So you want to get organized. Where do you even start?
The best preparation for the work of organization is to declutter: declutter stuff, declutter life, declutter your head.
Organizing starts with decluttering, but decluttering is actually a much bigger job than simply clearing out closets.
Here’s how to declutter your home – and also your head.
The Containers: Declutter your home & head
Decluttering is one of those processes that makes things worse before it’s better. It’s moving stuff around and sorting and deciding, and before you can do that, you need designated places for the decluttered stuff. Here are the containers you should set up before you begin.
An inbox is a temporary holding place for stuff. While you’re in the process of decluttering, you’ll want an inbox for stuff to sort through later, and that’s an inbox.
Nothing belongs in the inbox – it is simply a place to put things until you can deal with them. It might be a bag for stuff collected from the car. It might be a magazine holder for mail and paperwork. It might be a box or even whole shelves in a back room while you declutter the living areas of your home.
Your calendar is a container for events and appointments. You need it handy and you need it accurate. A calendar is one of the most important tools for an organized life.
Your to-do list is also a container. It’s where tasks and ideas go so you can do them later and not forget. Whether you keep your to-do list on an app, in a notebook, or on a scrap of envelope, do make sure you have a place for your collected tasks to go.
Related: How to choose a task management app
How to declutter your home? It starts with the right containers, ready for the stuff you’ll collect and process.
The Process: Declutter your home & head
How to declutter your home? It starts by creating a blank slate.
The decluttering process, regardless of what you’re decluttering, consists of the same steps:
- Empty the space completely. If you’re decluttering a closet, pull everything out. If you’re decluttering your head, spill it all out onto paper. If you’re decluttering a drawer, empty it. If you’re decluttering your schedule, start with a clean slate. Even if something you pull out is something you know will go back in, you’ll have better results if you start with an empty space.
- Put each item back intentionally. Only put back in the empty space what you want to live there.
- Discard whatever you can. As you go, always toss whatever you can – decluttering is getting rid of the excess and the accumulated junk. Crayon bits, plastic bits, whatever bits – as you find them, toss them. Also have a bag at hand to collect things to donate to Goodwill, so you can discard what you don’t need without throwing away items that still have life in them.
It is a process. Don’t fret if it takes weeks to go through even one space. Don’t be discouraged if you end up with an inbox – a literal box – full of stuff that now have no home when you’re done. Keep moving through the home, decluttering and rearranging and adjusting and making new homes. It’s a process, and it will bring more peace and calm with every step forward, even before it’s a completely finished project.
The Upkeep: Declutter your home & head continually
Decluttering might not ever be a finished project, actually. You might simply cycle through your home, through your systems, through your projects and papers, only to find you need to start back at the beginning once you’ve reached the end.
How to declutter your home and head? Continually.
Especially when we are raising families, what we need and what we have is in constant flux. When the children are growing and changing all the time, so are the needs we have to meet and so are the demands on our time and space.
Decluttering the home is not a once-and-done sort of project – it’s a necessary strategy for dealing with the ever-incoming stuff of life.
Roll with the punches and accept maintenance – even of the decluttering efforts – as a part of our duties.
The good news: we get better at it with practice.
So keep practicing decluttering.