We made it.

This is the last day of the 14 days full of decorating short cuts.

I hope you’ve had as much fun as me.

I hope you are ready to take on the decorating world with shortcuts that leave you so much more time for the fun things in this world.

Like pumpkin spice latte.

And today?

We are shortcutting our way to a clutter-free house.

Here’s how to control clutter (before it controls you).

Clutter is like that last Christmas party guest that won’t leave.

They’ve eaten your cheese dip and knocked an ornament off your tree and ensconced themselves in a chair telling you about their trip to the grand canyon for the fifth time.

You look longingly at the door.

Leave clutter, leave, you tell yourself.

But it never does.

Take charge.

Take control.

Take over….

….and show that cheese-eating, ornament-knocking, grand-canyon visiting clutter to the door.

Start small

Rome wasn’t built in a day and neither was clutter.

For one week set aside 10 minutes a day.

10 minutes.  That’s easy, right?  10 simple minutes.  Set a timer.  Set your watch.  Set your phone.

Choose the clutter pile that gets on your nerve the most.  The one that makes you shudder when you walk by it.

And then?

Don’t give it any more cheese dip.

Take 10 minutes and sort through that pile.  Throw away papers.  Toss old magazines.  Put bills in a folder in your office or work space marked bills.

But here’s the key.


And when you are done.  Walk away.  Pat yourself on the back.  Tell yourself how amazing you are.  Call your mom and let her know she can stop by for a visit.

But return again tomorrow to show that clutter pile the door.

Baskets are your friend

I know the basic adage of organizing.  A place for everything and everything in its place.  The hardest part of that whole idea is figuring out what all the places look like.

I get it.

I understand.  I really, really do.

That’s where baskets come in.

First of all, baskets are cute and pretty and have sides that hold things.

Here are some ideas that I use baskets for.  I use a basket for mail.  I use a basket for the kid’s papers.  I use a basket for random coupons and business cards and tiny pieces of who-knows-what that collect on the counters.  I use a basket for things I need to do.  I use a basket for items I want to donate.  I use a basket for dog supplies.  I use a basket for unfinished projects.

And on and on and on.

Around here everything has a basket.  It all goes in there if I don’t have time to sort through it or deal with it or think about it.

It just hangs out looking cute in a basket until I’m ready.

And then?  When the basket overflows I go back to idea number one and spend 10 minutes on it.

Keep the surfaces clean

In every home, there are a few surfaces that invite clutter to pull up a chair.

I don’t know why certain surfaces get cluttered.  I wish I did because I would be a zillionaire.  The key is figuring out which surfaces attract clutter and focus on keeping them clutter-free.

That’s where the baskets come in.

Every night, I check the surfaces and put the stuff from the surfaces into the baskets.

And then?

When the baskets overflow it’s back to our 10 minutes again.

Donate, donate, donate

Our house is full of stuff.

Stuff that we don’t really use any more.  Stuff that I walk by and wonder what I should do with it.  Stuff that stopped fitting into our life in 1999.

On the first of every month, I go through the house (some from the basket where I put it waiting to be donated) and gather up two garbage bags of stuff and donate it.

Someone else might need that stuff way more than me.

And my baskets thank me.

Be kind to yourself

I think that’s where clutter defeats us.

It’s why so many have tried to show clutter to the door and fail.

We look at the clutter and it overwhelms us and we sigh and look away and tell ourselves that we’ll handle it tomorrow.

Why not make your tomorrow start today?

You got this.

You can do it.

Yes,  yes you can.

All you need are 10 minutes and a few cute baskets to show clutter the door.

Here’s to a great day. 🙂

PS  This picture has actually nothing to do with de-cluttering.

Or surfaces.

Or cheese dip.

I just found it when I was looking for organizing pictures and it made me smile and think of all things fall.

I thought it might make you happy, too. 🙂

PS  And now a word from our 14-day shortcut sponsor–a little book called “So Close To Amazing” that launches TOMORROW.

You can read the reviews of my first book, So Close To Amazing, here.

TODAY is the last day to pre-order and still get all the PRE-ORDER BONUSES.


Want to know how to decorate your home for free?
Click here to get my FIVE BEST secrets.


  1. Image for Rita Rita

    Really found these posts of challenges informative and helpful, I looked forward to see the next one everyday, hope you do some more of them soon !

  2. Image for bj bj

    I love your 10 minute idea...and it really works...while cleaning closets yesterday to donate clothing to Houston, I had a stack of coat hangers the size of Mt. Rushmore...in the middle of the floor...I made a cup of coffee...rolled up my sleeves and went to work on that stack...in no time at all, I had them in bundles and ready to take to the cleaners. They always like coat hangers...I even got the bundles placed in my car so tomorrow, in LESS than 10 minutes, I'll have no more excess hangers, hanging out at my Summer house. I've loved your 14 days...some great ideas...oh, and I just ordered a large, pretty cross from your sweet sis....xo

  3. Image for Michelle Michelle

    One of my favorite things to do is de-clutter and organize. I love the idea of using baskets to do it but I'm thinking I'm going to use boxes -- just this once. Because...my next de-clutter project is my closet. I've been shrinking lately, thanks to Intermittent Fasting and low-carb eating, so a lot of what I used to wear doesn't fit me anymore (yay!) Hurricane Harvey broke my heart so I'll be mailing those boxes to lots of displaced Houstonians who are in desperate need what I don't need anymore. A friend there who wasn't too terribly effected by the storm will also soon be receiving a copy of "So Close to Amazing" on her birthday to help lift her heart. Perfect timing because her heart broke too.

  4. Image for laura laura

    I love the Belleville sign (I was born there and my dad grew up in Belleville Illinois. If you clear that piece let me know! Loved this series KariAnne! xo laura {not a trophy wife, more trailer than trophy} Just dropped off our #middle at college in Minnesota! deep breaths! xo xo xo

  5. Image for Lisa Lisa

    Ten minutes a day is completely doable for everyone. I think what trips most of us up is the idea that you need to be completely done in one day. Happy Book Launch Eve!!!! 😍😍😍😍

  6. Image for david david

    The ten minute thing is perfect as I often feel overwhelmed by all the stuff. I recently started a "one drawer a day" commitment that seems to be helping too. I just clean out or organize one drawer each day - working my around the house. Sometimes it takes 5 minutes and sometimes it takes 15 sometimes it takes zero minutes because that drawer happens to be just fine. And then I can go on with my day feeling like I at least accomplished something.

  7. Image for Lisa Marutz Lisa Marutz

    So excited...I just got my notification from Amazon, that your NEW book is on its way to me!!! I can hardly wait 😘

  8. Image for Taste of France Taste of France

    There are different kinds of clutter. There is the cute but unnecessary stuff (tchotchkes) that tends to grow (reproduce?) until it becomes too much. There is the too-lazy-to-complete-the-loop stuff, like coats dropped rather than hung up, bags dumped rather than emptied and put away, etc. Those two categories are one thing. But the worst are the unknowables. The forms you have to fill out but you don't have all the information. And you dutifully spend 10, 20, 60 minutes trying to get it, and fail. And so it goes into a stack, with other forms of a similar kind, where you really should transfer that account to the other place, but when you tried to do it they said you were missing X piece of information....Not everybody suffers from this. My husband doesn't have this kind of clutter because he has delegated it all to me.

  9. Image for Vee Muller Vee Muller

    I've tried the 10 minute trick off and on for many years. It works when you work it. Will try it again on my messy bedroom closet starting tomorrow. I can do it, KariAnne said so!

  10. Image for Pamela Pamela

    Hey Karianne. It was so lovely to see your cute face when I started my devotions this morning over on Proverbs 31. 😊 honestly, though I read your blog I had no idea of your struggle still. 😞 but of course you struggle because we all struggle with words that have wounded us then and now. Words that smell like smoke and sulfur from the pit aimed at our hearts to bring us down, make us question our worth. Thanks for a wonderful reminder that we are actually so close to amazing.

  11. Image for Donna Marie Donna Marie

    Clutter--your house--NO!!! Lol Just got notice your book is on the way!!! Good news!! I'll be busy girlfriend, so don't bother me...

  12. Image for Carrie Carrie

    YOUR IDEA of 10 minutes un-cluttering ~~~~ instead of me spending time watching Chip and Joanna...~~~~well, that's a hard one to give up, but in the end, I can always DVR those 10 minutes and get right back to farmhouse design~ which is a total aside to "when will YOU get your own show on HGTV and PLEASE pick me to follow you around and make sure you don't trip over camera wires...

  13. Image for Barbara Bachus Barbara Bachus

    I love to be the first one up in the morning, have a cup of coffee and do 10 minutes of organizing!! It's a great start to the day before the others are awake! ☺

  14. Image for Peg Peg

    One of my favorite ways to de-stress is to de-clutter the landing spot on one corner of my kitchen counter, and then clean all of the counters with Mrs. Meyers lemon verbena!! So fresh!! xoxo

  15. Image for Marian Marian

    So, being me, and being that I got back to town two days before school started after being gone for two weeks, I am just seeing this post. These are insanely good suggestions. I may need to put in a few more than 10 min in a few spaces-we had a mini flood in my basement over the summer- but I think the 10 min idea may be do-able for me. I seem to have these troublesome pockets if time that just make me nervous, here and there, before and after things I need to do . I think the decluttering may go there. Nervous energy turned useful. Yay! Hope the book sales are blowing your mind. After watching the video, I can't wait to read it. The Other Marian

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