Not surprisingly, tackling those clutter piles is best accomplished with STYLE:
Start with successes.
Take small steps.
Yes, it has a home!
Let it go.
Let's break it down.
Start with successes. Admittedly, successes can be hard to come by when it comes to long-term clutter, mostly because things that aren't where they're supposed to be aren't exactly an example of successful organizing. One trick to jump-starting this feeling of success is to flip the pile over (if this is possible). The oldest items, which are usually the easiest to part with, are at the bottom of the pile. By taking action on the things that tug at your heart strings (I love stuff), are wrinkled or torn (cram and jam), have expired (I love to be busy and drop and run), or have been forgotten (I need to see it and I know I put it somewhere), you can build a momentum that leads to success.
Yes, it has a home! This is where the definition of "taken care of" comes in. Specifically, this means that items have been put away, thrown away or taken to a new home outside of yours. "Put away" means that items with homes have been put there and previously homeless items have been given logical homes.
Let it go. Starting at the bottom of the pile facilitates this, too. It's much easier to let things go when they're expired or you completely forgot you had them in the first place. Keep in mind that letting things go doesn't always mean you have to throw them away. Recycling and re-purposing work, too.
Easy upkeep. Once you've cleared the clutter, take a moment to step back and enjoy the beauty of clear, open space. Then, make a commitment to yourself to keep it that way. Better yet, make a plan to keep it that way.
What comes next? If your house is like mine, you move on to the next pile.