De-Clutter, Clean, and Improve Your Home (From Clutter and the Second Law of Thermodynamics)

As a professional organizer, I learned many techniques to organizing homes that evolved from my experiences with my clients. One particular experience involved a friend of mine who was a house cleaner. She told me of a situation where she had been hired and then fired immediately after the first job. Her client didn’t think she could clean fast enough. After talking with my friend for a while, we realized we both knew this client. I had worked for her, organizing a room in her home. The reason my friend wasn’t able to clean very fast was that she was constantly moving objects to get to the surfaces that needed cleaning. The house was overcrowded with lots of things. What the house really needed before cleaning was to first be de-cluttered. There are three levels to obtaining an organized home and it is highly productive when these levels are achieved in this order.

1. DE-CLUTTER

Clutter on surfaces prevents the ability to clean those spaces. If you can’t find the floor to vacuum or the counters to wipe off, you should first tend to de-cluttering and organizing. Remove things from their spaces and relocate items that don’t belong so you can clean. If you need more time to put everything away, you can temporarily place things in a box or plastic tote. Then put the items away when it’s more convenient. Avoid leaving things in the box or tote for too long. Often boxes will get shoved in rooms or closets, becoming permanent junk containers for any stuff you may not want to deal with. Schedule some time to take care of the items while the piles are small.

2. CLEAN

Once you have cleared off the surfaces, you are now ready to clean your home. Often, people don’t want to clean because the task is too arduous if they have to move objects around. With the absence of clutter, it will be much easier and faster to clean. You can clean grease from counters, dust from shelves, and dirt from floors. You may even notice the cobwebs in the corners and dirt in the window sills, whereas you didn’t see them before, because clutter was hiding them. Cleaning our homes is a refreshing feeling that produces great energy. You will feel a sense of confidence when your house is truly clean.

3. IMPROVE

It is difficult for you to envision improvement in your home if you are clouded by clutter and dirt. Once your home is organized and clean, you can freely improve your spaces and furniture. Focus on repairing and sprucing up items that have been previously neglected and buried. Instead of managing your stuff, you can now polish wooden cabinets, replace old couches, remove shabby carpet, design rooms with themes, and change out old d├ęcor. If you desire, replace old trends with new ones. Create new themes in each bedroom or give your bathroom and kitchen a face-lift. There is no limit to what you can dream up as you create your home as your castle.

Don’t be discouraged to clean your house if you have not yet achieved clutter-free spaces. You should still clean the best you can. That’s better than waiting to clean until everything is ideal. Nevertheless, you will usually find the job of cleaning and maintaining your home to be more productive and more pleasant if you can set goals to tackle that clutter.