The hardest part of getting organized is getting started. However, the truth is, everyone can be clutter free; it just takes a little motivation and dedication.
Schedule Declutter Sessions
The first step of taking down the great wall of clutter is dealing with one pebble at a time. It’s natural to get in the zone and want to completely transform your whole life in a day. However, part of getting organized is achieving balance and sustainability. So, instead of trying to achieve the impossible, do what is possible every day. Start by creating space on your calendar for organizing projects.
Dedicate 15 minutes a day to decluttering: folding and putting away laundry, cleaning out dresser drawers, cleaning out expired food in fridge and pantry, etc.
Can you make time in your week for one of the following?
- A four-hour session once a week until your project is completed, such as a family room, kitchen, storage shed, home office or garage.
- A two-hour session twice a week for a smaller project such as a closet, play room or laundry room.
Make a List
It is helpful to organize how you will organize. In order to do so go through each room in your home and create an itemized list of what you want to accomplish. Take note of which tasks will make up the longer sessions and which ones you can accomplish in a daily 15-minute session.
Four Categories to Help You Declutter and get Organized
For each room you will most likely have four categories: donate, toss or recycle, keep, and relocate. Designate a location or receptacle for each category. After each room is completed:
- Remove donations and toss or recycle items.
- Organize and put away items you are keeping. Every item should have a designated home.
- Relocate items that belong in other rooms to their respective locations, even if these rooms have not yet been organized.
Four Steps to Declutter and get Organized
Following these simple steps will allow you to tackle a variety of projects of different sizes:
- Purge: Toss, recycle, or donate items that are no longer needed.
- Categorize: Assess what you are keeping and pair similar items together.
- Store: Decide how you would like to store or display the different categories in a way that creates accessibility and efficiency. This usually involves purchasing or utilizing storage equipment such as: shelves, racks, containers, etc.
- Maintain: Put items back in their place after use on a regular basis. Also, inform family members of where things live to ensure they are returned to the proper location when not in use. Last but not least, spend 15 to 20 minutes a day on organizing maintenance.
Declutter and Organize 15 Minutes a Day
While it is important to tackle one room at a time during a longer organizing session, you can spend 15 minutes a day on smaller organizing or maintenance projects such as:
- Office: Designate a location for sorting incoming mail.
- Kitchen: Clean out a junk drawer.
- Bathroom: Organize your medicine cabinet.
- Laundry: Fold laundry and put it away. If you see items that are torn or no longer fit, put them in a “to mend” bin or “donation” bag.
- Bedroom: Hang clothes uniformly; for example, hang your shirts facing the same direction.
- General decluttering and organizing tips: As you find items that you want to toss, donate or recycle, go ahead and put each into their respective areas. This will save you time later. Teach your family the new system; it can be very frustrating when everyone is not on the same page.
Honor the Time You set Aside to Declutter and Organize
Whether you begin with your kitchen or your garage, it is important to stay motivated by honoring the schedule you set with yourself. For each space, revisit the four categories and four steps.
Good luck and happy organizing!
Laura Leist, CPO
Organizing with Laura