Tag Archive | "Decluttering"

Decluttering the Closet

Organizing the closet can be a pretty big job. Closets are for storage. You probably put things in your closet without worrying much about where each item goes. Why worry? You merely shut the door, and the stuff you put in the closet seemingly disappears. Unfortunately, when you need that stuff later, you might not remember where you put it. Or your closet may be such a mess that you can’t find anything much in it at all. So now is the time to declutter that closet. Try to think of decluttering the closet as a treasure hunt. It’s amazing how many great things you can find in a closet that you thought were lost forever. So jump in and clean that closet. You never know what you will find.

Empty the closet

First, take everything out of the closet. If you are cleaning out a bedroom closet, put the closet contents on the bed. That way, you’ll have to finish the closet cleaning project before you go to bed. You will need a box for donations and trash bags. If you are not as strong as Wonder Woman or Superman, use a small to medium sized bag, and fill it full. You don’t want to get hurt lifting a heavy bag full of decluttered items. Some people also have a box for items they want to put in a garage sale or sell at a used clothing consignment store.

Clean the closet

While your closet is empty, wash it down and clean the shelves and floors. Since decluttering any closet is a huge job, you won’t be in a hurry to do it again. So you might as well do a good job and clean the closet while you have it empty.

Reduce your closet clutter by half

While the closet walls are drying, start to sort the clothing in the closet. That way you’ll have a major part of the job done first. Start at the top of the pile and work your way down. Try to get rid of at least 1 or 2 items for everything you keep. Try clothing on, especially if you haven’t worn that item for a while. If it doesn’t fit, it goes into the donation box. Be honest about this. You may keep one item that doesn’t fit to inspire you to lose weight, but no more than one. If you do actually lose that weight, you deserve new clothes anyway.

Out of style clothes

Out of style clothes go in the donation box. If they are seriously out of style and in less than excellent shape, consider throwing the clothing out. Clothes that are pilled, stained even just a bit, and threadbare need to be put in the garbage. If you wouldn’t wear the outfit, neither would thrift store shopper.

If you have a potentially vintage piece of clothing, you may be able to sell it at a consignment store or to a specialty store that features vintage clothing. To be eligible for resale at either of these stores, the article of clothing has to be in excellent condition, and usually need to be a brand name or made by a designer. Both clothing consignment stores and vintage clothing stores are notorious for being very picky about the clothing items they will take for resale. So if your clothing is not in like-new condition, it will probably not be eligible for resale. Remember- your goal is to clean out that closet. So if you have any doubt about the re-sale value of that article of clothing, donate it or toss it.

Comfort is the Key

Do you enjoy wearing that article of clothing? Is it comfortable? How long has it been since you last wore that outfit, toss it or donate it. If you don’t remember why you haven’t worn that outfit, try it on to refresh your memory.

Putting it Back

Only put clothing back in the closet that is appropriate for the season. If you decide to keep clothing that is not in season right now, store it in a plastic container either under the bed or in the basement or attic. Plastic containers will keep bugs and rodents from ruining your clothing.

Next put your clothes back in the closet in a specific order. Put the pants first, then skirts. Next goes short sleeved shirts, then long sleeved shirts. Jackets followed by dresses are next. If you have formal dresses or gowns, they go in last. If you keep your clothes sorted by length, you will be able to find each article of clothing more easily. You could even sort each category of clothing by color, but that is not really necessary unless you the time.


Shoes go back in the closet next. Sorting shoes takes the same types of rules that sorting clothing does. If the shoes are uncomfortable or don’t fit, toss them or donate them. Only donate shoes in excellent condition, however. And only donate shoes if you know you don’t have foot fungus or other types of foot problems. Spray the shoes down with disinfecting spray before you donate, as well. You may save one pair of fishing or gardening shoes, but the rest of the worn out shoes need to go.

The Rest of the Closet

Because closet become a catch-all for many different items, now is the time to sort these items back to the place where they belong. If you no longer want or need that shoe box or worn out pair of gloves, out they go. Before you know it, your closet will be clean and organized. You will feel good about the way your closet looks and be able to find clothes and other items more quickly, which will save you time and energy in the long run.


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Desk Decluttering

Desk Decluttering

Decluttering your personal desk at home can be a big task. It is an important one, however, because a person’s desk usually is the storage area for some of their most important paperwork.  You can get away with decluttering your home a couple of times per year, but your desk really needs to be done more often than that. This is especially true if you pay your bills at your desk. If you don’t keep it organized or decluttered in some way, you are likely to end up with some grouchy bill collectors wondering where your payments are. So let’s get that desk organized.

Starting to Organize Desk Declutter

First, get a large box. Clear off the tops of surfaces and put these items in the box. Then dump each of the drawers in the box, contents and all. Do you have any other shelves or cupboards in your desk? Dump those items in the box as well. There should be nothing left on your desk when you’re done, with the possible exception of your computer.

Next, pick up each part of your computer and look under it. Wipe or dust under and around each section of your computer. Dust the computer and screen as recommended by the computer’s manufacturer. It can be surprising what you will find under parts of your computer!

Categorizing Drawers

Then clean each shelf, drawer, and any other part of the desk until all surfaces are shiny and clean. You will then need a garbage bag and a box for stuff that needs filing. Then start at the top of the box and start sorting. Decide what category of items will go in each drawer. When you decide to keep something, put it back in the drawer.

Pens, pencils and other writing tools can go in one drawer. This drawer also can contain liquid erasing fluid, staples, and paper clips and other related items. When you decide to keep something, put it back in the drawer. If you are like most people, you will have duplicates of some things. Decide if you really need 5 packages of pens. You can store the extra pens for later use, but if you have LOTS of extras, either donate them or toss them. Put them in a drawer. Perhaps you already have an area in your desk drawer to store pens and pencils. If not, be creative.

You can run out and buy a couple of plastic storage containers especially meant for office desk drawers. But small boxes work well, also. Check book boxes are perfect for storing pens and pencils, and keep them from rolling all over the desk drawer. Another good place to store pens and pencils is in a container on top of the desk. Anything shaped like a vase or a jar works to store pens, pencils and other similar items on top of your desk.  And if you have the time and money, you can buy office drawer organizing units to keep all of those little items like erasers and rubber bands organized in your desk drawers, as well.

Stationary and paper can go in another drawer. Anything related to stationary or paper products can go in that drawer, as well. Computer paper, labels, envelopes and other such items can go in this drawer. This drawer should only be for paper items that haven’t been used yet, or for paper that you plan to recycle.

Bills should go in another drawer. Categorize bills by the order in which they need to be paid. Then put paid bills in another area of the drawer. Filing folders can come in handy for this drawer. You can also sort bills by month, if that makes it easier for you.

The point is to know where your bills are and whether or not they have been paid or not. Some people like to keep their bills in an inbox and outbox organizer. That type of organization is fine, as well. But if you don’t want your bills on top of the desk for anyone to see, sort them into a drawer. Set a specific day of the month to pay bills, so you won’t forget to pay them. Or pay your bills on line, using paperless bills and payments to avoid the clutter of bill statements as much as possible. That way, you’ll have less paper to keep under control.

An inbox and outbox on top of your desk will keep you organized. After you sort your mail, put the items that need to be sorted into your individual desk drawers and files in the inbox. Use your outbox for outgoing mail and bills that need to be sent. Correspondence and letters can go in your outbox, as well. Using an in and out box is no substitute for routine sorting and filing, however.

Take time routinely to clean off and declutter your desk. Before you know it, a clean desk and organized workspace will become a happy habit.


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Decluttering the Kitchen

Kitchen decluttering is a huge job. The kitchen is the center and heart of the home.  Everyone congregates there. Families hang out in the kitchen and guests are entertained there. Because of this, the kitchen has a lot more traffic than many areas of the house. And more traffic often means more clutter in the kitchen.

First, clear off and clean the surfaces of the kitchen, such as counter and stove tops. You will probably need to put stuff on the kitchen floor until it has been sorted. Kitchen gadgets have been popular gifts for the last few decades.

Every year new kitchen gadgets come out, and one or two of them might have ended up under your Christmas tree, and then on your countertops. Choose the kitchen gadgets you need or use the most, then donate or throw out the rest. This is one type of item your local thrift store loves to receive for a donation. If you decide to keep a kitchen gadget, you must have a place for it in a cupboard, drawer, or stored somewhere else out of sight.

Your goal is to keep the countertop clear of gadgets and other types of clutter. The only things that should be on your countertops are a can opener and coffee pot. Everything else can be stored behind closed doors.

This is a room that really needs to have cupboards and shelves cleaned out routinely. Empty out the cupboard or cabinet you are going to clean.  Wipe off and sanitize the cupboard. Choose carefully what you are going to put back into the cupboard. If the item is broken, or there is only a little food left in the box, throw the utensil or food box away. Also, decide whether or not you use that utensil enough to make it worthwhile storing. If the answer is no, donate it to a local shelter or thrift store.

When you start to put kitchen utensils and small appliances away, put them closest to where they will be needed. For instance, put pots and pans next to the oven. Put cups and glasses in a cupboard next to the sink. Put cleaners under the sing. Then put dishes and utensils as close to the cups and glasses as you can. Store heaver items in lower cupboards and lighter items up higher, to make them easier to take out and use.

Put canned foods together in neighboring cupboards and keep baking ingredients together as well. Have a place for kitchen linens like dishtowels and pot holders. These should be close to the sink if possible. Cookbooks work nicely on that shelf or in that cupboard about the stove, if you have one.

As you are checking each item over before you put it away, check that each utensil works. Also check each food item’s expiration date before you put it back on that shelf. Foods can spoil and be dangerous. Spices also lose their scent and flavor over time. Use a black marker to write the expiration date on spices, so they are easier to see. Throw out foods, spices, or cleaning chemicals whose dates have expired. Then restock your kitchen cupboards with the remaining food items. Be sure you put those with the closest expiration date toward the front of the shelf, so you will remember to use it first.

Also, don’t forget to clean out the refrigerator. This should really be done at least once per week. And check the freezer for old frozen food or frozen food that might have extensive freezer burn. Once you have removed everything from the fridge, clean the surface of it according to the manufacturer’s suggestions. Usually soapy water or water with baking soda cleans the refrigerator and makes it smell sweet as well. Leaving an open container of baking soda in the fridge keeps it smelling clean as well.

Finally, pick up any clutter or items you have left on the floor and sort through them. Find a place to put your special, extra large roaster for that Thanksgiving turkey, and for the crock pot. By the time you scrub the floor, you will have a clean, fresh, organized kitchen that is clutter free.

Thrift stores and shelters really love to get donations from your kitchen. They can get too many donations of clothing, but usually don’t get too many donations of kitchen utensils. And people just starting out on their own love the bargains they can find at a thrift store. So box those unused utensils up and give them away.

Your kitchen will be more organized and you will feel good about your contribution to a good cause.

Decluttering the kitchen is a big job, but it will make your life easier in the long run. You will have fresh products to make delicious meals with, and fresh chemicals to clean with because you organized and decluttered your kitchen. Meals will be easier to prepare because your ingredients are organized and easy to find. And you will waste less time looking for utensils in your newly decluttered kitchen.


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Decluttering the Bedroom

If you have not been using under bed storage, now is a good time to take your storage boxes out and look at them. Do you have any that will fit under the bed? If so, clean out under the bed, and put your plainly labeled storage items there. Storing items under the bed gives you more room for storage that will be unseen by others. Just be sure that you use either clear storage containers or label the containers well, so you can retrieve your stored items quickly.


Cleaning out the bedroom closet is usually the hardest part of decluttering the bedroom. There is another entire article on decluttering and cleaning closets, so see that article if you want more details. Here is the short version of that article. Empty out your closet. Put back only the clothes that you are comfortable in, that are in season, and that fit well.

Donate or discard the rest of the clothes. Sort your shoes in much the same way. And process through the rest of the stuff that has managed to accumulate in the closet carefully.  Try to get rid of one item for each item you keep in the closet. Last, keep out of season clothing stored somewhere until the proper season comes around. One perfect place to store your out of season clothing is under the bed.

Under the Bed Storage

If you are already using the area under your bed for storage, good for you! Storing items under your bed is a wonderful way to use unused space. There are two advantages to storing items under your bed.  First, if your bed has neatly organized storage containers under it, socks, shoes, and other miscellaneous items will not be able to collect under your bed. Second, if you are very short of storage space, using the area under your bed for storage will give you some badly needed storage space. Under the bed is really the perfect place to store your out of season clothing, as well.

If the area under the bed is limited, you can buy lifts to rise up your bed a few more inches. You can gain a larger area in which to put larger storage boxes in that way.

Next, you will need storage boxes that fit under the bed. One way to get boxes free is to reuse old cardboard boxes, especially the type of gift boxes that come from the department store. The biggest problem with these recycled boxes is that you cannot see through them. For that reason, you will need to carefully label storage boxes that you can’t see through. Another type of under the bed storage box you can use is the see-through plastic type of box. These boxes should still be labeled, but it is still easier to tell what is in the boxes, since you can see through them. Be sure to measure the area under your bed before you buy under bed storage containers, to make sure they will fit under the bed.

If you have already been using under the bed storage, now is a good time to go through those stored items and articles of clothing. Sort, donate and toss any items you find under the bed. Have your trash bags and donation boxes near you, just in case you need them.


The next big job is to go through your dresser drawers. Dresser drawers are famous places for hiding and storing personal items. Not only will you find underwear in bedroom dresser drawers, but you may also find other interesting items that you might not expect.

One example of this is that some people like to store tokens and letters from previous romances. If you are decluttering for someone other than yourself, you may very well need to leave their bedroom dresser drawers alone. Or be sure to get the person’s permission before you start to go through the drawers.

People really should go through their own drawers, but we all know that doesn’t always happen. If you have a really stubborn person in your household who doesn’t want their drawers cleaned out, give them a certain amount of time. If the dresser drawers haven’t been cleaned out by then, you will do it for them. That condition seems to motivate even the most stubborn messy person into action.

First, take the drawer out and dump it either on the floor or on the bed. Have your trash bag and donation box handy. Any item that doesn’t fit goes either to the donation box or in the garbage. If you are sorting lingerie or other types of underwear, many of these items do not qualify for donations for health and hygiene reasons. Unless they are new, most underwear that you no longer want will need to be thrown away. Now is the time to either find the mate to that single sock or throw it away. Some people like to use single socks for dusting rags, and then throw the sock away. And sometimes while you are sorting, you actually find the sock’s long lost mate.

Go through the rest of your dresser drawers the same way. Dump the drawer, clean it out, and put back only the items that you need or that fit. If you have stuff in the drawers that really doesn’t belong in the bedroom, move it to the appropriate room of the house and put it away. Once you’ve cleaned the closets, drawers and under the bed you should be able to finish the rest of the bedroom quickly. Nobody sees these areas much, but you know the clutter is there. You will be able to find your clothing more quickly if you are uncluttered, organized, and know where things are in your bedroom.


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Top Ten Items to Keep Your Home Organized

Even the most frugal person I know will occasionally splurge on an item that will help her keep more organized.

Here are some of my favorite organizational tools for the home.

1)  Lazy Susan

Thanks to the soul who invented this little item!  They’re cheap, and help keep spices, bottles, and condiments neatly arranged and at your fingertips.  Use them in the pantry, in cabinets, on the kitchen table – they’re absolutely life savers when it comes to staying organized.

2)  Plastic Basket for Lids

Plastic containers – a double edged sword!  One the one hand they keep me organized and save tons of time in the kitchen, especially.  But searching through ten thousand lids that don’t fit can drive a person nutty.  I use a plastic basket for all my lids so they’re in one spot when I go looking.

3)  A Triple Swing-out Towel Holder

Put these under your kitchen and bathroom sinks to save space and keep your sink area uncluttered.  Use it to hold towels, cleaning rags, trash bags, etc.

4)  Place a few strong adhesive hooks in the laundry room – these can be used for hanging coats, clothes, etc.  Hooks are great to hang up mops, brooms and other cleaning supplies, too.

5)  Plastic Baggies with Zipper Locks

How did our ancestors survive without them?  Baggies are perfect to store small toys, puzzle pieces, and any little items that go together in one spot.  The  two-gallon sized ones are my favorite.

6)  A Labeler

These don’t have to be expensive to work.  And having containers and shelf spaces labeled is a great way to help children keep their items organized, as well as yourself.  Do yourself a favor – use a labeler for a week, and you’ll wonder hoe you ever lived without one.

7)  A Compartment Tray for Your Junk Drawer

Occasionally, I actually open my junk drawer to search for something!  Having miscellaneous items in little compartments of the tray will save you time and frustration when you go searching.

8)  A TV Remote Holder

How much time have you wasted looking for this little item?  Make or purchase a holder for your remote, or put velcro on the back and stick it someplace near the couch.

9)  Laundry Sorting Bin

Less than ten bucks, these bins help keep your dirty laundry organized, so that when you’re ready to wash the whites, they’re all in the same spot.  No more digging through a giant hamper to find the right clothes!  This makes laundry time so much simpler!

10)  Two-tiered Spice Racks

These cabinet organizers save time and hassle in the kitchen.  How many times have you searched for the oregano – behind the cinnamon, no – the nutmeg…Wait -where was the nutmeg?  You get the idea.

These items are by no means all the great organizing tools out there, but they’re my choices for time saving and hassle free living!


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Once Over Lightly

The Quick Pick Up

A quick once over lightly of your home each day will help you keep clutter from piling up and taking over your home or life in general. Thankfully, many homes only need a quick going over to keep them looking neat. This type of quick cleaning looks good on the surface, but can hide a multitude of organizational sins. Not to worry, however.

This fast type of surface cleaning is perfect for a quick fix to outside appearances of clutter in your home. When this quick pick up is done, drop in visitors will be able to come into your house without your being embarrassed about the way the house looks.  And your unexpected visitors will never know that you didn’t spend hours cleaning before they dropped in. They will think, however, that you are a great housekeeper with excellent organizational skills.  What they don’t know won’t hurt them. When you get more time, you can choose more specific organizational issues to purse and conquer.

How to Accomplish the Quick Pick Up

Grab a trash bag, a damp cloth or disinfecting wipes, a good attitude, and let’s get the house picked up. It won’t be white-glove inspection ready, but it will look okay if you have someone drop by. And you will feel better when your house is picked up, as well.

Avoiding the Lived-in Look in the Living Room

The next quick pick up is the living room. Actually, you could start here, since this is usually the place most people see first when they come into your home. With your handy dandy garbage, pick up the extra papers, mail, trash, newspapers, and magazines that are lying around. If you aren’t sure whether or not to throw something out, put it in a drawer and save it for closer inspection. Couch, coffee tables, and end tables can be cleared of clutter.

Magazines usually go under end tables, or stacked neatly on top of end tables. When you furniture shop, be sure to buy end tables and coffee tables with storage for magazines and newspapers. That way, you can put them out of sight. Sorting and storing the magazines and newspapers you want to keep is a larger project for later. Our goal now is to clear off surfaces. If people can’t see the clutter, it doesn’t matter, at least during the quick pick up phase of our cleaning day.

Next, clear the floor of trash, clothing, shoes and other clutter that may be there. Dishes go in a sink full of soapy water to soak for right now. Laundry that happened to find its way to the living room goes behind that same closed laundry room door as the previous laundry did. Personal belongings can go into individual rooms, in draws or closets for them to deal with later. Now your surfaces and floors look picked up. If you think you have time, you can wipe surfaces off with a damp cloth. If not, wait till later and dust.

Kitchen Clutter Cures

The next most likely place in your home that unexpected company might come into is your kitchen. If you just want yours to be presentable until you can really clean it, here are some suggestions for a quick pick up.

Kitchens can get messy and cluttered quickly. To do a quick pick up in your kitchen, first deal with the dishes. If you are in a huge hurry, or haven’t done dishes for a while, fill your sink with hot, soapy water and let the dishes soak while you continue to pick up the kitchen. At least they are covered up with soapy water. And when you finally get time to put them in the dishwasher, they will be pre-rinsed and ready to wash.

Next, clear the rest of the kitchen surfaces. Fill the trash, cupboards and drawers in your kitchen quickly. If you need to sort further, you can do that later. Once you get your kitchen organized, putting kitchen items away will be a snap. But until that time, just get those surfaces picked up and stuff out of sight.

After cleaning surfaces, clear up items from the floor. Use closets, cupboards, the garbage, and drawers to get that stuff out of sight. Then sweep the floor. Don’t worry about mopping it until later. Move on to the bathroom.

Use a Quick Pick Up to Cure Those Bathroom Blues

Unexpected visitors may or may not use your bathroom. But nothing is more embarrassing than having someone use a bathroom that is a mess. Dirty clothes end up here frequently, hamper or not. Underwear especially ends up in the bathroom, and you don’t want to share that sight with anyone.

First, clean off the surfaces of your bathroom. Bathrooms usually have some drawers and a medicine cabinet to store makeup and medications, so toss some of the surface clutter in these places. Toss the garbage on the surfaces into the trash as well. Wipe the surfaces of your bathroom off with disinfecting wipes to help it look and smell cleaner. This room really needs to have the mirrors cleaned as well. Don’t put that off until later. Don’t forget to wipe the sink clean. Then pick up the bathroom floor, toss the trash, and put the laundry in the laundry room.

The most public parts of your home are picked up now.  If someone drops by, you won’t be embarrassed by the way your house looks.  You deserve to take a couple of minutes and take a break. You deserve it.


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Lifestyles of the Clean and Tidy

Building New Habits

Clutter does not have to become a way of life. Some basic lifestyle changes will help you keep your house from getting out of hand. These changes aren’t too hard. They are also good candidates for a New Years’ resolution, if you need one. But you don’t have to wait till the New Year to start. Any Monday is a good time, just like Monday is a good time to start a diet. The point is to start. Here is a new routine that should help keep the clutter down in your home.

To get into a new habit takes a while. If you are trying to break a bad habit, it helps to replace that bad habit with a good habit. You have to do a new activity or action for 40 days consistently before it starts to feel natural. That’s why some people try to give up a bad habit during the 40 days of Lent. By the time that season is over, an old habit has less of a hold on you. You don’t need to make decluttering a part of your religion, however. Just choose a length of time to really stick to your new habits. One month is a good beginning. And hopefully a new habit has taken its place.

Reward yourself for sticking to your new routine by doing something nice for yourself when you are successful. You don’t really have to be 100% successful for the entire 40 days before you get a reward, also. And you don’t have to be perfect in your new routine to get a reward. You only have to do better.

Rewards can be something as tiny as a cookie and a cup of coffee during a break, or something as big as that new piece of furniture you’ve wanted at the end of a successful 40 days of following this routine. But if you buy something to bring into your house, be sure you have a space for it. Shelves and cabinets of some sort are a great reward, and help to keep you clutter-free, as well.

A new routine

The rule to your new routine is to put things away, right after you use them. Sounds simple, doesn’t it. But if it was simple, you would have been doing it all along, and the clutter wouldn’t have built up in your house.

The first thing to do each day is make your bed. If your bed is made, the majority of your bedroom will look cleaned and tidied. I know you don’t want to, but do it anyway. You’ll be happier with the way your house looks in the long run. And remember, it takes a while to build new habits. Next, pile those dirty clothes lying on the bedroom floor into you laundry hamper. Yes, they are supposed to be in the hamper already, but they just don’t always make it there. Not to worry. Just take your filled laundry hamper with its dirty clothing into your laundry room or area, start a load, and shut the door. Your floor in the bedroom is probably clear now. If not, finish putting shoes, etc. in the closet and shut that door, as well. If this sounds like to much to deal with first thing in the morning, put your clothes in the hamper at night before bed, and put your shoes in the closet, as well. This whole activity doesn’t really take that long, and your bedroom looks clean as a result.

The next rooms a person tends to go to is the bathroom. Once you are done with your daily hygiene routine, take a minute or two to put those items back where they belong. Makeup can go back in the drawer, and other hygiene items back in the medicine cabinet.

Next, grab those dirty clothes and towels and put them in the hamper.  Your next decision will be about whether or not you have time to wipe surfaces down and/or wipe off the mirror. Those disinfecting wipes you can buy at the local grocery store are great for this. You now have clean, disinfected surfaces in the bathroom. You might need to save cleaning the mirror for later. But definitely be sure there is not left over toothpaste spit into your sink. It sets up like concrete and is much harder to clean later. But for now, you have a clear floor and the surfaces of your bathroom are uncluttered. Close the shower door or curtain to hide any issues there.

Kitchen Clutter

First, get that cup of coffee or tea started. While it brews, make your breakfast. Once you are done eating, clean up after yourself. Do it right away, don’t put it off. Dishes go in the dishwasher. You can put dishes in the sink only if you don’t have a dishwasher.  Rinse them off first, of course. Take a moment to clear counter surfaces of any clutter that might have accumulated. Take a moment to put breakfast items away, coffee containers up, and cereal away. Any other dirty dishes you’ve made or found can go in the dishwasher, as well. If you don’t have a dishwasher, wash the dishes you created right away. Leave them in the sink in a drainer to dry. By this point, most of us will need to be on our way to work or school. Be proud, because you haven’t let daily household clutter win today.


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Where do I start

Where do I Start?

There are lots of great ideas and rationales for starting a deep cleaning and decluttering of your house. Two theories are consistently used to tart a decluttering project. Just remember, it doesn’t matter which one you choose, or if you come up with your own idea. Just pick a spot and begin to declutter.

Theory Number One

Theory number one is to start your decluttering project on a part of the house that will be seen most frequently by you or by the people who come to your home. I f you spend most of your time in the kitchen, start there. ON the other hand, if you like to spend time in your living room or family room, start your serious decluttering activity there. When you are done decluttering that room you entertaining area is ready for visitors. You and your visitors will be able to enjoy the fruits of your labor, which is a very encouraging feeling.

Theory Number Two

The second way to start a decluttering project is to start at the messiest place and work from there. For instance, if you have a spare room that has turned into a dumping ground for odds and ends of projects, start there. Or if everyone likes to have out in the living room, and bring their belongings and projects with them, you might start there. Lots of people start in their bedrooms. Bedrooms can be used as storage units. This might be because people tend to close their bedroom doors and avoid the issue of cleaning the room, since it isn’t always a high traffic area in the home.

If you are a collector, pack rat, or haven’t uncluttered in a while, you may feel overwhelmed at the amount of junk you have collected. Just remember that there is no perfect place to start a decluttering project. Pick a place and go for it.

Pick it and Stick to it

Once you have decided where to start your decluttering adventure, stick to it. For perfectionists as well as many others, the project may feel overwhelming. You might be tempted to stop before you start, especially if you have to clear up lots of clutter.

Break the project into smaller tasks. If you are very uncomfortable or overwhelmed, break the project into tiny task. For instance, all you may be able to deal with is one drawer at a time. Take that drawer, dump it on the floor or a table, and start to go through the stuff. Have your garbage bag handy, and use it often. Then put back only the items you really need or want. If you have duplicates of an item, throw it away. If you feel like you are wasting stuff, you probably are.

People who have clutter have duplicates of many items. This is because they couldn’t find, for example, the masking tape. They had to run out and buy more for a project.  Of course, later they find that roll of tape, plus usually several others. You could organize your tape and keep it all. You could keep some of a duplicated item and throw the rest away. Or you can donate duplicates of items you find while decluttering. One thing that really helps you clean out that space is a box for donations. You have a perfectly good item that you just don’t want or don’t have room to store. Donate it to a thrift store or shelter. That way the item is out of your house, and may be helpful to someone else who might have a use for it.

The Timer Method

Another way to break a huge decluttering job down to reasonable tasks is to set a timer for a specific amount of time. While the clock is ticking, sort and toss your chosen area with vigor. When the timer goes off, you get a break. Start with a small amount of time if you really have trouble decluttering. You’d be amazed at how much you can get done in 15 minutes. If you discover that you become inspired by the amount you can accomplish in 15 minutes, you might want to do another round of decluttering. Or you can be finished for the day. Either way, you have accomplished something and are a bit more organized than you were. Reward yourself by enjoying the look of that empty shelf or organized drawer. Then have a bit of a rest if you’d like.

You may choose a longer time period to declutter. If you can, clean and organize for an hour. Then give yourself a nice break or rest. If you keep this pattern going all day, you will be amazed at how much you can get done. But even if you only declutter for an hour every day, your house will be organized in no time. Try to pick an area that can be finished in an hour. This will give you an amazing sense of accomplishment. But even if you only declutter for a few minutes per day, you will improve the organization of your home and feel more organized in other areas of your life, as well.


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Decluttering the Entire Family

Decluttering the Entire Family

You will be able to make many changes to your home while decluttering that feel good to you. Some parts of the house are community property. Therefore, it is okay if you move items in those areas, or throw some of the stuff in that area away. But some of the areas that need to be decluttered are a family member’s personal space. You can try to declutter these areas yourself. But woe be unto you if you accidentally throw out a treasure that looked like junk to you. In these cases, you can assign the person to declutter their own space. They may not be as excited about being organized as you are, however. Procrastination and arguments may be the result of you insisting that they clean their room. You can agree to leave the door to that room shut in some cases. Or you can work with that person to get them organized.

You may have some family pack rats. These particular messy person or people can be your significant other, children or other family members. These people will need to help decide which of their belongings should stay, be donated or tossed. You will need to set aside more time for decluttering projects with family members, because you may need to negotiate whether some items go or stay. Most people are agreeable to help cleaning and organizing. They may actually be relieved that they are finally getting their personal space organized. But they want an element of control over their space. They may become upset if they can’t find something they need right away. That is why you should work together with a family member to get their possessions organized. Hopefully the final result will be worth the effort that the two of you put into decluttering that family member’s space.

Happily, family members sometimes follow your positive example. If they see you decluttering, they may decide to get in on the activity themselves. Or sometimes a child might want to help you declutter. This is true especially when they see the positive results of your organizational efforts. But, in many cases, one person is the head organizer of the house.

You may have a person in your family that has some real issues with clutter. Collecting things is fine as long as the collection is stored neatly or displayed appropriately. But when your home becomes a dumping ground, you and those you live with are in trouble. Someone, probably you, will need to take some action. And for those living with people with a hoarding disorder, medication and counseling may well is in order. Compulsive hoarding can be treated. Thankfully, most of us don’t have such a serious issue with our possessions. We just get behind in our cleaning and need to rethink our stuff.

Throughout history, parents have had issues with getting children to clean their rooms. When a child is very small, you will need to help them clean their rooms quite a bit. Eventually, however, you want your child to be able to keep a neatly organized room of his or her own. Many children don’t want to clean their room or deal with the clutter.  One of the ways you get yourself to declutter is by using a timer and a bit of reward or bribery at the end of a cleaning session. This method will probably work well for your child, too. Sit down with your child and decide what reward he or she will get when they have finished a sorting or cleaning project in their room. If their room is really quite messy, you might have to break this room cleaning adventure into several smaller projects, just like you did with some of the large household decluttering projects you may have tackled in other areas of the house. That is fine.  Just be clear about what is expected of the child when they declutter. Also be clear about the reward they will receive. You may need to redirect a child several times, depending on their age. But even a toddler can pick up his or her toys and put them in a toy box.

Be sure to compliment them on their hard work when they are finished. And remember, you may need to help them do the actual deep cleaning portions of cleaning their room, to be sure that they have a healthy environment to sleep and play in. Hopefully the child will grow to appreciate a clean, organized bedroom and play area, and will be able to do much of the organization on their own.

Working with any family member to declutter a home or a portion of a home can be frustrating at times. Foster a loving relationship with the person rather than creating strife over how clean and organized the house is. Family teamwork is important, and everyone should be able to pitch in and help keep a home looking nice. This type of family teamwork can also build pride and self esteem among family members.


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Entry Organization

Most people have an area just inside their front door that is a transitional place between the outside world and their home. Usually this area collects clothing, shoes, purses or backpacks and pet items like leashes.

This area collects belongings as well as dirt and wet clothing. Some call this area the mud room. And mud surely does collect there. You actually want some item s to collect in your entry way. You want your cat and keys to be right where you and find them on your way out the door. Unfortunately, this area can become a pot of piles of coats and other outerwear rather quickly. Here are a few tips to keep your front entryway organized and neat.


Outerwear should be neatly hung with extra space available in the area so coats and jackets can dry if necessary. You may want to install a rack of coat hooks in on. But any kind of hangers will do. You could use a coat stand or hall tree for hanging coats and jackets, as well. Shelves are great for storing hats, scarves, gloves and purses. If you don’t have shelves or can’t install shelves, use a chest of drawers or other drawer system as a place of storage for your mittens and gloves. This chest of drawers can be an actual dresser or some plastic drawers that you can purchase for very little money. Besides, if you have been decluttering, you may have created an empty dresser or other type of storage or furniture that you can now use in your entry way.

Coat stands and hall trees also make a great place to hang coats, jackets and other wet outerwear. This is especially true if you don’t have a built in closet by the front door.

Keys, Mail and Other Potential Clutter

Baskets placed close to the door can help you sort items before you bring them into the house. You might need a basket for keys, sunglasses, loose change, and a larger place to put your mail of other important papers.

Before you even come in the door, you should have some kind of welcome mat so people can wipe their feet before they even enter your home. This foot cleaning mat will keep your entire house cleaner in the long run.

If you live in a wet climate, you will want a special place to put your umbrella. You don’t need to go out and buy an umbrella stand, however. Just find the right shape of garbage can or basket, and you have an umbrella holder. You may have discovered just the right container while decluttering in another part of the house. And if you need a place to store canes or walking sticks, your umbrella holder can multitask and do that as well.

Shoes and Boots

Shoe storage is an important part of any entry way. You can buy boxes to store shoes in, or use found boxes for the same purpose. Any plastic or wooden low shelves or cubicles will do. These also make a good place to dry wet or snowy shoes, as well. A stash of recycled plastic bags goes well in this area, especially if you might have to carry shoes or other items with you. Just stuff your old plastic grocery bags in an empty tissue box for easy dispensing.

Purses and Bags

Purses and bags can be either hung in the coat closet or placed on the closet floor. If you don’t have a coat closet, hang your purse with your coat, or put it on top of the dresser you put in the front entryway. You could even put it in one of the drawers you put in the front entry to collect scarves and gloves. If you have a gym bag that you routinely use, put it next to your gym shoes, or store it where you put your purse or briefcase.

Pet Supplies

Pet supplies placed near the door make leashes easy to find when you want to take you dogs for a walk. Any kind of pet or coat hook will work well. And if your pet has a coat, you can hang his or her coat there, as well. A towel hung in the entryway helps you dry off your dog if they get wet or snowy outside, too.

Keeping Your Entry Decluttered

Take a moment to enjoy your newly decluttered entryway when you are finished decluttering it.  Then make a point to put items away where they belong every time you come in the house. You will always know where your glasses and keys are. Your wet coats and mittens will have a place to dry and be ready for their next use. And you won’t have to look for your gloves, because you will know right where they are.

Once you find a place for everything in your entryway, be sure you keep everything in its place. In that way, visitors will have a positive opinion of your house on their first impression when entering your home. And you will save time and energy because you don’t have to look for your keys, gloves and leashes. Your life will be less stressful and you will feel organized.


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