erindoland
Erin Rooney Doland is Editor-in-Chief of Unclutterer.com, a website providing daily articles on home and office organization, and author of the book Unclutter Your Life in One Week, published in November 2009 by Simon and Schuster.

She received her undergraduate degree from the University of Kansas, William Allen White School of Journalism, and her master's degree from Johns Hopkins University. She is a writer, productivity consultant, and lecturer. She, her husband, and son reside in the Washington, D.C., metropolitan area.

In addition to her work at Unclutterer, Erin is a weekly columnist here on SimplyStated. She has also been featured in publications such as The New York Times, The Washington Post, USA Today, USA Weekend and the Wall Street Journal Online.

Recent Posts By erindoland

Are You Exhausted?

When I talk with people about organizing, I often hear the phrase, “I’m so tired.” Usually this phrase appears in statements such as, “I’m so tired when I get home from work that the last thing I want to do is cook, clean, and handle the business of the house,” or “I’m so tired in the mornings when I wake up that it takes all my energy just to get to work on time, I can’t imagine adding anything else to my morning routine.”

Without a good night’s sleep, there is no way you can function at your best.

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Don’t Get Stuck in a Rut

Routines are great for getting mindless work completed around your house — sort the mail immediately when you get home from work, clean up after dinner so there aren’t dirty dishes on the counter over night, put your dirty clothes in the clothes hamper. The more mindful and less tedious a task, however, and making that task into a routine can make life seem boring and monotonous. For example, if you were to cook the exact same meal every night for dinner, your spouse and kids would eventually revolt and head to the local pizza parlor without you.

Unfortunately, when our energy levels are low, we want to make our mindful activities more like our mindless responsibilities. We don’t want to think about what to make for dinner, we just want dinner to magically appear.

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How Much Time Is Clutter and Disorganization Costing You?

I want you to try a one-day challenge to track how much time you spend wasting your energy on clutter and disorganization in your life. What you’ll need:

  1. Piece of notebook paper
  2. Pen
  3. Stop watch
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Your Home’s Purpose

My good friends Craig and Brittany live in a one-bedroom apartment in Washington, D.C. They refer to their place as a “dinner party concept.” The entire main living space is set up for a grand dinner party, and nothing else.

When you walk in their front door, all you see is a giant dining table that seats 16 people. There is a buffet that runs the length of the table, which houses elaborate serving trays, dishes, glasses, and ephemera to spark conversations. On the other wall, in a recessed cove, is a traditional stereo system. At the far wall of the main space is a DJ setup with a couple turn tables and record storage.

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How and Why To Clean Your Makeup Brushes

I have extremely sensitive skin, and am prone to break outs. One of the things I’ve found to help keep my skin under control — in addition to using makeup and facial cleaning products with ingredients that don’t agitate my skin — is to regularly clean my makeup brushes.

You may not realize it, but makeup brushes can be breeding grounds for bacteria. Additionally, old makeup can get caught in the brush, changing the colors you’re intending to apply to your face, and the brushes can harbor dead skin cells.

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What Type of Procrastinator Are You?

My husband and I struggle with procrastinating on tasks that we:

  1. Perceive will take more than a couple hours to complete, and
  2. Neither of us is extremely motivated to do, but
  3. We have enough of an opinion about the outcome that we suspect we’ll disagree with each other about the completion method.

This means we often delay making travel plans until the last minute, rarely buy much-needed furniture for our house (our living room has been without chairs for six years), and our car is a constant source of stress (neither of us love owning the car — we would live car-free if we weren’t in the suburbs). Thankfully, none of the things we tend to put off have consequences to people other than ourselves. Our procrastination just annoys the two of us.

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What To Do With Old Medals

My mother recently mailed me all of the medals I earned at debate and speech tournaments in high school. She found the 30 medals in a zip-top bag in a desk drawer and thought I’d want to have them. The funny thing is that I thought I already had them in a box of memorabilia at my house, so it was quite a surprise to get them in the mail.

I decided that I didn’t need to keep all of them, especially the medals for fourth, fifth, and sixth place I earned at regular season tournaments. I photographed these 14 medals and put them in a bag to take to my local trophy shop to be recycled. The other medals, however, were more difficult to decide their fate.

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Uncluttered Phones

There are times when too many features can clutter up a gadget. An example of when too many features might not be a great idea is if you want to buy your elderly grandmother a cell phone for safety reasons. Although an iPhone is a cool machine, it’s probably not the best option for someone with severe arthritis, poor eye sight, limited access to an internet connection, and even less experience with touch-screen technology.

You also might be interested in getting your kindergartner a cell phone so he can give you a call in case of an emergency, but you obviously don’t want him texting his five-year-old pals.

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Breaking Bad Habits

My friend Jen is trying to lose weight. She’s not going on a fad diet, she’s just increased her amount of physical activity and is eating healthier foods. She has some health issues in her family history that are a result of obesity, and she would like to avoid these problems since a number of them are preventable.

One of the habits Jen is trying to break is to stop buying and eating snacks every afternoon from her office’s vending machine.

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Organizing Tools

Are tools strewn about your home, cluttering up surfaces in your basement, garage, or on your dining table? Here are some non-traditional organizing options you may not have considered for tool storage and portability:

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