7 Tips to Conquer Your Clutter
Do you have clutter in your home that needs to be dealt with? Does it bother you to walk into the garage or basement and be faced with all of your stuff?
If you answered "YES!" to having clutter in your home that you want to conquer, read on.
As a professional organizer, here are my 7 tips to help you conquer your clutter.
Tip #1 - Write Down Your Vision
When you have a clear picture of how you want your spaces to look and feel after you have completed the organizing process, this gives you something positive to work towards. It's also easier to stay motivated when you have the end goal in mind.
Your home is meant to be the place where you feel relaxed and comfortable at the end of the day so ask yourself....
- Why is it important for me to declutter?
- How do I want to feel in my home?
- What makes me happy?
- What do I most want to accomplish?
- How will getting organized improve my life?
Bonus Tip: Remember that your home is your home. If you like things minimal with everything tucked away, awesome. If you prefer more of your treasures, books or photos on display, that's cool too. We all have an acceptable level of clutter that works for us. The key is to find your sweet spot.
Tip #2 - Come Up With a Plan
In order to turn your vision into a reality, you need a plan.
List the spaces you want to tackle and in what order.
Do you need to have a conversation and get input about decluttering with your spouse or family? Talk about your vision and expectations so they help, not hinder, the process.
Set mini goals for yourself. When you accomplish a goal, celebrate it as a win! Reward yourself in a way that won't add more clutter to your home. Think of experiences like a home spa treatment, a Saturday afternoon nap, coffee with a friend, or a long walk in nature.
Give yourself a realistic deadline to have your organizing project completed. This will depend on how much time you are willing to devote to decluttering, how much stuff you have and your energy level.
Enlist a friend who also wants to declutter to become your declutter buddy. You can help each other get organized plus stay motivated by having an accountability partner. Don't forget to take before and after photos so you can share your successes on social media and inspire others!
Bonus Tip: If you run out of steam, remember your vision! You will never regret getting organized by conquering your clutter.
Tip #3 - Schedule Time to Declutter
Block your calendar when you know you have the most energy and decision making power. It could be first thing in the morning, just after lunch or in the evening. Schedule your decluttering when you will be the most effective at getting it done.
In between your longer decluttering sessions, try doing small bursts like your junk drawer. Set a timer for 10-15 minutes and just get it done!
Be consistent with decluttering. Your spaces didn't get cluttered overnight and they won't get organized overnight either.
Bonus Tip: The more you conquer clutter, the more motivated you will be to keep these appointments with yourself. You will love the time and energy this process frees up for the fun, healthy, creative and passionate pursuits you want in your calendar instead!
Tip #4 - Decide Where You Want Your Items To Go
Decide in advance where you want your items to go. There are a lot of options for donation, online selling, consignment or landfill (as a last resort).
Keep in mind that what you think something is worth is not always what someone else is willing to pay for your used stuff. Think of the good you will do for people in your community who need the donated items you no longer want or need.
We have already taken the work out of researching where your used goods can go. Check out our DIY Organizing Resources page for more information.
Bonus Tip: Only donate what doesn't belong in the recycling or garbage bin. Items that are missing pieces, stained, damaged or broken should not be donated. Charities don't have the extra resources needed to deal with your trash so please keep this in mind when donating!
Tip #5 - Where to Start
Start with the one area that frustrates you the most. Or alternatively you could start with one of the easiest areas of the home to organize like the bathroom or linen closet.
Next, look at easy decisions like removing obvious garbage or items that should be recycled.
Remove anything that has missing pieces or is broken that you don't use and won't repair.
If you have duplicates, pick the best one and get rid of the other one.
Begin with surface clutter before moving on to hidden clutter in cupboards and drawers.
Ask yourself - do I need it, use it or love it? If the answer is no, let it go.
Bonus Tip: Make it fun! Put on your favourite music and get the kids involved by making a game out of it to see who can declutter more.
Tip #6 - Use the S.P.A.C.E Method
S.P.A.C.E is an easy way to remember how to organize any space!
The S.P.A.C.E acronym stands for:
S = Sort
Gather all similar items together that should or can be stored together. Having similar items in multiple locations can cause confusion and clutter. This also allows you to visually see what and how much you have.
P = Purge
This is the process of going thru your items one by one and deciding what you want to keep. Ask yourself - do I need it, use it or love it? The items you let go of should be boxed up into donate, sell, recycle/garbage and be dealt with right away.
A = Assign
Now that you are left with only the items you need, use or love, it is time to assign a place for everything. It makes sense to keep things where you use them. Creating zones also helps such as a craft zone, reading area, paperwork zone, etc.
C = Containerize / Label
Containers and labels make it easy to keep all of your items grouped together in their proper home. This step makes it easy to retrieve your items, you know exactly what you have, you won't accumulate more than you need and putting things back is easy because you know where it belongs.
E = Evaluate
This is a critical step in the organizing process. It takes a lot of effort to get your spaces organized and you don't want to end up disorganized and cluttered again. Revisit your systems to make sure they work for you. If they don't, modify them.
Bonus tip: Here is our blog post How to Organize Any Space which includes a great infographic on the S.P.A.C.E method.
Tip #7 - Keep it Up
Establish regular routines to keep your home clutter free.
Tidy up and do the dishes before you go to bed at night.
Fold and put your laundry away as soon as it comes out of the dryer.
Keep a clothing "DONATE" bag and every time you find something in your closet you no longer want, put it there.
Limit what comes into your home. Follow the one in two out rule.
Examine your shopping habits and gift giving/receiving practices.
Do bigger decluttering sessions with the seasons. In the spring, clean out all of the closets. In the summer, clean out the shed and garage. In the fall, clean out the kids rooms to get them ready for school. In the winter, clean out the basement and under the stairs.
Bonus Tip: Did you know it takes 40% less time to clean an organized home? Clutter is a time stealer!
What is your most challenging part of conquering clutter?
Which one of these tips was most helpful for you?
We would love to hear from you so please comment below.
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