Decisions, Decisions….


Do you have trouble making decisions? I think we all do on occasion, but this difficulty often plagues my disorganized clients. Consider the gazillions of decisions we are all faced with on a daily basis — what to wear? eat? do? say? buy? In the case of clutter we wonder: How did this pile get here? How can I make it stop? What should I keep? Where should I put it? What should I get rid of? How should I dispose of it? What if I make the wrong choice? Arrrghhhh!

Clutter Flow Charts: This one narrows your choices down from an overwhelming 15 to just 4. Share on X

The Birth of The Clutter Flow Chart

And that is how The Clutter Flow Chart Collection was born. I created the Original Clutter Flow Chart to help my organizing clients continue the decluttering and decision–making process when I’m not right there by their sides. Then I realized they could help people I’ve never met, and other organizers’ clients, too! Each chart helps answer the questions: Is it clutter? (HINT: Clutter is anything that stands in the way of the life you want to live.) Why can’t I part with my clutter? What should I do with my clutter? What if, despite my best intentions, I am still living with clutter?

Decision-Making is Key

A number of my esteemed organizing colleagues have also recognized decision-making as a key issue. For example:

  • Barbara Hemphill coined the phrase: Clutter is Postponed Decisions™
  • Lisa Montanaro offers programs and e-books called DECIDE® to be Organized and Decide to DECIDE®!
  • Judith Kolberg used my Original Clutter Flow Chart in her 2014 ICD (Institute for Challenging Disorganization) conference presentation, Decision-Making and the Chronically Disorganized Client, as an example of “innovative decision-making methods that work with CD clients”. (Thanks, Judith!)

Since I specialize in working with situationally- (rather than chronically-) disorganized clients, I didn’t realize at first how helpful the charts would be for those with ADHD and other such conditions. Nor did I realize that they could help new professional organizers learn how to walk their own clients through the decluttering process.

Too Many Choices?

One thing that I was very aware of during my creation of flow charts for 15 types of clutter — 15! — is that too many choices can be very confusing. In particular, I am thinking of the jam story in The Paradox of Choice: Why More is Less, by Barry Schwartz. In this story an upscale food market experiments with how many gourmet jams are displayed on a table: 6 vs. 24. When 24 jams were displayed MANY more people stopped to look. But, although fewer people stopped to look when there were only 6 jams displayed, MANY more of them purchased jam, and more jam was sold overall. Why? Because there were fewer choices and shoppers weren’t so overwhelmed.

With that in mind, I have narrowed the real choice from 15 down to 4. In the “Which Flow Charts Do I Need?” chart, all you really have to decide is which area of your life would you like to declutter. From that one decision, arrows point to the charts you need. Some of the Clutter Flow Charts apply to all four categories, and others are more category-specific.

 Just Decide:

Which would you like to declutter next?

  • Your Home
  • Your Office
  • Your Time
  • Your Mind

The Simplest Choice (and also the most cost-effective):

Of course, if you really want to make things easy for yourself, just order Go With The Flow! The Clutter-Clearing Tool Kit for an Organized Life, my 67-page e-workbook which includes ALL 15 CHARTS (plus companion articles, worksheets and click-able resources). Yes, indeed, it includes a “Which Flow Charts Do I Need?” chart to help you decide where to start!

Copyright 2015 by Hazel Thornton, Organized For Life.
Social media links directly to this page are encouraged!
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  1. Janet Barclay on January 12, 2015 at 3:55 pm

    Hazel, I think your flow charts are very clever. I once created a large user manual in a company where each process was outlined in the form of a flow chart, so I know how easy it is for people to follow that format. It’s especially great that they’ve been recognized by ICD as a valuable resource!

    • Hazel Thornton on January 18, 2015 at 2:35 pm

      Thanks, Janet!

  2. Sarah Soboleski on April 18, 2015 at 6:23 pm

    Wow, Hazel! I didn’t realize you had that many flow charts! What a great idea you capitalized on. I love simple and easy charts and yours fit the bill. Thanks!

    • Hazel Thornton on April 20, 2015 at 3:55 pm

      Glad you like them, Sarah! All subscribers to my newsletter(s) get their first Original Clutter Flow Chart free!

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Hazel's Books

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What’s a Photo Without the Story? How to Create Your Family Legacy

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Go With the Flow! (The Clutter Flow Chart Workbook)

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