Why you need to declutter AND organize space if you want lasting results. Find out how to declutter and organize your home in step-by-step, realistic steps.
If you’re at your wits’ end with the clutter and disorganization in your space, this article will help you get motivated, make a plan, and get started.
We all need an organizational refresh or a full-on organization overhaul from time to time. Our lives change, and our organizing needs change along with them.
It’s time to drop the guilt about the clutter in your home, and start taking action. Today!
How to Declutter and Organize Your Space
Before you start decluttering and organizing, it’s good to know the how’s and why’s to help you make the best use of your time.
Decluttering and organizing can be very satisfying, but it’s also exhausting!
When you’re about to embark on a decluttering and/or organizing project, be kind to yourself.
Now’s not the time to wallow in guilt – feel good about the fact that you’re starting to take action.
Why Declutter and Organize?
If your goal is to reset your space and create calm in your life, it’s important to declutter AND organize.
Decluttering first helps make the whole process more efficient.
By starting with decluttering, you’re dropping the dead weight, making space for you, and creating a more streamlined home.
Decluttering is stressful, but it actually reduces your stress over time because you’re not dealing with all of the extra junk around your house.
But please don’t stop after you’ve decluttered.
Once you’ve decluttered a space, you can make it even better by taking the time to thoughtfully organize it.
Give each item a home.
Implement systems that will make your newly organized space easy to maintain.
By taking the time to organize AFTER decluttering, you’ll reap the benefits of taking the time to really think through how you use each space in your home.
You’ll discover ways to be more efficient.
You’ll probably even find that you can declutter a few more items here and there.
Decluttering is important, but it’s not a silver bullet that’s going to solve all of your problems.
You need a good organizing plan to be able to maintain your space going forward.
How to Get Started Organizing Your Home
Once you’ve decided to take on the task of organizing your space, build a plan you can stick to that will take you through the entire process of organizing your home.
- Make a list of cluttered rooms and cluttered spaces in your home.
- Assign each space a priority number (1 = need to tackle first, 2 = cluttered, but not as important, 3 = cluttered, but it’s not affecting our lives too much)
- Decide which areas you want to tackle first, and make a list of the order you want to declutter and organize each space.
Once you have a good list of priorities, and you know which areas you want to tackle first, it’s time to decide which project you will do to start out.
I recommend picking something that’s a priority #1 or #2, and something you KNOW will be easy to do.
Starting with an easy project will help you build confidence and momentum so you can blaze through the rest of your project list.
If you just can’t decide – start by decluttering and organizing your laundry area.
It’s a good choice because…
- You use it all the time (it impacts your daily life),
- You won’t have to make a lot of emotional decluttering decisions,
- It’s unlikely anyone will go in there and mess it up after you’ve organized it. Sadly, most family members aren’t itching to get in the laundry room so they can help you out with washing and folding!
How to Declutter Your House and Stay Motivated
If you struggle with motivation and energy, start with the easy stuff first.
Tackle those easy projects in the beginning and don’t take on too much at once.
If you have a high-priority organizing project you’re dreading, make it less awful by only working on it ten minutes at a time.
Promise yourself that you’ll spend ten minutes a day decluttering in a certain area, and do it!
You can do anything for ten minutes (well, not anything, but you can probably declutter for ten minutes, right?).
If ten minutes is too much, do two five-minute sessions a day.
The goal is to keep making progress.
Keep on charging up the hill!
Because those little chunks of time really add up after a while.
How to Declutter
- Set a timer for a specific, short amount of time. Start by decluttering for ten minutes. As you get used to decluttering, you can increase the amount of time.
- Select an area in your home you’d like to declutter. Smaller areas are better, because you’ll be able to see your progress more easily. For example, select a desk drawer instead of a whole office. During your 10 minutes, focus completely on decluttering that drawer.
- Grab a garbage bag so you can throw things away as you work. Get some kind of container (a box or bin) for things you plan to get rid of that aren’t trash.
- Start your timer.
- Begin by throwing away trash.
- Then, start taking out each item one by one. Ask yourself if each item is something that is really used and/or enjoyed.
- If the item is used/enjoyed, put it back in its place. If it’s not, put it in your get rid of it box, or in your trash bag if applicable.
- Examine each item individually, and try to work as quickly as possible. Remember that the goal is to declutter and get rid of as much stuff as possible.
- At the end of 10 minutes, stop what you’re doing, and put away anything that’s out of place.
- Take your trash bag to the garbage bin, and put your “get rid of it” box in your car. The next time you drive by a donation place, you can drop the box off.
- Celebrate! You’ve gotten rid of clutter in your home. Repeat this process daily to see even more results.
Organizing Your Space
Once you’ve decluttered your space, it’s time to organize what’s left!
How do you organize after you’ve decluttered?
First, ask yourself these questions:
- Are these items in the right location? Would I naturally come here to look for these items?
- How can I make these items easy to use/find?
At this point, you’ll probably consider buying some storage bins.
If you can resist, hold off on buying and try out some temporary solutions instead.
Use things you have around the house – boxes, baskets, etc. to make sure the system you’ve created is going to work.
Try out your new system for a week or two, and then buy something for storage if you need to.
By waiting a bit before buying, you’ll be able to test out your new system and learn a lot about what works for you in your space.
This will help you make smarter buying decisions when it comes to storage, and it will save you money in the long run!
How to Organize a Room With Too Much Stuff
We all have one of those rooms that’s just packed to the gills with stuff.
Getting started with organizing an uber-cluttered space is super overwhelming.
Especially when the space is filled with stuff that might not even belong to you.
One of my favorite solutions for these types of cases is to use the concept of “leveling.”
I think Joshua Becker of Becoming Minimalist came up with this idea.
Basically, what you do is pack up the clutter, and set it aside for now.
You defer your decluttering decision making until later so you can make space.
You get to experience what it feels like to live in that space without clutter.
What to Do After You Get Organized and Declutter
Once you’ve gone through the process of decluttering and organizing, it’s time to observe.
Evaluate your newly organized spaces, and make little tweaks and changes to improve how it works for you.
As you grow as a person, your organizing needs will change and evolve.
It’s okay to change your systems to make them serve you better.
Over time, you’ll get better at spotting ways to make things easier for yourself when it comes to decluttering and organizing.
Related: What to Do With Decluttered Items
More Resources to Help You Declutter and Organize
- Best Books on Decluttering and Organizing
- Declutter and Organize with Easy 10-Minute Tasks
- Declutter 101 – Where Do I Start?