How to Declutter Your House

Tips for Easier Cleaning

Assigning tasks to family members, like cleaning certain areas of the house, can make decluttering more efficient.
Assigning tasks to family members, like cleaning certain areas of the house, can make decluttering more efficient.
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Cleanliness and clutter simply cannot coexist. Like organizing, cleaning can be a challenge or a chore. Efficiency and a positive attitude make the difference. These tips can help:

  • Assemble a basic but adequate assortment of cleaning supplies -- Brooms -- large and small -- a dustpan, a mop, sponges, rags, glass cleaner and furniture polish will go a long way in cleaning up debris and repairing damage left by clutter.
  • Use the simplest products possible -- Compared to commercial preparations, low-tech products are usually less expensive and often friendlier to the environment inside and outside the home. Using something already on hand also reduces future clutter. For instance, ordinary toothpaste, applied with a soft rag, can remove water stains from the finish of wooden tabletops [source: Dahl].
  • Avoid making extra work -- Save steps by carrying smaller supplies like glass cleaner, sponges and rubber gloves in a plastic tote or rubber bucket. Clean rooms from the top down to avoid dirtying surfaces you've already dusted or vacuumed.
  • Make cleaning fun, or at least less tedious -- Listen to your favorite tunes. Choreograph your movements to the music. Energetic house cleaning can be good physical exercise [source: Donohue].
  • Use teamwork -- If you share your home, assign jobs based on each person's abilities and schedules. Also taking "ownership" adds a sense of pride and responsibility in doing a job or keeping an area in order.
  • Rotate tasks -- Rotating responsibilities means no one in the home feels burdened with the most unpleasant jobs -- or gets away with the easiest ones. Learning to do different jobs can also be practically and personally rewarding.

For lots more information on taking care of clutter, see the links below.

Related HowStuffWorks Articles


  • Dahl, Timothy. "How to Remove Water Stain Circles from Wood Furniture." (Feb. 25, 2010)
  • Donohue, Paul. "Get a Workout -- Cleaning the House." Dec. 19, 2009. (Feb. 25, 2010)
  • Erie County Department of Environment and Planning. "Solid Waste Reduction in Central New York." (Feb. 23, 2010)
  • Lucille Packard Children's Hospital. "Avoiding Asthma Triggers." (Mar. 1, 2010)
  • National Association of Professional Organizers. Residential Time Management Statistics." (Feb. 23, 2010)
  • ScienceDaily. "America's Increasing Food Waste Is Laying Waste to the Environment. (Mar. 1, 2010)
  • Thoreau Institute at Walden Woods. "Quotations Page." (Feb. 16, 2010)