Article Summary:

Ten tips for tidying up to achieve an uncluttered home.

Home Decluttering: Tips for General Tidying Up

The thought of organizing the whole house can seem overwhelming. If you feel you don’t have the time to organize every nook and cranny, start with these quick and easy steps:

1.Do the 5-things Dash
Walk into each room of your home with a box or garbage bag and choose 5 things you can throw out or donate. Choose duplicates or items that are worn out, out-dated or rarely used.

2.Eliminate the Expired
Use a plastic bin to gather up all your medication, vitamins, and over-the counter drugs. While listening to music or relaxing in front of the TV, begin looking at each item’s expiry date. Have a bag nearby to toss the outdated items. You can take them to the drug store for safe disposal. Keep the current medications in the plastic bin, label it and store it in a cool, dark place out of children’s’ reach.

3.Toss the Toiletries
Just before you brush your teeth every night or jump in the shower every morning, spend just 5 minutes getting rid of hair products that didn’t work, bath products you never used and skin care products that didn’t live up to their promise. By the end of the week, you’ll have more storage space in your bathroom and easier access to the items you use regularly.

4.Clear the Counters.
Remove anything you don’t need and use daily from your kitchen counters. Put out an attractive bowl or basket as a catch-all for items that usually end up cluttering the counters. When the container is full, spend a few minutes going through it and either purge items or place them where they belong. Once you’ve cleared your counters, you’ll not only have more space for food preparation, you’ll have a more relaxed environment for eating and entertaining. After the clutter is cleared, reward your efforts by displaying a vase of fresh flowers or a pot of spring bulbs on your counters.

5.Eliminate Under-Used Utensils
While waiting for water to boil or the oven to preheat, go through your utensil drawer and eliminate items you don’t use. Go through your kitchen `junk drawer’ and see what treasures you’ve forgotten about and what trash you can remove.

6.Move it Elsewhere
Each time you leave a room, get into the habit of scanning it to see which items don’t belong in the space but somehow migrated there. If any of those items go in the room you are heading towards, take them with you. If something belongs upstairs, place it at the bottom of the staircase and take it to the proper room next time you go up; use a wicker basket on the top or bottom of the stairs to make it more convenient.

7.Get the Family in Gear
Make a game out of decluttering by getting the whole family involved. Give everyone a box, put on some up-beat music, set a timer and see who can discard the most items from their room. Take the donations to charity and then choose a token prize for the winner and a reward for the entire family.

8.Do the Season-Swap
As the season changes, so do the items we need to enjoy it. Store away off-season clothing and footwear. Be sure to dry-clean all items before storing, even if they look clean. Body oils and not-yet-visible food stains attract moths, especially on wool coats. If you don’t have an extra closet, a rolling garment rack stored in the basement or spare room is ideal for winter coats during the summer. Cover the clothes with a clean, cotton bed sheet or use a garment tent to keep them dust-free. Another option is to store seasonal items in large garment bags, suitcases or under-bed storage bins.

9.Cut Clothing Clutter
Put aside about half an hour to step into your closet and pull out any winter items you didn’t wear this year, while it’s still fresh in your mind. If you didn’t wear it this winter, you likely won’t wear it next, so let it go now rather than storing it for another year.

10.Clean-up Time Saver
Rather than storing all the cleaning supplies in the basement, save steps and time by keeping your most-used cleaners in strategic places throughout the house (kitchen, bathroom, and mudroom), even if this means buying duplicates. Save space and money by choosing multi-purpose cleaning products and eliminating those you rarely use.

Hellen Buttigieg, CPO┬«, is an award-winning Certified Professional Organizer┬«, life coach, Gemini – Nominated TV Host and President of We Organize U. For free tips on organizing your home, your office and your life, visit and sign up for her newsletter, emailed to you monthly. To contact Hellen or for information on hiring a We Organize U organizing specialist.

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