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Ask Jes Advice Column

Ask Jes (now called Order in the House) is an advice column that appears in the Spaces Section of the Sunday Albany Times Union.

A family archive is a high-stakes, complicated collection: time is not on your side, yet you don't always feel empowered to make decisions on the materials. The good news is that the holiday season is (surprisingly) an ideal time to start addressing this collection. Follow these steps, and you will be well on your way to preserving your unique family history. Read more...

You are experiencing what I have termed temporary chaos, a phase of decluttering projects that is unavoidable. Temporary chaos can be a deterrent to both starting and finishing a decluttering project. How can we set ourselves up for success when temporary chaos makes our project feel so daunting? What causes temporary chaos? Read more...

Life is full of surprises. And sometimes, those surprises require us to make a quick transition. You may suddenly find yourself with an illness or a physical limitation, or perhaps you need to become the caretaker for a loved one. These pivots in life can often result in a lot of clutter…. Read more...

Many people think that clearing clutter is just about organizing or getting rid of stuff. The truth? It’s never about the stuff. You can do all the cleaning, purging, re-arranging, and donating you want. And you’ll need to do some of that if you want to make space in your home, mind, and life. But that doesn’t usually fix the issue. Read more...

It may come as no surprise, but I love my daughters sooooo much. I can’t even tell you the amount of joy they bring into my life on a daily basis. But to be honest with you, there’s one thing I can’t stand about being a mom…. and that’s the clutter that comes with it..Believe it or not, I struggled with my own clutter when my kids were babies. Babies come with an onslaught of stuff- toys, clothes, furniture, bottles, diapers…. the list goes on and on!. Read more...

Did you know that one out of six people will experience a depressive episode in their lifetime?


One out of six? That’s a pretty big number when you think about it! As a society, we tend to throw around the term depression without putting enough emphasis on how serious of an issue it is. When you are depressed, you might feel sad, but really, there’s something much bigger going on. There’s usually a change in the way you are functioning. Read more...

Marcy: To Sell or Not to Sell While Decluttering?

Marcy: To Sell or Not to Sell While Decluttering?

Dear Jes, I am working through decluttering my home. I seem to have no problem figuring out what to let go of, but I get stuck deciding if I should sell or donate my stuff. Many of my items are brand new with tags, and many were expensive items when I purchased them. I want to recoup some of this money, but my "sell" pile is snowballing. Do you have any advice about selling versus donating? Read more...

Dear Jes, I decided to dive into decluttering, organizing, and deep cleaning my guest room/craft room/catch-all room last week, and it has made my house feel even crazier than it was before! I am knee-deep in everything, and there are piles everywhere. There is a lot in here that belongs to other people in my house, so I have a pile for each person. Additionally, I have the usual keep, toss, and donate piles, and I am trying to sort what I am keeping into categories. In short, there are piles EVERYWHERE. Read more...

"I'm surprised how keeping my surfaces clean has helped manage our daily schedule and my stress level," Bosco says. "This year is mostly about how parents approach it. We are going in knowing we need to be flexible, and I'm trying to keep the house fun, relaxed, and inviting. It's really the only thing I can control right now." Read more...

Dear Jes,

I collect knickknacks, everything from trip souvenirs to Precious Moments and other small collectibles. Friends and family also gift me cute little things for birthdays and holidays. My husband does not appreciate these items and complains that my collections are nothing but clutter. On the one hand, I feel like he does not understand how much I enjoy seeing them. But then I also wonder if maybe he is correct? Are my knickknacks nothing more than clutter? Am I just overthinking this? Can you help me figure this out? Read more...

Dear Jes, I have a unique issue with clutter, and I hope that you can help me. My problem is not only that I have a lot of clutter, but the clutter makes me feel really bad about myself. I think my clutter is actually contributing to my low self-esteem. Yes, the clutter itself is overwhelming. But worse than the clutter is that I beat myself up for letting it get so bad. I feel like I am a failure, which makes it even more challenging to begin to declutter. I feel trapped by my thoughts and my clutter. How do people declutter when the clutter makes you feel so bad about yourself? Read more...

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