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Spring Cleaning: How To Get A House That Cleans Itself

How to Get a house that Cleans Itself

Although organization comes naturally to me, I have always struggled to keep a maintained room or home. And doing a deep spring cleaning? HA. That was just an exercise in futility for me.

[Speaking of exercises (the non-futile sort), did you ever wonder how many calories you burn doing household chores? Read more about Baby Steps to burn calories doing chores here.]

I mean, it’s great to do a massive get-out-all-the-winter-funk cleaning. Wiping baseboards and cleaning window screens are wonderful things to do. But clutter kept getting in the way.

How could I possibly think about deep cleaning when my time was consumed with picking up and trying to beat back the chaos??

That’s when a dear friend introduced me to one of the most amazing books in the world: The House That Cleans Itself.

Now there’s something you should know about me. I’ve read way too many books on cleaning and organizing – each promising to give me the a breakthrough system to keep the house clean. I’ve started more organizing systems than I can (embarrassingly) count. So when my friend encouraged me to read this book, I sighed inwardly – fully expecting more of the same-old-same-old.

But this book was radically different.

The whole philosophy of the book is brilliant: It’s a really hard challenge to change human behavior. Instead, change your house to fit the behavior. Become a student of your house, your habits, and your clutter. And make changes to your house to set yourself up for success.

Let me give you two examples.

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Messy Problem #1: Books

My kids are avid readers, just like me. But the book nook in our house always looked like a disastrous tornado tore into the house. I mean, books were just piled all over the floor… and it was rare for books to be on the wooden bookshelf. (And if they were on the shelf, they were stacked like a giant falling Tower of Pisa.

Getting my kids to put their books BACK on the shelf was like pulling teeth. It took soooooo looooooooong and as soon as they sat down to read, books just spilled everywhere again. It was so bad, visitors would come to our house and compulsively start picking up the books and organizing them. (And inwardly I really wanted to say, “don’t waste your time… it’ll be back to awful in ten seconds.”)

Books Before

But thanks to the ideas in The House That Cleans Itself, we changed the house to fit the behavior. My kids were ploppers (dropping the books on the ground) and not filers (putting them back on the shelf). So we removed the wooden bookshelf and replaced it with fabric bins. And suddenly, the book nook was always clean and tidy. Always.

Let me repeat this in case you missed it. THE BOOK NOOK WAS ALWAYS CLEAN. Below is a picture of the book nook after three weeks of this box system, with zero clean up from me the entire time.

Books After

Messy Problem #2: Worn Clothes

Oh, clothes. You bane of my existence. I have struggled with The Dreaded Pile Of Clothes in my bedroom since forever. And I’m not referring to clean laundry (which is its own animal). I’m referring to clothes that have been worn and aren’t dirty enough to be washed, but not quite clean enough to be put back.

Or worse – you can’t put them away because you might decide to wear them tomorrow. And why bother putting away clothes you are going to wear again the next day?! (I re-wear a lot of my clothes before washing.)

Simply convincing myself to put away those clothes right then and there just wasn’t happening.

And have you noticed? Laundry has a way of multiplying while you sleep. I am convinced of this. And suddenly you go from having one pair of pants laying out to a massive volcano of clothing. And it just keeps erupting.

Clothes Before

Once again, The House That Cleans Itself gave me ideas to save the day. Rather than guilting myself over not immediately dealing with my clothes at the end of the day, I changed the house to fit my behavior. I put a pretty basket under my nightstand and tossed in the clothes I had worn that day. I could pull out clothes from the basket when needed. When the basket got full, that was my cue to sort and organize.

Boom. Now the floor was perfectly clean at all times. I didn’t struggle with a clothes pile again.

When we moved, we gained the blessing of having a master bathroom for the first time ever (so nice!!). But this meant things changed. Suddenly, piles of clothes started showing up alllllllllllll over the bathroom counter. No problem. I just put my fancy baskets on the counter. BAM. Instantly there were no more unsightly clothes piles.

Clothes After

Baby Steps to Clean

I’ve learned that baskets and boxes work great for my family. But they might not work for yours. And that’s totally okay. That’s why the first chapter of The House That Cleans Itself is dedicated to helping you be a detective of your house, looking for messy areas and analyzing WHY those messes are there. Other cleaning books really only addressed the what of the problem – the mess laying around. But suddenly I was looking at my heart issues and the layers behind why the messes happened. It was pretty revealing, but also freeing.

There are a total of 8 steps she walks you through, including:

  • Create A First Impression of Clean: the power of sight-lines and why creating the illusion of clean is a powerful tool
  • Think Like A Hotel: the power of aesthetics and the importance of keeping everything in one spot to save time and messes (ie – keep your envelopes and stamps in the same place so you aren’t going between rooms)
  • Put God at the Center: taking a prayer walk through your home; asking for wisdom and inspiration – and praying blessing on your home and the people in it

Hiccups to Decluttering: But What About All That Stuff That Has Potential?

To any creative person, stuff can become a minefield and a trap. I have always hated those questions of “is it useful” or “is it beautiful.” Because my answers were always, “well… it could be!!!!”

When I read this in the chapter on Simplicity, I felt like jumping up on top of a mountain and shouting for joy.

“If you have a problem with clutter, chances are you have spent a lifetime hearing different methods for clearing away your stuff. Most experts suggest asking yourself several key questions, such as “Do I really need this?” and “Have I used it in the last year?”

 

I say that if you were capable of answering those sorts of questions, the clutter would never have built up in the first place. You don’t need better answers. You need better questions. If you really want to get rid of clutter, in my opinion the place to start is in understanding and embracing this single truth:

EVERY POSSESSION YOU HAVE, FROM THE TINIEST BUTTON TO THE BIGGEST PIECE OF FURNITURE, CONSUMES A PIECE OF TIME.

Think about it. You spend time on your stuff when you acquire it, when you clean it, when you move it, when you shove it into a box and put it into the basement, when you kick it out of the way because you stepped on it, when you leave it out and the kids mess with it, when you get it dirty and have to wash it, when you fish it out from under the bed, when you hold it in your hand and try to decide what to do with it, when you sort it again, when you store it again, when you decorate with it, when you think about how much you love it, when you feel guilty about how much it cost, when you try it on and it no longer fits, when you dust it… and so on.

[…] The questions to ask yourself about your stuff as you attempt to weed things out are not value judgments about when you used it last or when you might need it again. To clutterers, there are too many shades of gray in those questions. Instead, face the black-and-white reality of the trade-off you’re making. When you are de-cluttering, with every single item you own ask yourself these three questions:

  1. Is this worth my time?
  2. Does what I get from this item provide a fair trade-off considering the time I’ll have to spend cleaning and storing it?
  3. Do I want to spend another second in the future fooling with it, or do I want to get rid of it now so it will no longer cost me a single moment of time?
[…] Stuff eats time.(The House That Cleans Itself, pp. 80-81)

The Freedom of Life Change

The House That Cleans Itself is one of those books I plan on reading annually, because I know I will learn new insights each time I read it – whether it be on cleaning routines, decluttering tricks, ideas on how to change the house to fit human behavior, or just soul-nourishing encouragement. There are so many nuggets and helpful ideas inside, I can’t even begin to describe them.

Spring Cleaning Isn't Hard When Your House Cleans Itself!

If you’ve made it this far in the post, the last thing I want you to do is to walk away from this post and think, “psh… that gal was just trying to get me to buy that book.”

Rather, I’m telling everyone I know about this book because I’ve seen the life change it’s brought to my life and my family — deep joy, relief, and freedom!! I’ve read so many different books — but this is seriously the BEST book on this subject I have ever read. I struggled and churned for YEARS to keep my spaces clean and maintained. And I always felt frustrated by my own inabilities and short-comings. That failure etched at my soul and suffocated my joy.

As the author relates her own experience:

“I naively assumed the mere resolve to change would be all it would take. With enough willpower and determination I really would be able to keep a neat and orderly home for the first time in my life. […] Despite my past failures and my limited homemaking skills, I persisted in the notion that I could do better if I only tried harder. So I tried harder. Yet chaos and disorder continued to reign. Oh, there were a few successes along the way – the occasional spring cleaning that was actually finished before the following winter, the rare party or gathering where we didn’t have to lock half the doors for fear our guests might see the messes behind them – and these small victories offered us glimpses of hope amidst the failure. But there were still more failures than successes.”

She went on to explain her embarrassment and frustration at hiring a cleaning crew to come clean the house … only to have it fall apart 24 hours later (sometimes worse than before!). But all that is different for her now — because she stopped trying to change human behavior and started working WITH her family’s habits, instead of against them.

Why do I share all this? Because there is hope. And there is freedom. We are all tasked with being stewards of our home and nothing is worse than feeling “beaten” by your possessions. By understanding the heart behind the problem (and changing the house to fit human behavior), it’s my hope that you can experience the same level of freedom that my family has.

How to Get a House That Cleans Itself
How are you feeling about your house these days? Are you curious to learn more about transforming your house into one that cleans itself? Let us know in the comments below — and if there’s enough interest, maybe we’ll even do a KS Challenge!

If this method isn’t for you, you can also check out how site editor Helen used The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up to help beat back the clutter in her own home.

If you want a simple and accessible cleaning guide with a proven step-by-step schedule for tidying a home in just ten minutes a day, check out Simply Clean: The Proven Method for Keeping Your Home Organized, Clean, and Beautiful in Just 10 Minutes a Day.

Editor’s note: Links to The House That Cleans Itself are Amazon affiliate links. Bethany purchased this book on her own. Being frugal stewards here at KS we always recommend the library or borrowing from friends if you can’t buy at this time.

Unless otherwise credited, photos are owned by the author or used with a license from Canva or Deposit Photos.

58 thoughts on “Spring Cleaning: How To Get A House That Cleans Itself”

  1. One of the best bks on organizing said figure out where things are now. Thats where they need to be kept. Make a place there.
    Yes, s&p shakers shud be on the kitchen table. But you only eat in the lvg rm n they r always on the coffee table. Leave em there.
    The bks belong on the bkshelf but you read mostly in bed; put the bkshelf next to it.
    Sort mail standing over the garbage and have a box near it to toss the rest in. I sort out bills too by having a wall holder mounted nearby that they go from my hand, into bam.
    See what ur doin now, organize so u can keep doing it. Cuz u will!!

  2. Mary Turzillo

    My husband and I have a rather different approach to clutter. We just let it be. It’s outside forces that are trying to guilt us over the books on the floor. We don’t mind them, and we’re the ones who live here. We also have another key to de-cluttering: don’t buy new stuff. Just don’t. I read some stupid blog that said you should get new pillowcases every year because the old ones are yicky. I don’t think so. Just don’t buy stuff. Tolerate the stuff you have. Heck, enjoy the clutter. Don’t let “expert” books make your life miserable by saying there’s something wrong with keeping stuff you want to keep.

  3. I love the concept of this book. I’m going to see if I can find a copy to read. One thing I did to work with the nature of the mess but make it functional/clean/ useable/not look messy was dealing big with Legos. My daughter used to leave them all over the floor in the playroom. That made it impossible to vacuum, and the dog hair and dust and Legos looked horrible and were always in the way of playing with anything else. So, I took a large long folding table that I wasn’t using and made it her Lego table. She can make a town and have it out of the way, off the floor, and not have it messed with. I can vacuum and not see a major disaster. She has a big shallow box (top of a box, I think) and a couple small Lego bins for sorting any random pieces she isn’t currently using. Her only rule is that the Legos have to stay on the table-and that is easy for her. Even the random Lego that falls off is easier to clean up than all of them. Happy mom, happy kid!

  4. I wish I could afford this book, sounds perfect to me!
    Sadly, we are hardly making it as it is but thanks for sharing the idea behind it, I’ll try to work it out in the meantime. I’m sure someone could buy me for my birthday ;D

  5. Wow–I need to read this book! Ee are definitely a family of pilers, and I’ve been fighting it for too long. Thanks for sharing a few ways you made it happen in your family!

  6. Oh, my! That bookshelf looks like the one in my house…not the shelf, but the books on it. My children are 7, 5, 3, and 1, and they just pile books on the shelf, instead of filing them. Not that I do much better, lol. I am def. a piler and not an organizer. This book sounds wonderful, as I’ve never been able to keep up with most “cleaning” routines. I would love to do a challenge!

  7. I just requested this book from the library – looking forward to reading it! We have had book baskets set up for the children since day one. Even when they go through the “empty everything out” stages of infancy/toodlerhood, it is much easier to clean and involve them in the cleanup. (One thing I need to work on personally is modeling a consistent care of the books when putting them away – I volunteered in my youngest’s Montessori toddler room and I’m sure the teacher cringed when I chucked some books into their box a la homestyle – she of course always walked the books back and carefully placed them into the basket; surely this would help with paperbacks down the road!)

    Realizing I am a piler has been life changing. The first place I read about/got “permission” to exist as a piler was in a very used copy of an old out of print book called something like “if I could just stay organized: help for filers and pilers” and it was so empowering to accept my piler nature and work with it and not against it!! (Personal tip – I find the Ikea kvissle letter trays are perfect for organizing my paper piles while still keeping my piles intact – win!!) Looking forward to getting more inspiration from this book!

  8. Does anyone have suggestions for art work and craft projects that your kids do? My girls are constantly drawing and making crafts at the dining table. Sometimes they don’t finish and want to leave it for later, but it ends up getting in the way. Or if I have them clean up I feel like a lot of things get wasted. We don’t have a place for used things, like partly used drawing paper, construction paper, felt, etc. So they end up just throwing everything away. Also, how do you store or declutter all the drawings and paintings and projects. There’s only so much space on our refrigerator. ????

    1. Crafts are my bane Charlene! A little container with a lid for scraps is a good idea IMO, and also a hanging rope/cord with clips for displaying work. When it’s full, they have to take one down before the next can go up. Take a photo for them to remember it (they’ll likely never ask to see them but it helps them feel SO much better about having to recycle/throw away). Working on trays that can be set on top of the fridge or somewhere off the table is one way to hold onto partially finished projects for later. Hope those help!! 🙂 Katie

  9. I too have a problem with clutter and being organized. I can relate to Lisa above about piles and moving stuff from one place to another. When I started reading this post I too thought ok another book I am not going to buy because I have bought books and read posts in past and I still have chaos. I am tired of the mess as much as I try and get frustrated. But as I continued to read I thought maybe this might be for me as I could so relate. I wonder too if the challenge would be for me. So I would be interested in hearing more if that happens.

    1. Bethany Wright (Contributing Writer)

      Christine — hopefully you can find the book from the library (free is always wonderful, right?) to give it a read. It may be a surprising blessing for you. I was so tired of reading books and blogs that didn’t work… but now that I learned how *I* work, I feel like I can make my house work so much better.

      We’ll be in touch about the KS challenge — we’re still working on the details of that.

  10. Have you read The Life Changing Magic of Tiding Up? This sounds similar/complimentary! I would love to check it out!

    1. Bethany Wright (Contributing Writer)

      I haven’t deeply read the book (only skimmed), but our site editor, Helen has. She wrote her thoughts here: http://www.kitchenstewardship.com/2015/09/01/7-reasons-to-declutter/

      Many of her ideas I already employed but I was still struggling with messes. For me, it was The House That Cleans Itself that really was the lightbulb moment.

  11. The children’s bookshelf is the bane of their room. I love this idea! I’m going to try to find this book at my library. Thank you for the thorough review!

    1. Bethany Wright (Contributing Writer)

      Kathryn, glad the review was helpful to you! Hopefully it will be a blessing to your family!!

  12. frances Van den Bergh

    I have lived in my 2 bedroom townhouse for 30 years and I am a compulsive hoarder. I am a 65 year old Spinster living alone so it has been easy to stash and hoard. Now due to financial difficulties I decided to take in a lady boarder. We managed to totally clear out and clean her bedroom and now everything is lying around the flat. She only lasted a week but there is another potential boarder and I do not know how I am going to clear my home before month end if he decides to move in. I cannot afford to buy the book so I read all the comments in the hope of finding solutions to my life long and on going problem.
    So glad and thankful that I am not alone in my predicament.
    Regards, Frances from Sunny South Africa

    1. Bethany Wright (Contributing Writer)

      Frances – Welcome from South Africa! Have you checked your library for a copy of the book? I don’t know how it looks for you in South Africa, but the American version of Amazon has some used copies for under $5. I wish we didn’t have an ocean between us or I’d love to mail you a copy.

      She has a section of her book dedicated to those who struggle with stashing and hoarding. It was so freeing and helpful for me to read.

      Hopefully your boarding situation will work out and you can get ahold of a copy of the book!

    2. Hi there. Well, the male boarder did not move in as my eldest sister has come to my rescue and moved in on the 21st April. Slowly but surely my home is being transformed and if she does not give up on me and literally runs away then I will have a home that visitors will be welcome to come into and feel comfortable. She is also an avid gardener and has already transformed my carport into a lovely little garden. So the light at the end of the tunnel was not a train.
      Regards Frances from Sunny South Africa

  13. Hmmm, I’ll have to read this book. Clutter has taken over my house to the point I don’t have anyone over!! I have four kids who are old enough to help, but it’s just not working!! For example, I bought one of those shoe cubbies with a set of two drawers underneath. There are enough cubbies for each person in the house to have 2 pair of shoes in there. The drawers are for hats, gloves, and scarves. I put it at the bottom of the stairs, which is also by the front door. So everyone goes past it several times a day. After 3 year, I want to throw it out!!! The shoes rarely make it into the cubby and are usually in a pile at the bottom of the stairs. I have twisted my ankle trying to avoid the pile of shoes at the bottom of the stairs! And the bench I put against the wall as a place to sit to put on your shoes is filled with hats, gloves, and scarves!! I just gave up and just let it be.

    1. Bethany Wright (Contributing Writer)

      June — oh, I sooooo understand. Sounds like your family may be “plotters,” too. I’d be curious to see what would happen if you put one cute basket on the bench (or maybe to the side) for hats, gloves, and scarves. And you can try a shoe bin, too. My husband and I actually use old laundry bins in our closet for shoes. We used to have shoes scattered all over our closet and bedroom. And now that we use one large bin — because neither of us mind hunting — we don’t trip over shoes anymore. It’s wonderful.

      We have a bench in our entry way and shoes can be kicked under it. Not as nice looking as a bin, but it totally works for our crew. Wish I could attach a pic to show you. But that might be a consideration, too — having a bench with an open bottom so that shoes can be kicked under the bench.

    2. My kids hate having to put their shoes in the shelf by the door. Too bad, they still have to, cuz Im the mean mom. Since they dont have matching shoes btwn kids, I know instantly whose shoes (or coat) are not put away. There are consequences each time. N yes, i hang up my coat and put my shoes away too 🙂 We use hooks for most coats so its super simple too.

  14. Like you, I have read SO MANY organizing and decluttering books over the years. When I started reading your post I thought “it’s another book … I will NOT buy it but I will read this post for any new tips.” By the end of the post – I bought the book. 🙂 I struggle with many of the same things at my house and your solutions were amazing! We are a family of PILERS. I HATE it. I spend so much time moving piles of stuff around and simply do not know what to do with some things. I am currently (SLOWLY) decluttering with the KonMarie method but even as there is less stuff, the piles are still happening. So this book sounds like it will be a perfect companion to my “tidying up.” I’m going to get a basket for my worn-but-will-wear-again-before-washing clothes that I have been putting on the floor today! 🙂

    1. Bethany Wright (Contributing Writer)

      Lisa – Hehe! I’m glad this book intrigued you. It’s been a tremendous blessing for me. And hopefully it will work beautifully in tandem with the other system, helping your family find wonderful new rhythms and freedom.

      Meanwhile, happy basket hunting. 😉

    2. Ive been hanging clothes on a door rack for a couple of decades. Pjs go there in the a.m. then clothes at nite. My kids do this too. We wear things 2-3 days in a row, till theyre dirty. The fashion industry and appliance industry hates us lol. Hey, ppl used to only o.w.n. a few changes of clothes and wear the same thing for several days. I hate Madison Avenue. Ppl who want to show off constantly, dont even know theyre doing it, 9 times out of 10. Its just our culture. When i thot about it, boom…consumerism, plain n simple.

    1. Bethany Wright (Contributing Writer)

      Lori – I’m hoping it works out, too! We’ll be in touch about a challenge. In the meantime, I’m with you — this is one of those books I could easily re-read every year.

  15. I read a book long ago that sounds much like this one. Look at why things are not making it back to their places. Why are the dirty clothes on top of the hamper instead of in it? They are all sitting on top of the lid. So, I took the lid off. Now all the laundry lands inside! Also, the runway by the main entrance and exit. Set up a place for things to land when you come in the house and you can pick them up on the way out.

    At a different house, we had a big dresser by the front door. Each family member had their own drawer and one drawer for library books. I think we had a drawer for store returns too or something we needed to return or take to friends. When I was growing up we had something similar for our school books.

    I think I could gain new ideas from this book too.

    1. Bethany Wright (Contributing Writer)

      Mama2Eight – I’d love to sit down over coffee sometime and just hear all the ideas you have. Sounds like you have some great ones. Love the idea with the library books by the front door.

      So often if we were just a student of ourselves a little bit more, I wonder what insights we would gain about our behavior.

      Hopefully you’ll get a chance to read the book. Be sure to tell us what ideas you gleaned — there are so many ideas in there!

  16. Yeah, clutter has over taken my life. I am wrapping up my masters program and in the coming week i will graduate. However, because my focus has been entirely on all the requirements i need to fulfill before the graduation deadline, house keeping has fallen by the wayside. I don’t get lots of help in this area, my husband is satisfied with is cleaning efforts when he does the dishes every few days…

    Needless to say without a mom constantly tending to the piles, the piles continue to pile up. Graduation doesn’t even mark the end of an intense time of my life, it is really only going to change and morph from here. My busy schedule may reduce a little from how it is now yet the house still needs hours upon hours of attention to get it to “clean”.

    I’d love to be see a focused challenge of this topic.

    1. Bethany Wright (Contributing Writer)

      Adrianna – phew, you made ME tired just reading about everything you are juggling! I’m glad that you can recognize that the period of intensity isn’t ending, only morphing, because I feel that half of life’s battles is one of expectations.

      We’ll be in touch about the challenge. For now, hopefully you can find the book at your library and squeeze in some time to give it a try!

      And congrats on graduating!!!!

  17. Wow, this totally speaks to me! We struggle with the exact same issues, and not only is it helpful to know that I’m not alone, but that there are options that might actually work that don’t simply involve me being “more organized” or staying up later than I already am to tidy the house so the kids can destroy it hours later! Will definitely be reading the book and I think a KS challenge would be fantastic!!

    1. Bethany Wright (Contributing Writer)

      Oh, Heather. Yes and amen! I definitely thought that my sole problem was because I couldn’t be “perfect” enough or “good enough” to get it done — as the quote from the book said: “If I only tried harder…” Hard work is indeed important, but it’s working hard in a beneficial direction that matters. Let us know how the book works for you and we’ll be in touch about the KS challenge!

  18. Brilliant! I wonder if a book bin would work for my oldest daughter’s novels . . . and working with my family’s tendencies instead of beating my head against the same week makes so much sense! I’d be up for a KS challenge – how does that work?

    1. Bethany Wright (Contributing Writer)

      Amy, it’s worth trying the book bin! For soft-cover books, one has to be a little more cautious so that the covers don’t splay open. We’re still working on the details of a KS challenge — we’ll get back with you!

  19. Not having finished the book, I was still trying to decide whether it was worth working on this when we’re going to move in about a year and a half (yes, even after you told.me it was). You’ve convinced me. Thanks, friend. <3

    1. I think it’s even more important when you are planning on moving! Not only do you get rid of a lot of clutter, but you also figure out your habits and it might help you decide a better floor plan for your next place. At the very least it will make the move easier!

      1. Bethany Wright (Contributing Writer)

        Jennifer – we just moved 6 months ago and had gone through our transformation of habits/house organization just a few months before that. You’re right — it totally changed how we viewed the house hunting process!!!!!

        1. I LOVE how all these comments and replies are so wonderfully positive and encouraging! Such good advice too-thanks ALL!

    2. Having just completed two major moves in the span of 4 months, I would add that there is significant cost associated with moving your clutter. Boxes, packing materials, size of moving van, total weight, gas costs…it adds up quickly. Decluttering ahead of time will save you $$$. Maybe even $,$$$. 🙂

      1. Bethany Wright (Contributing Writer)

        Stuff = $$$ or $,$$$ — haha! I love the added comma, Beth. And it’s SO TRUE.

    3. Bethany Wright (Contributing Writer)

      Kelly, see I wasn’t crazy when I told you it was a good read. You’re welcome, friend! 😉

  20. I am so overwhelmed by the stuff in my bedroom and dining room….I started in the bathroom, a small room, and got rid of TONS of stuff, and organized what was left. I felt much better. But my bedroom is next, because it is the next biggest room, and my dining room has been used a storage pile for years and is beyond daunting. Is there any way to do the de-cluttering process in chunks? I start, get discouraged, and then never go back to finish….:(

    1. Deborah Zechini

      Hi Jennifer,
      I’m a professional organizer and I’m wondering what worked for you when you de-cluttered the bathroom? Was it because it was smaller? Less items to figure out what to do with? How did you determine what stayed in the bathroom?
      It’s absolutely okay to de-clutter in chunks! I often tell my ADHD clients to “chunk it down” do it in baby steps or decide how long you will work in that room and set a clock and stop when you reach that time. Try not to leave the room you are working in. If there is something that belongs in another room put it in a container marked “belongs elsewhere” and at the end of your time take the items to their proper home.
      I have some other thoughts but let me know where you are getting stuck.

      1. Bethany Wright (Contributing Writer)

        Jennifer – The book lists some great ideas on how to do this process in chunks. And Deborah has some fantastic advice as well. Hopefully you can see her comment, especially with her gracious offer to help brainstorm!

    2. I can definitely relate to feeling overwhelmed. I found a tip on Pinterest once to make two boxes, one for garbage and one for the thrift store. I kept them in a closet out of sight and every day I would find seven items to put in each box. It was a great program because it was fairly quick and doable and by the end of a few weeks the house was looking much better and easier to manage. Hope this helps!

  21. Love this idea. It’s sort of a zen cleaning or something.
    Why fight it? Just let it be!
    I recently decided that I was tired of telling the kids to stop climbing over the couch. So I just pushed it against a wall! Now they still stand on it, but they aren’t tempted to walk all over the top anymore.

    1. Bethany Wright (Contributing Writer)

      Brilliant idea with the couch, Christina. Isn’t it funny how one simple change (like furniture location) can change the daily equation??

  22. I love the book box idea. My children are 1 and 3. They have a hard time putting the books in a book shelf because there are to many books.

    1. Bethany Wright (Contributing Writer)

      What is the saying… there are never too many books, only not enough shelf space? Haha. I understand, fully. Kindling a love of literature is super important to our family so we have a plethora of books everywhere. And now that we have book bins in strategic, the house is a much happier place. 🙂

    2. Yes, this seriously works for us! I have just realised, the bookshelf is the bane of my existence because the kids NEVER put the books back right! But our library book basket? All the books magically end up back there!! I’m going to have to switch the kids’ books to all being in baskets!

      1. I am trying to understand how the kids file the bks in the bins but not on the shelf.
        A box or bin to my kids means p.i.l.e. things in it, not file. They wud see the top bk only n paw thru, tossing out bks or dump it. Or just not read cuz the top one wasnt the one they wanted.

  23. I read the first edition of THTCI and loved it. I am still trying to work through the house. I am following a Slob Comes Clean two question and simply putting things where they go instead of having boxes of stuff to move around, but I try to look at the habits and work with them.

    1. Bethany Wright (Contributing Writer)

      Oh, Robbi. You need to read the second edition. Because I found the book so I helpful, I inhaled both editions and the 2nd one had even more ideas and stories and suggestions. It’s always fun to ‘meet’ another HTCI enthusiast. 😀

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