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The Difference Between Decluttering and Organizing

What Is The Difference between Decluttering and Organizing?

Although a lot of people use the two words interchangeably, decluttering and organizing are not the same. Find out the difference between decluttering and organizing.

The difference between decluttering and organizing

A disorganized home can be a nightmare to keep clean and can result in hours of cleaning only to feel frustrated in the end because your home isn’t as organized as you would like.

More likely than not your problem is that you didn’t spend time decluttering your home before you tried to organize it.

By skipping the decluttering step you are left with too much stuff for the storage space you have.

And when you have too much stuff than space, your home is going to look cluttered and untidy because there won’t be enough space to store the items.

The Difference between Decluttering and Organizing

Many people don’t really understand the difference between decluttering and organizing, however, these actions are totally different.

Decluttering is the process of ridding your home of items that are no longer useful or wanted.

On the other hand, organizing is the process of installing a user-friendly system to organize and store those items you need, use and want.

Decluttering your home needs to take place before you can begin to organize. It is best to declutter and organize one room or area at a time.

The Decluttering Process

During the decluttering process, you go through areas of your home one at a time and get rid of anything that is broken, outdated and no longer used, things that are good that you haven’t used in the last 3 or 6 months, duplicate items or items that you simply don’t love.

In most cases your home is not disorganized because of lack of storage space, but because you have accumulated too much unnecessary stuff that you no longer need.

For most of us, it takes a lot of discipline to declutter our home. However, until decluttering takes place it will be impossible to truly be able to organize your home.

To make decluttering easier you should try and recall your original vision for the use of the space you are decluttering.

Any item that does not meet that vision should be thrown away, given away, or moved to the room it is meant to be in.

Once the decluttering process is done only those items that belong in that space should remain.

Related Decluttering Articles:

What are the Benefits of Decluttering?

Some of the benefits of decluttering include:

  • It provides more storage space
  • Decluttering makes it easier to organize your home
  • It makes it easier to clean and tidy your home
  • Makes it easier to find the things you have in your home
  • It reduces stress and anxiety – less clutter equals less stress and better sleep
  • Improves mood and productivity

Should I Clean or Declutter First?

It is best to declutter first before cleaning because decluttering makes cleaning easier.

In fact, if you clean before decluttering you will be giving yourself more work because you will still need to clean again after decluttering.

Is Decluttering and Housekeeping the Same?

No, decluttering and housekeeping are not the same. Decluttering involves getting rid of things you no longer need or use to keep the home clutter-free and tidy.

Housekeeping, on the other hand, entails managing the duties and chores that are involved in running a household, including cleaning, home maintenance, shopping, cooking and paying the bills.

The Organizing Process

Before organizing any area of your home, you need to plan what type of storage containers are needed for the items that are in the space.

Will hangers work best? Closed storage containers? Baskets?

Once you have an organizing plan, make sure you have the storage containers and other organizing tools you need and a way of labeling the containers.

Keep in mind that those objects you use the most often should be placed where they can be reached the easiest, with less used items being placed in less convenient places.

It is also important to remember that the entire reason you are organizing your home is to reduce the time and effort it takes to maintain each room in your home.

Is Organizing and Cleaning the Same Thing?

The answer is NO, organizing and cleaning are not the same.

Organizing means putting or storing things in their proper place while cleaning means making something clean and involves the process of removing dirt or unwanted substance from something.

For instance, if you find piles of paper on your kitchen counter or clothes all over the couch, then what you need is organizing because they are in spaces not intended for them.

On the other hand, if you have stains on your carpet or your bathtub is dirty, what you need is cleaning.

Which Comes First, Organizing or Cleaning and Why?

Cleaning comes first before organizing. This is because you can’t organize or store dirty items in dirty places.

Before organizing any part of your home, for instance, your medicine cabinet, you first bring out all the items, get rid of expired medicines and old products, then wipe the cabinet and the remaining items before putting them back in the cabinet.


Keep in mind that once you declutter your home, organizing it will be easier and faster. Once everything is decluttered and organized you need to avoid clutter piling up in your home again. A good rule of thumb is, for everything new you bring into your home you should get rid of something you no longer need. You should also spend a little time every three or four months going through and running a decluttering check.

Related Organizing Articles:

Now that you know the difference between decluttering and organizing, it’s time to declutter and organize your home.

What is the difference between decluttering and organizing

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