Declutter, Clean, Organize & Tidy – Defining the Differences & the Best Order

We've all been there: staring into a cluttered room, overwhelmed by the sheer volume of "stuff."  Maybe it's a messy desk, a chaotic kitchen, or even a closet overflowing with unworn clothes. The solution seems simple – “clean” it up! But before you grab your cleaning supplies and go to town, it's important to understand the distinct roles of four key concepts in conquering clutter: declutter, clean, organize, and tidy.

Let's break them down:


Imagine your wardrobe.  Editing the excess is always the first step.  What needs to be banished?  Be honest –will you wear that too-tight skirt or ever replace a random button from the big bag you’ve collected over the years?  Don't be afraid to donate, sell, or recycle what no longer serves you.  Remember, less is often more when it comes to creating a functional and inspiring wardrobe or workspace.


Once the decluttering step is complete, it's time to brandish disinfectant wipes, vacuums, and dust cloths. When you have a clear surface, nothing on the floor,   and empty drawers after your decluttering edit, it’s an ideal time to clean before you put things back. However, cleaning isn't magic – it can't make clutter disappear.  A clean space overflowing with stuff is still a cluttered space, so that is why decluttering first is key.


Think of organizing as creating a designated home for everything you've thoughtfully kept during the decluttering phase. This is where systems and strategies come in.  Invest in shelves, bins, and drawer dividers to categorize and store your belongings efficiently. The goal is to create a user-friendly system that minimizes clutter build-up in the future.  Think of it as creating a flow in your space, where everything has a designated spot and is easily accessible. Being “organized” means you can find what you need when you need it!

4 - TIDY

Tidying is the final piece of the puzzle – the daily or weekly habit that ensures your organized space stays that way.  It's putting things back in their designated spot after use.  Did you try a dress on but choose a skirt? Hang the dress up, don’t leave it on a chair. This simple act of daily tidying prevents clutter from accumulating and maintains the clear order you established during the organizing stage.

Why the Order Matters

Treating these activities as separate steps ensures a more efficient and effective final outcome. Imagine cleaning a cluttered room – you might move things around to vacuum, but the clutter is still there.  By decluttering first, you eliminate extra work, making cleaning, organizing, and tidying a much smoother and more satisfying process.

So, the next time you face a cluttered space, don't feel overwhelmed. Embrace the power of decluttering, cleaning, organizing, and tidying.  By tackling them in this specific order, you'll transform chaos into a haven of functionality, one room, closet, or pantry at a time!

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