There’s no doubt that eliminating the mess and having your home in order makes life simpler.  But if you’re looking at piles in every corner and clutter on every surface, then getting started with organizing it all can be daunting to the point of throwing up your hands in defeat – before you even get started.

The best advice I can suggest to help you get your home decluttered is to Start Small.   

Follow these simple steps to break down a massive project and make it easy to get this important process started and here’s the best part: finished!

  1. Begin by visualizing how you want each room to look when you’re all done.  Imagining the end result you desire first will help with motivation…and ultimately, progress.  For example, think about how you want it to LOOK as well as how you’ll FEEL in your bedroom once it’s a decluttered, organized and clean space
  2. Do this for EVERY room in your home that’s in need of decluttering and organizing. As you do,  make a list of the areas that need your attention – such as the front entrance junk drawer, or the shoe boxes under the bed
  3. Consider the categories of things you’ll want to focus on and break them down too:  clothes in the closets, clothes in the bureau drawers, books on the shelves, side table drawers, knick-knacks hiding in the shelving unit 
  4. Organize your list room by room – put the easiest parts of the project at the top of your list for each area or room
  5. Look in your schedule and block off time each day or week where you’ll devote your attention to your decluttering project
  6. And then begin with one room – tackle the least disorganized space first – the one that’ll require your least time, effort and attention

It can be as simple as organizing just one drawer or closet at a time. 

It can help if you pick a category of your stuff in that room (say, books), and put them all on your bed or a table so you can see it all – and then organize that group: 

  • What to keep? Organize that in piles so you can see it
  • What to donate? Sometimes, your things are no longer needed and can benefit someone else – you can give them a whole new life
  • What to recycle? Often, we no longer need something, and it won’t really help anyone else either.  If it can be recycled, do that before opting for the trash
  • What to toss?  Sometimes, it’s just time to let something go into the trash.

If you’re beginning with clothing, make different piles for each type of what you’ll be keeping: jeans, t-shirts, hoodies, sweatshirts, shorts, active wear for working out and so on. If your clothing is scattered in other areas of your home, don’t forget to grab those too.

When you’re ready to purge, ask yourself some important questions:

  • Does it fit properly?
  • Do I still like it?
  • Do I need it?

If the answer is ‘No’ to any of these questions, it’s likely time to let the item go.  It’s helpful to have 2 different coloured bags as you’re going through this process, one for recycling or donation and one for trash.

Recognize that this is a large process and there’s no need to do it all at once.  To avoid feeling overwhelmed or frustrated, don’t bring everything out all at once.  Focus on just one area or one grouping of things at a time. Once you’ve completed one drawer or closet, if you have the energy and the time, you can continue with the rest of the drawers in that bureau or the rest of the room if you’re feeling ambitious.

Your decluttering project may involve only doing something small each day over the course of a month or even a whole season.  Maybe this is a Sunday project where you get the whole family involved for a couple of hours at a time.  The main objective is to progress from simple and easy to more difficult and involved so you can see quick results, build momentum and enjoy a sense of accomplishment with each completed task.

When you’re ready to organize the kitchen, it can be a bit of a challenge because your kitchen is likely the busiest room of the house and constantly in use.

These tips will help:

  1. Toss expired food to quickly free up fridge and pantry space
  2. Remove bulky items and any clutter from the kitchen counter whenever possible
  3. Go through your dishes, mugs and serving platters – keep only your favourites, toss badly chipped or cracked items
  4. Go through your pots and pans and toss any items where the non-stick finish is chipped or peeling – this is highly unhealthy
  5. When replacing the dishes and cook wear you’re keeping in cupboards or shelves, place the least-used items in upper cabinets to get them out of the way and let the most frequently used items take center stage – where they’re easily accessible 

When you’re ready to put what you’re keeping away again, be sure to assign everything a home. 

Everything you own must have a place where it belongs. 

Investing in storage bins, baskets, shelving units or even creative storage ‘containers’ that double as useful furniture may help with putting away and storing off-season items – and giving your spaces more room for what’s ‘in season.’ 

Labelling may also help.

If you’re a parent, these past couple have years have meant that your kitchen or dining room table has turned into a class room.  Your family room may also double as a home office and it’s easy for a home’s contents to get out of control. 

Although you might wish for a magic wand to keep your home tidy and clutter-free, the only way to keep things organized once you’ve organized and decluttered is to follow through with maintenance.  Get into the habit of putting your items away where they belong as you finish using them, rather than just putting them down anywhere that’s convenient. 

Before you head to bed for the night, do a quick maintenance check of each room you’ve used.  Go through and pick things up and put them back where they belong if they’re still out of place.  When you wake up to an organized and clutter-free home, you’ll be amazed at the positive effect it has on your attitude.  PLUS – you’ll be more inclined to keep it that way. 

Get your kids in on this habit too.  When they leave a room, have them double-check to make sure they’ve put away their toys, folded up blankets and put books and games back on the shelves or in their storage bins.  BONUS TIP: Have them turn off the lights too.  It’s a fantastic habit for your kids to create and will save on your hydro bill. 

A bed looks SO much better when it’s made. 

Take a few moments each morning to fix your bed, and have your kids fix theirs too.  This one success habit makes a massive difference in your life and in theirs.  Your room looks neater, you’ll FEEL better and if you end up having a crappy day (which, does happen now and then) you’ll be able to retire to a nicely made and attractive looking bed.  That right there is one small but awesome comfort to count on. 

It’s much easier to KEEP things neat and tidy, and clean for that matter, than it is to MAKE them neat and tidy.  When your home is organized, clutter-free and tidy, not only will your entire family enjoy increased functionality, but you’ll increase your own feeling of bliss in your space.

If you’d like some help creating blissful, rejuvenating spaces in your home or some help creating a decluttering plan, I’d be delighted to chat.  Contact me to schedule your ‘Create Your Sanctuary’ FREE Consultation and we’ll put together an action plan that’s right for you.

About The Author

Ann Powell is a Certified Interior Decorator, Hunter Douglas Design Consultant with Decorview Canada.  She’s also the Founder of Home Healing Hues and Everything Home.  Ann is deeply passionate about creating living spaces that are sanctuary, healing spaces for her clients and those recovering from serious illness. She specializes in decorating and decluttering homes as well as staging them for the quickest sale and maximum profit.