A Powerful Tip to Get Rid of Clutter Areas Once and For All

Clean Zone

Where is your clutter?

I bet you can name a few areas quickly. The backseat of your car. Your desktop. The nightstand next to your bed.

We all have trouble spots, places where we accumulate stuff.

Today, I have a powerful tip to help keep those trouble areas clutter-free.

Where is Your Clutter?

Maybe you pile things on your desk. Or you set things down on the table inside the door of your home.

Chances are you have a few areas of your life that regularly deteriorate into large piles. Hopefully, they are not in more nefarious locations such as the staircase, the hallway, or the kitchen table.

Why do the same areas always accumulate clutter and personal belongings?

It could be that they are the most convenient places that you typically pass by when you are coming home or doing work.

How do you keep these troublesome areas clean?

Declare Your “Clean Zones”

Getting your living and work spaces organized can seem like an overwhelming task. It can involve large clean-up projects and changing your long-established habits. However, there is a powerful tactic you can start practicing to immediately impact your clutter cleanliness.

Declare a “Clean Zone.”

What is a “Clean Zone?” Simply put, it is an area that you will keep free of clutter at all times.

I recommend it be one of your trouble areas: the kitchen table, the staircase, wherever you tend to accumulate your belongings.

Where should you establish your “clean zone?”

Here are some popular clean zones choices:

  • Desktop – Is your desk always piled high? Keeping the surface clear can be a game changer and allow you to be more productive.
  • Kitchen table – Do you eat your meals around clutter that is sitting on the table? Keep this personal space clear and make sure it is empty before you leave the house.
  • Stairway – Clutter in a stairwell can be dangerous, and it presents a trip hazard that will come back to haunt you later. A good rule to keep stairwells clean is to “always take things up or down the stairs when you travel them.” Don’t pass by that item that needs to be taken up or downstairs.
  • Dresser Top – What’s on top of your dresser? Probably stuff you haven’t touched in months (or years). Clear that surface off, and keep it that way.
  • Car Interior – You car is not your closet, don’t use it for storage. The cleanliness of your vehicle is a good thumb-rule for your overall organization. Get that junk out of your trunk.

You might think that this practice will lead to simply shuffling your stuff to other areas. That is not the idea. Rather, you should seek to maintain each of these small “clean zones” by putting away items that you find in them. You are not looking to clean your entire house or office, but rather keep a specific area clean of clutter. Take the few moments to “put away” items from each of these trouble areas.

If you do this, you will quickly find that your “clean zones” start to have a larger impact on your organization and cleanliness. You will find yourself putting things away in other areas, as well.

Tips for Declaring Your Clean Zones:

  • Start with 1 Clean Zone – Keep it simple when starting out. Don’t try to declare your entire house as a Clean Zone. Pick one area and designate it as clutter-free. It could be as simple as the kitchen or dining room table. Wherever you tend to accumulate items.
  • Keep It Clean… No Matter What – At first, you might find yourself moving things “out of the zone.” That is ok. You will be amazed to see your trouble spot suddenly clean. Then go the extra distance to actually put away the items that you are removing from your clean zone.
  • Maintain the Streak – Once you get your “clean zone” free of clutter, make sure you maintain it. Keep the cleanliness streak alive. The positive momentum will spill over into other areas of your organization. When you find yourself checking your “clean zones” before calling it a day, you’ll know they are working. I find myself checking them before going to bed each night.
  • Slowly Expand to 2 Clean Zones – When you have kept your “clean zone” clean for a week, then you can look to add an additional area. Add 1 additional “clean zone” per week or every other week. No need to rush here. I find that most people don’t need more than 4–5 zones to completely change their cleanliness.

Spot Clean Your Clutter

Wherever you have trouble keeping clean, try implementing a “clean zone.”

This one tip can forever change the way you keep the areas of your work and life clutter free.

Declare your first “Clean Zone” and get started today!

Question: Where you do you need to declare a “Clean Zone” in your life? You can leave a comment by clicking here.

9 thoughts on “A Powerful Tip to Get Rid of Clutter Areas Once and For All

  1. Our house is pretty clutter-free but I do pile stuff on my desk. And it makes it very difficult to work there because it’s so messy. My goal is to clean it up at the end of each day. I have an item on my to-do list called “Desk 5”. That means spend 5 minutes on the desk. It’s amazing how much I can clear in 5 minutes. But I’d rather not have to clear it – I’d rather put stuff away instead of making a pile.

  2. I struggle with clutter and the top two spots for me are my nightstand and the top of my desk. I am getting better at keeping my nightstand clutter free. The exception to this is unpaid bills which will find a place in my office soon. The next step is to clear my desk by 9/1/14, and this article will help. Thanks for sharing Craig.

  3. Hey Craig, I think this line has far more wisdom than meets the eye –
    “This one tip “can forever change the way you keep the areas of your work and life clutter free.

    I have come to believe that clearing clutter can actually be an excellent keystone habit. Clearing clutter can be a great start to building other productive habits. The momentum and the sense of ‘cleanliness’ that we develop from having clear spaces can have a huge impact.
    Therefore, when you say ‘areas of your work and life’, I believe that it extends to areas like our inboxes, our meetings, and more.

    Love the post!

  4. Great tips Craig. We have a few trouble spots at my house – the kitchen counter seems to rank No. 1. My bookcase is another area that needs help. There’s WAY more than books on the shelf.

    I truly believe that “clutter kills” It kills our creativity and, if not corrected, it can kill (or at least hurt) our relationships with those we live with. I speak first-hand about this! It’s time we all adopt the “clutter free” mentality you describe.

    Thanks for sharing!

  5. Thanks for the tips. I am the queen of clutter. And im trying to avoid it. I have problems with my night table, my dining room
    table and the guest bedroom. Everything gets stucked in there. Help!!!!

  6. We’ve just traded clutter spots for other spots. The countertops and tabletop are clean, but now all the stuff from them is in a cardboard box on the floor. In the way. Because there’s nowhere left to go.

  7. Craig, where is the time to clear all the clutter 🙁 There is no clean area that I can declare as clean. The tales of working parents continues,…

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