Erin Rooney Doland is Editor-in-Chief of, 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

Looking for Uncluttering and Organizing Motivation? Focus on What Makes You Happy

After reading this paragraph, set a timer for two minutes, close your eyes, and think about what makes you perpetually happy. If your mind starts to drift toward things that disappoint or upset you, gently remind yourself to focus on happy things and let the good thoughts flow. Ready?

Start now.

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Home Is Where You Restore Your Sanity

By now, most of the news-following world has heard about the airline steward who flipped out and exited the plane via a yellow emergency slide. In similar news, the Harvard Business Journal is reporting that at least 20 percent of men at work want to punch their coworkers (and, the younger the demographic, the higher that percentage climbs). I think it’s safe to say that people are feeling frustrated in the workplace, whether it is because of the economic downturn and feeling trapped in a job or numerous other reasons.

Now, more than ever, our homes are becoming a refuge from the world. Our homes are where we go to get away from it all and where we can feel sheltered and safe. Our homes are more than giant suitcases that store our stuff.

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Make Room in Your Life for Wonderful Events

Exactly one year ago today, we received official word that we had been matched for an adoption with a baby boy. With all the paperwork and such that is involved with the legal aspects of an adoption, we weren’t able to pick him up for a few weeks. However, I remember this day vividly, because it’s also my birthday.

Mixed in with the custody application and other documents we needed to sign was a copy of our son’s birth record from the hospital. And, on that birth record, were stamps of his two beautiful, tiny feet. I wept tears of joy as I held these first signs of life.

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Spice Up Your Weekly Meal Planning

I’ve hit a rut with my menu planning. My husband and I have been eating most meals together for more than 10 years, and we have fallen into a tired routine. Yawn! Ho hum. Sigh.

I’m an adventurer when it comes to food — my husband, not so much.

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Three Organized Things To Do Right Now That Have Lasting Benefits

I’ve found that some of the easiest things you can do to be organized often have the biggest impact to your daily life. Here are three simple things you can do right now to become more organized and reduce your stress:

  1. Make a “home” for your keys. Whether this is installing a hook on the wall in your mudroom or setting a bowl on a dresser near your door, create a spot where you can immediately store your keys when you come home. You’ll no longer waste time hunting for your keys when you need to get out the door.
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Is Your Nightstand a Clutterstand?

Nightstands are often magnets for clutter and they take up a good deal of space in a small room. We recently removed the two nightstands that flanked our bed and donated them to charity because I didn’t like waking up and looking at clutter first thing each morning.

Since bedrooms are your sanctuary and retreat from the responsibilities of the world, clutter is a no-no in your bedroom. If your nightstand is also a home for forgotten things, consider getting rid of it or giving it a much-needed decluttering session.

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Using Old Things in New Ways

Being resourceful is a trait that goes well with someone pursuing a more simple, uncluttered, and organized lifestyle. If you are great at seeing all the many ways one object can be used, the one object can keep you from having to buy many single-use items.

Some of my favorite features in Real Simple magazine are the new uses for old things articles.

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Questions To Ask Before You Buy

I don’t buy and own many things. It’s not because I think simple living is for everyone, it’s just that I know it’s best for me. I dislike cleaning, and I know that the fewer things I have, the less I have to clean — the smaller my place, the less space I have to maintain.

An unfortunate side effect of not owning many things is I spend more time thinking about my purchases than the average person. If something is going to come into my home, I want it to be the “right” thing, the “best” thing. It’s ironic: I think more about my stuff before I buy it, with the hope that I can think less about it once I own it.

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Being Organized and Uncluttered for the Benefit of Others

My grandmother, who turns 101 next month, has eight great-grandchildren and a ninth on the way. Her oldest great-grandchild is just seven years old, and most of the rest were born in the last two years. There is close to a century between her and all of her great-grandchildren, which makes my mind spin.

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People create fun, stuff doesn’t

My one-year-old son’s favorite toys, in order of preference, are a plastic food storage container, a water pitcher, a colander, and a set of standard wooden blocks. He has toys that light up, toys that play music, and toys generous people spent hundreds of dollars buying — and he wants nothing to do with any toy that prescribes how he should play with it. In fact, the toys my son doesn’t play with take up a large amount of space in our home and he would rather have that room to run in circles.

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