Clutter Control Checklist




  • start with the area of your life that causes you the greatest pain
  • create a list of the areas you want to work on in order of priority
  • include a deadline for completing each project
  • try to tackle one small area at a time — drawer, cabinet, shelf, etc.
  • set aside some time each week to work on a different area
  • move systematically throughout your home
  • completely finish one area before beginning another
  • find the organizing style and pace that suit you
  • recruit some organizing “assistants” — friends, family, neighbors
  • if no volunteers, consider hiring avprofessional organizer to help


  • When was the last time you used it?
  • When will you (realistically) need it again?
  • Why would you need it again?
  • Who might ask for it?
  • What would you need it for?
  • Is it easily replaceable?
  • What's the worst thing that would happen if you got rid of it?
  • Is it beautiful, useful, or loved?


  • know what you want from your storage before beginning
  • maximize space? see everything you own? cut down on cleaning?
  • make sure each storage decision meets these goals
  • collect up everything that needs a home before starting organizing


  • “It was expensive and I can't stand to see it go to waste.”
  • if you don't use it, it's still being wasted — even if you keep it
  • “I might be need it someday.”
  • if you haven't used it in a year, will you use it in the next?
  • “It was a gift.”
  • once you receive a gift, it's yours to do with as you see fit


  • set up several boxes as you go through each storage area
  • “keep” (items you know you love and use)
  • sort “keeps” into different boxes for each area of the house
  • “get rid of” (items you know you don't use and don't want)
  • throw items that can't be repaired or used by others in the trash
  • put serviceable items in a “give away” box to be donated
  • put valuable items into a “sell” box to consign
  • “not sure” (don't know if you want it and aren't ready to let go)
  • tape up the “not sure” box and label with the date and contents
  • put in the garage or basement
  • make a note in your calendar to check back in 6-12 months
  • if you haven't needed anything in the box in that time, get rid of it
  • “need to buy” (is missing parts or accessories)
  • “need to repair” (requires some work before it can be used)
  • “to return” (doesn't belong to you and needs to go back)


  • create a set home for everything you own — no halfway spots
  • have a good reason for storing and item in a certain place
  • store like items together according to purpose
  • don't forget accessories and related items
  • ex: store travel alarm, A/C adapter, and toiletry bag with luggage
  • store items nearest the point where you use them
  • store items you use most often in more accessible spaces
  • store items you use less in harder-to-reach areas
  • keep climate in mind — heat, moisture, and insects
  • don't store things in an attic or garage if they will be damaged
  • leave 15% of your space free for future additions
  • plan to go through your spaces to “purge” once a year


  • use see-through containers whenever possible
  • label every container so you know what's in it without opening
  • use drawer dividers, baskets, shelves to subdivide larger spaces
  • make use of hanging space with hooks and racks
  • make use of low space with under-bed boxes
  • choose modular components that can adjust as your needs change.


“Ramona Creel is a modern Renaissance woman and guru of simplicity — traveling the country as a full-time RVer, sharing her story of radically downsizing, and inspiring others to regain control of their own lives. As a Professional Organizer and Accountability Coach, Ramona will help you create the time and space to focus on your true priorities — clearing away the clutter other obstacles and standing in the way of that life you've always wanted to be living. As a Professional Photographer, Ramona captures powerful images of places and people as she travels. And as a travel writer, social commentator, and blogger, she shares her experiences and insights about the world as we know it. You can see all these sides of Ramona — read her articles, browse through her photographs, and even hire her to help get your life in order — at And be sure to follow her onTwitter and on Facebook.”

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