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Spring Fling

Decluttering your life for a refreshed you



Illustration by Carole Hénaff

If you’re like me, along with the stirring of springtime comes the urge to open up the windows and clear out the clutter that’s accumulated over the winter. Make that over the past year—or over the course of many winters, many years. 

Wandering into my home office, I get an instant headache as I survey the bursting bookshelves, overstuffed file cabinets, and piles of folders and papers on every available surface. I’ll deal with it another day.

But that day would never come without the compassionate guidance of master organizer Carole Cline, who looked at my office recently. Her first comment immediately makes me feel better about its sorry, cluttered state. “It’s not so much that your office is messy,” she says. “It’s that your life is bigger than that. You’ve got more creative energy than the space can hold.”

So you mean it’s not my fault that I can’t stay organized? I can stop beating myself up about that?

Yes, Cline assures me. The trick is to clear out old stuff so that you can make room for what’s “hot”—what’s alive and growing right now. 

“First of all, start with the trash, the stuff you’re not attached to. Put that in a pile for the dump. Then look at what you have that might go into recycling, or be taken to Goodwill for someone else to use. Make another pile of that stuff. And then you get into the stuff that you have some attachment to. That’s harder, but I go by the ten-percent philosophy,” she says. “Everyone can give up ten percent, or one in ten, of any category of stuff they have.”

De-cluttering is really about making decisions, Cline says, which can be especially hard when you’re stressed (on deadline to vacate a home, for instance) or going through an emotional transition (after a divorce, say, or going through the accumulated possessions of a deceased parent). “Making decisions is like exercising a muscle,” she says. “The more decisions you make, the more actions you take, the more you start to get into a flow and it becomes less painful, less emotional.”

“The letting go is the hard part,” says Lori Plager. Plager hired Cline to help her pare down the belongings in her four-bedroom house, including two attics, a basement, and a shed filled with all the “stuff” of her now-grown three children. “We worked for two hours once a week for three or four months,” Plager says. “Carole was so good at helping me prioritize what I really needed without getting overwhelmed. Like who really needs ten pairs of black pants when you probably only wear three of them? I was able to give things away to people who could really use them. And when it was all done, I felt so much better.”

It turns out that de-cluttering one’s physical space has a very positive effect on one’s mental space, too. Cline applies her background in the healing arts to her role as an organizer. “After I work with someone—never more than two hours at a time—I have them lie down with an eye pillow, put their feet up, relax, and energetically let go of whatever stuff we’ve begun to purge,” she says. “When we let go of things that are not working for us, our environments will start to nurture us and make vibrant, new creative energy available to us.” 

Sudha Carolyn Lundeen, a wellness coach and yoga teacher who offers workshops at Kripalu in the Berkshires and around the country, agrees. “Carole came in, not judging me but supporting me in sorting through years’ worth of stuff that I had accumulated, in order to make space to create the mental clarity that I needed to work with clients here at home,” she says. “It was miraculous. Once we had cleared up the clutter, it gave me a new sense of grounded spaciousness that allowed me to be more effective in my work.”

Cline was in the process of packing up her own life to move from here to the West Coast. She and her new husband are thinking of joining the tiny-house movement, where her talent for keeping clutter to a minimum will surely come in handy. 

Staying organized is a never-ending project, so I ask Cline: How do you keep stuff from accumulating again?

“Once you start to have more space, you develop a different attitude toward stuff,” she says. “You realize what’s important to you. It doesn’t matter if things are beautiful or full of sentimental value or even if they’re made of gold, they still take up space and prevent us from trying something different, something new.” 


Tips to Stay Organized

  • The 10% rule: Eliminate one item in ten.
  • Start with a half-hour a week of decluttering one small area, like a closet shelf. 
  • Start by getting rid of trash—broken things, stained clothing, old receipts. As you exercise your decision-making muscle, it will become easier to purge stuff.
  • Think altruistically: What might someone else enjoy? 

As you continue to purge in small increments, notice the resulting mental clarity and energetic boost that decluttering gives you. It’s not just about a clearer home, but a clearer mind as well.

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April 2018

Saturday, April 21 through Tuesday, April 24 Wilton Library’s Annual Gigantic Spring Book Sale Fundraiser Wilton Library’s largest book sale features more than 70,000 items sorted in...

Cost: free

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Wilton Library
137 Old Ridgefield Road, Wilton
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Telephone: 203-762-3950
Website »

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Cost: 0

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34 Halpin Lane
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Cost: FREE

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Harrybrooke Park
100 Still River Drive
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Sponsor: Harrybrooke Park
Telephone: 860-799-6520
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Cost: $155.00

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Sponsor: DayDreamer Studio
Telephone: 914-977-4243
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Katonah United Methodist Church
5 Bedford Road
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Sponsor: NEWDAA
Telephone: 203-356-5405
Contact Name: Patti D'Agostino
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By donating your perennials, pots and planters to the library to be resold, you will be minimizing waste and giving your unwanted perennials, pots and planters a second life. When spring arrives...

Cost: free

Where:
Keeler Library
276 Titicus Road
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Sponsor: Keeler Library
Telephone: 914-274-7206
Contact Name: Cynthia
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Cost: $20

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Cost: free

Where:
Wilton Library
137 Old Ridgefield Road, Wilton
Wilton, CT  06897
View map »


Telephone: 203-762-3950
Website »

More information

Ridgefield Guild of Artists presents its juried small group exhibition "2-1-2" in the main gallery, opening Saturday, April 21 with a reception from 4-6pm. It is free and open to...

Cost: 0

Where:
Ridgefield Guild of Artists
34 Halpin Lane
Ridgefield, CT  06877
View map »


Website »

More information

By donating your perennials, pots and planters to the library to be resold, you will be minimizing waste and giving your unwanted perennials, pots and planters a second life. When spring arrives...

Cost: free

Where:
Keeler Library
276 Titicus Road
North Salem, NY  10560
View map »


Sponsor: Keeler Library
Telephone: 914-274-7206
Contact Name: Cynthia
Website »

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Saturday, April 21 through Tuesday, April 24 Wilton Library’s Annual Gigantic Spring Book Sale Fundraiser Wilton Library’s largest book sale features more than 70,000 items sorted in...

Cost: free

Where:
Wilton Library
137 Old Ridgefield Road, Wilton
Wilton, CT  06897
View map »


Telephone: 203-762-3950
Website »

More information

Ridgefield Guild of Artists presents its juried small group exhibition "2-1-2" in the main gallery, opening Saturday, April 21 with a reception from 4-6pm. It is free and open to...

Cost: 0

Where:
Ridgefield Guild of Artists
34 Halpin Lane
Ridgefield, CT  06877
View map »


Website »

More information

Learn about building structures resistant to earthquakes with toothpicks and marshmallows Tuesday, April 24th from 4-5 PM For kids in grade 1-3 Registration is required To register,...

Cost: free

Where:
Keeler Library
276 Titicus Road
North Salem, NY  10560
View map »


Sponsor: Keeler Library
Telephone: 914-669-5161
Contact Name: Carolyn Reznick
Website »

More information

By donating your perennials, pots and planters to the library to be resold, you will be minimizing waste and giving your unwanted perennials, pots and planters a second life. When spring arrives...

Cost: free

Where:
Keeler Library
276 Titicus Road
North Salem, NY  10560
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Sponsor: Keeler Library
Telephone: 914-274-7206
Contact Name: Cynthia
Website »

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On Wednesday April 25 from 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. join us for a leisurely stroll down our stream-side trail in memory of one of our founding Board members, Helen Hermes, to discover some of her...

Cost: FREE

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New Pond Farm Education Center
101 Marchant Road
Redding, CT  06896
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Telephone: (203) 938-2117
Website »

More information

Ridgefield Guild of Artists presents its juried small group exhibition "2-1-2" in the main gallery, opening Saturday, April 21 with a reception from 4-6pm. It is free and open to...

Cost: 0

Where:
Ridgefield Guild of Artists
34 Halpin Lane
Ridgefield, CT  06877
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Website »

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Come see Edith+Eddie, a 2018 Academy Award® nominated best documentary short film, followed by a panel discussion of esteemed experts in the fields of estate...

Cost: FREE

Where:
The Ferguson Library
One Public Library Plaza
Stamford, CT  06902
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Sponsor: SilverSource, Inc.
Telephone: 203-324-6584
Contact Name: Kathleen Bordelon
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By donating your perennials, pots and planters to the library to be resold, you will be minimizing waste and giving your unwanted perennials, pots and planters a second life. When spring arrives...

Cost: free

Where:
Keeler Library
276 Titicus Road
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Sponsor: Keeler Library
Telephone: 914-274-7206
Contact Name: Cynthia
Website »

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Cost: Free

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Grace Farms
365 Lukes Wood Road
New Canaan, CT  06840
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Sponsor: Grace Farms Foundation & New Canaan Library
Telephone: 203-920-1720
Contact Name: Regan Hayes
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Ridgefield Guild of Artists presents its juried small group exhibition "2-1-2" in the main gallery, opening Saturday, April 21 with a reception from 4-6pm. It is free and open to...

Cost: 0

Where:
Ridgefield Guild of Artists
34 Halpin Lane
Ridgefield, CT  06877
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Website »

More information

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Cost: free

Where:
Keeler Library
276 Titicus Road
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Sponsor: Keeler Library
Telephone: 914-274-7206
Contact Name: Cynthia
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Cost: Free

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Gallo Restaurant
5 Grove St.
Ridgefield, CT  06877
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Telephone: 203-431-7726
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Cost: donation

Where:
Hunt Hill Farm
44 Upland Road
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Sponsor: Hunt Hill Farm
Telephone: 860.355.0300
Contact Name: John C. Maxwell III
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Ridgefield Guild of Artists presents its juried small group exhibition "2-1-2" in the main gallery, opening Saturday, April 21 with a reception from 4-6pm. It is free and open to...

Cost: 0

Where:
Ridgefield Guild of Artists
34 Halpin Lane
Ridgefield, CT  06877
View map »


Website »

More information

By donating your perennials, pots and planters to the library to be resold, you will be minimizing waste and giving your unwanted perennials, pots and planters a second life. When spring arrives...

Cost: free

Where:
Keeler Library
276 Titicus Road
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Sponsor: Keeler Library
Telephone: 914-274-7206
Contact Name: Cynthia
Website »

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Music on the Hill  celebrates "Music of Scandinavia" in a concert combining the Festival Chorus and professional Chamber Chorus, led by Artistic Director David H. Connell....

Cost: free

Where:
Wilton Presbyterian Church
48 New Canaan Road
Wilton, CT  06897
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Sponsor: Music on the Hill
Telephone: 203-529-3133
Contact Name: Music on the Hill
Website »

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Cost: $30.00

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792 Route 35
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Sponsor: DayDreamer Studio
Telephone: 914-977-4243
Contact Name: Nicole Mata
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On Saturday April 28 from 10 – 11 a.m. veteran fly-tier New Pond Farm Program Director Tim Laughlin, would like to introduce you to the art of fly tying. Learn to tie a “Woolly...

Cost: $15 per New Pond Farm member child, $20 per non-member child

Where:
New Pond Farm Education Center
101 Marchant Road
Redding, CT  06896
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Telephone: (203) 938-2117
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Cost: $40

Where:
93 N Main St
norwalk, CT  06854
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Sponsor: Norwalk Now
Telephone: 203-561-9878
Contact Name: Linda Kavanagh
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Cost: FREE

Where:
Ridgefield Supply
29 Prospect Street
Ridgefield, CT  06877-0519
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Telephone: 203-438-2626
Contact Name: Krystal Lugo
Website »

More information

Ridgefield Guild of Artists presents its juried small group exhibition "2-1-2" in the main gallery, opening Saturday, April 21 with a reception from 4-6pm. It is free and open to...

Cost: 0

Where:
Ridgefield Guild of Artists
34 Halpin Lane
Ridgefield, CT  06877
View map »


Website »

More information

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Cost: $25

Where:
The Ridgefield Playhouse
80 EAST RIDGE
RIDGEFIELD, CT  06877
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Website »

More information

On Saturday April 28 from 1 – 2 p.m. join New Pond Farm Program Director, Tim Laughlin, and learn how to fly cast. Fly-fishing is becoming a very popular sport for ladies. Once you learn the...

Cost: $15 per New Pond Farm member and $20 per non-member

Where:
New Pond Farm Education Center
101 Marchant Road
Redding, CT  06896
View map »


Telephone: (203) 938-2117
Website »

More information

Saturday, April 28th at 3:00 Rated PG Open to everyone, no registration required For questions, please call the library at 914-669-5161 or email at keelerlibrary@wlsmail.org To learn...

Cost: free

Where:
Keeler Library
276 Titicus Road
North Salem, NY  10560
View map »


Sponsor: Keeler Library
Telephone: 914-669-5161
Contact Name: Carolyn Reznick
Website »

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Cost: $250

Where:
Ridgefield Library
472 Main Street
Ridgefield, CT  06877
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Sponsor: Ridgefield Library
Telephone: 203-438-2282 X11029
Contact Name: Laureen Bubniak
Website »

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By donating your perennials, pots and planters to the library to be resold, you will be minimizing waste and giving your unwanted perennials, pots and planters a second life. When spring arrives...

Cost: free

Where:
Keeler Library
276 Titicus Road
North Salem, NY  10560
View map »


Sponsor: Keeler Library
Telephone: 914-274-7206
Contact Name: Cynthia
Website »

More information

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Cost: $75

Where:
The Ridgefield Playhouse
80 EAST RIDGE ROAD
RIDGEFIELD, CT  06877
View map »


Website »

More information

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Cost: $55

Where:
Palace Theatre
61 Atlantic Street
Stamford, CT  06901
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Sponsor: Children's Learning Centers of Fairfield County
Telephone: 203-653-1369
Contact Name: Mike
Website »

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Cost: Individual tickets are $250

Where:
Amber Room Colonnade
1 Stacey Rd
Danbury, CT
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Sponsor: Ability Beyond
Telephone: 203-826-3183
Contact Name: Kelsey Rondeau
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