Expert teaches how to de-clutter and get organized

By Melanie Savage - Staff Writer
Mansfield - posted Tue., Jan. 21, 2014
Eliminating the clutter from your home can lead to a more serene, relaxing existence. Courtesy photo. - Contributed Photo

Susan Rohde made two appearances at the Mansfield Public Library recently to share ideas for de-cluttering and getting organized. Entitled “The Gentle Art of De-cluttering,” her workshop drew a standing-room-only crowd to the library during its first session on Jan. 11. Rohde is an interior designer and decorator, and said that she has dealt with clutter issues in her own life.

“For me, de-cluttering means creating an environment that is peaceful and serene,” said Rohde. This can mean different things to different people, she emphasized. Some people feel more comfortable surrounded with a variety of special objects and keepsakes. For others, a peaceful environment means fewer belongings and a more spare appearance, said Rohde.

For some people, compulsive shopping leads to a cluttered environment, said Rohde. In this case, she advised asking questions before making a purchase. “Weigh the pleasure of purchasing the item against the dead weight that will result,” said Rohde. Ask yourself, “Where will this item go?” “Will buying this item really fulfill the craving that I’m feeling?”

Feeling overwhelmed by the enormity of a de-cluttering task is a common obstacle for getting started, said Rohde, who offered several psychological strategies to combat this problem. Pick a time when you’re physically and emotionally strong, she suggested, “but don’t wait forever.” Start small, perhaps tackling one closet, one bureau, or one desktop at a time.

Rohde emphasized that it is important to respect the past. “I still regret throwing things out in a fit of de-cluttering,” she said. Don’t let a fear of making mistakes immobilize you, however. Consider whether it would be easier to tackle the task alone or with a friend, family member or partner. And it can sometimes be psychologically easier to get rid of a treasured object if you’ve located a new, “happy home” for it. “It can be easier to let go if you know someone else is going to get some use out of an object,” said Rohde.

Workshop participants shared a variety of reasons for attending the session. “If I die, I’d hate for somebody to have to deal with [my clutter],” said one.

A woman who attended with her husband and daughter said that she liked to hang onto things. “They don’t like to throw anything away,” agreed the teenaged daughter.

“There comes a point in your life when it’s time to start clearing stuff out,” said her dad.

A woman with three small boys said that she lived in a very small house that had become overwhelmed by her family’s possessions.
Katherine said that she was moving from a four-bedroom home, which she’d lived in since 1977, into a studio apartment. Patty said that she’d told her adult son she was coming to the workshop to get some help with her clutter. “He laughed,” said Patty. “He said, ‘Mom, I think you need more than a two-hour class.’”

For more information about getting help with de-cluttering and organization, contact Susan Rohde at Quiet Designs, 518-561-2594 or

Let us know what you think!
Please be as specific as possible.
Include your name and email if you would like a response back.
This question is for testing whether you are a human visitor and to prevent automated spam submissions.
Enter the code without spaces and pay attention to upper/lower case.