How To… declutter a room.

If you’re a housekeeper, you are familiar with clutter in a way that bachelors or kept people rarely are. That slow, creeping mess of things. You can’t remember who they belong to, who brought them in, why they are there, but there they are. Glasses on the bookshelf, a pile of papers on the table, an abandoned mug or a toy in the middle of the floor.

Generally you keep on top of it. Just put the glasses somewhere sensible, ask the paper-owner to sort the papers, put the mug in the sink or dishwasher and return the toy to the toybox or child’s bedroom. But sometimes rooms get out of hand. Very, very out of hand. Like an episode of Hoarders in the making. Usually this is an office, a spare room, a child’s bedroom or a shed, but sometimes it can happen to kitchens, living rooms, bathrooms and master bedrooms as well. No space is safe from clutter explosions.

So, when you next walk into a room that looks like it was hit by a hurricane, here’s what to do to straighten it out and try and prevent this happening again.

1: Clear a floor or furniture surface.

Just throw everything to one side, if you must. Give yourself an open space to work with.

2: Arrange clutter into piles.

One for books, one for laundry, one for toys, one for kitchen stuff…

3: Work by sections.

Once you have sorted a certain cluttered area, take everything and put it where it belongs. Then move onto the next area until the room is tidy.

4: Find a collection.

Basically, if there are many books, clothes, toys, CDs or anything in one corner, that’s a collection. It may not be intentional, but there are probably a lot more things to get rid of from collections than anywhere else.

5: Work through one collection at a time.

Don’t overburden yourself. Pick a collection or a piece of furniture and take everything off it.

6: Sort everything.

Create three piles: things to return to the furniture, things to donate and things to throw away. Don’t put anything aside for storage, that’s just more clutter. When you have finished, clean the furniture and the items you’re keeping before returning them.

7: Organize everything.

When you’re returning the items you’ll keep, think of how they will be best used and how they’ll look best. You want everything to look nice, but also to stay tidy. The things that will be used more often should be in easy reach, where the things you use rarely can be hidden.

8: Rearrange.

If everything doesn’t fit, go through and remove things. Assume you have to throw something away, what would it be? Take those things out and put them to one side. Maybe you can keep them, or maybe you will decide you don’t need them after all.

9: Move to the next collection.

Go around the room, working through each collection. Finally you should have a large pile for donations, a small pile of rubbish and a small pile of things you’re yet to make your mind up about.

10: Finish the room.

Whatever you have in your undecided pile, try and find a place for it. If you can’t, choose some items to donate and some to keep. Put the ones you’ll keep in a storage box.

You can also get a basket or item or furniture to keep them on or in, if you really want to use them.

Finally you’ll be left with a tidy room that is easy to use and unlikely to become a mess in the next two hours. Enjoy the tidiness until someone leaves a plate in the middle of the room for no apparent reason.

TTFN and Happy Hunting.

Did you find this how-to useful? How do you go about decluttering your house? What are the biggest sources of clutter? How do you prevent mess?

4 thoughts on “How To… declutter a room.

  1. Clutter, ug! I am in the works of decluttering now so this is helpful! My two biggest sources of clutter seem to be paper (mail, etc.) and clothing (like stacked laundry piles, etc. I have two kids and they grow through sizes like crazy so there’s that issue, plus I have too many clothes myself, lots I don’t wear or have had for years and they really need to go but I walk in the closet, get started, and then aggghhhh get overwhelmed). Any tips on those two areas specifically?

    Liked by 1 person

    • I actually have a post on clothes scheduled for a month, but will give you the run down early!

      1: Sort things by season. You can’t work through things when you’re not using them, or you’ll throw out perfectly good stuff.

      2: Get storage boxes. One for things to mend, one for rags and upcycling, one for charity.

      3: Hang everything for this season the wrong way around or put it upside down in the clothes drawer. If you wear it, replace it the right way round. Most things that stay the wrong way round or upside down aren’t needed. Repeat every season.

      4: Sort by size. Only keep clothes in the right range. Sort them into piles of every size and make sure yourself and each kid only has clothes that will actually fit!

      5: Get a theme going. Try and make sure all your clothes look good on you and go well together. Pick your colours, certain types of clothes and certain cuts. It’s better to have 5 shirts that go with one pair of jeans than 10 shirts that go with 10 pairs of trousers.

      6: Make a mending pile. Anything that’s broken and needs fixing, put somewhere where you will remember to fix it.

      7: As you sort, throw the rags into the rag box. Any clothes you haven’t mended and haven’t missed, add to the rag box to be repurposed.

      8: Give everything else away. Whether it’s too small, not the right colour or just never used, wash it and donate to charity.

      Once you’ve got through the things that are just the wrong size, cut or colour, it will take up to a year to finish the culling of garments. But it’s more effective than throwing all sorts of things out in Summer only to buy them again in Winter!

      As far as papers go, the best method I’ve ever found is to reduce step by step.

      1: Divide into “bin” and “check”. Throw the “bin” ones.

      2: Divide the “check” into “store” and “do something”.

      3: Put the “do somethings” into your diary on the right day for doing it.

      4: Sort the “stores” into their own folders. One for bills, one for kids homework, one for receipts, etc.

      5: Go through your stored paperwork once a year and get rid of anything over 5 years old. It is normally just a matter of binning the very back pile of paper, but sometimes it’s awful and you have to reorganize everything. Bring coffee.

      Hope that helps! Wish I was there to help you out myself. I’m a total sorting junkie and love organizing and tidying things.


  2. Pingback: How To… declutter your wardrobe the easy way. | Your Slaviswife Is Evolving

  3. Pingback: How To… declutter paper. | Your Slaviswife Is Evolving

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