Frequently Asked Questions - Mini-FAQ - DeCluttr Maillist


This mini-FAQ answers a few of the questions that pop up frequently on the DECLUTTR list. The DeCluttr maillist is an on-line support group concentrating on problems with clutter, disorganization, time management with tips and solutions as well as support. It generates a large volume of e-mail daily and is available in digest format. A text-only version of this page is available. A more extensive FAQ is posted monthly and periodically brought up-to-date on this site. You can also review the initial messages sent to new subscribers.


You can get an e-mail when this page (Mini-FAQ) is updated if you want.

  1. Help!! How do I set this list digest/no digest/unsubcribe???
  2. Where are the archives?
  3. Are there posting guidelines?
  4. What is SHE?
  5. What is the deCluttr list about?
  6. What is the difference between the FAQ and the Mini-FAQ?



1. List management

To change your list settings or sign off/on the decluttr list, mail must be sent to listserv@MAELSTROM.STJOHNS.EDU. The links that follow automatically generate the needed e-mail message on most browsers.

The body of the message should contain one of the following as the first line and not the parts that are in italics:

set decluttr digest - start getting your decluttr messages in digest form
set decluttr nodigest - stop getting your decluttr messages in digest form

subscribe decluttr your name
unsubscribe decluttr

set Decluttr nomail - To STOP MESSAGES TEMPORARILY
set Decluttr mail - when you're ready to come back

query Decluttr - what are my current settings?

set decluttr ack - give me a receipt for each posting I make (thanks Andy)
set decluttr noack - don't give me a receipt for each posting I make (default)

set decluttr repro - send me a copy of my own posts (thanks Andy)
set decluttr norepro - don't send me a copy of my own posts

 or, for all the commands possible,

help decluttr

depending on the action you want taken.

Note that decluttr has no second 'e', and that sending commands to the list proper rather than the listserv only succeeds in posting the command to the list like any other message. No action is taken! A few people get annoyed, not many though, pretty much all have "been there - done that."

DIGEST format is one in which a number of messages (usually 15-20) are gathered into one or two messages which you receive. At the beginning of the message are all of the topics contained therein. (When it is two messages, it is really one that has been split into two parts.) I have posted a sample of a digest with 19 messages here if you are curious. The digested messages have the "headers" including the return address of the sender and the closing instructions on how to get off DECLUTTR stripped out. (When I set headers to show all (Netscape 4.05) it retains the sender's address and the topic - although when you hit reply, you still get a reply to the list and the topic will just be the digest name.)

Clear as mud? Dan Goodman recently sent his explanation of Digest format. Perhaps that is easier to follow.

TIPS for DIGEST format.

  • If you have DIGEST format, be sure to change the subject line of any replies that you make to be the subject to which you are responding. The subject otherwise will just be the date and number of the Digest.
  • You may not be able to respond directly to the sender of a message unless their e-mail address is contained in the body of the message. That is because parts of the headers of messages (which contain that address normally) are stripped away in the digesting process. If you turn on full headers (if you have that option under the View menu) you will be able to respond directly to most.

By the way, to those of you who are concerned that your contributions to Decluttr might not be posted, send a message to LISTSERV@MAELSTROM.STJOHNS.EDU, saying in your message: set decluttr ack repro

which does:

REPRO You receive a copy of your own postings

ACK Short e-mail acknowledgement of successfully processed postings







2. Where are the archives?


All posts to the deCluttr maillist are archived and publicly available at:




3. Are there posting guidelines?
While there are no official guidelines other than those sent when you first subscribed, there has been much discussion recently of appropriate nettiquette to help people having trouble dealing with the volume of this list.

Some suggestions were:

  1. Consider whether your post is relavent to the entire list or to just the individual you are responding to, and send it accordingly. Just hitting reply usually sends to the whole list (but not always!) so please check the outgoing email address before hitting that send button in any event.
  2. Trim the quoted post. Quoting the post you are responding to in its entirety is usually uneccessary. The usual rule of thumb is to have more original post than quoted post.
  3. This group is about support. When disagreements or complaints come up, just keep that in mind when you choose your wording.



4. What is SHE?

SHE stands for Sidetracked Home Executives, and is usually refering to an index card system of decluttering/cleaning suggested in the Slob Sisters' (Pam Young and Peggy Jones) books. More info on the Slob Sisters and their resources can be found in the regular FAQ or at their web page:

SHE Online: A 21-day set of essays based on the SHE system to help get you up and running. For more info, see the regular FAQ.




5. What is the Decluttr list about?

Decluttr is a list for people with chronically disorganized possessions and/or too many possessions: clutterers, messies, packrats, hoarders. (Family members and professionals are welcome, but the list is mostly for those directly concerned.) It is a place to share Experience, Strength, and Hope; to discuss what works or doesn't work for you. It includes information about groups (Clutterers Anonymous, Get-O, Messies Anonymous, Voluntary Simplicity, etc.), books, and other resources. The list owner is Dan Goodman.




6. What is the difference between the FAQ and the Mini-FAQ?

This page (the Mini-FAQ) is primarily about the deCluttr maillist. The full FAQ is primarily about clutter and organizing solutions. It includes information about support groups, books and on-line resources. The two pages contain completely different information.

This page is generated out of the deCluttr maillist and a shortened version of it is posted about every ten days because it is about that often that someone asks "How to I get off this list?" or "How can I get this list in Digest format?" This page is maintained by Balance Check. The full FAQ is generated out of the alt.recovery.clutter newsgroup and is posted monthly. That page is maintained by Dan Goodman.


If you have any suggestions for additions or changes to the mini-FAQ, please send them to Balance Check. Keep in mind that the posted min-FAQ is being kept to under 200 lines so that it takes up no more than 2 postings on the maillist. More extensive entries are found on this page. The mini-FAQ does not duplicate the full FAQ.



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Who is "Balance Check?" I am Chas Kenyon and I live in north-eastern Wisconsin on the shores of that inland sea known as Lake Michigan (actually on Green Bay). I use the e-mail name of Balance Check because (1) that is the name of my primary website, and (2) I am a trial lawyer and don't want to make it too easy for potential courtroom opponents to read all of my list postings. Anyone who takes the trouble can figure out my identity pretty easily. My home page can be found at


Dan Goodman's explanation of Digest

To reduce the number of messages, send this command to
set Decluttr digest

"Digest" means that the messages for one day are put together into one long collection of messages. (If there are more than a certain number of messages, there will be one or two "special digests" also.)

Dan Goodman
Whatever you wish for me, may you have twice as much.

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