Are you familiar with the movie ‘Honey, We Shrunk Ourselves’ and that scene where the kitchen is a complete mess because the daughter wants to throw a party in the parents’ absence? Luckily for them it was just a movie so they had a cleanup crew on standby (I wonder if they would be open to cleaning homes not used for movies…)

Think about your home and how it looks regularly. Any home can look “lived in”, and there is absolutely nothing wrong with that! I’m focusing more on clutter; clutter that seems to accumulate without any warning or notice. It just seems to show up out of nowhere, and it causes you to become overwhelmed or anxious with the state of your household. Your home is supposed to be your safe place, your comfort zone, a place where you can unwind and be away from the hustle and bustle of the outside world. But how are you able to relax when your house causes you anxiety because of the mysterious clutter? Marie Kondo, star of Tidying Up with Marie Kondo, says that “the objective of cleaning is not just to clean, but to feel happiness living within that environment”.

So here are some tips and tricks to organize and declutter your home to maintain your happiness (& sanity!):


1) Ask yourself questions while cleaning!
If it’s clutter you are dealing with, you may be inclined to ask yourself, “Is this item of current use to me? Is there any sentimental value behind this item? Will I need this item 6 month or a year from now?”. When you ask yourself these questions, it helps you realize the use of the item you are questioning and whether or not it’s something worth keeping. It almost provides closure if you choose to discard the item. Now, if you choose to keep it, you may set it to the side and work on how to organize it with other things you choose to keep.

2) Motivate yourself
I think there are a certain percentage of people who truly enjoy the art of cleaning and we applaud those who do! If you are one that needs to be motivated to clean, hop on board with the rest of us! One way I motivate myself to clean is listening to music. I like to listen to 70s, 80s, and 90s music while I clean because I feel it gives me the energy I need, and come on… songs during those decades were pretty great. Another way I motivate myself to clean is that I promise myself a reward at the end. This reward could consist of a favorite snack, watching a good movie, reading my favorite book, or rewarding myself with takeout food for dinner (I just cleaned the kitchen, let me enjoy it!). Now if I don’t clean, I don’t get the reward, and I stick to that! Self-discipline is key with this one if you choose to do so! I challenge you to think of some ways you may motivate yourself to get active and to get those cleaning juices flowing.

3) Bins and totes and storage, oh my!
OK so earlier I mentioned asking yourself questions while cleaning which is a helpful portion of managing the clutter. Now what about the items you choose to keep? Let’s work on that! It’s very easy to keep those items piled on a table and leave them for days, weeks, months, but I want to try to avoid that here. Do you have any bins or totes that you can use to keep these additional items in? If so, great! That would be a great place to store these items and keep them away in a storage closet to prevent less clutter in your household. If you are in need of bins or totes, department stores such as Walmart or Home Depot got you covered! Or, if you check out The Container Store (, they have neat and cheap selections too! When we act on organizing, it provides us with a sense of control that we need in order to maintain our household and its appearance thus allowing us the power to make changes where we see fit.

4) Map it out!
Think of where you would like certain things to go in your house and create a map of each room and what things can be stored in each space. This will not only help keep you organized altogether, but it provides a clearer picture on how you want your house to look and what you can do to achieve those results. You may also use this as a tool when helping your kiddos clean or giving them a chore list that involves cleaning and tidying up.


These are just a few tips and tricks among many that are available to help with organization skills. I hope that you find these to be helpful when you are organizing and cleaning your household. And remember – a clean house is a happy house! 😊

Thank you, and take care!

Jill M.
Graduate Counseling Intern
Step by Step Counseling LLC