Organize Like a Goddess: 7 Decluttering Tips to Turn Your Space into a Sanctuary

7 Steps to Creating a Personal Paradise

by Christiane Northrup, M.D.

Alchemy Prosperity

Why are so many of us buried in clutter? And why is it so darn hard to get out from under it? Having dealt with this dilemma for decades, I am finally living in a personal paradise—and in exactly the same house I’ve been in for over 30 years. For many years, this space provided a roof over my head, but was far more cluttered and messy than I wanted it to be.

So how did I create my personal paradise? I learned how to organize like a Goddess. Here are seven decluttering tips to help you do the same thing.

Step 1: If You Don’t Love it, Re-Gift it to Someone Else

This includes everything from clothing to furniture, especially inherited furniture. Terah Kathryn Collins, author of The Western Guide to Feng Shui teaches that our “stuff” is always talking to us energetically. Imagine the bed that you inherited from an aunt talking to you every night. Do you love what it’s saying? If not, time for it to go. Anything we’re keeping out of guilt or obligation is a health risk—I’m serious. Let it go. And if you need help, get a friend to come over and assist you.

Step 2: Give Up Perfectionism

Marla Cilley, the FlyLady, is a world-renowned expert on decluttering. She says that the biggest impediment to having a clean, organized house is perfectionism!

That’s right. We think the house has to be perfect and every drawer needs to be organized at all times. This is not realistic. It leads to exhausting ourselves trying to get rid of 15 years of clutter in a weekend. We end up simply exhausted and depressed.

Instead, set a timer and declutter for 15 minutes per day. Then rest. Do not do more than that. You’ll be amazed at how much you can get done in 15 minutes. Stop yourself from doing more.

Step 3: Start with Your Sink

About five years ago, I watched Marla’s video on how to shine your sink. And I followed her directions precisely. And shining that sink each and every night became a habit. Now I can’t go to sleep without a shiny sink. And when I get up in the morning, that sink is such a restful sight. A new day—a nice clean space to work. And miraculously, when one area of the house is organized, that organized feeling tends to become contagious. Over time that organization spreads.

Step 4: Get Help

Some decluttering projects are just too big and too daunting to tackle by yourself. I hired a personal organizer after I did a major bathroom renovation. I didn’t want to just pile all the old stuff into a new space. That organizer was one of the best investments I ever made. We worked in two hour blocks. More than that is far too taxing. It’s very difficult to let things go. But with the right help, it gets easier and easier. The basement was what I called “The belly of the beast.” Cleaning it out became exciting. With every load that went out the door I felt freer and lighter.

Step 5: Decluttering is a Way of Life, Not a One Time Thing

Let your spirit move you. There are times when I’m really into decluttering and cleaning out. And when one of those times hits, I go with it. Right now I’m looking at about 12 file drawers full of medical articles collected over my career. And guess what? Most of them are going right into the paper recycling bin. With most stuff now available on the Internet, I really don’t want to keep yards of paper that my kids will one day have to get rid of!

Step 6: Make Decluttering an Offering to the Goddess Herself 

Or to whatever Divine being you prefer. In her wonderful book Outrageous Openness: Letting the Divine Take the Lead, author Tosha Silver has a chapter called, When in Doubt, Clean. Make the act of cleaning an “offering to the Divine.” Let the very act of organizing and cleaning be a reverent ritual akin to reclaiming your own inner order and Divinity. There is nothing more fulfilling and uplifting than making a mundane household chore into a sacrament!

Step 7: Trust your Innate Priorities

When you have little kids, go easy on yourself. When my kids were little, and I was working way more than 40 hours a week, I just didn’t have the will to organize my house. It was much more rewarding to take a walk with my kids or go to the beach. And so—I never really got organized until the kids were out of the house. Trust me on this—life is long. And there will always be time to organize your house. Don’t make a career out of it.

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7 Steps for Decluttering Your Personal Paradise

Last Updated: April 21, 2015

Christiane Northrup, M.D.

Christiane Northrup, M.D., is a visionary pioneer and a leading authority in the field of women’s health and wellness. Recognizing the unity of body, mind, and spirit, she empowers women to trust their inner wisdom, their connection with Source, and their ability to truly flourish.


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  1. Alice Carroll
    3 years ago

    Thanks for the tip that re-gifting can be a good way to declutter my stuff. I plan to rent a self storage unit soon and I’d like to make sure that I can maximize the space I will be working with. Maybe doing the some decluttering first will help me know which items to put in storage.

  2. Michelle
    8 years ago

    best advice: Step 7: Trust your Innate Priorities

    When you have little kids, go easy on yourself. When my kids were little, and I was working way more than 40 hours a week, I just didn’t have the will to organize my house. It was much more rewarding to take a walk with my kids or go to the beach. And so—I never really got organized until the kids were out of the house. Trust me on this—life is long. And there will always be time to organize your house. Don’t make a career out of it.

    – See more at:

  3. Barbara Day
    8 years ago

    Thank you for your inspiration and encouragement on this subject which I definitely need to follow!!!

  4. Myriam
    8 years ago

    Many thanks, Dr. Northrup, for these simple and encouraging tips

  5. Patricia
    8 years ago

    You mentioned Fly Lady – she talks about CHAOS – can’t have anyone over syndrome – love that!

  6. mama mia!!
    9 years ago

    There are a few ways to “get rid of” stuff. I kind of take the green and frugal angle.

    Think green: Do you already have something that will do the same job.
    Frugal: Is that thingie that you buy what you really want? Ie. Instead of buying those blingy shoes, what I really want is a massage, or an afternoon doing nothing. Time is money.

    Yes, yes, there are so many neat things in the stores, but do you need it in your home too?

    Working full time, I suffer from time famine. What I focus on when bringing something into my home is: will it simplify my life, will it help me save time, does it have any therapeutic value to me.

    Asking the question before bringing something into the home: Do I prefer the space over more stuff?

    Winter is a good time to purge, not missing out on good weather. If overwhelming task, break it down to smaller components or just have a “raise hell and riot day” in your house. Sometimes you just have to be the boss and be ruthless.

    Later take stock, have a cup of tea on the couch in the quiet (no TV), go Aaaaaaaahhh…. breathe…. just be. Listen to the silence.

    What did you learn, how will you implement your new wisdom?

    1. Carol Browning
      7 years ago

      I used some of these tips with a new caregiver who came for 1.5 hours today; thank you. I let go of much that I simply don’t uses, and she takes them the emergency food bank and other local outlets. It was good!

    2. Audrey Chism
      7 years ago

      Love that thought!

  7. Roxy
    9 years ago

    My experience with stuff has been like this: I divorced about 13 years ago, having to sell a large home with about 30 years of accumulation of collections of things. I had so much stuff that I had to go through and get rid of. I treasured most of it, but when trying to sell it, for instance, at garage sales, I found that most of it nobody wanted or would pay much for it. So the majority was donated. I learned that I had accumulated collections of stuff that really had no purpose, except that I liked it. From what was remaining, I put about 2/3 of it in storage for about 5 years, as I traveled and lived with friends/family, etc. during those years, waiting to find myself before I invested in another home. So the majority of stuff I owned after divorce I completely forgot about and I found I did not need it. I was so happy to be free and unencumbered from all the demands of having so much stuff.

    When I finally purchased my dream home, I had to again go thru all the stuff in storage. I hadn’t seen it, hadn’t needed it and found that I again got rid of about 2/3 of the remaining stuff in storage before I moved into my new home. A big reason also was b/c all it reminded me too much of my old life and I wanted to start fresh. So when I moved in to my new house, it was practically empty and it was a great feeling! I was happy and I knew that “stuff would come.”

    And it did! My house now is full of stuff again after 5 years and full of collections of things I love and like. I am missing that free, zen feeling I had when my house was practically empty, so I am seriously considering getting rid of a lot of it. Knowing of course that “stuff will come” and I will have to do it again in another few years. I am convinced since we live in such a materialistic society, there is a “stuff syndrome”……there will always be stuff to clutter our lives.

  8. Rita
    9 years ago

    Wow! Serendipity! This article fell on my lap just when I needed it. I tried to declutter this morning but was overwhelmed because I tried to tackle the whole house. I finally took a break after three hrs of trying to sort things out…Absolutely emotionally exhausted . I am now convinced that holding on to useless stuff is not healthy. I now realize it’s all about letting go ! I will do a bit every day . There is one women’s shelter that will gladly accept my clothes, sheets and towels which I inherited from both my mom and my aunt. Thank YOU!

  9. Jeanne
    9 years ago

    Dr. Christiane, once again, so true about clutter! I love your perspective and I so agree that while decluttering is a good thing, and good to do with each passing season, That said, when your kids are at young ages, having certain things around in their environment that make them happy/rock their world, is just a good thing for awhile. We can always de-clutter later/going forward, after they have worked/lived through/loved this stage of their lives. Especially those of us who live in places with four seasons, when we have times where indoor play areas are just hugely mission-critical, as weather doesn’t allow outdoor play time. We are regularly on a de-cluttering trajectory in our household (kids ages 7 and 13) ; that said it has been hugely helpful for me to keep uppermost in mind, that this age of clutter is always changing, and that this, too, shall pass, and just to appreciate the creativity that comes with this time/stage of life. Love your perspective and support! Jeanne

  10. Petra
    9 years ago

    The sink isn’t the issue for me. It is all the bottles and stuff around it which I use often or daily.
    Paper clutter is the worst, as I am an author and keep stuff that may go into the next book. Paper from old occupations like coaching, mental health, etc. I blame poor memory for hanging onto files I will never read.
    I have two important motivations to help me begin the process. Several spiritual messages plus my own desire is calling someone to come into my life as a lover and a partner. The other is that in the last moving process, I lost a letter containing info for retrieving a small trust fund to which I am the only heir.
    Starting with 15 minute segments is doable. Thank you. Petra

    1. robbie
      8 years ago

      i think you need to find a method regarding your paper situation. There are many ways to organize this information, and not only keep it, but make it more accessible, and organized in a manner that you know what you have. This will assist you in knowing what you have, but when to use it in your writings. Some would say you need to be unorganized in order to be creative. I believe the opposite is true. But doing so is definitely a strategy, and needs to be studied and then employed.

      1. Asya
        8 years ago

        but the paper in the house collect a lot paper bugs

  11. Deb
    9 years ago

    Fly Lady was my first inspiration years ago in the middle of raising my kids-“You can do ANYTHING for 15 minutes, set a timer then STOP.” My next declutter mentor, and favorite, is Karen Kingston “Clear Your Clutter with Feng Shui.” The book is great book about decluttering. (try to get newer UK version) The reasons why you accumulate “stuff,” why its so bad for you, and identifying clutter. Then about the decluttering process, she has some great ideas. I can also recommend Marie Kondo’s book, she advocates total purge in big chunks, in order: clothes, books, papers, misc household then sentimental things last when your decision making skills have been primed. Everything you own must be handled and you ask “Does this bring me joy?” When you are done you feel like a floating spirit, free, and surrounded by things that energize you. Everyone is different at letting go, but do it! One layer at a time. It’s AMAZING how different it makes your whole life.
    Blessings to all.

  12. Faith
    9 years ago

    With the help of my realtor, who knows fashion (designers, cuts, fabrics, etc.), we were able to excavate my closets of professional and casual clothes, plus items that have been moved, twice. Everything wound up in my house, but much was untouched, shortly after losing my brother + mother, and moving my father to assisted living 7 years ago. Now that I’ve moved out, and am getting ready to sell my house, the stuff in it is what’s holding me back.
    After sorting for 2 evenings, I finally slept well for the first time in nearly a month. Today, I donated a carload to charity.Asked the volunteer if they accepted pajamas + robes (yes). Good thing, because we counted 54 pj sets and 6 robes!! Yes, I laughed over my little problem, going back for years. Honestly, I feel good knowing that my little hoard will benefit others. And I know that I’ll sleep better tonight, and wake up lighter and ready to let go of more tomorrow. Like a carload of sweaters, dresses, pants and shoes…

  13. Jennifer
    9 years ago

    Love Fly Lady…. Now I have discovered YOU as well!

  14. Anita
    9 years ago

    I love all the advice on this and do follow your rules myself. My sister can not part with anything and lives in a house that looks like a tornado came through. She has what she calls an office and is so full of papers and stuff you can hardly walk in it. Now she has gone to the dinning room table. This connects to the living room which is much the same. Every closet in the house is filled with her clothes. She does live alone. The whole house is like that. I can’t stand to go there. She is always complaining about some aches and pains and says she can’t do anything she is so tired. I think much of her problem is that she is depressed. She want admit that. Doesn’t go anywhere, says she is happy staying inside days on end.
    It is really getting to me because she complains all the time. What can we do to help her?

    1. Sue
      9 years ago

      Dear Anita,

      I think if must hurt you to see your sister living this way, you want more for her…right? You love her, which is why you care, even if you “don’t get along” perfectly.

      My advice (I am not a professional but hopefully you will take something out of this):
      1) Make the relationship TOP PRIORITY, don’t let her messy life ruin what you have or CAN have. When you are close friends, she may be able to ask you for your help (or not, as I believe most hoarders don’t think they have a problem). Do things outside her house if you don’t want to be there. Any complaining or nagging on your part will just make matters worse. Save your relationship, that is the most important thing. Love her, accept/ignore faults and differences.

      2) If you need to, seek professional help for yourself in dealing with your own feelings but do not try to force your sister into anything…it won’t work in the long run (and can ruin your relationship).

      3) Visit her in her house once a month, without saying anything negative about her or the mess (if you live within a couple hours of each other) to make sure it is not hazardous to her health. If the condition becomes dangerous, then and only then should you seek help for her without her approval.

      This is her life, she must decide she wants to change in order for any real change to happen. Let her know you care and love her. Have fun with her. Laugh. Love. Live.

      All my best to you.

      1. Fran
        8 years ago

        To ANITA: I can relate to your sister living in chaos as I also have allowed the clutter to fill my home… the “stuff ” seems to fill a void in my life so I do understand the need to fill up the space with things… I am now trying to change my focus by putting people before things! I have no more excuses but I know a wise man once said…” when you love yourself enough you will change it!” whatever it is!!!
        I am going to ask for help! hopefully help comes to your sister too.
        be an angel of light to her dilemma….
        she is not alone….

        PS. cluttered house=cluttered mind!

  15. Benita
    9 years ago

    I usually don’t comment! Thank you for every word you write and share. I am learning so much from you! Please keep doing the good work.

  16. Janet
    9 years ago

    woo hoo………………joyous freedom………….that’s what it is……………..I am in the middle of tossing and every time I take a load out of my house, I feel a giant freedom…………….let it go…………..yeah!! this comes from someone who could never walk by something pretty for the right price……………a basement full!!
    Love you Dr. Christiane………………you make me feel young!!

  17. S. T.
    9 years ago

    Thank you “shine my sink is shine my spirit”. Again thank you.

    1. Margot Helquist
      9 years ago

      I shine my sink in the morning. It is an old habit.

  18. Linda
    9 years ago

    I too live in a older home, I shine the stainless kitchen sink as well as the bathroom sinks, with hydrogen peroxide, comes in a handy spray bottle, I use a scrubby sponge, easy peasy, takes care of germs & everything else w/o a lot of water.
    Dr. Christaine, I have so enjoyed, your books, videos, emails etc. but most of all sharing you w/ my sisters who were not dialed into all that you do & are. Thank you

    Blessings on your path,

  19. Richard
    9 years ago

    About two months ago, I began “shining” my bathroom sink after finishing my nightly tooth brushing. I didn’t think much about it then, for the urge to do so emerged gradually. After a week or so, I began to feel proud and pleased at the appearance of my “shiny” sink. …such a simple thing.

    For the eight years I have lived in this house, I have given no more than cursory attention to the condition of my bathroom sink, generally leaving it with water spots, some calcium buildup, and hating to say it – some stains and actual dirt. Hey, it was acceptable for all of my life, and why would it be different now? By the way, I have not felt the urge to do the same with my kitchen sink; it’s not dirty, but definitely not polished!

    What a nice coincidence that today I would have chanced upon Dr. Northrup’s presentation on PBS; to hear her utter the words, “…shine your sink”. I felt so energized as to put the TV on hold, and rush to my PC and “Google” her name. There I found quite pleasant satisfaction in seeing her “prescription”, the one including “shine your sink” in print. For me. one who is accumulating more experience and generating more wisdom, it was a wonderful feeling to see in print – that would be trustworthy, you know.

    Richard Ranney

  20. Gwen callan
    9 years ago

    I want to ask the community of ageless Goddesses out there how to handle being addressed by younger service industry women by “honey, dearie, or sweetie.”
    I remember my mother attracting the same comments and always found it demeaning and
    belittling, as my mother was the farthest thing from sweetie. I feel about 100 years old when I am addressed in this manner. Help!

    1. JA
      9 years ago

      I know we are all so ego centric as that every breath of our day must be as we wish it. Waitresses and other servers call you Honey, Sweetie, and the like because “Hey You in the blue tunic!” sounds rude. It is not a personality judgement by the wait staff believe me, they get who you are by how you order your food and them around. It is merely an impersonal (YES) way to address you, without sounding rude.

      As much as we expect the other person to KNOW our every need in life, especially for the forty or so minutes we are aquainted with each other as you stop in between shopping and taking the kids to the dentist, or gramma back to the home, people are not able to meet that, they do the best they can on rushed excursions between the kitchen, the beverage serving area, and the front till. I think we all need to be a little less demeaned, and a little more understanding in this country. The person who is working that job has a great deal more stress than worrying about if they are demeaned by a well meant friendly term. Honestly wake up America and get real. We have been through a very difficult frightening time, economically and just about every other way. Aren’t there bigger worries out there than the ten seconds of “Honey” time you have had to endure?!

      1. gwen
        9 years ago

        JA, I hear you, but that wasn’t the point. Of course we all need to be less judgmental in this difficult world.
        I was merely asking if anyone else found being called these terms bothersome. I am not insensitive to the troubles and difficulties of people’s work situations. I suppose that is why Madam, Ma’am and Sir were invented – a point of simple manners. I was talking about a “feeling”, not asking for judgment. I don’t think I am egotistical; I know it isn’t all about “me”! Just finding getting older a little hard that’s all, and guess what, I think that is what this website is about, right?

        1. Margot Helquist
          9 years ago


          when I was 19 visiting my cousins in Indiana, we went shopping in Indianapolis and, sure enough, I was called honey. I found out that is the way some people talk going further south. So it must depend on where we are in the States, plus it also depends on where the wait staff is coming from. Someone called me me lady not too long ago. He was from another country, so I explained to him that this address is reserved for royalty and not used when waiting on tables. We had a good laugh about it. It is important to be courteous to people who are waiting on us as well. Saying thank you when the coffee is refilled or a special request filled, a thank you goes a long way. The next time you come in, you will be remembered and treated with Ma’am and great service.

          It’s true that some of us are/become more sensitive depending on what we are used to, and we do have to make allowances.

          Let’s think positive, it heals.

        2. Denise
          8 years ago

          I think it’s all about showing affection, good will and caring when someone calls me ‘ sweetie’ and I am happy to bask in it. We all get way too much negativity in our lives! What’s the alternative? If people call me Ma’am it feels so antiquated and I feel old when really, I am still a joyous child at heart!

    2. Cathie
      9 years ago

      I seldom am addressed by the names you mentioned. Maybe they think you are sweet or very cute. To be honest, being addressed as mam makes me feel over 100. Guess it’s how we were brought up and what part of the globe we know best.

    3. Renae
      9 years ago

      I would much rather be referred to as honey, dearie or sweetie – over ma’am LOL There are FAR worse things that one could be called – so for me it’s no big deal. Folks that address others in this manner I have found seem to be generally happy and friendly – works for me!

  21. Laura
    9 years ago

    I started this decluttering thingy in 2004, I now live in a 602 square feet cabin that I call home. I live debt free and travel a lot usually to friends homes to help them declutter & get on the path to LIFE WITHOUT STRESS!! I find that the less I have the less I want & I have such an easy time packing for my traveling adventures. Life is too short to get tripped up on YOUR STUFF. LET IT GO AND HELP SOMEONE ELSE IF YOU CAN.

  22. Kate
    9 years ago

    THE LIFE CHANGING MAGIC OF TIDYING UP by Marie Kondo in book or audiobook. Awesome!

  23. Michele Ganley
    9 years ago

    I loved reading everyone’s posts on decluttering.
    i struggle with “stuff” 24/7 but I am hoping to break free and become “minimalistic” real soon.
    Thank you Dr Northrup 🙂

  24. Lori
    9 years ago

    Timely…. A clear message from the divine….after throwing my first pile yesterday into the recycling bin–without a second thought…. Then I came across this!! I am ready!

  25. Jill
    9 years ago

    as others have pointed out, you dont need to shine your sink with anything special. You can clean it off with your sponge after washing all the dishes and then dry with a dishtowel. You get the same effect. A shiny clean sink that breeds organization. Dont focus on the chemicals.

  26. Karen Dyser
    9 years ago

    THE VAN GOGH BOOK CLUB enjoyed your book. We met yesterday and took 2 pictures of us with your book, with the intention of posting them on your FB page; however, I then saw that your site said to put them on Instagram. Unfortunately, none of us have used Instagram and we were unable to post it. I hope you can get them from my FB page. We think the pictures are pretty special, of course, because we are Goddesses!

  27. Sharon
    9 years ago

    I am always opposed to clutter, but like Dr. Northrup mentions, it sometimes kicks in even stronger. It’s at these times I put more emphasis on scaling down and notice how it inspires my husband to act similarly . After reading through the comments I’ll add a simple and effective motivator that allows me to make the hard emotional decisions that can really stall a project. I ask myself how quickly could I move, if necessary. Since both of my adult children live away I use the very real possibility that I might move near one of them. That way I can envision how a particular item would or better still, not work in my new environment. As far as those adult children, I’ve packed their childhood keepsake items into a small stack of bins in the attic, clearly marked with their names. At some point they can make their own decisions on what to keep.

  28. Stephania
    9 years ago

    THANK you!
    Such an uplifting practise, cleaning your sink. Have been doing it since hearing you speak so highly of it in an interview you did for Hay House at the beginning of the year. Which year in particular, escapes me at this moment!
    After your radio show today (Wednesday 29th April), I literally wrestled The Chair out of my bedroom and it is on its way out out out of my home. –yes, got heaps of help from The Divine–
    Feeling congratulated and celebrated; as well as supported especially by your comments on the sheet music. Well done for that–doing it in the first place and then sharing it!
    PS Brava! on (yet another!) NY#1 bestseller, speaking to the hearts and souls of so many of us. Sooo glad to “know” you……..

    1. Christiane
      9 years ago

      Oh how I LOVE hearing about THE CHAIR!! I so GET IT!! Yesterday I took another car load to Good Will– including a Santana LP from long ago. At first I thought, ” This vinyl is worth something. I should really try to sell it.” And then I came to my senses. I’ll just take it to Goodwill– and someone else will “find” this treasure and be thrilled. Someone who has been looking for this kind of thing. Years ago I took a huge stack of LP’s to the local college radio station. They were thrilled. And it was a good tax right off. But even that kind of thing can be time consuming. Goodwill is very close. There is good parking, and the staff come right out to your car and then hand you a receipt. Decluttering is getting easier and easier! ( Now if I could just convince my daughters to get their stuff from the basement. ( not an emergency)

  29. Christiane Northrup
    9 years ago

    Hi ho everyone!!! In her original video, Marla Cilley used Clorox to shine her sink. I posted her video as an homage to her and the amazing work she has done to help us all heal our perfectionism!!! You can shine your sink with biodynamic organic lemon juice if you choose. Just shine it!!!The point of this sink thing is to create a focus of order and beauty. Not to get into an argument about cleaning products . Thank you!!!

  30. Kathryn
    9 years ago

    We just did a BIG overhaul at our place! This article was great timing!

  31. Janine
    9 years ago

    I love the positive feedback from everyone.When, I started getting my life together. I started with de-cluttering. Then everything started falling into place. My money, my health.” I lost weight” , my spiritual growth. Letting go of material things. it’s like joyous freedom. Peace. Then you can really live! People 1st not things.

  32. Cindy
    9 years ago

    It’s incredibly painful to watch all of that good, clean water going to waste to clean an already-clean sink! Is it really necessary?

  33. Lou
    9 years ago

    Please, all that bleach is highly toxic!!! And we in NorCal are in a drought, all the water down the drain–no, no, no. Love the beautiful shine, but I’ll find it another way. Lots of great inspiration, otherwise.

  34. Catherine
    9 years ago

    So many steps and products to clean a sink! Seems compulsive.
    Baking soda and water paste, quick brush, rinse and wipe works, too…saves time and the planet.

  35. Donna
    9 years ago

    Please don’t promote dumping strong harmful chemicals like Clorox into our water systems daily, when a quick scrub with baking soda can do the job. The decluttering ideas are wonderful…cleaning the sink daily with Clorox is overkill. Thanks for reconsidering!

    1. Christiane
      9 years ago

      I have removed the shiny sink video!! I certainly don’t promote dumping chemicals into our water system. And I for one would remove ALL the toxic chemicals that municipal water systems put in daily. Staring with flouride!! Thanks!

    2. Christine Gasser
      9 years ago

      If I have let things go for a while I might use Chlorox once but boiling water with baking soda and vinegar is amazing!
      I also got rid of all my cleansers and use essential oils. The easiest way to accomplish this for me was watching a short ten episode series on Hulu called Lush House, it’s an Aussie show that offers great advice for decluttering and cleaning safely to the environment.
      One thing I noticed is by the end of each episode the family chosen changes from frantic on the edge to happy and healthy.

  36. Peggy Morgan
    9 years ago

    What do I do with scrapbooks my mother made over 25 years ago?
    What do I do with poster size framed needle work done in the late 1800’s?
    My husband and I are selling everything the family doesn’t want and going RVing full time! Storage is very expensive and my children don’t have houses yet!

    1. Carol
      9 years ago

      Take pictures of each items from all different angles in excellent lighting and create a photo album. donate to a museum for the 1800 or ask who you could approach to donate item and giveaway the rest on some site….trust your intuition on who gets items…….1800 item love to see it,,,,,even own it 🙂

  37. Janice
    9 years ago

    I really enjoyed reading this. I want to get rid of somethings and find myself saying things like “oh, I remember…” I keep hoping to read something that will help me through this time so I can move on and clean out. I haven’t found it yet. Any thoughts?

    1. Lori
      9 years ago

      I am the same… Yesterday I looked at one of the many piles of nursing journals I have been saving (to eventually read)… I just simply picked them up without thumbing through….(that would have been detrimental to the moment….walked out to the recycle bin…and just like that… Three them in!
      Now this is a first for me…I have not felt the urge to go and look at what I threw away…. Infact… I felt like I made a small breakthrough! Very tiny step, BUT… I have another small pile ready at the door to do the same… This is the start…feel the shift… Start small…and breathe

  38. Bonnie
    9 years ago

    Sink sparkles for sure – but more importantly Bleach is toxic ladies (so is “Windex” for that matter! Let’s give a safer alternative – good ole’ fashioned vinegar and water!!!

  39. Kris
    9 years ago

    I have always been organized and neat, but adopting an OCD German Shepherd took it to the next level. He literally goes around the house and finds anything he can that’s out of place, picks it up, and puts it either in his crate or on the floor right in front of it. He does this when I’m asleep or not home, and it never fails to make me giggle when I find something he has moved. I generally don’t leave anything laying around and don’t have knick knacks or breakables. When you have two very large dogs who love to wag their tails and run through the house if the door bell rings, it can send a piece of glass or a picture frame flying. I can’t get upset with him because he never damages anything, he simply moves it. Hopefully he won’t figure out how to open my closet. I’m not afraid he’ll ruin anything – I just don’t want to spend hours getting the dog hair off everything!

    1. Christiane
      9 years ago

      This is hilarious!!!

  40. Stacy Clermont
    9 years ago

    Thank you!
    Perfect timing!

  41. Teresa Heist
    9 years ago

    The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing by Marie Kondo

    I’ve been checking out all the books out there on this subject and her book is one of the most accessible to me.

  42. Marlene A.
    9 years ago

    Thank you Dr Christane. this really helps. When I frame it into the idea that “If I dont de-clutter NOW, my family will have to when I pass on…” Tho I dont plan on leaving this planet anytime soon, it makes me real-ize that whatever I don’t take care of now, someone else will have to later. Not good. I must live up to my own responsibilities if I am to be a true Goddess!

  43. Jeanne
    9 years ago

    oh dear, what are you promoting here? in a water short country, and with chlorine an environmental poison, I think the sink cleaning is over the top. What happened to a little water, soap and elbow grease?

    1. Christiane
      9 years ago

      Promoting a shiny sink. Not toxic chemicals. Removed video!!! YAY!!

  44. Susan
    9 years ago

    All the wrong (see:Toxic) cleaning products!! I “shine my sink” using all natural/biodegradable ingredients (lemon, white vinegar, baking soda or Bon Ami) and all reusable towels. It shines as beautifully as soft scrub and, ewwww, Clorox!

  45. Lesley
    9 years ago

    No, no, no !!!! I am appalled that pouring chlorine bleach down the drain DAILY is being glorified as a way to connect with the goddess!! You absolutely cannot connect with your goddess while you are killing our Mother (earth) with highly toxic bleach being poured into our water system. So incredibly disappointed.

  46. Monica
    9 years ago

    It is wasteful to use so much water just to clean your sink. I had to stop watching the video.

  47. Lin
    9 years ago

    Thank you for a very uplifting and informative article. I love the links you’ve attached to make reading more so easy! I love your newsletter and I love sharing the divine within me.

  48. GSR
    9 years ago

    Dr. Northrup, I love the idea of a shiny sink, but chlorine bleach is damaging to our planet. I found this alternative to be much safer and planet-friendly:

    Homemade Natural Bleach Alternative

    ◾1-1/2 cup 3% hydrogen peroxide
    ◾1/2 cup lemon juice
    ◾1 Tbsp. citric acid (optional- whitens clothes natural and helps to soften water, making this more effective in hard water)
    ◾distilled water to fill a gallon jug
    ◾10-30 drops lemon essential oil (optional)

    1.Pour hydrogen peroxide, lemon juice, citric acid (if using), and lemon essential oil into a repurposed gallon size jug. Swish around until citric acid is dissolved.
    2.Fill the rest of the jug with distilled water and use as you would bleach.

    1. Christiane
      9 years ago

      This is fabulous. I’m going to repost in an updated article!!!

  49. joan louise
    9 years ago

    I wish I had a friend to help me clean, unclutter, and have a garage sales

  50. Diane
    9 years ago

    Such a waste of water, and here in drought ridden California, that is even worse. Bleach is toxic and I stopped using that years ago, and also not good if you have a septic system. Vinegar and baking soda, or salt work great at scrubbing a sink, and I shine it right up with lavender or lemon essential oil. Very little on a soft cloth. I was very surprised to see this kind of video on such a holistic site as this. I would leave this one out!

  51. Valerie
    9 years ago

    My daughter and son-in-law bought a house with a daylight basement with a one bedroom apartment for me to move into when I retire. So I know exactly what space I will have when I downsize from my three bedroom house. I have already started sorting, purging and organizing which is infinitely easier now that I know what I will have room for and what I won’t. I’m going to take photos of the things I think my daughter and son might want but absolutely will not put any pressure on them about taking anything including the family keepsakes and heirlooms. My daughter already took some of her grandmother’s furniture that she wanted. I want to spend my retirement years enjoying my children and grandchildren and doing things with friends and family and am excited I will have a minimal amount of possessions to manage. It is already feeling good to have minimilazed some areas of my house. Someday when it is time to pack to move it sure will be a lot easier.

    1. Christiane
      9 years ago

      HI Valerie– what you’re doing here is so helpful and forward thinking. We can’t take anything with us. And when you have a container like you have– and you know what space you’ll have, it sure does help with the editing process. WE can all learn from you. Even if we don’t have a small space to move into. We would do well to behave as if we do!! Thanks, Christiane

  52. Melanie
    9 years ago

    In 2012, a very wise Goddess, Christiane Northrup, conducted a quick reading on me and said “You love order.” I’ve always had a passion for organizing, creating beautiful spaces and helping others do so! In the coming weeks I will let go of a job at a well renowned institution where I’ve very much enjoyed working. I’ll fully move into a professional organizing business helping others declutter, organize and create systems and spaces that support their overall wellness and highest potential. I’m thrilled for all of you that are taking action!

  53. Jane
    9 years ago

    If I could give advice to my 24 years ago younger self, it would be: don’t chose a man (even if he seems wonderful) who must care for his mother, (lived-in 21 years ~now in excellent care) and with whom he has purchased over the top fine dark furniture which does not delight you: RUN! We can’t afford to replace it. He refuses to let me paint it. In recycle shops its worth 1/10 but still takes top prices. Should I ship it to North America and hope to sell it there? He and I hope to move from Japan. With no children most homes here have lost their value by 4/5’s so selling what originally was an old age investment is almost impossible. I know mind re-setting could help sell house and things. No matter how I’ve tried to make the rooms pretty they just keep feeling oppressive and have become cluttered due to no easy way to store essentials. The furniture has filled space I wanted for my sculptures and paintings. My friend threw away thousands of valuable antiques and says she feels great. If my DNA holds I have 35 more years, but these 24 have been tough. (we are on pensions now.) Help!

    1. Ann
      9 years ago

      I have no words of advice for you, except — start doing what YOU want for YOURSELF — NOW!! It sounds as if you have been living your husband’s life, not your own. When do you begin making decisions for you? When if not now? Life is too short to live unhappily. What makes YOU happy?

    2. Melissa Robins
      9 years ago

      Ah, Jane, I feel for you. Sometimes all feels like a cluttered catastroph at once – finances, relationship and thoughts. I was once there, on the brink of disaster, it seemed, in every direction. I will share what helped me transform my life into one of prosperity, love and peace. I began by studying some fend shui. When you walk in your door, go to the far left corner of your house, or even in each room. That is the prosperity corner. It is all about intention and being open to good energy. Declutter that space. Place some special coins, a picture of fish or a bowl of real fish or a painting of moving water, or a moving water fountain. (In America, many offices have one in their prosperity corner.) next, go to the far right corner, especially in your bedroom. Declutter that corner. I set up a tiny little offering on a lovely pink scarf. Any thing that makes you think of ideal love. Mine has an assortment of yin and yang items and a lavender candle, and a six sided mirror. Six is the Tarot number for the Lovers and the Kabbalah number for harmony. Keep both areas dust free and uncluttered and practice positive thoughts and energy when focused on these areas. It is about intention, remember. Third, find a space indoors or outdoors that feels safe and quiet where you can sit on a daily basis and meditate. If you are not familiar with Zen, I recommend it. Everyday Zen is an excellent introduction. Pema Chodren, Thich Nhat Hanh, Jack Kornfield are all excellent and inspiring. Begin with five minutes and build up to 15. Quiet the mind, dwell in the infinite love that is all, for five minutes. And finally, when you have to make a decision; imagine you have no fear, nothing to fear and ask yourself, with no fear, nothing to fear what do I want. And with either baby steps or a giant leap, begin it. Oh, and don’t forget your angel. Angels only respond to requests. If you don’t believe in angels, ask yours to introduce herself to you? For me, some things changed almost magically fast, other areas took ten years of gradual shifting. Our lives are a projection of ourselves. We must practice calming our minds and expanding our hearts. I wish you well, Jane. A big hug to you.

    3. Christiane
      9 years ago

      There’s a cautionary tale. But remember, Divine Love can heal everything. Go over to Bob Fritchie’s website and read the 2014 and beyond testimonials. You’ll find something there that will help.

  54. Mary Ann
    9 years ago

    I just went through ittwice..first with my parents home and then my own. It is hard and you have to start somewhere so start with items that are less emotional….when it comes to things belonging to your children, like painting or trophys…arrange them..take pictures of them..otherwise you will pay storage fees for these things. I made my four grown children a box with some items…then it was up to them to take it or ditch it…the emotion is on them…I used consignment shops, Big Brothers, Big Sisters and Veterans as where to send donations ….and I had a Christmas cookie swap and everyone got a “prize” for the best ugly sweater….you can be creative. Photos are the hardest , make gifts or collages and give them to siblings and other family members…it was time consuming but it got done…use photo boxes…I made one for each of my siblings with their photos in it…made my parents a scrap book instead of having misfit photos all of the place..and yes…I threw alot away… it can be done..good luck

    1. Christiane
      9 years ago

      Hi Mary Ann– this is a huge inspiration for me. I love the line, ” the emotion is on them.” Goodwill has become my new best friend. It’s those pictures that are the issue. And the dozens of videos from every performance they were ever in!! Turning THAT over to Divine Order. The rest of the house– except for a small room in the basement– is all set– Goddessly even!!

  55. Mel
    9 years ago

    Great article (although I too found the bleach video disturbing). Looking at clutter from an energetic point of view is really helpful. I have always had trouble managing my paperwork at home (at work is fine). No matter what system I use, stuff seems to get stuck. And I always feel grumpy when I try to sort it out. It’s just dawned on me that I need to look at this differently, consider what this pile of stuck stuff in my overloaded tray represents. And then deal with that!

  56. Harry
    9 years ago

    where do you think that bleach goes? into the water supply is where. for goodness sake

    Just scrub with a bit of baking soda or salt.

    1. ruthann
      9 years ago

      I agree…. also, that’s a lot of water wasted in filling the sink to the top. A successful shine can be obtained without the soaking step.

    2. Debbie
      9 years ago

      Get rid of the sink video. All that chlorine bleach into our environment for a shiny sink???? what is the point when, as Harry says, natural products are better. What a waste of hot water too….at least reuse the hot water and bleach by putting it in the other sink and soak the sprayer in the hot water to clean it. This is bit OCD folks….to go through that procedure every night? I get wanting a clean sink but this is overkill with products that are so harmful.
      Contributor before me had some great ideas.

      1. Christiane
        9 years ago

        When Marla Cilley first made that video it was not a joke. But clearly the method in the message requires updating. The video has been removed!

    3. Maria
      9 years ago

      I agree with Harry, there are simpler solutions to clean a sink.

      Also, the fumes created from bleach and ammonia are toxic. bleach + ammonia = chloramine vapour

    4. Donna
      9 years ago

      Agree! Thank you!

    5. Krista
      9 years ago

      Yes! I agree, this is a great concept, but please use environmentally friendly cleaning supplies. The reason Flylady (who I think is wonderful) says to rinse in between is because toxic fumes can be made when mixing these cleaning supplies. There are natural alternatives that work. As far as the rest of the article, LOVE IT!

    6. Mireille
      9 years ago

      Harry, I was worried about bleach and the environment as well, but after checking, I found this information (repeated at many sites on the Internet):

      Bleach biodegrades almost completely in the environment into oxygen, salt, and water. In fact, household bleach both begins and ends as saltwater. Chlorine in its gas form, seen only rarely and in industrial settings, can have very harmful effects but chlorine bleach itself has almost no environmental threat.
      Read more :

      After use and disposal, 95 to 98 percent of chlorine bleach breaks down quickly. Septic and sewage systems take care of the remainder. Ground water contamination does not occur because the chlorine does not survive in any amount after treatment in septic systems or sewage treatment plants.
      Read more :

      I found this to be quite interesting, but I rarely use bleach for anything other than removing stubborn stains on appropriate materials. We use vinegar, baking soda, and citrus/salt to clean most all surfaces; there are products made with essential oils that work wonderfully well, also, and we use several of them for lighter cleaning; they leave everything smelling fresh and clean!

      1. Christiane
        9 years ago

        Hi Mirelle, Thank you so much for this bleach update!!! Certainly changes the landscape, right?

    7. Christiane
      9 years ago

      The bleach is a ONE TIME ONLY deal to get the sink really clean. After that, you don’t need it. Frankly, I never used it. Just liked the shiny sink idea– and wanted to give credit where credit is due.

  57. Meg
    9 years ago

    so how can I get rid of Mr. Major cluttered so I can do all this? I swear he is the worst and no intention of changing

    1. Melanie
      9 years ago

      Meg – BE the change you want to see in your partner and your space! You may want to check out The Heart of Organizing podcast #25 – Clutter in Relationships.

      1. Nancy
        9 years ago

        Dear Jane,
        Dark furniture, even if antique, is passé and has dropped in value to the point where it would not be worth it to ship it from Japan to North America. Prices obtained in consignment shops here (California) for dark wood furniture are next to nothing.

  58. Diane
    9 years ago

    Decluttering/organizing is my passion! It is so freeing to live simply. Every time we let go of things it makes room in our lives for the new. Often letting go of physical items lets in wonderful spiritual ideas and ways of life!

  59. Temple
    9 years ago

    This article hits home. I am buried in “treasures” from my grandparents, mother, father and in-laws – and my husband and I are just as bad. I started in my kitchen and liberated a lot of things I have no reason to hold on to – and I liked it. Why would I need to hold onto five frying pans anyway? And why keep plastic bowls with no lids? Or lids with no bowls? Gone! and it feels great.
    Onward to the rest of the house and letting go of stuff and allowing someone else to love it too. No more guilt in keeping someone’s stuff that they felt too guilty to get rid of either. Smiling….

    1. Christiane
      9 years ago


  60. Ali Davies
    9 years ago

    A couple of years ago when we were moving from ireland to Vancouver, Canada we pretty much ditched, sold or gave away everything. We arrived in Canada with just a handful of boxes with some personall effects. It was liberating beyond words to no longer be tied to stuff. What I have learnt is that there are so many benefits on so many levels of decluttering on top of just having a clear space.

  61. Deborah
    9 years ago

    Loved your article! My husband & I have started decluttering. We bought a historical 1895 Victorian 6 yrs ago. in Texas. It’s small, but I always wanted one. I refuse to take down any walls in the house, I won’t mess with the home, but we are redoing the bathroom, the black & white tile thing with the claw foot rub, I love my tub. Many antiques belonged to my husband’s family & most are gorgeous. If a room feels right to me, than its ok & my husband knows which do not, lol! I am getting out of the drab Victorian colors & bringing in the 1920’s, when they took the Victorians and shook them up. I have a beige sofa in my tv room, but I am not a beige person or shabby chic. I have a pink Victorian couch in my living room & it rocks. The only addition is we are putting on a laundry room in the back. But, will continue to declutter.

  62. Inés Alicia Bernhard
    9 years ago

    Thanks, THANK YOU SO MUCH! Christiane. I am 74, my daughter who lives near Boston, made your friend.
    Today, the seven steps for decluttering will make a change in my life from now on.
    Right in this moment I start, it is hard for me to let go all the objects inherited from parentes, grandparents and aunts; as well as it is hard to get rid of the stuff my four children left in this big house when getting married .
    You are giving me the perfect push.
    Best wishes!

    1. Christiane
      9 years ago

      Love it!! Consider it a spiritual exercise!! Today I gave away two huge stacks of sheet music from my grandmother’s old piano– and my father’s violin music. It has been sitting on the basement steps for 3 years. Freeing. And that freeing continues!!

  63. Pat
    9 years ago

    There are many other and easier ways to achieve a clean, shiny sink…I have discovered Pledge multi surface works beautifully once the sink/tub is cleaned with a scouring powder and rinsed…it seems to leave a barrier that only requires wipe downs to maintain it’s shine…all I have done in my acrylic shower/tub the past month is to wipe it down after each shower…takes 2 minutes tops and it stays shiny clean.

  64. Carla
    9 years ago

    Great organizing ideas, but I would never use bleach in my sink or anywhere else. There are a lot less toxic and more environmental ways to clean and shine a sink. Take the video out, and the article is great!

    1. Christiane
      9 years ago

      Well- we’ve just found out– thank you Mirelle– that bleach is not a problem at all. It’s non-toxic and breaks down without any environmental impact. Interesting, eh? I still took the video out. The irritation factor was just too much to deal with.

  65. Lorelei
    9 years ago

    I’m disappointed that someone as holistic-minded as you would promote a video that uses Bleach, Soft Scrub and Windex, all unnatural and harmful to the environment. Why not find a video that uses natural ingredients….vinegar and Bon Ami or whatever the natural, equally effective equivalents are? Here are two I found after a quick search on Youtube:

    Thanks for all you do…I’m a big fan!

    1. Christiane
      9 years ago

      I was simply giving credit to Marla Cilley, the flylady!!! You can use whatever you want. the IDEA is to shine the sink!

  66. Mary Ann Nance
    9 years ago

    I like the idea that as I declutter I take control of my life . Things are not in charge of me I am in charge of me!!!!

  67. Robbie Biyani
    9 years ago

    After reading my very first newsletter from you, I was inspired to start on my 15 minutes right away but I think grace beckons me to first thank you for sharing your useful thoughts.

    1. Christiane
      9 years ago

      You are a whole hearted person– and I truly thank you!!

  68. Elizabeth
    9 years ago

    Love this and completely agree with everything you said. My kids are both in high school now, and it is time to reclaim my house! Not only have I been getting rid of things, I’m really thinking about how I want to feel when I walk into a room. My mornings get off to a great start when my counters are not cluttered and my kitchen is set up for the morning. I sleep better when my bedroom is not cluttered. And I LOVE that you mentioned Flylady. I have been shining my sink for years. Amazing what that little step can do for you!

  69. Linda
    9 years ago

    I recently retired from an over 50 hour a week job which I had done for more than 30 years. Even though I am single and live alone I had accumulated more things than I was comfortable having. So…within the past 6 months I have gone through almost every area in my home (closets, kitchen drawers & cupboards, cleaning supplies, sheets & towels….everything!), and I feel great. It was so freeing while doing it, and yes, it was “addicting.” Once I got into it during the cold winter months, I looked forward to the next day and the next project. I made many many trips to donation centers. I love your 7 steps, especially the one about getting rid of what we don’t love. If something doesn’t bring us joy and real comfort (not out of habit or guilt) then it should go. Thanks for your encouraging emails and blogs.

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