Often, the biggest problem to a neat and tidy home or office is all the “stuff” that accumulates and grows in piles here and there. When you take a look around and see clutter everywhere, it’s time to take a breath and make a difference, starting with a couple of easy steps.

Understand how clutter grows – busy clutter and sentimental clutter

Sometimes we’re just too busy to deal with things at the moment, and we set them aside to handle later. Think about the piles of junk mail, magazines, or newspapers that you’re meaning to sort through and read. The best clutter-buster for paper clutter is to handle it next to your garbage! Sort through the mail and toss junk out right away. Assign a magazine holder or coffee table for reading materials, and vow to only keep a certain number available.

Sentimental clutter is another matter, and often grows in volume as we grow older. In many instances, a camera is your best friend for reducing sentimental clutter.

A young mother who keeps every single crayon drawing her child ever made might do better to scrapbook the best ones and take a photo of the others to include in a memory book.

Little trinkets and decorations you received as gifts, or while traveling can accumulate after time also. Take a photo of your collection, keep a few of the best pieces, and either store the others in a labeled box, or donate to someone else who would appreciate them. Reducing the size of your collection helps bring focus to a few favorite pieces, and you’d still have the photos to remind you of the rest.

Tame the clutter monster into its own room

Sometimes, clutter happens because the items aren’t living where they belong. If you look at your kitchen counter or table and notice things that should be in a different room, you may have a traveling clutter monster!

The best defense here is to tackle one room at a time, armed with two boxes and a garbage bag. Clear surfaces of clutter by either putting the items in a box for donating elsewhere, or a box that will temporarily hold items that you should put away elsewhere, or a trash bag for permanent removal. Work through one room at a time with your three monster-collectors, and you’ll soon see less clutter lying around!

If you’re looking for a little help with a major cleaning project, remember that ServiceMaster by the Border can help with projects like window and wall washing, floor cleaning, and other specialty cleaning projects!