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Do you feel like the walls are closing in if clutter begins to pile up at home? Sometimes it happens so gradually that it doesn’t seem like a big deal until that one day when claustrophobia strikes—and you have to go outside just to breathe. How can you get your home back under control without taking a day off to clean or throw excess items away?

Here are some tips for quick clutter removal:

Start in the Kitchen

This is the first place you are going to notice clutter because it is frustrating when you run out of places for a cutting board or to make a sandwich. Plus, it makes the kitchen tough to keep clean. If you only have time to declutter one zone, make it the kitchen counters.

While you’re in the kitchen, check the inside of the fridge for clutter. Clutter there can result in food getting wasted because it spoils before you can find it. Plus, that means more clean up once food starts to rot. Be sure the outside doesn’t get too cluttered with pictures and magnets. Throw invitations away once the event has passed, and move kids’ drawing to a memory box instead of keeping dozens up at a time. It will also make the refrigerator’s surface easier to keep clean.

Don’t forget the sink. This is a great time to catch up on dishes. Having a pile of dirty dishes in the sink, plus a full load of clean dishes in the dishwasher or on a drying rack, makes the whole room look messy. Dealing with the dishes is a fast way to remove clutter.

The Dreaded Nightstand

Let’s face it; this is your little spot in the house where no one can judge you. You throw down your keys, jewelry, mail, and anything else that happens to be in your hands when you walk into the bedroom. First of all, if you have a drawer, use it. Just be sure it is organized, so you don’t have to fish around in it for 10 minutes to find your keys when it is time to leave. You can also keep the top of your nightstand neatly arranged with a few little decorative baskets.

The Clutter on Your Work Desk

Do you work from home or even just have a little desk where you sit down to pay the bills? This area is usually the other big trouble spot. Be sure to throw out unneeded papers, file important ones, and have a desk organizer for pens, pads, and the like.

It doesn’t take long to get the house back to where you can see the surfaces, and you can breathe a little easier.