# At Home With Madame Chic # Clutter

Clear that CLUTTER

Ah, the clearing of clutter. One of my favorite things to write about and incidentally read about. Why? Because when I write about it or read a good book on the subject, I get a new rush of inspiration and tackle projects that I had given up on long ago.

Many people share that they have experienced this after reading At Home With Madame Chic. I love reading testimonials from people who have donated bags upon bags of belongings and to find a new love for their space again.

In At Home With Madame Chic, I present two places in the home that tend to carry clutter: hot spots and stagnant spaces.

Hot spots are the high-traffic areas in your home that tend to be dumping grounds for the family's miscellany. For us, this is the dining room table and the entryway table. For you it might be different.

Stagnant spaces are the out-of-the-way areas in your home where you tend to "store" things temporarily but then temporary turns into forever, and soon as you know it, clutter is festering in these areas. Common stagnant spaces are on top of book shelves, under vanities and behind chairs.

If you commit to keeping these two types of places clear on a daily basis, you will really start to see a difference in the way your home looks as well as the way you live.

If you are looking for even more inspiration, I have a few books to recommend to you:

The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo. If Amelie were Japanese and wrote a book on clutter, this would be it! This is a fun, motivating and whimsical book that will definitely get you to clear your space. Ms. Kondo's book is a big bestseller in Japan and it's very well-deserved. I don't agree with every principle presented in the book (such as Ms. Kondo's advice not to store seasonal clothes) but that's OK! The point of the book is how it makes you feel. Are you motivated to clear your clutter after reading it? Yes! That makes it very worth the read.

Be An Angel- Clear that Clutter by Jacky Newcomb. This fun book is like sitting down with a girlfriend over a glass of wine and talking clutter and strategies!

Small Space Organizing by Kathryn Bechen. Kathryn has been a long-time supporter of The Daily Connoisseur and she, herself has written a fabulous book for people with small spaces.

Watch this week's video for my own candid discussion on clutter and to hear my expanded thoughts on the above-mentioned books. If you are unable to see the video above, click here, look in the sidebar of this blog, or visit my channel: www.youtube.com/TheDailyConnoisseur

Check out my article for MariaShriver.com called 3 Ways to Make Life Happier at Home.

TeriGigi has made a wonderful video review of both Madame Chic books. Check out her video called My Parisian Journey 5 that talks extensively about Madame Chic journey and a Parisian anecdote of her own. And while you're there, be sure to subscribe to her great YouTube channel. Thank you Teri!

At Home With Madame Chic is also mentioned on:
A Domestic Goddess in the Making and Chez Bliss

Madame Chic Inspiring Thought
A changed mind is a very powerful thing indeed. If you struggle with clutter or an unorganized space, commit to changing your mind about how you approach your home. Read some inspiring books, watch inspiring shows and break out the garbage bags. Now is the time to free yourself from the tyranny of clutter in your home.

Comment of the Week
Regarding my video, My Number One Eating Tip, on YouTube, Marie writes:

Yes! Couldn't agree more. How I conduct myself when I am alone really affects my public life. I was struggling with a slouching problem and realised it was most likely because I allowed myself to slouch when alone at home. How you behave at home reflects your self-respect. That is why I keep a cleaning schedule and read books like yours to be able to improve and become a better version of myself! Thank you again for these weekly videos, I always look forward to them. - Marie

Very well said Marie. How you act when you are alone is an indicator of your true self.

This week I would love to know... how is your clutter-clearing coming along? Have you had any breakthroughs? Do you have any success stories to share? What about questions? Please leave your comments and yours might be picked as the comment or question of the week.

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Anonymous said...

I'm fortunate to have the mind-set of Madam Chic come naturally to me on this one. I have never had a problem with clutter, as I am a minimalist. Granted, I don't have children, and my husband also is a person who likes things neat, so I didn't have any resistance to contend with. I only buy what I love. Everything has a place, and once it is used, it is returned to its rightful place. Mail is dealt with immediately, then discarded (no "bill paying day"). Magazines are read, articles clipped and filed, then they are recycled. Books that I don't intend to re-read someday are given to charity. In fact, when I do my spring cleaning, I ask myself if the items I am cleaning are still pertinent to my life. If they bring me pleasure or are useful in some way, they stay. If I have evolved beyond them or just never seem to use them, they go. I am not very sentimental, so gifts people have given me or things that have been handed down have to fit this criteria as well. It really brings me a sense of calm to not have clutter about, and I find that when I visit people who do have a clutter problem, I feel a little "on edge". Yeah... I may have a little OCD going on here, but not enough to where I am obsessively washing my hands or spraying everything to kill germs. Just enough to make my life navigable.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for the shout out...very appreciated.

I will check out these books you have mentioned. I love the description you gave of the first one...if Amelie was Japanese...cute.


Kinga EMigrantka said...

Hi, I´m from Poland and Im reading your book "lessons from madame chic" at the moment. Its very iteressting, funny and I love your writing-style :) best regardes :)

Lynn said...

I love this topic! I'm a huge fan of Marie Kondo's book - it's so sweet and whimsical and inspires you to look at your possessions differently, to truly respect them, just as you teach us in your two books, Jennifer. I can also highly recommend Clear your Clutter with Feng Shui by Karen Kingston. She really goes into the energetics of clutter and why it's so important to get it under control.

Thanks for the other recommendations - I will definitely check them out!

All the best,

kbfenner said...

I used to store away my other season clothes, but after "tidying," I followed her advice and only stowed my shorts, sandals and bathing suit. My lighter colored clothes now fit in my closet (I am not down to ten pieces...yet) and now, if we have warm days or I just feel I need a pick-me-up, I can grab a "spring" sweater or top!

PurlyGirl78 said...

I did a walk through my house this weekend and found an embarrassing number of stagnant zones - many of them filled with my own things! (My husband is a pack rat so it was easy to assume it was his stuff). What you said is true, you stop seeing stuff after awhile. I am dedicating myself to eliminating the clutter (at least my own). Thank you for the inspiration and resources!

Anonymous said...

We can't really store seasonal clothes living here in New Zealand - being surrounded by so much water means our weather is extremely variable. In fact, people can go for a walk on a warm afternoon, get lost & die of exposure. Possibly Japan has a similar weather problem, although they're closer to a continental landmass.
Lucky you to have such stable weather!

Kathryn Bechen said...

Imagine my delight to see my Small Space Organizing book listed here today, Jennifer! Thank you for sharing it with others. Also, I told someone just this afternoon about your Madame Chic books and blog! :)

Ashley Diaz said...

Thank you for your video! Clutter is something I struggle with, a trait I inherited from my mother. What we tend to do is accumulate "piles." Piles of clothes to be consigned, clothes to be stored, clothes to be ironed, clothes to be donated. Piles of coupons, receipts, magazines, books to read., recipes to try. Piles of my daughter's artwork, waiting for a cool Ikea clothes-line hanger to be displayed. Piles of Congratulation cards of well-wishes for my 7 month old. I have the best of intentions with each of my piles, but it seems once the morning chores are done (both my mother and I have a gift of staying on top of housework and rarely let that "pile" up), it seems like there is no time left to attack and conquer a pile before my afternoon job of piano lessons begins. I tend to start going through a pile, just to re-distribute it into other piles, then realize I need to get ready for lessons. So there the pile sits until the next time I get a few extra minutes to go through it. I would love specific recommendations for what to do with all of this stuff (minus the clothing- eventually all of the above mentioned clothing makes its way to its rightful place)!!!

Aussie Connoisseur said...


I think the concept of ' a place for everything' is key for those of us trying to keep our homes tidy and serene.

Since cutting down the items in my closet I have a tidy closet - for two years now, with no relapses into chaos.

Since placing a lovely storage box on my side board, I now have no piles of papers waiting to be dealt with, and no bits of paper from the children's schools cluttering my fridge. I used to worry I would forget what was in the box - solution - write the date of the bill due/party/school event straight into your diary or family calender. I've been using this method for the last 7 weeks and incredibly, we now have no paper clutter :)

The lack of paper clutter seems to have an on-flow effect - I'm now less likely to drop my purse and keys on the sideboard, and throw away old receipts,shopping lists etc... as soon as I come home.

Jennifer, thanks for mentioning Marie's book, I have a copy on the way and am greatly looking forward to it.


PS: My favourite tip for the bedroom is make your bed, no matter what. It seems that chaos breeds more chaos, and tidiness breeds more tidiness.

Simply Me said...

Hi Jennifer, I downsized to a small apartment a couple of years ago and am aiming for a calm clutter free home. I'm not quite there yet, so am enjoying reading your posts on this subject.
With Christmas coming I would love to hear how you decorate your home for the festive season and how you deal with Christmas clutter. I am sure the rest of your readers would love to hear about it too.
This year, for the first time, I plan to go treeless as I don't want to have to store lots of tree decorations all year round. However, I have friends and family coming round and I still want my home to look festive. So I am thinking, what would a Clutter Free Connoisseur Christmas look like? I would love it if you did a post on this subject and would love to see what ideas other readers come up with.

Unknown said...

I just finished Marie Kondo's book & loved it! I am about to move to an apartment with only one closet, so I have some more decluttering to do!

My question for you is this: I am a stay at home mom of a 7 month old baby girl, & would love your tips for how to get out of the house calmly! I am a pretty organized person, but by the time I pack up the diaper bag, get my things, the baby & I dressed and ready, and the stroller all set & out the door, I'm ready to come back home & rest! Any tips for being pulled together when out and about with a baby? Thanks!!

Heather said...

I really appreciate your advice about simplifying and decluttering. You mentioned several great books. I do have one to add to the list. It is a great book for those with children. Joshua Becker's "Clutterfree with Kids." I checked out a copy from the library and have been very impressed with his suggestions.

Ladylike said...

Jennifer, thanks to your inspiration as well as what I found in "Go Organize!" by Marilyn Bohn, I spent most of the past summer clearing the clutter from my home. Bags upon bags of donations and consignments were involved, and I nearly made it through the entire house. Apart from the most obvious result (feeling better about and in my home), the other greatest change has been the effect on my shopping. Now that I understand what will most likely happen to the things I might buy, (will be given away or sold for pennies on the dollar) I am much less tempted to shop. Given my financial situation, this is a very good development for me... Now Christmas shopping has become a new challenge. I am looking for gifts that are either consumable or very practical, such as edible treats, items for body care, wearable items, or usable (not decorative) items for the home such as printed bed sheets. i don't want to purchase anything that will again turn to clutter in my homes. Jennifer and friends, I would be interested to hear what you are giving your loved ones for the holidays this year. Thanks!

Busy Pottering said...

Agree agree agree, thanks again for all the inspiration. But now down to business, you must tell us what brand and colour of nail polish you're wearing is this video! It is truly superb. Thanks in advance, Meg in Australia x