Single Steps Strategies Blog

Clutter Do’s and Don’ts

Thanks to Sandy Kutchman of Discover Organizing for submitting this wonderful insight on de-cluttering! You can read more about Sandy in her recent Step into the Spotlight article

Watch a discussion of Discover Organizing Inc.’s Organizing Tips with Sandy Kutchman and Jill Yesko on their number one tip for tackling clutter: capitalizing on your energy. See the full list of clutter do’s and don’ts below.


Jill’s Clutter Do’s and Don’ts


  1. Do work when your energy is good, and put some music on!
  2. Do get help – call a professional, a good friend, or a family member – it forces you to focus, and to make decisions you wouldn’t normally make.
  3. Do set the timer – have a beginning and an end to your decluttering!
  4. Do set up bins and receptacles – Keep, Toss, Donate, Sell, & Not Sure
  5. Do work on one area or room at a time. Set things near the door that need to go somewhere else, and take them there only after you are finished organizing the space you are in.
  6. Do work left to right, “reading the room”, then top to bottom.
  7. Do use the OHIO technique – Only Handle It Once.
  8. Do determine Need, Frequency, & Value of each item.
  9. Do contain and label everything that you possibly can so every item has a home.
  10. Do make ONE more pass through your Keep items before you are done, and repeat monthly afterwards!


  1. Don’t organize when you are tired or hungry!
  2. Don’t try to not tackle big jobs (attic, garage) alone.
  3. Don’t buy any new items (except food) until you are finished with your organizing project. 
  4. Don’t allow interruptions (phone calls, texts, emails) to distract you. Turn off your phone notifications or turn off the sound altogether.
  5. Don’t criticize yourself for having “so much stuff”, just keep moving, and be proud that you are doing something about it NOW.
  6. Don’t worry about not knowing how to organize – it is a skill, and it CAN be learned!
  7. Don’t think that because something is old, it cannot be used by someone else – donate it.
  8. Don’t run around the house giving items a new home once you have them in your hand – this will only distract you from the space you were in.
  9. Don’t put things in the attic or basement “for now” – they will be forgotten about, and they might get ruined if they are valuable.
  10. Don’t hesitate to ask for professional help if you cannot stop hoarding and collecting things out of fear.

Download Jill’s list in PDF format