Cindy’s Weekly Wisdom ~ Clutter Hiding in Plain Sight

Cindy’s Weekly Wisdom


Embarrassing but true stories: I have clutter hiding in plain sight in my house. Everyone else sees it, but I didn’t, at least not until I knew that I had company coming for dinner. Than I realized that my bar, which we often use for serving when we have guests, was currently being used by the following do-no-belong items:
  • 5 CDs and cases
  • a German Christmas tree pyramid (currently listed for sale on Craigslist, but that doesn’t mean it needs to be taking up a place of pride on the counter)
  • a St. Francis medallion that fell off one of the animals’ collars
  • a container of cat treats (used daily but should be stored on the smaller, side counter)
  • a picture drawn by one of the girls
  • CD player / radio
Only the CD player / radio belongs on the counter; however, as I’m typing this, I’ve realized two things. The first is that the cat treats would be better off stored in a pretty little dish with a lid (which I already own) than sitting in an unattractive plastic tube. Also, the CD player / radio could be moved to a shelf in the living room, where it will fit in with the decor better.
My eldest daughter was at a weekend camp, and I had said that I would clean her guinea pig’s cage. On the floor by the cage was an open box of some of the guinea pig’s belongings. It’s been there for years. What was really in it, I wondered.
  • Two cruddy towels for picking up and holding the guinea pig to prevent possibly being scratch or pooped on
  • a large rock
  • a little fence that we occasionally set up in the yard so the guinea can eat al fresco
  • the dust pan that we use to clean the cage
  • a small bowl for an unknown purpose
  • a piece of driftwood
Clutter, hiding right there in plain sight! The fence and dust pan could be tucked between the wall and the cage. The rock and driftwood went into the yard. The bowl was returned to the kitchen for a washing, and the two towels went into the laundry and will be added to the rag pile. Then I broke down the box and put it in the recycling. Ta-da!
Next I spied plain-sight clutter hiding in Audra’s room. Long-time readers will remember that Audra was the child who had the room that drove me to complete despair but now maintains the tidiest and most organized room in the house. At the foot of her bed was a paper bag. It had been there for a long time; I didn’t know what was in it, and I marveled that careful Audra could be ignoring it so diligently. After I tackled the hidden clutter of the bar and the box in Clara’s room, I asked Audra to see what was in that bag. Halloween costume! From October to February it had sat at the foot of the bed, right next to her bedroom door. She put the costume in the give-away box, folded up the paper bag, and that was it.
Each one of these decluttering tasks, which had “decorated” our house for months….or longer…took six or fewer minutes to declutter.
Do you have clutter hiding in plain sight at your house?

Today’s Mini Mission

Declutter a large item you might have in the garage, attic or basement that you have kept handy in case you will have a use for it someday. Perhaps and item of furniture, a sporting item you used to use, a restoration project…

Eco Tip for the Day

If you don’t have a dual flush toilet you can adjust the height of the float so less water is released with each flush.

It matters not how fast I go, I hurry faster when I’m slow

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  1. Ooooohh, this is a tricky one, Cindy. Those items that “seem” to be in their proper place, but after thinking it through, a better place comes to mind. I’m pretty sure there is some clutter in plain sight at my house!

  2. My hairbrush was in that category. After my shower, I go downstairs to start tea and then brush my hair while the water heats up. For years, I had kept my hairbrush in the living room for convenience, and would just hide it in my bedroom for company. But last week I realized that I didn’t like having a permanent eyesore in my living room and the brush would be forever banished to my bedroom.

    I feel like the kleenex boxes are another source of clutter. I have allergies, so I always like to have a kleenex box handy. I was able to hide one in a cleaned out drawer, but the others are sitting on various horizontal surfaces. They are more convenient like that, but not lovely. Slippers, robes, blankets, my husband’s belt, whatever I’m reading, and whatever I’m sewing also wander around in unlovely ways. This blog has helped me to be better about making all things of a type live together and being ok giving up some convenience for reduced visual clutter, but there is always more to do!

    • Rebecca J, Amen Sister on the Kleenex boxes. I am forever reaching for a tissue. A box in both trucks, a box in the bedroom, a box in the kitchen, a box in the bathroom, a box in the attic, a box in the guest room!! Holy Smokes! I wish I had box stock in Kleenex.

  3. Yes, those words are so true Scrapabbey! Will be something I will keep in my mind when deciding what to Declutter.

  4. Yes Cindy, I have plenty of clutter in plain sight! Just yesterday, I noticed the three yellow instrument suitcases, that are no longer required sitting next to the fence at the side of the house. They are there so they can go into the garbage when there is enough room, which never happens. So I will do something about that today!

  5. Scrapabbey, I am not quite at the same place as you with your “downsizing” of homes but know what you mean. I argue with myself as well, trying to rationalize why I should keep something I don’t want but have that little voice inside to remind me of what a waste it is to not use something I bought. Our house is on the market now, and all I know is that we want a 1000-1200 sq. ft. of living space. I will need to get rid of about a 1/3 of what we own and I am ready for that! Good luck with your move! 🙂

    • I am so sorry…I don’t know how I did this, but this response to Scrapabbey is for yesterday’s post. Somehow, I got the two mixed up! My apologies!!!!

  6. I was looking around. We have some “hidden-in-plain-sight” clutter. I need to go through stuff and see what can be gotten rid of and what we need to find other places for. It’s little things like me keeping my watch, Medic Alert bracelet, car keys and change purse on on end of the counter. I need to find another place to keep it. This is good Cindy. Thanks for making me think about this.

  7. Mine is a digital picture frame sitting on the dresser that you have to walk past to get to the kitchen (this dresser faces the dining room and is visible from the front door). Have had it for 4 years (I think) and have never loaded photos onto it. Why I don’t know.

    • I have one of those too, Moni! It has been sitting on a bookcase in the study for more years than I can remember. I think we put 3 pictures on it to try it out. Every week I dust it and it just sits there blankly. OK , this is definitely a use it or lose it now!

  8. Hi Cindy. This post is a great reminder that decluttering is not a finite exercise as we always have some necessary items coming into our homes. The problem arises when they don’t leave after their work is done or become so familiar that we don’t see them anymore. As Michelle, Rebecca J and Deb J agreed, often the solution is simply finding a more suitable and attractive place to store them – even better if it’s out of sight 🙂

  9. My husband says he is a bit worried that if he sits still long enough, he will find himself listed on trademe or freecycle.

    • What are used husbands going for these days??? Just wonderin’ Ian has stated the same worry but he’s safe — he does most of the cooking!

    • My husband says that, soon enough, we will have “nothing at all at our home” at the rate that I am decluttering… How much are the rate for husbands is a doubt I have myself from time to time… 😀 😀 😀

  10. Hi Cindy, don’t you love it when you come up with a simple solution to something that you didn’t even realise was a problem. These are always moments when we just wonder why we didn’t think of this idea before.

  11. Well. I have several places like that, now that you mention it. Thanks for bringing them to my attention. Two of the places involve knitting stuff: the pattern book and yarn for a project for a friend. (to do: photocopy the pattern and put the book away, place pattern and yarn in cute bag and start knitting!) The other spot is a bag of yarn someone gave me to use for charity knitting and now I need to deal with putting the skeins away.

  12. Great post, Cindy. Certainly I don’t have to look very far to find clutter hiding in plain sight. There is the matter of just keeping the counters clear and free of clutter. Just accomplishing this will get rid of a lot of that “plain sight” clutter. Making sure everything has a specific home and putting things away when we are done with things helps too. Taking the time to take an honest look at our spaces will help identify these items. Thanks for the reminder.

  13. I read somewhere the suggestion to take a photo of your room. (Was it posted on 365 Less Things in the past?) You might see things in the photo that look out of place or cluttered that you don’t see with your normal eye. Just to give you a different perspective.

  14. I find that if I don’t deal with things promptly, they can just blend in like part of the decor! I read somewhere that it is best to deal with things once, not put them aside and have to deal with them twice. It is so much easier to wash dishes right after you use them instead of leaving them sitting around and then you have to soak them and they are harder to clean. Clutter is that way too. The quicker you deal with something, the easier it is to deal with.

  15. After having read this, I immediately went to the garage and threw out a whole bunch of old garden shovels I was keeping around in case my new one would break down

    Good riddens!!!