Yesterday you pulled together cleaning lists for each room on each day that you do cleaning. Now as the cleaning needs to be done, you may realize one thing. Clutter. Your house has piles of things, disorganized, under used and dusty. You may not know where to put some of the things you've collected or the pile just keeps growing as you forget to put things away. Either way you slice it, you have a problem.

Clutter makes your house look messy even when it isn't. You could be a domestic diva in all other ways, but if you have places that attract clutter day after day it will undermine your cleaning routine. So today we are going to tackle the clutter. Flylady calls them fires. Every day she asks you to go put your fires out, which means to clear the common clutter spots. What are some common clutter spots? Here are a few of mine:

  • The chair just inside the front door
  • Kitchen table
  • Side table next to the most used chair in the living room
  • Bathroom counter
  • Floor by the bed
  • Closets

I'm not asking you to become a minimalist, but there are smarter ways to organize and store what you own, as well as realizing just how much stuff you actually need. Everyone has their ideal level of simplicity — what matters most is keeping what’s essential to you, and getting rid of the rest.

Before you tackle your clutter, there are four basic steps to decluttering to keep in mind. Let’s take the example of decluttering a single drawer. These are the fundamental steps:

  1. Collect. Take out everything and put it in a pile. Empty the entire drawer, and pile it all on a counter or a table. Take everything out, down to the last paper clip.
  2. Choose. Pick out only the few things you love and use and that are important to you. Just sort through the pile, picking out the really essential stuff. Be very selective. Put the important stuff you pick out into a separate, smaller pile.
  3. Eliminate. Toss the rest out. You know you’ll never need those manuals again (and if you think you do, you can add them to your cloud storage system). Either throw everything into a big trash bag, or find a new home for some of the items if you think someone might have a use for them — donate them to charity or give them to a friend who would love them.
  4. Organize. Put back the essential things, neatly, with space around things. Clean the drawer out first, of course, and put the very small pile of things you chose back in the drawer, grouping like things together and leaving space around the groups. Having space around things makes everything look neater and simpler. I especially like little baskets and cubbies for smaller items so they stay sorted and organized.

This process is repeated for every drawer, shelf, table top, counter space, floor, closet, or any other area you’re trying to declutter.

Tackle one spot at a time. Don't overwhelm yourself. Perhaps you can add a declutter task to your cleaning lists from yesterday until you've been able to simplify the areas in your house that attract piles of things.  Then, every day as you clean that particular room, the pile gets reduced again - keeping the mess under control.

Activity

Pick one clutter attracting spot today and start going through it. Spend just 15 mins doing this. The goal isn't necessarily to get it all cleaned up, but to get started. Remember we all start somewhere and it didn't grow overnight. You've got to work with what you have and the time you have to do it in.