There are several great methods for cleaning and organizing. The first step typically is deciding if help is needed, either from a professional or a friend who is proficient at cleaning and organizing. When going through the cleaning and organizing process, it is important to give away, recycle, or throw out any unnecessary, unused, and unwanted items; the one-year rule can help break a pack-rat habit — if something hasn't been used in more than a year, it's a good candidate for being thrown out. Once the clutter is thinned out, each item in a room should have a specific place. The room then can be cleaned from the highest point down to the floor.
If the thought of cleaning and organizing seems too daunting, a professional organizing consultant and a professional cleaning service may be necessary. A good friend or a willing family member may be willing to lend a helping hand as well. The benefit of having help is that it allows more to be accomplished in a shorter period of time.
A helper who is not emotionally attached to the items in a person’s home may actually give that person encouragement and support in reducing the number unused items. The general rule of thumb is that if an item has not been used in more than a year, it is time for that item to go to someone else. For example, if a person has five sets of flatware that she has purchased over the years, a helper may encourage the person to give away a few sets if they are not used on a frequent basis. In some cases, items may be recycled or thrown away. In other cases, items may be sold at a garage sale or through the newspaper or Internet.
The hardest part about cleaning and organizing is finding a place for everything. Many people have junk drawers, cabinets, or closets that are stacked high with items that have no specific place. Once a “home” is found for a particular item, it may be helpful to place a small label where the item belongs. As a result, it will be easier to remember to put something back in its place. For example, if the place where the stapler is supposed to be is empty, the label will make it clear that the stapler is some place other than its home and needs to be returned.
Cleaning and organizing a room or an entire home can be easy, especially if it is attacked on a small scale. It may be overwhelming to try to organize all the rooms at once. Focusing on a single room, a single closet, or a single cabinet at a time may make the process easier and less stressful.
In general, it is best to clean from the highest spot in a room to the lowest. For example, dust and debris can fall from shelves, countertops, or light fixtures. At each level, it will either be wiped up or fall to a lower tier. Finally, the lasts of the dust and debris should land on the floor. At that time, it can be mopped up or vacuumed.