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Easy Decluttering Solutions: How Did Your Home Get So Cluttered?

Updated on March 23, 2014

Do you think you may be a pack rat?

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How Did You Get So Disorganized and Full of Clutter?

The first thing you should do when taking on the goal of turning into a clean and organized person is to analyze why things got of control in the first place. You need to analyze what brought you to this point, so you can watch out for that behavior in case it comes back.

You can follow all of the advice in the world in regards to organization and cleaning, but if you don’t change your habits, you will be right back where you are today. So, you need to analyze how you got to be in the position you are in today. Consider asking yourself the following questions:

  • Do you hold on to things because you think they are worth something when they are not?
  • Do you buy things you already own because you don’t have an organized home?
  • Do you buy things you do not need because they are on sale?
  • Do you hold on to things given to you just to be nice even though you do not use or want them?
  • Do you keep old things even when you buy new replacement things?
  • Are you afraid to get rid of things because you think someday you might miss them?
  • Do you own things you don’t even like but want to hold on to because you have owned them for so long?

How to Avoid Housework

How to Avoid Housework: Tips, Hints, and Secrets on How to Have a Spotless Home
How to Avoid Housework: Tips, Hints, and Secrets on How to Have a Spotless Home

Learn how to clean in an easy way. For example, if you have less surface space to wipe down, you have less work to do. One way to reduce surface area is to buy cabinets instead of bookshelves. Also, have a quality entry doormat so you track in less dirt. This book covers these tips and more.


You probably received some “stuff” or “clutter” when you were born. However, does it mean anything to you now? Could you use the money instead if you sold it instead of hanging on to it? Can you keep a hope chest or memory box full of items from your childhood?

Getting Started with Cleaning and Organizing

While a deep spring cleaning and organization is best for the home, there are some general guidelines you can use to get basic organization under way (until you get to that stage of your cleaning and organizing make-over). There are basic ways to make a dent before digging in.

The best ways to do basic organization is avoiding becoming a pack rat, not burning yourself out by taking on too big of an organization project, and weeding out the belongings you don’t use. Start by using at least one of these methods, and you will move swiftly along.

Use a hope chest to store your treasures!
Use a hope chest to store your treasures! | Source

Organizing Your Life

The Complete Idiot's Guide to Organizing your Life (3rd Edition)
The Complete Idiot's Guide to Organizing your Life (3rd Edition)

Find simple strategies for straightening up all areas of your life, easy ways to cut down of your paperwork, and creative tips on using your computer to conquer clutter. This book covers innovative ways to organize your workplace, kitchen, wardrobe, and home. It also has web resources to help you get your finances in order.


Avoid Being a Pack Rat: Becoming a Minimalist

Do you have belongings that you haven’t touched in ten years? Do you have a feeling you might need something someday, so you hold on to it even though you don’t ever use it? Do you have belongings you have never used, but think you will? Get organized!

  • If you haven’t used an item in two or more years, donate or sell it. If you really need that item in the future, you can buy a new one.
  • If you have clothes that are too small, but you have hopes to fit into them someday, yet you have not worn them in years, you need to consign, sell, or donate them. If you lose weight and are able to fit into smaller clothes, by that time, those clothes will be out of style, and you can buy new clothes that fit. Plus what better way to reward yourself for losing all that way then allowing yourself to go on a fun shopping spree? Keep in mind: As people age, they typically do not lose weight, but rather they gain weight.
  • Do you have duplicate items? Do you only use one of those items? Donate or sell the other one. If it’s broken or torn, throw it away.
  • Don’t purchase items that you think you already have. If you must, keep a list with you of things you need at the store to avoid buying duplicate items.
  • Have a garage sale. Get rid of all of the things you don’t use or won’t use. Advertise well.


Don’t Get Overwhelmed

If you are truly a pack-rat, take it one drawer or cabinet at a time. Examine each item, and evaluate whether you have used it in the past two years or not. After doing one cabinet or drawer, stop. Don’t overwhelm yourself by doing too much.

If you overwhelm yourself, in the future, you are not going to be motivated to do more. Plan to do one cabinet or drawer per week. This way you won’t be overwhelmed and become discouraged.

The Best Way to Weed Out Your Belongings

When going through a drawer, closet, or cabinet for your spring cleaning, follow these steps.


Step One: Set Up Your System

Put together a system of three jumbo trash bags, three baskets (wicker, plastic, or laundry), three boxes, or three big rubber tubs.

Step Two: Start Small

Pick a smaller corner of the area to start with. Be reasonable with your expectations. Make sure you have realistic goals when it comes to organization and cleaning. Start slowly. Start with a small area in order to gauge how long it takes you to organize and spring clean.

Step Three: Separate Your System

Use your three containers to separate belongings that do not go in that area as follows:

  • Trash – torn, broken, ripped, holey, outdated, expired items that cannot be salvaged should be thrown away. Do not donate things that cannot be used. Think about it, and don’t be cruel to the poor by donating ripped panties or stained clothes.

  • However, if you are unsure about whether or not the item can be used by someone, especially if this quandary is making you rack your brain as to whether or not you want to keep it, put it in the “donate” container. They will decide what to do with the item. The most important thing is that you get it out of your way.

  • Donate – If you cannot think of a way to make money selling an item, but it is still useful and worthy of keeping (at least to someone), put it in the container marked “donate,” and seal it away.

  • In other words, once you put it in the “donate” container, make it so that you will not see the item again. You might (or another family member might) see it, and reconsider whether you may use it one day.

  • Once you make a decision to get rid of it by donating it, the decision should be set in stone. The decision was made. Forget about the item. Don’t look back. Think about the good that you are doing by giving your belongings to someone less fortunate.

  • Sell – Have a garage sale with items that are worth a decent amount of money. Decide if you think it is worth your time and energy though. Garage sales can be costly to advertise and are a lot of work. You can also sell things at consignment stores, pawn shops, or online.

Garage Sale

Before you have a garage sale, do the following analysis.

  1. How much do you make per hour at your job? $15.00/hour?
  2. How much will a garage sale bring in? $125 total? You can estimate the amount you will make at the garage sale by examining your belongings.
  3. How many hours was the garage sale? 25 hours? If you were working those 25 hours, you would have been paid $375.00.
  4. Since you worked 25 hours on your garage sale and only made $125, technically, you only made $5.00/hour.
  5. Is sitting in the heated garage, being bored, making chit chat with strangers, and watching out for thieves worth $5.00/hour to you, or would you rather be watching a movie in the air conditioning, doing a craft project, or interacting with your friends and family?

Think about it long and hard, because garage sales are often unpleasant to run, and your time is valuable. So, do the calculations to figure out if it’s worth it to have a garage sale.

Have you held a garage sale before?

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Well, these are baby steps to get you on the route to an organized life. You can apply the tools you learned in this tutorial to any room, closet, shelf, cabinet, or drawer that you see fit. Consider the weeding out option. It truly illuminates so much clutter and you will live a much more stress-free life.

Organization Tips: How to Declutter Your Home

Good Housekeeping’s The Complete Clutter Solution

The Complete Clutter Solution: Organize Your Home for Good (Good Housekeeping)
The Complete Clutter Solution: Organize Your Home for Good (Good Housekeeping)

This book has tons of colorful pictures in a binder with well-illustrated tabs. Banish household clutter once and for all with these creative and smart solutions. This reference guide shows how you can win the war against clutter in every single room of your home. This book will make your life much simpler.



Pictures: The pictures used in this article were taken by Michele Jones.

Videos: The provided videos were from

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  • misslong123 profile image

    Michele Kelsey 2 years ago from Edmond, Oklahoma

    Thank you! I aim to help people in any way I can. I'm glad you enjoyed my article! :)

  • kenneth avery profile image

    Kenneth Avery 2 years ago from Hamilton, Alabama


    Fantastic, well-written, very professional. Loved it. Best of everything on HubPages.

  • misslong123 profile image

    Michele Kelsey 3 years ago from Edmond, Oklahoma

    That's great! It sounds like you really understand the minimalist philosophy now. It is so less stressful! :)

  • mary615 profile image

    Mary Hyatt 3 years ago from Florida

    I downsized from a large house about a year ago into a tiny apartment, so I was forced to declutter! I was lucky that my family wanted most of my "treasures". I no longer go to garage sales cause I have NO space for anything else.

    It is amazing how much stuff we collect as the years go by.

    The things my family did not want, I had a garage sale.

    Voted this Hub up, etc.

  • misslong123 profile image

    Michele Kelsey 3 years ago from Edmond, Oklahoma

    Well I hope some of my suggestions help with your spring cleaning. :)

    If you get too overwhelmed you might want to check out my hub on cleaning games to make it more fun! :)

  • misslong123 profile image

    Michele Kelsey 3 years ago from Edmond, Oklahoma

    Thank you and I agree. That is, if you WANT to meet your neighbors. Lol. They may start borrowing things without returning them! Lol.

  • Ilonagarden profile image

    Ilona E 3 years ago from Ohio

    I'm in the midst of major decluttering!

  • prairieprincess profile image

    Sharilee Swaity 3 years ago from Canada

    This hub is very well organized and laid out, and I enjoyed reading it. I have held a few garage sales over the years, and you make an excellent point about making sure it's really worth it to you. Sometimes it can really seem like a waste of a good day, but on the plus side, it's a great way to meet the neighbours!

  • misslong123 profile image

    Michele Kelsey 3 years ago from Edmond, Oklahoma

    I agree. Life is simpler the fewer things you own. Over the years I have learned to donate, donate, donate... Lol.

  • teaches12345 profile image

    Dianna Mendez 3 years ago

    I was a packrat early in life, but changed as I grew older. Life is much better living simple and within your reason. Great message!

  • misslong123 profile image

    Michele Kelsey 3 years ago from Edmond, Oklahoma

    I'm glad you found them useful. It can actually cause anxiety if you are a pack rat so I think it's great to get rid of things that cause stress and are of no value to you. Thanks for stopping by! :)

  • wabash annie profile image

    wabash annie 3 years ago from Colorado Front Range

    Thanks so much for writing this hub ... excellent ideas and suggestions. I am seriously decluttering because of age. I still remember what an ordeal it was to clean out my parents house after they died and do not want our kids to do that!

  • misslong123 profile image

    Michele Kelsey 3 years ago from Edmond, Oklahoma

    That is awesome that you found a system that works for you. Few people can make a perfect system. Great job!

  • DDE profile image

    Devika Primić 3 years ago from Dubrovnik, Croatia

    Great tips to declutter I try to keep my home up to date daily to avoid clutter and it works perfectly for me.

  • misslong123 profile image

    Michele Kelsey 3 years ago from Edmond, Oklahoma

    Thanks. It is a challenge when two styles live together, but it can be manageable if you do trade-off's. I organize - Bryan cooks. lol.

  • billybuc profile image

    Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

    Bev is the pack rat; I'm Mr. Organization. Somehow we balance. :) Great tips my friend.