Hawaii that are virtually made of plastic! It is several inches deep, some ground down to the size of sand. They showed a bit of "the Great Pacific Garb age Patch" which is bigger than the continental U.S. and is estimated to contain 31/2 million tons of plastic floating just under the surface. This plastic wasn't thrown off ships- it's washed down from roads and river beds of U.S. and Asia. Fish mistake it for food and try to eat it. (Reminded of another documentary that showed how sea birds' chicks are starving to death with their bellies full of plastic.)

Whoosh- and the land fills! We have made great strides in making them safer, but they are still so huge! China's are overflowing, the government can't keep up with the need.

All this makes me more resolute about recycling my own trash as much as possible, as well as helping others cut back on waste and unnecessary possessions. The more we can live simply, and without clutter, the less we will add to pollution of the land, water and air. I'm trying to cut back in little ways too, like using old toothbrushes as scrubbing tools in kitchen and bath, or finding out how long I can reuse a "disposable" razor! (It's turning out to be quite a lot!)

We could save so much more by not using so many throw away items. Bring your own cup to work, or use a metal bottle or canteen while hiking or biking. And of course- if you use anything plastic- recycle, recycle, recycle!

Monday, February 22, 2010

ad at 40 North

As many of you may know, I am a professional artist as well as an organizer. Steven Bentz at 40 North was nice enough to put in an article about my venture as a clutter buster on their site.

40 North is dedicated to fueling the growth and well-being of Champaign County by nurturing its arts, culture, and entertainment community. It is a great resource for anyone in the arts, to find venues, art show opportunities, or network with other artists. You can find them at Check them out!

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Clutter busting my own Studio

Based on the principle that I should practice what I preach, I am letting you all see something that an artist never usually allows anyone to see! What my studio looks like when I'm in the middle of a big project!

There is a misunderstanding that being organized in some way inhibits creativity. Being organized is not the same as being neat and tidy- it certainly does not require being a "Type A" personality! All it means is that you have a place for everything, and when you've finished that big project, you can put everything away in its place. It means that you can find references or tools quickly, without diverting creative energy away from your project because you can't find or reach important items.

Basic Rules and Tools for Clutter Busting


Containers, sticky notes, magic markers, tape. For long-term deep clutter, dust masks and rubber gloves might be in order.

Dusting equipment, vacuum or broom. (I always recommend cleaning the cleared space before putting things back in.)


Think about what you want to do with this room or space. What is its purpose? If more than one person uses it, everyone should have impute; agreeing on the priorities and uses of the room is a must in order to stay organized successfully.

Consider what works - everyone has some areas that work for them! Why is that area organized? How can you apply what works there to other areas?

Take it a little at a time. Don’t try to do everything at once. Select a specific area and time to do it. Sometimes playing favorite music or an audio book helps enliven the experience. Have a healthy snack or favorite beverage at hand.

Don’t let yourself be distracted. Items for another room can be put in a box to be dealt with after the specific area is finished. Do not stop to read articles or finish that project you’ve been reminded of. Again, set them aside for later.

Don’t buy any organizing systems such as shelves or tubs until you’ve purged and organized at least into categories. You may find that you already have systems that can be used in new and more efficient ways. You’ll also be able to see the space better in order to judge what you need.

It is often hard to part with stuff, even when it well past serving any need for you. Knowing there are ways to give the stuff a good home can make it easier.

Memorabilia: it can be hard to give up stuff that reminds you of loved ones or happy memories. But the stuff is not the person or the memory. Keep those very special items that you have room for. For the rest, consider taking pictures of the items for a photo album or scrap book, then find new homes to sell or donate the items to. Remember, if it is really important to you, it should be out where you can enjoy it, not stuck away in a box or under a pile of other things in a closet.

Make sure items for donating are still in good enough condition to use. Charitable organizations appreciate it if the items are clean as well.

Clothes: There are many institutions around Champaign/Urbana that take clothes donation, like Salvation Army and Goodwill. Our own St. Patrick’s Food Pantry will take nonfood items such as clothes, bathroom supplies, even greeting cards.

Books: The library will take almost any book, DVD, CD as donations. The county jail also takes book donations, but paper backs only.

Recycling: Clothes hangers and dry Cleaning bags: Dry cleaners are very happy to take any you bring to them! Some, like Starcrest, have drop off bins to recycle the bags.

Recycling centers: they take paper, cardboard, glass, plastic, and aluminum. Does your college student need coins for laundry machines? Behind Jerry’s IGA there’s a machine that takes aluminum cans and pays 15 cents per pound.

Batteries/ Cell Phones: Anita Purvis Nature Center at Busey Woods takes old batteries (AA’s etc, not big ones like car batteries), cell phones, and plastic bags.

Plastic Bags: Most grocery stores now have drop offs for plastic bags. Jerry’s IGA in the Round Barn Shopping Center pays 5 cents per reusable bag that you bring in for your groceries.

Drug Disposal

Any out of date drugs should not be thrown in the trash or down the toilet. Carle Hospital’s pharmacy has a drop box for such drugs. They incinerate them to assure that they won’t get in the wrong hands or into the water system.

Empty Prescription bottles: The Humane Society is happy to reuse them for animal prescriptions.

Recommended Books:

It’s All Too Much by Peter Walsh
Organizing From the Inside Out by Julie Morgenstern