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Operation De-Clutter is About to Commence…or Not.

by | Uncategorized

Here’s a goal I may or may not accomplish – next time it rains and we can’t work out in the yard, I’m going to clean the house.  WHA?  It’s amazing how much my tolerance for clutter has gone up.  Between the pregnancy sickness, the intensity of the new job and the beautiful weather, things are a little bit crazy here.  I really don’t want to know how much time I spend looking under the couch and going room to room for toy cars, tv remotes and cell phones.

We’ve always talked about hiring a cleaning service, but I’ve always had an aversion to it.  How many of you have a cleaning service but clean the day before your service shows up?  I mean, they clean, but they don’t pick up clutter.  They won’t clean up the play food littered all over the dining room, nor return the random water glasses back to the kitchen.  In the end, the vacuuming and the mopping really doesn’t take that long.  It’s the CLUTTER that’s killing me.

I would guess half the stuff in my living at this moment doesn’t really belong there, and there are things upstairs that need to come downstairs.  With a total of 4 floors (basement, 2 floors and attic), puttering up and down the stairs and from room to room is tiring and discouraging, so I have a strategy when I get in a decluttering kind of mood.  Call it my cleaning algorithm.


Image via source

I like to declutter using re-usable grocery totes.  I’ll have one bag for each level, so items belonging upstairs go into one bag destined for bedrooms and attic, while dirty clothes, outgrown toys and unused items get put into the “basement” bag.  Sometimes, I even have a 1st floor bag, just to shuffle items from room to room.  For example, while in the living room, I’ll pick up everything that doesn’t belong there, sort it (a little), and then head to the kitchen, drop off things that belong in the kitchen, while picking up things that don’t.  Then, through the dining room, repeating the process.  I guess this makes me sort of like a train with clutter as my passengers?

Once the 1st floor is clean, I head to the second floor with my “upstairs” bag, going bedroom to bedroom, picking up and dropping off as I go.  I usually take a detour to the attic at this point, but since it’s only 1 room (my craft room), it’s pretty easy.  By the time the upper floors are cleaned, I’ll have a bag of lower floor items, and I get to run through the 1st floor again.  Hurray.  There’s also the side trip to the basement.  As you can see, the process is reiterated a couple of times, but it still beats having to climb the stairs for every misplaced book, toy, dirty sock, water glass, or phone charger.

Image via source

While I make the rounds, I always think of the Traveling Salesman algorithm for some reason, even though probably doesn’t really apply (really, I’m not a software girl). I just try to come up with better ways to optimize my routes around the house.  I know.  Dork.  But it works.



  1. Mary Ann

    Wow… Nice graph theory reference. The math geek in me needed that this morning!

  2. Kristina Manscill

    Awesome tips! I am going to have to try the grocery store bags, genius! And very fancy with the graphs by the way! 🙂


  3. Kim M

    The bags are a great idea! I usually run from room to room with whatever my arms can carry. I like your way much better! I like your graph too, makes me feel like I am getting a lot of exercise during all this de-cluttering! If only! Ha!

  4. Kadie

    The bag idea is great! I usually just fill up what I can carry, and take it to the room it goes to, and fill my arms again and take to the next room. ha,ha


    I really like the grocery bag idea. Granted, we only have a living room, bedroom, kitchen, and bathroom, all on one floor, it’s still a good idea to tuck away for the future!

  6. Vanessa

    I agree that the grocery bag ideas is a good one! My mom always used laundry baskets, but then the laundry baskets weren’t available for laundry…so, I may just have to try your method!

  7. Marilyn Clark

    This is a great post…I’m so inspired by your grocery bag method!

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