How much clutter is… too much clutter?

Not sure if I was fortunate or not, to marry a typical ‘type-A’ person, almost obsessive when it comes to organization…

On the other hand, I’m not as organized, but I love seeing things “in boxes”, or at least, stowed away (out of my sight!)

That said, and considering that we’re constantly moving because of work, one can image how difficult it become when it’s mandatory to deal with “excessive clutter and paperwork”.

Not sure if I was fortunate or not, to marry a typical ‘type-A’ person, almost obsessive when it comes to organization…

On the other hand, I’m not as organized, but I love seeing things “in boxes”, or at least, stowed away (out of my sight!)

That said, and considering that we’re constantly moving because of work, one can image how difficult it become when it’s mandatory to deal with “excessive clutter and paperwork”.

Inspired by Becky – from Small Bits – for one of the long-lost weekly State Dept Foreign Service Blogs Round up, and also trying to answer the question I’d initially proposed; I guess for my husband and I, the answer is: “any clutter is way too much clutter”…. junk is junk, and a clean house [leading to a clean soul!] is always welcome in our lives! 😮

At times, the definition of “excessive” has created some tension in our household, due to the fact that the “duo of managers” end up disagreeing on what should/could/would be discarded/trashed/shredded!

And the common result is: “darling, do you have any idea where the envelope, I left here last week, is?”

If it takes more than 10 seconds for the answer to come out, it’s a bad sign… If the answer contains anything like “you know… I was just organizing these drawers… and…” it’s even worse! At that very moment, the very “diplomatic answer” is a clear sign that your print outs/documents/personal notes are gone!! So, in order to avoid conflicts, the best solution is simply reduce the amount of clutter, or, if possible, store it away before your mate has a chance to find and “re-organize” it!

Currently, our lives are filled with useful and not-so-much paperwork, which we MUST care with our hearts, whenever we travel or move. Here’s a brief idea:

5 members of the household;

14 active passports (a couple of those in deep need of renovation.. oh, boy!);

5 medical folders, med-evac reports, consultation reports, requests for exams, and corresponding international vaccination cards;

5 birth certificates, a couple of CRIBA reports, with official/notaries translations, personal academic info, diplomas – again, translated;

Ν school reports (so far only 2 kids in school), sports progress evaluations for each kid; report cards, teacher’s notes, selected school artwork, love letters and cards (when we began with our ‘across-the-hemisphere’ dating scene, there was only the msn messenger, and of course, the good old Post Office!) printed photographs, tax files, software update CDs, performance evaluations, receipts from clients, contacts for future 360s, house rental paperwork, mortgage docs, health insurance papers, receipts for storage, bank statements… oh, my!

It is not all of it. Some documents were photocopied before the initial move, and originals are safely kept, while the photocopies travel the world.

Safeguarding your personal belongings is a must for the traveling-pants family: preparing “video inventories” is a great, paperless strategy. So far, it’s been working for us, and the best of all – it is clutter-free!

Phew! It makes me tired just thinking about boxing it all out for the next move…

Luckily, there are ways to make sure our most important folders are safe and well-taken care: pay close attention to them. All times. Anywhere.

Right now, I’m not organizing anything. Just trying to keep our documents drawer “bug”- & “fungi“- free. That’s right! One of the “bonuses” of living in a tropical setting… I’m an environmentalist, but not as much!!

Hey, I feel like I’ve already done a lot of “mental organization” and planning. I believe I deserve a break from this hard work!

Since we’re talking about paper”(work), let me “wrap” this post up by reminding myself it’s ‘bidding season’. For the ones not too familiar with the term, let me just say it takes the ‘stress levels’ up a couple of notches, and it pretty much tends to define our family’s future for the next couple of years! 😮 It’s also ‘promotion season’… Luckily, hubby did well on that front, which is a relief, at last… 

Now, just sit tight and wait for the [hopefully positive!] results of bidding!


Author: 3rdCultureChildren

Welcome! Here I am, 'releasing' my thoughts on traveling, parenting, raising TCKs, teaching, writing, working... and who knows what else! I’m a WIFE, 'geeky-stuff' SCIENTIST, TEACHER, AMATEUR photographer, MOM of 3, TRAVELER by choice and by marriage, and of course, a HOUSEHOLD QUEEN!!

21 thoughts on “How much clutter is… too much clutter?”

    1. We all find some ‘good excuses’, right? 😮 I’m pretty good about blaming the lack of time to ‘get organized’ on the kids… they take up all my time… and energy! 😮 Thanks for stopping by and commenting, Gilly!


  1. Wow, the Round Up. It has been awhile! You did such a good job on this. Inspires me to go clean out a closet 🙂 (We are definitely in the “less is better” camp.) Many congrats on the promotion! I hope bidding also goes well for you!


    1. thank Becky! And thanks for hosting this particular Round Up! It’s been so long, I remember preparing the post for that week… and recently, somebody had given me inspiration to go back, revisit the post, and have it out… and so I did. “Less is definitely better’… just thinking about moving again next June/July worries me… but, well… that’s part of [FS] life, right? I’m very glad he was able to move on… he used to be on the civil service, so, the conversion actually brought us a paycut.. now, we’re almost back to where we first began – that said, this promotion is very welcome!! 😮 Thank you for your kind wishes. Take care, Raquel.


  2. Your blog just reminds me that I have whole desk and office table to clear…………. nice way to be clutter free and ‘leading to a clean soul!’ Thank You


    1. Ohh, thank you! You simply add the link to the post at the end of your text… or, you can also add the pingback link to this post using your dashboard, while editing your post. In any event, thank you very much for the interest – always nice to build good network with other bloggers – that’s the reason why I share other posts here. Have a nice week, btw!


      1. I still don’t think I’m doing it right. Do I post it in the comments section? I’m new and so confused!

        And hello to you from Orange County California! I bet La Paz is pretty! I love to visit new countries!


        1. Very pretty, indeed… we’re enjoying every moment of our 2-year assignment to Bolivia – thanks for the wishes.

          Regarding the linkback, WordPress has a bunch of forums/tutorials on linking to other posts… And the quick answer is, no, you don’t add it to the comments section – go back to editing your blogpost and have it done from there… good luck, and thanks again for stopping by, and for your interest! 😮


    1. Thanks again, Becky… one of these days I’ll definitely host a Round Up… thanks for including the post. Read your roundup – pretty impressive stuff out there! Just back from a well-deserved weekend with family at a calm beach town…relaxing is the key for inspirations!!! 😮


    1. Heather, I Know!!! There’s always something else to do, right? We came up with the “video inventory” idea because it seemed simpler (on paper!) and quicker (that’s for sure). It’s also less expensive, but very time consuming. But it’s worth. Trust me, just grab your husband or delegate the task to a very patient friend, and in a few hours, it’d be done! Let me know if you have any questions or if you’re needing tips for the inventory. Cheers, R. 😮


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