What comes first – Cleaning vs Organizing

As a professional organizer, I am often asked whether prospective clients should have their homes cleaned or organized first. In order to do an effective cleaning job, the clutter must be dealt with first. Simply stacking and stuffing clutter will not have long term benefits. While both are important and go hand in hand, it is important to note the differences between the two.

Cleaning is when you remove dirt by using tools such as a vacuum cleaner, scrub brush, mop or broom. Using sudsy water to wash dishes, scour a bathroom or clean windows is cleaning. Dusting and laundry are also cleaning activities. If you were to hire a professional, you would hire a maid or cleaning service to do this for you.

Organizing is when you sort through your belongings and implement systems to make real changes in how you keep your home and life. You may put belongings in a closet in an organized way, making the best use of the space. Getting organized can also be rearranging your pantry or kitchen cabinets so that everything is easier to find.

When organizing, you will decide what is necessary and what should be eliminated. Aim 4 Order can help you get organized by showing you storage solutions and systems that can reduce clutter around your home and generally make life easier for you.

What should you do first, clean or organize? Generally speaking, if you organize a room first, you will probably get rid of some things during the sorting process. You will pick what is trash, a donation or something to keep. You will have less mess to clean when you have less clutter.

You do not have to be a “clean freak” to be an organized person. And organized people do not have to clean constantly. But, the two definitely go together. You cannot truly be organized without doing at least some cleaning. You cannot have a clean home if there is endless clutter.

When you put systems in place for keeping your home organized, it will definitely make cleaning your place easier. With less time spent on cleaning, you can use that time for more enjoyable pursuits.

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