Tired of stacks, heaps and piles of clutter? Does it feel overwhelming just to think about organizing your home? Here are a few quick tips that can help you get started organizing and feel great about it quickly.
1. Where Do I Start? Think Small!
Unless you have a very small home, you’re not going to clean and organize the whole house in one day. Choose one drawer, one closet, one cupboard, or cabinet in one room. Plan and schedule ahead for the next project areas.
2. Schedule the Time to Organize
Plan this project out like any other scheduled appointment on your calendar. If you don’t, it’s too easy to put it off until some other time, which never happens. Schedule only an hour or two. Too many excited and well-intentioned organizers have jumped in with the thought that they could go until it was all done. Overwhelmed, they fizzled too soon after starting and never went back. Make sure to bring water, chocolate, and protein to your organizing endeavor.
3. Plan Ahead
Ask for help. Feel free to invite a friend or family member to help you, but not if they will distract you from your plans. Plan ahead to make sure to make sure this time will be undisturbed and without distractions. You can also hire a professional organizer to help you if the task seems too overwhelming. If you pay an organizer, they can charge between $470 and $670 for their services, or you might have to get a cleaning service in to help you.
4. Decide How You Want to Use The Space
Whatever is cluttering up the space you choose may not be what you even want there. Decide what this space is to really be used for before digging in.
5. Get Prep Tools Ready
There are several prep tools that will help the organizing run smoothly.
- Cleaning products, clothes, broom, and vacuum cleaner to clean off and out the areas you are sorting from before putting items back
- Pens, labels, stapler, rubber bands, paper clips; items that help you to combine and contain like items and identify them
- Prep Boxes/Containers include:
a) Reroute box: A box for everything that does not now belong in this area and where you’ll put all extra items to be distributed to the places they do belong when you’re all done
b) Trash can: For all of the real trash
c) Recycle box: For recyclables such as glass, paper, and plastics
d) Gift box: For those items you find that can be gifted to someone else
e) Re-purpose box: For items that can be re-purposed to others or thrift stores
f) Garage sale box: If it’s a closet and you have enough sorted items to plan for a garage sale soon, put items for the sale into another box and store in your pre-planned garage sale area
6. Dig In! Dump, Sort, and Shovel
It’s a very good idea to take everything off or out of the area or section of the area and go through just one pile at a time. It’s motivating to see big empty spaces in a closet, or the surface of your desktop again. From each of these isolated piles, pick up one item at a time and make a decision about its place in your life.
If you’re reorganizing a drawer, dump it out on a cleared surface and pick it apart. If it’s a drawer of clothing, dump it all out on the bed and then pick and choose from there.
7. Shine It Up!
While the area is empty, get a damp or polishing cloth and clean off the surfaces; making them fresh and new again. This feels great after you start putting items back.
8. Save What You Want
After you’ve shined and polished your space, put back only those items that really belong there.
9. Finish or Reschedule
When finished, make sure to redistribute all of the designated boxes, containers, and bags to where they need to go. Don’t leave tools sitting around, as they’re sure to cause mental and emotional clutter to pile up. What if it’s going to take more time than you planned? Reschedule to finish as soon as possible.
10. Maintain, Maintain, Maintain
90 percent of life is maintenance, and this knowledge alone can keep one from gathering, accepting, and buying more stuff. A good rule of thumb for keeping what you’ve organized that way is to take 10-20 minutes a day—especially when you have children or at your work station or desk—to de-clutter. Think like a preschooler: Put everything back where it belongs, clean it up, and feel good because you can go out to play without feeling guilty—or getting into trouble.