“If there are things you seldom use and don’t need, get rid of them,” she says. “They are only taking up space and gathering dust.” If your piles consist of unfinished projects — paperwork that needs your attention or purchases you want to return — schedule a few hours each week to whittle them down. If you take the tasks seriously by scheduling them on your calendar and following through, you’ll gradually and systematically reduce your clutter. When you’ve thrown out or given away everything you can, put clutter you’re attached to — old photographs, for example, or your grandmother’s shell collection — into storage boxes, and put them away. Do a Little Cleaning, Often The experts we consulted agree that it’s more efficient to take care of cleaning jobs as they come up, rather than putting them off until cleaning day. “Maintenance is the key,” says Kimberly Beyer, a professional organizer based in the San Francisco Bay Area.