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Save Time Cleaning by Cutting Clutter

What never moves but disturbs your peace, eats up your time and fills your home with sneeze-inducing dust? It may sound like an elementary school riddle but it’s no joking matter when the answer is clutter.



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You may have noticed that clutter is "loud". It fairly shouts at you when you walk into the room. It interrupts your peace with its piles and stacks. It sends dust bunnies scooting across the room at the slightest stirring of the air by just opening and closing the door.


Often, one of the legitimate excuses we make for not cleaning house is a lack of time. The more every surface area is covered in clutter – from magazines to junk mail, kids’ school papers, empty DVD cases, toys, ancient cell phones, stray earrings and missing dog leashes - the more time it will take to clean house.


You can certainly draw a direct line between how much stuff you have, how much you need to fool with the stuff, and how long you feel it takes to get a room clean. The more you reduce clutter, the more you reduce the time it takes to clean house. Imagine how fast you can dust and polish furniture pieces if they are empty except for a pretty vase or a few magazines. Just think how quickly you can vacuum if you don’t have to shovel things out of the way first.


If you’re sold on the idea that removing clutter will make housecleaning much faster and easier, then you need a few tips on how to declutter. Try these techniques in your home:

  • Get a grip on clutter by tackling one room at a time. Sort items into piles of similar items such as all of the toys, shoes, magazines or paperwork. Once sorted, move the items to their proper home and then give the room a good cleaning. It won’t take long with the floor and surface area cleared.
  • Reducing the amount of items you own means less clutter and more storage space. A good rule of thumb is to only keep what you love, use and need.
  • Create storage systems for clutter hot spots. For example, if you’ve always got a pile of shoes and backpacks by the door, then add a shoe keeper and some coat hooks for the backpack. If you always have piles of papers, set up a paperwork center with an in-basket, a home for bills, a trash can, a shredder and another basket for items to be filed. Notice where you accumulate clutter and set up an organized system.
  • Try the basket technique for daily clutter removal. Take a laundry basket into a room used by the whole family, such as the den. Put everything in the basket that doesn’t belong in that room. Move to the next room. Take out of the basket anything that belongs in that space and reload the basket with anything out of place in that room. Repeat in each room until you’ve emptied your basket.
  • Share the work. If you declutter daily, the mess stays to a minimum. Have family members take turns gathering out-of-place items each evening.
  • Stay clutter-free by taking a few steps to make your house pretty and pleasant. A vase of seasonal flowers can inspire you to not add stacks of clutter to the table. An attractive basket for magazines and books keeps the piles organized.

The little things you do have a big result in keeping clutter-free spaces. Likewise, clutter-free spaces make it so fast and easy to have a clean house.

Save Time Cleaning by Cutting Clutter:  Created on October 22nd, 2012.  Last Modified on January 21st, 2014


About Lea Schneider

Lea SchneiderProfessional Organizer Lea Schneider’s organizing advice has appeared in Woman’s Day, Natural Health and Better Homes and Gardens Kids’ Rooms magazines. She is the Grand Prize Winner of the Rolodex Office Makeover Challenge. Her team of professional organizers, at Organize Right Now, provides organizing assistance through her Organize Online program. She is the author of Growing Up Organized: A Mom-to-Mom Guide. Learn more at