Mt. Vesuvius Method

Use if your house is a shambles, your marriage is in trouble because of it, you fear the health department or your landlord, your adult children are distraught about your place, or you face some similar emergency. Like Mt. Vesuvius, this is a quick and powerful method. It avoids the hang-up of decision making and clears the clutter quickly.

Buy a large quantity of white storage boxes at an office supply store. They usually come in groups of six, cost about a dollar each, have a detachable lid and need to be assembled. In the room you are tackling, position six or more boxes in the room. Begin filling the boxes rapidly with similar groups of things. On each box, tape pieces of typing paper labeled in large, dark print with the name of each group such as TOYS, MAGAZINES, CRAFT MATERIALS, MARY’S CLOTHES, etc. On the side of the box called PAPERS, note where each pile of paper came from in your room so you will be able to locate what you may need later.

Fill a bag with any obvious trash and toss it ASAP. When that room is finished, the floors and other surfaces are clear. Put the tops on the boxes and stack them against a wall. Since they are neat, white boxes, they will not look objectionable. Turn the large labels to the wall and note on the front in small print the contents of the boxes if you wish.

Your immediate problem for that room is solved because it is now clear. Go to the next. Later, handle organizing one box at a time.

Sound difficult? More specific and very detailed help is available from a recorded teleclass presented by Sandra Felton and Marsha Sims. What do I do with all of this stuff? and How to empty the boxes.