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Start the New Year with New Eyes

Jan 17, 2018 • by Vali G. Heist
Vali G. Heist M.Ed.

Several years ago I was the emcee of an Internet radio program called ‘Organize This!’ The format of the program consisted of my ruminations (and rantings) about CRAP. CRAP is my acronym for Clutter that Robs Anyone of Pleasure. Don’t get me wrong: I love my stuff, but I enjoy it and honor it by using it or displaying it – otherwise, it’s gone.

During the program I offered organizing tips, explored the reasons why we have so much stuff, and tried to understand the differences in the space we call home. I received a lot of positive feedback by e-mail, but the biggest surprise was how far and wide my listeners were. They listened from all over the United States, but there were also international listeners from Australia, Brazil, Canada, Germany, India, and Kuwait. Their comments mirrored similar issues my clients deal with every day: being overwhelmed by stuff, living with a pack rat, or selling and downsizing a home.

When my son attended Culinary School in Manhattan, he lived in an apartment that was 200 square feet. Surprisingly he had sufficient room for all the necessities and a little more – including a full size bed. His room didn’t include a bathroom or shower, which were both down the hall, but he broke the room into two zones and repurposed a large dresser to hold kitchen items, personal items and clothing. He even had room for me to sleep on the floor when I visited! He knew how to embrace his space and work within its parameters.

I often work with clients who struggle to embrace a space. They aren’t happy in their homes for a variety of reasons:

“Our house is too small.””We are living in my in-law’s old house and we are finding it hard to make it our own.””I liked the house I lived in before better.””I’m not sure how long we’ll be in this house.””We were supposed to build a new house and that fell through.”

If you can’t embrace your home and all its positives and negatives, coming home isn’t a good feeling: you may feel like a visitor in your own home. I ask my clients to look at their home with new eyes and then we work hard to transform the spaces in their home to make it work for them. ‘Making do’ only works for so long…life is too short to be waiting for the next house.

Regardless of your circumstances, what country you live in, and how big your space is, embrace your space. Only fill it with the things that are useful, bring you joy, or remind you of people and places that you love. Everything else is just CRAP.

CRAP Challenge

Make a list of five things you love about your home.Make a list of five things you don’t love about your home and would like to see changed.Put together a list of short-range and long-range goals to make changes in your home and attach a timeline for completion.

For the New Year, work to keep your spaces CRAP-free and go to my website at to give yourself inspiration and assistance. 

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