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DeClutter Your Home to Make Cleaning Easier

by Victor Vargas - October 19, 2016

DeClutter Your Home to Make Cleaning Easier

by Sara Skillen

When a room is disorganized, it makes it more difficult to clean. Your goal may be to vacuum and dust, but after putting kid’s toys back in a bin, books back on the shelf, and going through stacks of paper, you might feel overwhelmed by how much stuff you had to move before you could actually clean. More clutter definitely equals more time spent tidying up, and in fact some cleaning companies will not touch a home with stacks and piles everywhere.  Here are some tips for decluttering your home to make cleaning more efficient and effective:

THE LIVING ROOM

  • Use baskets to hold toys, blankets, and any items that are frequently used – teach the kids to put things back each evening before bedtime.

  • If you haven’t already, add storage for books, video games, DVDs and other media so it’s easy to find, and doesn’t become extra clutter. Donate anything that hasn’t been used and enjoyed within the past year.

  • If you can convert your music and movies to digital format, this will free up more valuable space in your living room.

  • Remove any items that belong to other rooms, and anything that has lost its usefulness.

  • Undecorate: if your living room feels crowded even when everything is in its proper place, it might be time to let go of some decorative items that don’t truly serve a purpose such as collectibles, extra pillows, etc.

THE KITCHEN

Having free counter space makes a kitchen feel fresh, spacious, and clean. Plus, it’s much easier to sanitize on a regular basis!

  • Begin by clearing everything from your kitchen counter except for 3-5 essentials.

  • Next, find appropriate homes for everything else in drawers or cabinets. Use drawer dividers or organizers to separate items and make them easier to see.

  • Still holding onto the ice cream maker/deep fryer/juicer you received as a gift and haven’t used even once? It’s time to get rid of it and create room for more useful items.

  • If you find yourself left with papers and junk mail, trash them or move them to the office. We’ll come back to this topic later.

THE BEDROOM

Your bedroom should be a place to sleep, not stress. Your goal is to create an environment that’s conducive to rest and relaxation (and easy to dust!). As with the other spaces, remove any items that don’t fit in that environment.

  • Clear off any flat surfaces and store important items out of view. Use a chest or vintage trunk for extra linens, off-season clothes, and other items you won’t need to access daily.

  • Edit your closets and drawers – it’s time to cleanse your life of clothes you no longer wear. Still holding onto those jeans you’re hoping to squeeze into one day? Let them go. Keep the items that make you look and feel good, and give the rest to friends or charity.

  • Maximize wall space: Use book shelves for the obvious (books) and other beloved items.  Hang pictures and even jewelry, for a creative (rather than cluttered) look.

THE OFFICE

Flat surfaces are the quickest to gather clutter.  Mail, bills, magazines, pens, and even empty glasses, start to build up and we are left with a surface that’s difficult – if not impossible – to clean. Here are some easy steps you can take to solve this problem:

  • Sort all paper items into three piles: File, To-Do, and Recycle.

  • Recycle, shred, or trash all the papers you no longer need. Check community listings to see if a local free “Shred Day” is coming up, and take advantage of it.

  • File the important papers. Or, scan documents and receipts to create a digital document and shred the physical copies.

  • Place all To-Do papers in a labeled basket or file. Have a special designation for bills and other time sensitive documents.

  • Records that need to be retained indefinitely (tax returns, vital records should be scanned, with hard copies stored in a file cabinet or box.

  • Extra tip: Take pictures of sentimental items like concert tickets, vacation brochures, and greeting cards so you can still enjoy the memories, but not be overwhelmed by the clutter.

THE BATHROOMS

  • Clear off the bathroom counter and place all items to the side.

  • Next, clean out all the closets and drawers.  Throw away any items that are no longer used on a regular basis including items past their expiration date.

  • Divide items into “like with like” piles. This step will help you evaluate which items are taking up the most room.

  • Donate or trash the excess (yes, this includes that fancy bubble bath you’ve never used, and any multiples of the same item: extra bars of soap, hotel shampoo and conditioner bottles). If it’s too early to part with an item, place it in a box and give yourself a month to use it).

  • Give away extra towels to create more cabinet space.

  • Use drawer organizers, dividers, boxes, and baskets for a clean and clutter-free bathroom.

  • Place only the most essential items back on the countertop.

Hopefully once you’ve taken these simple steps, you will be left with rooms that are easier to manage and simpler to clean.  Since everything has it’s place, it will less overwhelming to begin, and an overall faster (and more pleasant) process.

Sara Skillen

Sara Skillen is the owner of SkillSet Organizing based in Franklin, TN.