No one likes a cluttered house. But, unfortunately, no one likes cleaning a cluttered house either, especially when it’s so hard to keep clean. Take some times this weekend to declutter once and for all, and figure out an organizational scheme that works for you.
Step One: Get Rid of Your Crap
Before you can have a truly organized house, you need to purge all the stuff you don’t need. Before you do anything, form an attack plan. One of the best ways to declutter your home is to create a detailed inventory, and we’ve shared lots of solutions for doing so in the past. Once you’ve highlighted all the things you can downsize, it’s time to get to work. Check out our guides on kicking your clutter habit for good and de-crapifying your home to get started. Your home office is probably its own beast, so be sure to dedicate specific time to that with our guide to getting out from under your office crap, and organizing those piles of paper into something manageable. Once you’ve gotten rid of the clutter you don’t need, you’ll be much better off when it comes to organizing everything else. Photo by Sandra Cohen-Rose and Colin Rose.
Find Better Ways to Organize Your Stuff
Now that you’ve gotten rid of the crap, it’s time to organize the stuff you have left to make it more useful to you during your day. Once again, form a good plan of attack before you do anything else. Go through all your leftover stuff and make sure each item has a home. If you aren’t sure where to put something, don’t waste time on it. Put it in a clutter bucket that you can decide on after you’re done with everything else. If you need help keeping everything clean, there are a lot of gadgets that can help, as well as stuff you probably already have lying around.
Go through each room and see where the weak points are. Too much clutter spreading itself through your house? Get a landing strip for the front door. Can’t find anything in your desk drawers? Organize them by a hierarchy of importance. Fill dresser drawers front to back so you can see everything inside, and find a place for your kitchen stuff that keeps floating around your cupboards (like pot lids).
Remember though, the object isn’t to get everything picture-perfect. That’s a waste of time. The goal is to get everything just organized enough so that you can find and access everything you need in a timely fashion. Sometimes, that means de-organizing: your silverware or sock drawers don’t always need to be separated and organized perfectly, for example. You’ll spend more time organizing them than you ever would searching for the right thing when you need it.
Make Sure You Keep It Clean
Once you’ve gone through all that work, you probably won’t ever want to do it again, so now comes the (seemingly) hardest part: keeping everything clean and organized. It’s much easier than it seems, though: in fact, by putting all those chores on autopilot, you can keep everything clean with what feels like minimal amounts of work. For example, instead of striving for perfection and going through big cleaning sessions every once in a while, just clean up 15 minutes a day. After 15 minutes, stop. You’d be surprised how quickly you get to perfection with such little effort. Every time you leave a room, take one item that doesn’t belong there with you. And, every night, reboot your office to make sure you come back to a clean workspace in the morning. A few minutes a day is all it takes to keep everything clean and organized for the long haul, and once you’ve worked it into your daily routine, it’ll be so easy to keep up you won’t even notice you’re doing it. Good luck!