Kathi Lipp, highly sought-after organizing expert, gives her best tips for cleaning out your house for good.
- Posted on Feb 19, 2020
She has written twenty books, hosted a decluttering podcast and runs a dedicated Facebook group for people looking to live clutter-free—but for Kathi Lipp, creator of the Clutter Free Academy, the journey to an organized life started in a surprising place.
“My dad was actually a hoarder,” Lipp told Guideposts.org. “I didn't want to live like that anymore, and I was definitely having those tendencies…I realized that I wasn't doing the things that I wanted to do. I wasn't having people over, I wasn't really enjoying my life…because of the clutter.”
Lipp said that as she examined this part of her life, and her relationship with her possessions, it was her faith that motivated her to declutter.
“Jesus spoke more about our possessions and money than he did anything else in the New Testament,” Lipp said. “He knew the emotional attachment that we would have to our stuff. Clutter is not a surprise to God.”
In her latest book, The Clutter-Free Home: Making Room for Your Life, Lipp applies the four-step decluttering process she created to help you let go of the fear, guilt and shame you feel around your clutter. The step-by-step approach asks that you first dedicate the time to evaluate how you—and the people you live with—want to use a specific room, then decide how you want to feel in that space, from how you want it to smell and look. Finally, declutter using Lipps’ 60 percent tool, where you’re aiming to get rid of that amount of clutter. The final step calls on you to make the space your own, taking the time to ensure it has the function and feel you want.
Lipp shared with Guideposts.org how this process works through each room in the house, adding some of her best tips and tricks to help you make your home the space you want it to be.
Lipp recommended spending extra time assessing the “dedicate” step in your kitchen, so that you really know how you use the space.
“Some people, they think [the kitchen] is for cooking, but maybe your kids do homework in there,” Lipp said.
Instead of trying to force your kitchen to be a space it’s not, Lipp suggested focusing on making it easily accessible for the things you actually use it for.
“The living room and bedroom should be the places where your mind can rest,” Lipp said. “Get rid of as much surface clutter as you can, and not just clutter, decorations.”
To do this, Lipp suggested investing in good storage bins and carefully sorting through decorations.
In the bedroom, Lipp is all about focusing on what you want to keep instead of what you want to throw out.
“Make sure it’s [a space] you love!” Lipp said. “And if you’re part of a couple, then make sure that it reflects both of you.”
Lipp’s tip for the bathroom is simple: use the declutter step. She suggests you throw out any products you don’t use.
“Any product you are not currently using gets banished to another room,” Lipp said. “This is not a drug store! You need to keep what really functions for you and to keep it as clean and minimal as possible.”
One of Lipp’s best tips for the office to “dedicate” or think carefully about what physical files you actually need.
“I think that we have forgotten that so much stuff can be stored on your computer,” Lipp said. “What do you actually need in your office that isn't on your computer?”
Lipp dedicated a section of her book to the “other space” people may have in their homes, places like an attic, garage or basement that is used for storage.
Lipp described storage as “decisions that haven’t been made yet.”
Instead of putting aside the excess photos, clothes or decorations you’re not sure you want to keep, she recommends you go through them and decide once and for all if they deserve a place in your home.
Decluttering can seem like an intimidating task, but with a little time and effort it will get much easier and your peace of mind will improve.