Cluttered vs. Cleared vs. Cleaned

Dh and I are both definitely cleared, and I have gotten much better about cleaning since the pandemic.

On the cleaning: I, like @2VU0609 , started following gocleanco on Insta during the pandemic. It’s been inspiring to me, and I now clean pretty thoroughly every week. But, I’m not pulling appliances out either. Dh thinks I don’t need to clean as often as I do. We became a no shoes in the house household when we moved to our newer condo last summer. It think that has helped tremendously.

On the cleared v cluttered. I don’t think I’ve ever been particularly cluttered, but I used to have a LOT more decorative stuff in my home than I do now. I did used to have a “pile” in our kitchen, but I also had a clear spot in the cabinet underneath where the pile was, so I could always, “scoop and dump,” if someone were coming over. I used to keep some small appliances out all the time, too. When I started following Becoming Minimalist I completely cleared my kitchen counters of everything other than the Keurig, fruit bowl, hand soap, and paper towels. If I don’t have a place to stash a small appliance, I just don’t own it. I also don’t want my cabinets and drawers stuffed to the brim either. Overall, I really prefer a minimalist look and feel. When ds was here for his extended visit over the holidays, he said our place looked like no one lived here. I honestly like a “staged” look. It’s relaxing to me, but I a sure it is too Spartan/sterile for some people’s tastes.

Ds is cluttered. He doesn’t really pick up after himself. Clothes/shoes on the floor. Paper receipts lying about. Cords, etc. When he left for college I found no fewer than half a dozen empty bottles of shampoo, body wash etc, around the rim of his bathtub. Why?! There is a trash can right there!! I had no idea our poor housekeeper kept having to move empty bottles around to clean his shower/tub.

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I am CLEARED. I cannot stand Clutter. My family knows that if they leave something lying around it is going to get thrown away! I have to force myself to purge often because I want everything put away. If there isn’t room in the cabinet/closet to put it away, then time for another purge :slight_smile:

My D has moved back home during COVID and oh boy, this is a constant fight to ‘clear dining table’, clear kitchen counters, etc. There seems to be a growing pile of things on the floor that need to find a place to go. And, with more deliveries, there’s always empty boxes everywhere!


I do not get why my ds piles stuff on the floor. Just put it away!

I do not get why my DH puts his dishes in the sink when he was right there when I unloaded the dishwasher. The sink is literally RIGHT NEXT TO THE DISHWASHER.

This just drives me crazy.


LOL loving all these comments.

If we were keeping score it seems that “cleared” wins over “cluttered”. Maybe “cleared” people are just more apt to respond - you know, to get the checkbox of responding to this thread checked! :wink:

I don’t know how many times over the years I’ve asked my family to at least PLEASE keep the kitchen table eating area cleared and clean. It’s the first thing I see when I walk in the house and I admit it, but that sets the tone for me - nice if it’s cleared, testy if it’s cluttered!!

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You could eat off my mom’s garage floor, and actually any toilet seat. I inherited that and my 31 year old daughter as well. Clutter and filth would send me into a tailspin.

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DH is a clutterer, and I hate hate hate it. It’s really bad. He has a pile of crap next to his desk, on the floor, and it’s as high as his desk. It includes boxes of stuff he’s bought, old magazines, scarves and hats, an unstrung tennis racket, materials for art projects . . . . It’s been there for at least five years. Did I say I hate it??

I"m not perfect, but my messes are usually temporary and always small.

Clean and cluttered. I do periodically get it to a more or less cleared state, but it always reverts. I intentionally have a lot of stuff out on kitchen counters and the bathroom toothbrush and toothpaste live in a pretty Japanese cup. The dining room table seems to collect stuff no matter what I do. It doesn’t help that I work at home and my office is just too small.

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Cluttered. We are retired now and trying to sort through older, unused items (especially from when the kids were home). We are making moderate progress, but in the meantime the house is more cluttered with piles of things being collected for different destinations. But it is not nearly as bad as the few months after I cleared out my mom’s apartment last year.

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I’m renting a storage unit this week; my parents are moving in with us, and we’re trying to get them to downsize their house full of 60 years worth of “stuff” into our small 2 room in-law suite. The movers estimated they still have a 2 bedroom apartment’s worth of stuff, and I’m OCD. I love them, but I can’t handle boxes everywhere. They thought they got rid of more than they did. Mom keeps saying, but I only have 5 boxes (per room), but they have 11 rooms; that’s a lot of boxes!!!



That is just mind numbing. Trying to get elderly parents to get rid of 60 years of stuff. It’s just going to fail!!

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Yeah; it was their idea though, and you don’t argue with my mother. They can’t take care of their house, and none of us live in the state or even in the northeast anymore. They didn’t expect it to sell before it even hit MLS, so not much time for sorting. Once they’re here we’ll do another sort and spread some stuff throughout the house. We were a military family, so they have some things from their travels, but most of it is just “stuff” like extra linens for guest rooms and dish sets for sit down dinner parties no one throws anymore. I think 5 boxes alone are a Christmas china service for 16. We grew up with nothing, so my mom started buying “stuff” after we were older, and they could afford it. She’s not ready to part with it, and she insists on keeping everything for the grandkids They definitely don’t want it. I’ve already started doing döstädning; I don’t want to burden DD with having to do what we’re doing with our parents. Luckily my mom is a clean, non clutter person, so I don’t think she’ll want to look at the boxes either.

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A friend gave me this book after my mother died because some of my stories in the last year made her think of it. It is a surprisingly light and upbeat book

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Cleared. Can’t stand clutter. Can not stand it. DH’s mom was a clutterer and he used to worry that “cleared” meant things were thrown out that he would need. But then he saw how fast I could locate important things. Where’s the car title? Here. Where’s that picture of his mother and father when they went to Cuba? Here. Where are AAA batteries? Here. Where’s the gizmo for opening clamshell packaging? Here. Etc…After he saw “cleared” in action he became a convert.

My personal mottos are

  1. The cleaner your house is, the cleaner it is. This really means cleared. Have clear counters that one wayward thing stands out and you are likely to out away. Have your table constantly piled with stuff? you’re likely to keep it that way.

  2. Paper is the enemy of clean. Only vital paper even comes into the house and it’s immediately put away. No junk mail (from mail box, directly to recycling bin) No newspaper. ONE issue of the few magazines we get ( immediately recycled when the next issue comes).

With my kids it’s “My house , my rules “. After they got their own apartments the had a 90 day period to get their stuff out of their rooms. After that I placed what I considered worth keeping in one big box ( scraps from a baby blanket, first spelling test, Bat Mitzvah return cards where people wrote notes, DECA awards, college sweatshirt etc…). EVERYTHING else was tossed and rooms repurposed.

As for Clean, we have a service every two weeks so though it is clean can’t take credit.


When DH and I were on our honeymoon decades ago, my FIL packed up all of DH’s “stuff” and put it in the garage. He told us we had a week to get it out. Now I understand why! :joy:

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FWIW, most cluttered people can do this too. Even my Hoarder dad could locate pretty much everything because he knew where it was.

Folks who can’t do this tend to be more absentminded I think, and I’ve seen that happen with clean, cleared, and cluttered. My super clean MIL had a tough time finding many things, though in hindsight, that might have been because of her later diagnosis of Alzheimers if it were in its early stages. I don’t know. I always thought it was because she couldn’t stand having things “anywhere” that she often got rid of them - thus - couldn’t find them (like H’s box of mementos including family pictures and senior high school yearbook). FIL would squirrel away the important things (to him) down in his workshop or in his bedroom desk.


It’s quite liberating; amazing how much “stuff” you accumulate over 30 years. I’m currently get rid of all of the just-in-case items. Making room for my parents has forced me to get rid of a lot. I still had wedding gifts like crystal bowls that had never been used.


Not any of the ones I know. For the car title some can. But the other stuff.No Especially stuff not used on a daily basis. My MIL would spend untold hours looking for stuff. My best friend will often have to search multiple places looking for things. Neither are/were “ absent minded”. It’s just that they don’t use the thing we are looking for often enough to remember where they put it six months before.

I like to have a place for everything. I have pictures on tables, but not random papers. I do not like having clothes all over the place. I feel uncomfortable when I am at a place with a lot of clutter. My place is very clean, especially bathrooms and kitchen.

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I can’t stand dust, grime, smudges, etc. so clean is first and foremost. Our house is not sterile, but decently clean. I am also a fan of clear. Stuff on kitchen counters (even dishes and things used during cooking) puts me in a funk, so I clear it out as soon as I can. We minimized the amount of furniture in our house… only things that get used on a regular basis are in. Our good friends commented once that we needed more furniture. No! :slight_smile: We have one room that is filled with clutter… the library that is used as Mr.’s office. I simply close the doors so I would not see it. Not worth my mental energy to fight with that clutter. Not a hill I want to die on.