Do you have a clutter problem? Do you consistently have trouble finding things around your house? Do you feel overwhelmed by your stuff? If you answered “yes” to any of the above, you’re in the right place. What you need to do is take control, and I can help you.
The golden rule of organization is simple: eliminate clutter. When you let clutter get out of control, your stuff is in charge, not you. This is why it’s so important to keep the clutter monster at bay. When the clutter in your life overwhelms your living space it becomes impossible to keep your possessions organized. The important things become overshadowed by the clutter and next thing you know, you’ve lost hours of your life searching for car keys and misplaced paperwork.
What is clutter, anyway? Clutter is stuff that is superfluous, misplaced, or just plain trash. Clutter can be anything, but the key element is that clutter is disorderly.
Organization is very simply having a place for everything. Organization means that every single item in your environment has a designated spot to live so that whenever you’re not using it, each item is returned to its home, and when you need it, you know where to look. Think of clutter as stuff that either needs a place to live or needs to be evicted.
Getting your home organized is not difficult. All it takes is a little time, a little planning, and a modest amount of effort. Taking the time to de-clutter spaces and arrange objects so they can be easily retrieved is an investment in your future leisure time and peace of mind.
Like any other skill, organizing becomes easier with practice. Just take it one step at a time, see the process through to completion, then repeat as necessary. Organizing is no more complicated than finding a place to store each object in your space. The tricky part is deciding where every object should go.
Whether you’re an organizational novice or someone who’s already in good shape but looking for pointers, I can lend a hand. I will explain how to make and implement a seven-day home organization plan that’s very easy to follow.
On day one you’ll make an overall plan and set goals. On days two, three, and four you will throw away trash, sell those valuable possessions that you no longer use, and give stuff away to friends or charity. On day five, with all extraneous clutter purged from your space, you’ll fine-tune your plan for setting up an organizational system. On day six you will set up the framework for your organizational system based on your plan. On day seven you’ll arrange your important possessions into the system you designed.
Seven days to de-cluttering and organizing your home is ambitious but completely do-able if you stick to the plan. Enlist the help of friends if you need a hand. The days don’t have to be consecutive, either. Spread it out over time if that’s easier. Or just suck it up and get it over with.
However you elect to go about it, you can do this. Evict the clutter monster once and for all. Take control.
Day 1: Make a Plan
Any great journey requires a map. On day one, you will map your journey.
This involves three steps:
- Assess your situation.
- Set goals.
- Make a plan.
Every situation is unique, so in order to get organized you’ll need to figure out where you are at, where you want to be, and how you will get there from here. Begin with step one: assess your situation. Figure out where you’re at. Take an honest look around your home. What do you see?
Do you see a lot of stuff in disarray? Are you looking at things that ought to be thrown away, moved into another area within your space, or given to charity? This is the time to realistically assess what you have, what you can get rid of, and what you actually need.
Start making lists. Look around your living space and decide what objects belong on which lists:
- What can you throw away because it’s useless trash?
- What items that you’re not using have potential sales value?
- What can you give away to friends or charity?
- What items that you want to keep are currently in a “clutter” state, i.e. in need of reassignment to a designated spot within your home.
This is the time for you to get real about your stuff. If you’ve got lots of things that you never use that are eating up valuable space, these objects are weighing you down. You have to let them go.
After you’ve honestly assessed what you have and what you can rid of, it’s time to move on to step two: setting goals. What do you hope to achieve? You want to be more organized, that’s the general objective. Specifically how do you want to be more organized? Is paperwork a problem for you? Do you have trouble keeping your personal items in order? Look at list number four, the items that you want to keep that are currently in a “clutter” state. This is the area that defines what you need to work on.
As an example, your goals may look like this:
- Organize craft supplies.
- Keep better track of paperwork.
- Re-arrange kids’ toys so they’re more orderly.
- Create a better system for storing boots and shoes that are scattered all over the house.
Once you’ve set some goals, you’re at step three: make a plan. This is when you figure out how to get there from here.
Working from the hypothetical goals listed above, this is the point at which you would figure out what area in your home would be best suited for storing the craft supplies that are currently scattered here, there, and everywhere.
This is when you could decide that, to keep better track of paperwork, you want to turn a spare bedroom into a home office.
You would figure out the best centralized area to store the kids’ toys instead of where they are now, which is all over the place and always underfoot.
And you would think about whether you can carve out some space near the door for cubbies or a rack of some type to store the shoes that are everywhere except for when you are looking for them, at which time they are nowhere to be found.
You’re just thinking ahead at this stage; planning but not actually doing. You’re thinking about where and how you will store the things that you want to keep which are currently suffering from a clutter situation in your environment. This is just the beginning.
By figuring out what you can trash, what you can sell or give away, and what you want to keep, you’ve set the stage to reach your goals. You will purge unnecessary items to make room for the proper storage and organization of the items you value. As you work through the next three days, ridding yourself of dead weight, keep in mind what space you’ll need for the things you plan to keep and specifically target the elimination of clutter in those areas.
Now congratulate yourself because you’re on your way to taking control!
Tomorrow, Day 2: Throw Away Trash
Want more house cleaning tips and ideas? Check out my book Clean Like A Pro: Tips and Techniques for Cleaning Your Home Like a Seasoned Professional, available on Amazon.