Declutter your home in five steps

Getting rid of clutter is wonderful, but sometimes you get overwhelmed, take a break, and end up accumulating more clutter before you can get back to the original clutter. Your cleaning effort suddenly dies of frustration, and the situation is no better than before – possibly worse, since cleaning involves making new stacks of clutter in an attempt to reorganize the whole mess.

Declutter your home in five steps

Here’s a method I recently used. It worked like a charm:

  1. Dust as you go along. I’m making this Step 1 because it’s when you’re moving things around that you have the opportunity to give it a really good dusting, which is one of the best parts of decluttering – that nice, fresh scent you get in a room that’s not full of dust.
  2. Start with closets and drawers. It sounds counter-intuitive, but if the very places where stuff does belong are overflowing, you can’t put anything away. Take things out, clean around them, and then put things back in an organized way. If some of the stuff doesn’t belong in there (you know, the stuff we all shove into those places when company’s coming), take it out and put it elsewhere (you’ll get to it later).
  3. Clean one part of a room at a time. Don’t think about the whole room. Just clean up the dining room table today, the end tables tomorrow, etc. This will be so much easier because you have closets and drawers to put most of the stuff in. Repeat this step until everything’s tidy – except that stuff that doesn’t have a home.
  4. Find a home for the stuff that doesn’t go anywhere. First, remember the six-month rule: if you haven’t used it in six months, throw it away. If you have, then find a drawer, shelf or closet space for it. You may need to buy an under the bed organizer box or some other sort of storage container. The point is to give everything a place to go when it’s not in use. Edited to add a reader tip: you can also call a junk removal company to take away your old and useless clutter.
  5. Vacuum/clean the floors. You want to clean floors at the end, after you’re done making a mess. If the floor has a lot of pet hair or people hair or debris that might ruin your vacuum cleaner, you’ll need to use a broom or a carpet sweeper to get the bulk of that up before starting with the vacuum.

This made for the quickest major cleanup I’ve ever done.


  1. Tracy says

    Great tips! It’s true that sometimes you have to make things look worse before you can make them look better, but if you address the root of the problem (like in step 2 – organizing your storage spaces so you have a place to put the clutter) you are far more likely to succeed than if you just cover them up with a band-aid!

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