A clutter-free craft room at the Ray Elm Children & Elders Center provided a perfect setting for a series of three organization classes held recently for participants of the Oneida Nation Elders Program. Of course, the room did not start out as tidy as it appeared by the final class, but the presentations inspired its now neatly organized condition.

Reducing clutter in a home can help make it safer for Elders. The classes are one example of the many programs and activities the Elders Program provides for this cherished generation, helping to maintain an independent lifestyle.

The presentations, all about clutter –a problem for all generations – were well attended by Elders seeking advice on home organization. Karen Halbritter (Wolf Clan) was glad the classes were offered. “It was easier keeping things together when I was 20, I didn’t have much,” said Karen. “But now that I am older I have accumulated so many things that it’s harder to keep organized.” Karen found the classes very helpful.

Keeping your home clutter-free “does not have to take over your life,” said Carrie Luteran of Pretty Neat Solutions, who led the classes. “Pay attention to those areas of your home that you use all of the time,” she continued, explaining that making organization part of a daily routine can help resolve clutter. While well supplied with tips and pointers on how to de-clutter, Carrie understands that there is no ‘one-size-fits-all’ solution. “It’s not like there is going to just be one day where everything is taken care of. It’s a process.”

One of Carrie’s favorite approaches is a 5-5-30 process. If a person spends 5 minutes a day getting rid of 5 items, and does this for thirty days, they will have removed one hundred fifty items from their home. To help stay on target in a process like this Carrie suggests challenging a family member or friend to the task and tracking progress via social media. Clutterers are more likely to let go of un-needed items with a little encouragement and support.

Another key tip is to only touch things once, and take care of what you have in your hands right away. This ‘one touch rule’ will help a person get rid of clutter before it has a chance to build, such as throwing out junk mail when it arrives, putting clothes away or storing craft materials in an organized container.