After celebrating the year end holidays, it's not unusual for our homes to feel cluttered. So it's no surprise that January is national organizing month with lots of tips to help you declutter your home.
If you realize that clutter contributes to stress, you know but might not want to admitthat it's worth spending time to get rid of the clutter.
That's why we want to show you how to declutter your home in one day. Because we know disliking the mess isn’t always a big enough motivator to stay on top of the clutter. More often you cycle through – clean house, then messy house, then frustration, then concerted effort to clean, and then you’re right back at the beginning of the cycle.
Wouldn’t it be great if the cycle didn’t happen at all, or at least not regularly? The only way you can do that is by taking control, and taking control means you need a plan you can live with.
Divide and Conquer to Declutter Your Home
A room full of clutter isn’t the best environment for making a plan to live with a clean, organized house. A clean slate will let you really examine your home and find a routine that will work.
There are as many ways to de-clutter as there are stars in the sky. Maybe not that many, but there’s certainly no right or wrong way. The “Divide and Conquer” approach is arguably the simplest, and often the most efficient. When you focus on one area at a time, you’ll see faster progress, which can spur you on.
Here are the steps to take, to declutter your home:
- Create work zones – Maybe each zone is one room or multiple rooms grouped by similarity, such as all bathrooms, all bedrooms, laundry and kitchen. Attack each zone, one at a time.
- Clear out the trash – The first step to declutter your home is getting rid of everything that belongs in the trash or recycling bin, like junk mail. If you don’t plan to keep something, it should get tossed or sent to the zone where it belongs.
- Collect out-of-place items – Instead of running from one room to the next replacing one item at a time, clear out the room by filling laundry baskets. Use one basket for clothing, one for books and magazines, or put everything in one large basket. If you have dishes all over the house, use one basket just for these.
With these three steps, you can take your home from cluttered to clear in short order. Unless your home is extremely messy, you can probably finish these chores in a few hours.
Once all the clutter is collected in baskets, it's time to put things where they belong.
- Put things where they belong – If something doesn't already have a real home, leave it in its basket until you can decide on the right home.
- Find a permanent home for everything – Make sure things are stored where they'll be easy to use and easy to remember. Be sure to let family members know where you want things to go.
- Get rid of things no one is using – Have a garage sale or recycle things by donating to a local thrift store.
The key to avoiding clutter is finding storage solutions that are easy to use. You want to hang up your keys right when you enter your home, so hooks in the entry way make a lot of sense. The same goes for mail that always seems to land on a kitchen countertop, so find a basket to contain it rather than pretending you will cart it off to a different room. You won't and that's why we're always having to declutter our homes.
The “Divide and Conquer” method helps keep you on track, especially when you take on zones in 2-hour chunks. If you wander from room to room picking up trash and carrying coffee cups to the sink, you’ll spend more time, be more likely to get distracted and see less progress. When you clear out one room or zone at a time, progress is noticeable because it’s concentrated in one area, and you’ll spend less energy getting there.
Ready to get organized and stay organized?
Here are some of our most popular articles to help you get organized at home …
- Organizing Your Home to Save Time & Money
- 7 Home Organizing Tips for Clutter Magnets
- Organizing Closet Clutter & Gifting to Others
- Time for a Makeover? Mudroom Organization Ideas
- Organized Home Tips for Cluttered Houses
PS Want to declutter your home and feeling overwhelmed? You can find professional organizers through the National Association of Professional Organizers (NAPO). They've got lots of experience helping all sorts of people declutter and organize their homes because you're not the only one.
Thanks for providing such great tips. I’m so overwhelmed by my apartment and the clutter I’ve allowed to build up. I’m guessing I’m going to need professional assistance. I’m disabled so the 20 minutes I can stand at any one time makes it virtually impossible to get a handle on this mess. Much of the clutter has to do with clothes and lack of space for hanging and folding. Just so frustrating. But your tips may help me slowly but surely get a start.
Thank you so very much,
Traci in TN
Traci, It’s easy to set goals that are too ambitious & then give up. Try picking something easy like finding homes for 3 clothing items each day. Of course you need places to put them and always remember to question if you really need to keep something … and good luck.