Clean Up Your Messy Home!
Peter is in New York City, where he and his clutter crew are kicking off Oprah's Clean Up Your Messy House Tour. "For the next several months, I'll be traveling from coast to coast to towns across America, showing you how to kick that clutter out of your homes and your lives," he says. "I know the world outside your front door feels uncertain and unpredictable right now, but that's why it's more important than ever to transform your messy space into a comfortable and safe place that you can call home."
Watch Peter's kickoff video!
No mess is too big and no task is too tall, but Peter knows change takes time. "Clutter robs you of so many things—of peace and harmony and focus and motivation," he says. "If you stick with us for six months, I guarantee that you will have a clutter-free, organized home that is the sanctuary and haven that you deserve."
"You don't want to see my apartment," Babette warns. "I'm in my pajamas!"
Babette lets Peter in and shows him her kitchen. "Why don't we try [decluttering] the cabinets? " she says.
The cabinets are disorganized, but Peter's not daunted. "This is easy," he says. "I'm going to show you what we can do in 10 minutes."
"That looks great," Babette says.
"Start with one space," Peter says. "That's all you need to do. Dedicate 10 minutes a day, and this is what you can get."
In only 90 minutes, Candice is ready to show Babette and her husband, Bruce, a new and improved toy space.
Babette's children had plenty of art on the walls, so Candice used carpet tiles as corkboard to hang pictures and create a mini art gallery. "Each square makes the pieces you choose as special even more special by doing these little frames," she says. "It's really an extension of the décor of the entire room and a great way to display art."
Candice recommends adhering the carpet tiles to the wall with double-sided tape so that they can be easily removed. You can find them at any home improvement store, she says, and they come in every color, so they're easy to coordinate with the rest of the room.
Babette and Bruce can't believe how quickly their messy toy space has been transformed into a work of art. "How adorable," Babette says.
In this room: Open Solid Mahogany Cube, The Container Store; Pottery Barn pillows; Two-Drawer Solid Mahogany Cubes, The Container Store; EVA Tread boxes, The Container Store; floor tiles, available at any home improvement store.
Babette says she organized her kids' closets after Peter left her apartment. "I found a couple of containers to put like puzzles together ... so the kids now know where they're at," she says. "What stuck with me was when [Peter] said, 'If you hadn't touched it in 12 months, get rid of it.' That sort of removed the emotional attachment to anything."
Bruce says the results have been fantastic. "Every time I come home, there's something different," he says. "It's been quite an adventure."
Bennett and Brent have been chipping in as well. "They love the drawers, and they love the bins," Babette says. "They've been working really hard to keep things in their place."
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Patty's main mess is in her bedroom. "My biggest issue by far is probably my clothes," she says. "In here, we have this lovely armoire, which really just hides the mess within."
Peter and Patty get started by sorting through her clothes and separating them into "keep" and "donate" piles. At the end of one hour, Patty has seven bags of clothes for donation!
"I feel good," Patty says. "I think this is much-needed help. If you are clutter-prone, it all seems incredibly overwhelming to get started."
After Peter and the clutter crew have finished working on Patty's closet, she can't believe what she sees. "It's amazing!"
Patty says her new and improved closet sends the right message to her kids. "[It says] that we care about our things," she says, "which is an incredibly important lesson that we have yet to teach them."
In this room: large cocoa Tribeca box, The Container Store; large olive Tribeca box, The Container Store; walnut hangers, The Container Store.
Patty can't get enough of her peaceful retreat and promises Peter that she'll keep it neat. "It's fabulous," Patty says. "Thank you so much. It's amazing."
Patty says her sons had asked her to do laundry the morning of the makeover because they could no longer close their hampers. "When my son came home after the makeover, he thought the place looked like a hotel, and he was so proud of it [he] wanted to sleep in our room," she says. "[My sons] wanted to make their own beds."
With Peter's help, Patty says her house has truly become a home. "Before, it was a collection of stuff in a box. Now, it is a place where we live together and enjoy each other and we have peace together," she says. "We're sleeping better. We're getting more time to spend together. It's just a much more pleasant, calming, peaceful, sweet place to be that embodies the soul of our family, our marriage and our relationship with each other."
Peter says anyone can create a home like Patty's. "We dressed that room, with almost no exception, with things that were already in the house," he says. "Your house has things that you love, but they are covered in all the clutter. Remove the clutter and then honor and respect those things that make your heart sing."
Clutter convoy in tow, Peter and Candice ring the bell—and they can tell Marin and her dog, Perry, need help right away. "We have our work cut out for us," Peter says.
The first room to tackle is the kitchen, where empty shopping bags, mail and takeout containers cover every inch of available counter space. When Peter opens the fridge, a powerful smell from uncovered, rotting food overwhelms the room.
"What does this kitchen say to you about the person who lives here?" Peter asks.
"It says that they've lost their mind," Marin says.
Armed with garbage bags for trash and recycling, Peter and Marin get to work sorting through the piles. One of Marin's major organizational weaknesses is her mail. "We have to set up a mail zone so that when the mail comes into the house, it goes to that one single place," Peter says.
In less than five minutes, Peter and Marin have the counters clear!
Peter says a person's home is a metaphor for her life—and that cluttered homes like Marin's are fairly common. "I think very few people make the connection between what their house is like and what their life is like," he says. "If you're struggling with focus and motivation and calm and harmony—if you don't have those things in your life—look at your house."
So Peter asks Marin the defining question for any home. "What is it that you want from this apartment?" he says. "That's why we're here. To get you from this to the apartment that reflects the life you want."
Marin says she wants a stylish, eclectic and bold home that will inspire her, and Peter's more than willing to help. Together, they grab garbage bags for trash and donations and get to work.
One of the major trouble spots of the room is Marin's desk area, which is extremely important because she works from home. "One of the big things with a desk and an office area is to set a limit and keep it to that limit," Peter says. "If you don't set a limit, you are going to end up with an apartment filled with so much stuff that you won't be able to live your life."
In minutes, Peter and Marin have cleared the space, and they're ready to tackle the area that's most likely to become a black hole in any home—the closet.
Peter helps Marin start clearing some room by showing her how to set limits. As they go through the closet, Peter asks Marin to separate each item into one of three piles—"keep," "donate" and "clutter to cash." Peter says Marin can sell the items that are stylish and in good condition. "Clutter to cash, that's your homework," Peter says.
Learn how to donate—and how to sell—your unwanted stuff.
In only three hours, Marin says goodbye to the shoes, jeans and accessories she doesn't need. Now that the surface clutter is gone, it's time for Marin and Perry to clear out so Peter and Candice can complete the transformation!
Peter and Candice have Marin close her eyes as they lead her to their first reveal—the kitchen. "Yesterday when we arrived and first walked into this kitchen, I was kind of blown away. We haven't done a ton of work in here, but I'd just like you to open your eyes and just check out the kitchen," Peter says.
Marin is shocked. "Oh my God, I can't take it," she says.
Her counters are clear, and her kitchen table sports beautiful candleholders instead of empty bags. Decorative mail sorters dress up the counter—and keep the paperwork from piling up again.
But there's one more task Peter left for Marin to tackle on her own—cleaning out that funky fridge!
In this room: chandelier decal, Blik; lace shopping baskets, The Container Store.
With a new light fixture, a headboard, bedding and a fresh coat of paint, Marin's bedroom is a peaceful retreat. "The first thing you need to do every day is make your bed," Peter says.
Candice also used a simple solution to create more space. Instead having her bed extend lengthwise from the wall, Candice placed the longest part of the bed against the wall. "It seems so spacious in this tiny room," Candice says.
In the bedroom: feather decal, Blik; Edison Chandelier, Pottery Barn; Mirror Framed Mirrors, West Elm; velvet drapery panels, Pottery Barn; linen sheer drapery panels, Pottery Barn; Random Cutout headboard, West Elm; bronze Square Swing Arm Sconces, Pottery Barn.
On the workstation: walnut and platinum elfa freestanding home office, The Container Store; Faux Bois silver table lamp, West Elm; Kenilworth Smart Table Lamp, Pottery Barn; Overlapping Squares Chair and Cushion, West Elm.
Peter helps Marin take everything in and points out her new, organized work area. "We have a place for files, research, storage. Everything about this says, 'I want to be inspired,'" Peter says.
"It looks like the space doubled," Marin says.
In the living area, Candice chose a streamlines sectional for seating. "I think a lot of times people think of a large piece of furniture [like] this sectional as something that would overwhelm a small space like this, but it really is one long, continuous piece, and it doesn't look cluttered," Candice says.
Helping to light the way—without spending a lot of money—is a new Pottery Barn chandelier. Candice also added track lighting, which can be purchased at any home improvement store for about $100. "Anybody can do this. Every room has some kind of a light fixture in the ceiling, and the problem with one light fixture is it just sort of floods the space with light," she says. "When you light everything, you really light nothing.
Marin's favorite part of the room? The display case of shoes. "Now they're finally where they rightfully belong—which is on display for all to worship and see," she says.
In this room: Honeycomb Mirror, Pottery Barn; Hazel floral rug, Pottery Barn; Walton Sectional Sofa in Nautral, West Elm; Resin tree-stump side table in gold, West Elm; Sliding Door media stand, West Elm; linen drapery panels, West Elm; Bijoux chandelier, Pottery Barn; wallpaper, York Wallcoverings
With the help of pieces from the elfa® system from The Container Store®, nothing's on the floor. "[The closet] says, 'When I spend money on something, I treat it well,'" Peter says.
The elfa system allows you to mix and match to meet your storage needs. "You can completely personalize it," Candice says. "This is every woman's dream."
Marin says she's learned an important lesson from this experience. "That I can do it," she says. "It's just crazy to meet people that believe in you before you believe in yourself. I'm just glad that you guys saw that in me."
In this room: walnut and platinum elfa décor walk-in closet, The Container Store
Marin says she's more motivated than ever after her clutter intervention. "I didn't really realize that being messy hindered me," she says. "I was always kind of like waiting until I owned my own apartment or moved to a house, but now is the time to be neat and decorate, and now is the time to pursue my goals. This really just lit a fire for me."
"Your life can't be together and focused, targeted, if you're living in a messy, cluttered, disorganized space," Peter says. "It just doesn't happen."
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Declutter Your Home and Diet
1. Sign the pledge. Peter says, "Get on board because in six months, friends, you'll be so far ahead of the game."
Download your clutter pledge and vision statement.
2. Define your vision for your life and space. "Here's the deal. The vision—what is it that you want from your space? I want peace. I want focus. I want a place where my family can gather," Peter says. "That then has to be the criteria for deciding whether something stays or goes. [Ask yourself,] 'Does this item help me create that vision?' If it does, keep it. If not, it doesn't belong in your home."
3. Commit to 10 minutes a day. Start small and start today with the Trash Bag Tango. "Everyone in the house gets two trash bags. Fill one with trash and one with stuff that's going to [charity] or garage sale. ... Do that for 10 minutes a day," he says. "It doesn't matter how big or how small the bag is, it's just small steps."
Watch the Trash Bag Tango in action!
Also, make sure to find your digital cameras—you'll need them for every assignment!
Declutter your home with more expert advice from Peter Walsh