Clutter for a more relaxing home
By Anna Troppens, Staff Reporter
Betty Huotari of Fenton might seem like a magician after her clients
behold how they can turn cluttered spaces into neatly organized areas.
But Huotari, of Logical Placement, knows organization takes planning
"There is definitely not a wand you can wave around, and if
there was, I would like to buy one," she said.
For homes with children, a study by the University of Michigan says
organization is important. The study followed a number of families
and found that children who grew up in organized households ended
up earning 15 to 20 percent more than those who grew up in cluttered
There are different reasons homes become cluttered.
"I think a lot of people are very rushed," Huotari said. "We're
trying to accomplish a lot in a short period of time."
A lot of times, both adults in the household work.
"We also are trying to be involved a lot with our children," she
This means attending extracurricular activities, cheering youngsters
on as they play sports and helping them with their homework.
"There is a lot less time left for getting organized," she
Signs of problem clutter include counter tops buried under paper
and cannisters covering kitchen surfaces. Bills might not be paid
on time because they are buried or lost, and it might take a late
night scramble to finish a project because research papers have been
It can reach the point where people are overwhelmed when they walk
into their homes. Clutter affects emotions, and they feel anxious
instead of happy and calm at home.
"It's affecting the whole household," Huotari said.
Probably the No. 1 reason people haven't gotten organized is they
haven't set aside the time to do it, she said.
It's important to have a plan, so Huotari meets with the client
to decide what issues exist with the home, and how to solve them.
This includes details such as where to drop keys and mail when family
members enter the home. If there aren't places, or homes, for objects
like keys and mail, these items can be left in 10 different places.
"That's how things get lost," she said.
Paper clutter can become unsightly and cause problems with late
bill paying. It's a good idea to have a bill paying center, where
mail can be opened. Having a paper shredder there is useful for shredding
unwanted pre-approvals. In addition, there should be stamps, envelopes
and other supplies ready to use as well.
Huotari also suggests to her clients that they touch mail only once.
Arranging for automatic withdrawals to be made from a bank account
also can simplify bill paying. This can be convenient for those who
travel a lot, and it reduces the amount of paper coming into the
home. Consolidating credit cards also reduces the number of bills
in the mail.
With tax time coming up, Huotari suggests having an envelope labeled "taxes
2005." All papers pertaining to taxes can be dropped into this,
so everything is organized and at hand.
Cleaning clutter takes time. "Organizing in a weekend" is
a very big misconception, she said. Homes are too big, and there
are too many decisions to make. Instead, she suggests dedicating
a few hours per Saturday morning for a month, focusing on a particular
room each time until the entire house is organized.
Another factor that contributes to the length of time needed to
organize a home is the speed of the resident's decision making. People
make decisions differently, Huotari said. "It depends on your
For example, some can decide very quickly whether they want to keep
something, donate it or throw it away. Others hold onto the item,
remembering when they wore it, for example, and thinking about whether
they want to get rid of it or not.
A lot of families have issues with clothes and shoes. It helps to
find a place to donate unwanted items to. This makes it more likely
that someone will let them go since they won't be throwing them away,
With kitchen utensils, remove items that aren't used and make a
temporary place for them somewhere else. If the cook needs an item,
it can go back in the drawer.
Organization doesn't have to be expensive, she said. Dividers in
drawers can be very helpful. These can organize kitchen utensils,
while small baskets and bins are useful in linen closets. Huotari
suggests finding out what size bins are needed instead of going out
and buying them in all sizes, shapes and colors.
Creative Closets has products, such as shelving and drawers, needed
to organize clothes closets, pantries, linen closets and more. Free
consultations are available, so clients can see the design for the
work and find out what it will cost.
A designer from the firm visits the client to develop a custom design
for the area or areas in question. Installation also is available.
Many people believe they need to do all of the work of organizing
their home, Huotari said. But, in addition to Creative Closets, there
are a lot of businesses in the area that can help. Someone might
avoid organizing a closet, for example, because the space isn't fixed
and painted. A local business, such as Husband for a Day, can help
with roadblocks like this, she said.
In addition, homeowners might decide to hire a housecleaning service
instead of spending several hours per week cleaning. They could spend
that time with their children instead, for example.
After the home is organized, the work isn't done. To keep clutter
from creeping back, regular maintenance needs to be performed.
Betty Huotari of Logical Placement can be contacted by calling (810)
348-1772. More information is available on the Internet at www.logicalplacement.com.
Creative Closets can be contacted by calling (810) 714-5125.
©Tri-County Times 2006
Betty and Logical Placement LLCSM services
so call 810-348-1772 to
schedule your organizing session.