Last modified on December 5th, 2019
Ready to start organizing your home, but not sure where, when, or how to begin? Deciding where and how to start organizing your home can be stressful— figuring out the logistics of how to declutter can be mind-boggling.
If you, like us, get the urge to start organizing and sprucing-up the rooms where you hibernate throughout the fall and winter, you’re not alone.
No worries, we got you.
We’re sharing pro organizer’s best practice tips you can seriously use to start organizing and decluttering your home. We’ll review nine tactics the Pros use to help you to organize when you don’t know where to start.
Save these best-practice tips to your Pinterest boards or pop-back here when you’re ready to start organizing your home.
Follow the nine steps below to start organizing your home!
Regardless of the time of year or season, the process of organizing can be down-right chaotic or cathartic depending on the method. Either way, figuring out how to get a well-organized home while keeping your sanity is the catch. Keeping your sanity will require a plan. Having a well thought out plan should include a step-by-step guide of where to begin decluttering and organizing in order of priority. Also, your plan of action should consist of which organizing and decluttering method to use plus a start date.
mark your calendar to start organizing your home
The best practice is not to delay and schedule the date in your calendar to start organizing your home ASAP. Don’t procrastinate. There is no better time to start than now. Organizing and decluttering your home is a choice. Of course, keeping a well-organized home is not mandatory, but a chosen way of living that may help you to function more efficiently at home. If being more organized is crucial to you, then you will decide to just—do—it.
Is beginning today impossible? Then mark your calendar and commit to a start date ASAP to eliminate, declutter, and get everything in its proper place by the upcoming holidays. A simple declutter-checklist such as the one at MenoPiu on Etsy can be a useful tool to help you start without delay.
start organizing your home by decluttering
one space at a time
Some pros suggest starting small. Beginning, with a large project, can seem daunting and overwhelming. Starting with a small task reduces the anxiety that results from taking on too much at one time. Little victories can lead to significant achievements later.
On the other hand, professional organizer, Andrew Mellen recommends beginning with the most challenging task. Starting and completing the most troublesome project can remove the weight of the world from your shoulders and give you the power needed to move on to smaller goals. Plus, you will feel amazing afterward.
Choose a room. Complete decluttering, sorting and reorganizing each area in each room before moving on to the next one. For example, complete a kitchen before moving on to the bedroom.
bag & tag your stuff
(drop it off at a donation center—today)
Oprah’s “get-your-life organized” guy and international organization expert, Peter Walsh, suggests we use the strategy of ‘eating an elephant one bite at a time.’
“the best way to eat an elephant is one mouthful at a time.”
According to Walsh, getting organized doesn’t have to be complicated. He calls it the Trash Bag Tango. Ten minutes is all that is needed each day.
- First, give each person in your house two trash bags.
- Second, tag each bag with either donate or trash.
- Third, each person picks a room to tackle for ten minutes by putting what’s not wanted or needed in either a donate or trash bag.
- Finally, thoughtfully reorganize and tidy what’s left.
To get a better idea of Peter Walsh’s decluttering process, check-out Walsh’s Thirty-One Days To Get Organized video series.
Honesty is the best policy.
Remember, the key to sorting is honesty. Always begin by asking if the item is still in use or not. Consider your options, if a year or more has gone by since using something, then weigh whether it still serves your purpose. If not, then it’s time to let it go. Don’t procrastinate. Be decisive and choose whether to donate, trash, or keep each and everything. Pre-labeling trash bags with white or color-coded tags as “donate,” or “trash,” will simplify the entire process.
Need a little cash? Consider trading-in old electronics or tech gear to both Decluttr and Gazelle. Each of these companies pays for used gadgets.
start organizing your home by getting at the root of the clutter
memorize the acronym:
Julie Morgenstern, a professional organizer, has appeared on Oprah and NBC’s The Today Show. She is the author of five best-selling books, including Organizing from the Inside Out. In her book Time To Parent, she suggests the first step to staying organized for a lifetime is ‘learning the difference between organizing and decluttering.’ On her website, Julie’s Blog – Julie Morgenstern, she breaks-down ‘the four most common reasons for the clutter in our lives and how to fix them.’ Frequently, the root-cause of clutter, disorganization, and messiness is due to ‘simple mistakes in our organizing system.’ By using her simple acronym S.P.A.C.E., she promises anyone will be able to ‘dig through any pile and come out on the other side with a wonderfully organized system.’
“A Methodical Five-Step Process”
just let go
Marie Kondo, author of Spark Joy, and the creator of the KonMari Method, says, “The best way to find out what we need is to let go of what we don’t.” Kondo suggests organizing by category instead of room by room:
Make sure to work through every category type throughout the entire home before moving on to the next group.
“The best way to find out what we need is to let go of what we don’t.” Marie Kondo
We find diving into any organizing project with a KonMari-ing attitude usually kicks our organizing mo-jo into gear.
start organizing your home by educating the ones you love
(teach the skill of organizing)
Truth be told, once beginning the KonMari Method, it can become quite the obsession. Though you will find that not everyone around you will want to participate or enthusiastically get-on-board, that’s ok—for now. Still, give them some time. Organizing has a way of rubbing off. Soon, they will want the same beautifully folded drawers, systematically organized closets, and “Spark of joy.” #justdon’t do it for them. Teach them the method and buy time for yourself to do the things you love. By sharing the workload, each participant learns the practical skill of organizing and maintaining the system. The added benefit will be a life lesson on how to arrange for themselves in the future.
start organizing your home by beginning with a drawer
(every small win leads to greater success)
Clea Shearer, and Joanna Teplin, the duo behind the Instagram account The Home Edit and Target’s home organization experts share expert tips on organizing with intention. The pair is on a mission to help transform the way we think and feel about organizing our homes. Shearer and Teplin believe organizing can be fun & stylish too.
An essential step with any organizing project is to start small. Clea and Shearer suggest an easy way to get the ball rolling fast is to start with a drawer. For instance, in the bedroom, the nightstand can be a scary place. So, aim your focus on the nightstand.
- First, dump one drawer out at a time entirely.
- Next, immediately decide to keep, donate, or trash each item.
- Last, reorganize the drawers of the nightstand by putting like things with like.
The same principle can go for every single space in your home, from closets to pantry to the kitchen junk drawer. Keep, donate, or trash.
The little accomplishments along the way give the encouragement and motivation you will need to continue with the process.
start organizing your home with purposeful intention
“Set up systems around your habits instead of trying to adapt your habits to new systems.” The Home Edit
According to The Home Edit, ‘unless you’re moving into a brand new home, don’t replace your old habit with a new one. It’s easier to work with an old habit versus attempting to adopt an entirely new pattern for doing something.’ For example, if your routine is to toss the keys on the entryway table when you walk through the door, then don’t change the habit. Instead, give the keys a more specific and intentional home on the table when not in use. Try placing the keys in a beautiful vintage bowl or a decorative bowl such as here and here. Adopting this habit is both an attractive option and an intentional decision. Plus, you will know exactly where the keys are every time you’re ready to walk out the door.
commit to staying organized
Don’t Put It Down—Put It Away
Make a home for everything. Return everything to it’s home after using it.
Home for Everything—Like with Like
The next decision to make will be to keep your organization intact. “The first and most important rule of staying organized is putting like things with like.” says Andrew Mellen, professional organizer and author of Unstuff Your Stuff, “If you create one home for everything and store like with like, 85% of your problems will be solved because of disorganization.”
“One home for everything means everything has only one home. It’s either in its’ home, or it’s being used. For example, your keys—your keys have a home in your house. They’re either in your hand unlocking something, or they’re in their home. You’ll never not find your keys if they’re in their home, or you’re using them.” Andrew Mellen
- “spoons live with spoons
- cooking utensils live with cooking utensils
- serving utensils live with serving utensils
- scissors live with scissors
- books live with books (except cookbooks:)
- cookbooks live in the kitchen (not in a library several rooms away)
- tools live with tools (not in the bedside nightstand)
- office supplies live with office supplies.”
Check out Andrew Mellen’s no-fail Triangle Method, here.
Try not to bring stuff in your home unless you need it to live comfortably or love it.
If you do, bring something in, then take something out. For instance, replacing an old pair of sneakers with a new pair requires getting rid of the old sneaks. Don’t keep the old beat-up pair to use them to work in the yard.
In conclusion, keeping your home organized is an ongoing process. If you begin planning, organizing, and decluttering now to finish by the holidays, you may reach your end goal. However, if you don’t achieve your goal, plan on picking up where you left off after the holidays are over. Organizing the home is an ongoing process and journey requiring tweaking along the way while doing a little bit here and there every day.
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