Declutter your space

Get Organized in 5 Easy Steps

declutter checklistWe’ve all been there.  Crazy, messy house.. But how do we declutter and get organized when we are already overwhelmed with life? Seriously.. do we not already have enough to do?

Here’s the thing: Clutter and mess makes our lives more hectic and stressful than it needs to be.

When it takes five minutes to find car keys in the morning, we just add stress to our already busy lives.  And if you live in a small house (or you’re downsizing to one).. it’s imperative to have some semblance of order or you’ll feel crazy in all the clutter.

Try these questions.  Answer Yes or No:

  • I rarely can find all the garments I want to wear each day.
  • A normal morning involves hunting down keys.
  • I spend too much time looking for papers I need.
  • I frequently forget appointments or miss paying bills.
  • My living room looks like a hurricane came through.

If you answered ‘yes’ to any of the above questions, then there is at least one area of your life that you can declutter.  And I’m here to tell you; organize your space and you’ll free your mind.  There is something truly liberating and freeing in getting our house in order.  Trust me on this one.  :)

5 Easy Steps to declutter and get organized

STEP 1) Write down 5 problem areas that you want to organize.  It can be as small as your purse or as big as the garage.  But log the five places that are the most frustrating for you.  Now prioritize them in the order of aggravation.  Put them in order by assigning 1,2,3, etc. next to each task.

STEP 2) Take the area that has #1 next to it, and that’s the space you’ll do first.  Lets say it’s your closet.. it can be the kitchen bar, your garage, bedroom.. the concept works the same with whatever you want to organize.

Now here’s what you do: Grab two big garbage bags.  Have the remaining bags nearby in case you need extra.  One bag is for what you’re going to give away and the other is for throw away.

My sister uses white garbage bags for giveaway and black bags for throwaway so she never inadvertently throws away something good. Smart move, sis!

Tip: It sometimes helps to be more generous (i.e. give away more) if you’ve decided where you’re going to give it. For example, if you know your clothes are going to Battered Women organization it’s easier to let go of that velvet jacket you rarely wear because you can imagine how much a woman or her daughter would appreciate it.

Now, you want 4 piles.  One to give away, one to throw away, one to keep, and the fourth pile is for “I know I should get rid of this but I can’t part with it,yet.”

STEP 3) Start with one side of your closet (or whatever space you’re tackling) and start moving items into the appropriate piles.   Try and be as ruthless as possible.  Don’t save clothes you think you’ll be able to wear again one day.  And no matter how cool that hat is, if you haven’t worn it in awhile, give it away.  Usually if you haven’t worn a garment in one year, it goes out of the ‘keep’ pile.

STEP 4) Once everything is separated into four piles, get your giveaway bag(s) and throwaway bag(s) so you can dispose of them.  Put the bags that go in the trash out to the curb or wherever you keep the garbage until trash day.  Put the giveaway bags into your car to take to the donation place.  Make sure you get a receipt for your donation to use for your taxes.

STEP 5) Now what?  The clutter is gone and it’s time to organize what you’ve decided to keep.  OK, so remember the “I know I should get rid of this but I can’t part with it,yet” pile?  I want you to put those items in one spot in your closet.  Hopefully when you notice that you never use them in the next year, you’ll scoop them all up and give them away!  For now, set them aside.

Tubs to organize tubsLet’s talk for a minute about how to organize what you’re keeping.  I like to put socks, pajamas, intimate apparel, belts.. basically all the little things, into tubs like you see in this picture.

It’s a super easy and a cheap way to organize.. plus you can see everything.  We use them in our closet, in the garage, pantry.. just about everywhere.

Notice there are two different sizes.  You can experiment which works best for you.

Finally, you’ll want to organize your hanging clothes together; pants, blouses, dresses.. If you really want to get organized, you can even store your clothes according to color but that’s entirely up to you.

TIP: Place extra hangers in one place and as you use your clothes, add the empty hangers to the group. On laundry day, you’ll have them all in one spot.

Organized closet

That’s it!  You’ve completed your number one priority for decluttering.  Yeah, you should be proud!

If you selected a super easy and fast spot to organize first, you might want to the next one on your list and get it done..  Either way, decide now when you’re going to get the other tasks on your list organized.  If you’re anything like me, you’ll want to schedule NOW the other tasks.  Otherwise it’s too easy to procrastinate.  At least for me it is.  :)

If you’re finding that you cannot get in the right frame of mind to tackle even the first place on your list that needs organizing, you might find Kick the Excuses and Get Organized helpful.