Published on October 26, 2020

Ever since the Marie Kondo craze sparked a veritable cultural movement, which saw niche industries like cleaning influencing take off, we’ve all become a little bit obsessed with organizing. And honestly, we still are: The Reese Witherspoon–produced Get Organized With the Home Edit hit mass appeal when it premiered on Netflix this summer. But that’s TV—how do real people deal with clutter in their own homes? A survey by mobile marketplace OfferUp examines just that. The report analyzed the tidying habits of 2,000 Americans, and it looks like, as a whole, we think about decluttering quite a bit.

First of all, if you’re planning your fall schedule around getting your home in order for the holidays, you’re not alone. Around 37 percent of Americans are purportedly devoting an entire day (or more!) to cleaning, while 24 percent are setting aside a couple of hours. This kind of commitment pays off: Seventy percent of those surveyed swear by cleaning to feel accomplished; 61 percent use it to de-stress; and 54 percent do it to feel relaxed afterward.

That said, decluttering has as many external benefits as it does internal. It can help you find a roommate—34 percent of those surveyed say tidiness is important when looking for one. It can also influence your entertaining habits, as houseguests notice clutter right away. Forty-six percent of respondents say they “suffer quietly” when visiting a messy home, and 28 percent would avoid going back.

Whether you’re just prepping for picky in-laws or looking to turn over a new leaf and live a clutter-free life, here are some ways to make tidying up a cinch.

Break It Down

It’s one thing to dedicate a specific day to deep cleaning your home. It’s another thing altogether to relegate all cleaning to that day. Think of decluttering as a daily ritual, so that when you tackle the big stuff seasonally, the task feels less overwhelming. Fashion designer Jesse Kamm, whose sleek, minimalist office holds enough decluttering inspo to last a lifetime, swears by a nightly sweep-through. “It’s easy to keep a neat space when there is very little to clutter it,” she says. “Spend about 10 minutes each day putting things back in their place. When you do a bit each day, you’re more likely to stay on top of organization.”

Invest in Some Stylish Fixes

Trays for your favorite beauty products, vintage wire baskets for your kitchen textiles, repurposed candle vases for your desktop essentials: There is a myriad of chic storage solutions that prove you don’t have to resort to plastic bins to clean up your home. Once you’ve figured out which materials work best with your personal style—for example, opt for woven baskets if you lean more boho or sleek acrylic trays if you’re a die-hard minimalist—take your time finding organizational tools that double as decor.

Approach It Categorically

When all else fails, channel the queen of clean herself. Lisa Tselebidis is a certified KonMari consultant, and she recommends tidying by category instead of location. “You can only grasp what you have and how much of it you have when you gather all the items of one category in one spot,” she explains. Start by tackling your clothing pile before turning your decluttering attention to your books.  

This story was originally published in November 2019 and has since been updated. 

See more decluttering tips:
A KonMari Consultant Cured My Junk Drawer
17 Products on Amazon That Will Help You Simplify Your Life
If You Buy These 15 Storage Items, You Don’t Need a Professional Organizer

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