Decluttering is Step One

Guest article by Steph Garber of

In order to keep a tidy home, clearing out your clutter would be step ONE!  Nothing else happens until you have done that!

What is clutter?  It is simply anything that serves no purpose or doesn’t bring you great joy.  What does that mean? Let’s say you have two evening bags, but you only use the one for special nights out.  That other one is not serving a purpose by sitting on your closet shelf. So get rid of it. Or if your ex gave you a knickknack that now only brings thoughts of sadness, get rid of it.   Trash any expired meds or food that you no longer use. Clear out the old so you can make room for new and happy memories.

I suggest you start somewhere like a bathroom or kitchen pantry…somewhere you can complete within a two hour period.  Let’s start with the bathroom today, and you can apply these ideas to any other area of your home. Be sure to block out a two hour period of time on your calendar as you don’t want to be distracted and you will need to stay on task!

You will need 3 or shopping bags to start.  One should be marked KEEP. One will be DONATE and one is TRASH.  Got it? GREAT!

Start with everything in the shower and on sitting out on top of your sink.  Take every item and decide which bag it goes in. If you haven’t used it in the last year, get rid of it.  If it is unopened, donate it, or if opened and there is still a lot left, offer it to a family member or neighbor.  Otherwise, ditch it!

Next, go under the sink, medicine cabinet and any drawers and do the same.  Do you have shelves above your toilet or elsewhere in the room? Make sure to do every item.

Before starting to put away those things you have in the KEEP bag, wipe down every area where you will be putting things.   They may even be dusty which happens with me since I only do my underneath cabinet every six months. As you are putting these items back, be sure to re-evaluate if you really want to keep it or should it actually go in one of the other bags?

Put things away as follows:

Things you use every day put in either a top drawer or on the sink top.  I keep my perfume, toothbrush and toothpaste. Even if I have no appointments that day, I know I want to use my perfume and I will certainly be brushing every morning and night.  

Keep all like items together.  Put all the meds together after you have eliminated the expired items or those you no longer use.  I like to put the pain relief at eye level in my medicine cabinet because if I am in pain I want to find my Excedrin or Tylenol FAST!  Put tummy meds together, cold and flu products etc.  I rarely get colds, so those items I put in my linen closet or you might choose that they go under the sink.  Think about your patterns before putting these back in an organized manner.   Those you use most frequently you will want most readily accessible. I like to have my clients use baskets under the sink to keep like items together.  If you don’t often have tummy issues in your family, take all those tummy-related products and put them in a basket so they are together under your sink or in the linen closet.  I like to get the plastic baskets at Dollar Tree when it isn’t something on display, who cares if they are cheap looking!

Get the trash out and the donations taken care of promptly after getting your organizing done for the day.  Keeping it around might make it too tempting to look through and reconsider. And, that will not help in keeping you tidy, will it!

Steph Garber
Professional Organizer
From Chaos to Order 
Serving the Celebration and Orlando areas
[email protected]