At WiseGEEK, we're committed to delivering accurate, trustworthy information. Our expert-authored content is rigorously fact-checked and sourced from credible authorities. Discover how we uphold the highest standards in providing you with reliable knowledge.

Learn more...

How do I Conquer Clutter?

Dan Cavallari
Dan Cavallari

Getting motivated to conquer clutter in the home or office can be difficult, especially when the clutter has built up over several years. The first step in attempting to conquer clutter is the hardest: you must determine what you really need and want and what you don't really need or want. Much of the clutter is comprised of things you never actually use, so identifying those items is important. Once you determine what you can safely get rid of, the next hardest step on the path to conquer clutter comes: convincing yourself to simply get rid of it.

Take comfort in knowing you don't have to simply throw everything away: much of the clutter, if it is useful, can be given to friends, charities, local non-profits, and so on. To start, identify one section of the home or office that you would like to take the first steps to conquer clutter. By doing so, the job becomes smaller and less daunting. If, for example, you want to conquer clutter in the garage, choose one set of shelves to clear off completely. Lay out the items from the shelf on the ground and split it into three piles or sections: items that are frequently used, items that are sometimes used, and items that are never used. The items that are never used can be thrown away, donated, or given away.

Man with hands on his hips
Man with hands on his hips

It is important to be ruthless when attempting to conquer clutter. It is easy to get attached to items that hold sentimental value — and it's even easier to attach sentimentality to items that otherwise would not have held such feelings before you began cleaning. Remember: the clutter is just stuff, not memories, or people, or relationships. Keep only the most important things. Once you have rid yourself of the excess stuff in the garage, you can begin to reorganize and reassemble the shelf. The sense of relief you will have when you see the finished product will only reinforce your decision to get rid of clutter. Once the shelf is complete, choose another area of the garage to conquer. The more quickly you move, the less sentimentality you will feel about the belongings you are getting rid of.

For larger problems, it may be wise to hire an organizing professional. Interior decorators and other specialists can help you determine how to most effectively use the space you have in your home or office. They may also be useful in determining what is really useful and necessary, and what is simply clutter. They can help you organize your belongings into labeled boxes or bins so you will be able to find important items later on.

You might also Like

Discussion Comments


One thing I have done for a long time, is to take a few minutes every evening before bed to quickly clear the clutter around the house. I am not talking about anything real time consuming, but just making sure that the counters are cleaned off, dirty dishes are put in the dishwasher, chairs are pushed in to the table and shoes are straightened.

It usually only takes a few minutes, but sure makes a difference to wake up to a house that has been straightened the night before. Also, by taking a little bit of time every day to eliminate clutter helps it from becoming a job that takes hours or days.


If I can control all of the paper clutter in my house then I feel like I have a good start. I just don't let the newspaper and magazines get piled up. Recycling the newspaper a few times a week, and either recycling or giving away unread or outdated magazines is one way to simplify the paper clutter.

Staying ahead of clutter can seem like a big job, and it takes constant work, but is worth it. I will clean the living room of all the clutter and say to myself and my family, no more clutter. It never seems to stay that way for very long, but I try to keep ahead of it so it does not become overwhelming.

Post your comments
Forgot password?
    • Man with hands on his hips
      Man with hands on his hips