A very cluttered home attic

The 3 Daily Steps that Reduce Household Clutter

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Close your eyes and imagine your home as you’d like: clean, serene. Something you’re proud of. The way to get there, of course, is by reducing clutter.

But chances are, you’ve tried that before. You gave up weekends, you gave up vacation time. Yet you still struggle to deal with the clutter.

Let me explain why, and a more sustainable approach to reducing clutter that will get you to that serene space you imagined.

The Process to Reduce Clutter

We often think of reducing clutter as a one-time event, but you don’t learn a new language, become a marathoner, or master a musical instrument in one afternoon or weekend, right?

Getting control of your home’s clutter requires the same approach: you do it methodically until reducing clutter and keeping it out of your home is part of who you are, too.

Step 1: Start here.

Does clutter make you feel embarrassed? Start where visitors will see, like the living room or entryway.

Does clutter make it difficult to relax? Start where you like to spend time unwinding.

Does clutter get in the way of activities? If it’s cooking, start with the counters. If it’s getting dressed, start with your closet.

Step 2: Set an appointment.

To make reducing clutter an ingrained habit, you need to practice it regularly. So, schedule a recurring daily 15-minute appointment to reduce clutter. Mine is part of my pre-bed routine.

  • Pick up trash.
  • Put away things that belong in the space you’re working in.
  • Gather things that go somewhere else in your home in a basket.
  • Put those things away.

After you’ve worked through the spots that bother you the most, keep going.

Step 3: Make a pledge.

Promise yourself not to keep buying things until you’ve gone through your entire home at least once.

Until then, you don’t really know what you have, so you might wind up buying duplicates—which just become more clutter.

If you can’t avoid bringing home more stuff, practice the “one in, one out” rule by discarding or donating one existing thing for every new item you bring home.

What Organizing Containers to Use

Surprise, I’m not going to try selling you any organizing containers or even tell you to buy any at all!

If your home is cluttered, get rid of the clutter first—you might not need organizing containers at all.

But as you declutter, keep an eye on the things you already have that might make good organizing containers. They don’t need to be aesthetic, at least not at first.

In time, if you want to cover them with contact paper or upgrade to fancy ones, fine.

But start by getting rid of stuff and using what you have, not breaking your no-shopping pledge. That just creates more clutter and guilt. Who needs that?

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23 Comments

  1. Marcia in TX says:

    Thank you for this. Very good points. Now to be able to come back to it to refresh this old mind.

  2. Maryalice Buschbacher says:

    Having just lived through a Category 5 hurricane on Fort Myers beach, Florida, I had a major decluttering.

    1. Katie Berry says:

      I’m so sorry that happened and can’t imagine how scary it must have been!

  3. This is great and very helpful. I’m often overwhelmed by clutter. Thank you

    1. Katie Berry says:

      You aren’t alone — it can definitely feel overwhelming.

  4. Thanks for the ideas. They are just so amazing. I just bought a new home last month and I want to keep it as clean as possible.

    1. Katie Berry says:

      Congratulations on your new home, Nicole! Be sure to check out my big page of printable cleaning checklists to keep it in fantastic shape. 🙂

  5. Paper work oh paper work, you never seem to stop arriving! Thats the worse thing for me.
    I started making the bed, clearing the sink etc a couple of years ago and it really does work, a couple of areas in the house that look nice is very motivating.

  6. Maria Parenti-Baldey says:

    I like the one about: picking a painful spot daily. I recently decluttered because we are selling our 300acre property. I have kept it more sparce because of it. I like it when it feels clean and tidy. My mantra has been’tidy house tidy mind’. I learned that in baby classes 26 years ago and have never forgotten it. It really helps you to think clearly. Thank you for such great tips.

    1. Katie Berry says:

      “Tidy house tidy mind” is so true — it’s hard to relax in a cluttered room.

  7. Estefania - The Spanish Mom says:

    I will definitely use these tips! I’m a first-time-mom of a 4 month-old baby so having my house spotless is just wishful thinking! Hopefully I can have it a bit more organized moving forward!

    1. Katie Berry says:

      Don’t pressure yourself — raising an infant is hard enough!

  8. Haley Bradley says:

    These tips would be so easy to do! Thanks for sharing them.

  9. These are good. Clutter is constant, and I definitely need quick easy fixes for some things. I’m working on this bit by bit.

  10. What a great post! LOVE it! 🙂

  11. Margaret Hawrysh says:

    My best decluttering habit is to put news papers and advertising material into recycling bin. I’m going to enjoy your site.

    1. Katie Berry says:

      You’re absolutely right, Margaret–dealing with newspapers and other paper clutter immediately is the way to keep it from taking over the house. Thank you for visiting! I hope you find lots on the site to enjoy. 🙂

  12. Janet Vinyard says:

    Hi Katie, Thanks for the great tips! Blessings, Janet

    1. Katie Berry says:

      Thanks, Janet!

  13. I do great on some, but see a couple to work on! thanks for sharing!

    1. Katie Berry says:

      Thanks for visiting, Samantha!

  14. Jill Nock says:

    The best advice from my mom, early on in my childhood was :- Don’t put down – put away, this really works, especially as l share a house. Hope this will be of help.

    1. Katie Berry says:

      That is excellent advice!

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