Seven Clutter Control Tips

No one likes a cluttered home. Here are seven tips to help you declutter your house.

  1. Grown Kids’ Bedrooms. If your kids are grown up and moved out, what has become of their bedrooms? Are their things still there? A lot of parents would say yes. Well, you need to let them go so that you can move on. Set a deadline by which they need to claim their stuff; otherwise get rid of it. You may resist because you are holding on to your role as being a parent. That you are a parent has not changed. It has merely evolved. Let your kids go; let them be on their own. And you too must move on. Turn an extra bedroom into the sewing room that you’ve always wanted. Or turn it into the guest room – a place where your grandchildren can stay overnight. Alternatively, if there are many extra rooms, then downsize. You no longer need to clean and care for such a large house.
  2. Clutter under the bed. How often do you use the things under your bed? Has it become storage from earlier times in your life? Feng shui practitioners advise that nothing is stored under the bed. The reasoning is based on proximity and duration. The closer something is to you, the more influence that it will have; the longer that you are exposed to something, the more influence that it will have. If you are storing remnants of your past under your bed, clear them away. You must let go of the past in order to move forward.
  3. Support your public library. It is so convenient to order a book from Amazon or Barnes and Noble, especially with “one-click” ordering. This convenience to add more things to your house may not be the best option for you. Borrow books from your local library instead. Once you join your library, you can search the catalog through their website, see if books are available, and reserve them. Additionally, through interlibrary loans, you can borrow books from many more libraries than just your local branch.
  4. Borrowed Items. Designate a shelf for storing borrowed items. Some people have told me that they see the advantages from borrowing books from a library, but they still don’t do it. Why? Because they lose the borrowed items in their cluttered homes and have to pay extensive late fees. Don’t do this. Instead, designate a shelf for items on loan, be it from a library or a friend. Keep them there so you won’t have to search frantically for them when they are due.
  5. Outgoing Materials. Take this concept one step further, and designate a shelf where you put things that are meant to leave your house. Use this to hold things like the mail, files you will need for work or other appointments, completed homework assignments, or as a staging area for things to take to charity.
  6. Make your CD’s obsolete. There are services which will take your entire CD collection and put it onto a few DVD’s. Use them, and then move your whole music library online. Once this is done, you could sell your CD’s on Ebay, or give them to charity.
  7. Stay positive. Remember the saying “Q: How do you eat an elephant? A: One piece at a time.” Make little improvements every day. Change habits one at a time. Focus on your successes.

Penelope Pettikrew is known as the Speed Cleaning Queen. She has spent over 25 years optimizing her cleaning methods so that she could spend less time cleaning and more time with her daughter and husband. In her latest book, “Speed Cleaning Secrets Revealed,” she shares her techniques for getting the maximum amount of cleaning done in a minimum amount of time. For more clutter control tips, visit

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