Expert offers advice on cutting down clutter

It’s silent. It’s sneaky. Suddenly, clutter is there. Clutter is all around us in our modern lives and is a growing problem. According to the National Self-Storage Association, one out of every 11 people in the United States rent storage space during a given year, including off-site units and storage pods stored in a homeowner’s yard, meaning not only can clutter invade your home, but can even outgrow it.

Whether you’re looking to regain momentum on a New Year’s resolution, optimize and organize your living space, or bravely part ways with items linking you to the past, “Clutter Free Living.” hosted by Julie Cascio, Home Economist from UAF Mat-Su Cooperative Extension Service, will teach you de-clutter techniques, downsize strategies, clutter-buster ideas and more. Hosted by Wasilla Area Seniors, Inc., the free workshop will be held on Feb. 11 from 3 to 4 p.m. at Wasilla Senior Center.

“The items that are ‘clutter’ for one person might be different for another,” said Cascio via email. “This often relates to that idea that what’s important now may be different from what was important in the past.”

Blessings become liabilities

Our busy worlds often afford us opportunities to accumulate more items, gadgets and objects, but carving out time to enjoy them before they dully become clutter doesn’t always fit into our daily agenda.

“For example, I keep assorted past calendars because of the beautiful pictures in them,” said Cascio. “My plan has been to recycle them by making them into envelopes, yet they have been placed in boxes after I began the project but never finished -- that’s just one example.”

As a hindrance that involves more than just tossing unwanted items in the garbage bin, clutter taps into our emotions, pulling at our heartstrings with its sentimentality or overwhelming us with anxiety or irritation during our day-to-day lives.

“Clutter can invoke frustration when working with space to place things, time involved in the process of going through items or the cost involved with storing and organizing clutter,” said Cascio. “It can cause sadness at the loss of items with many fond memories or of a loved one. Another example--I have a friend who has a plethora of beautiful teapots collected over the years that provide her with wonderful memories of where they came from and who enjoyed tea with her while using them. But now, she feels like she has too many, and the challenge is how to tackle parting with many of them.”

Other resources

For more information about “Clutter Free Living,” reach out to Julie Cascio by phone at 907-745-3360 or via email at

Can’t make it to the workshop? Visit for “Ask Unclutter” topics ranging from inherited clutter to books, paper and digital clutter or try for clutter-specific articles in addition to other mindfulness and organization techniques.

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