This is the method I've used for years to declutter my home – come see the simple steps that get (and keep) my home organized! Includes simple tools, tricks, and even talks about an effective cleaning schedule.
For years, I've been following a really similar process for organizing and decluttering just about any area in the home. I've talked about it a little bit before (for my pantry, spice cabinet, and craft room, just to name a few), and to be honest, I don't think I really realized that my process was similar for every single space until a few months ago. I started noticing the same patterns and realized that even my organization method had organization! 😉
This process is really a no-fail kind of method to declutter my home that has helped me organize so many different areas. As long as you follow the steps (including the last one – that might be the most important!), this is a really easy and low-maintenance way to keep any area imaginable organized. I've personally used this for bedrooms, the kitchen, closets, my laundry room, the garage, the pantry, playrooms – the possibilities are endless.
You're not going to believe how simple this process is. But trust me, it works!
My No-Fail, No-Fuss Home Declutter Method
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1. Take it all out.
This is the part that usually scares people – mostly because it temporarily makes your room so much messier than when you started. But trust me, it's essential! Before you organize your stuff, you've got to actually know what stuff you have.
Scary, right? But trust me on this one – it helps tremendously.
Take it all out and get it all in one big view. Start mentally inventorying what similar items you have and grouping them together. Start ranking the essentials and separating yourself from the non-essentials. Ask yourself if it's realistic to put all of this stuff back in the space you have – if not, it's time to really dive into step 2 (or find a new space for some of the items).
2. Throw away or donate what you're not going to use.
An essential step I use to declutter my home is getting rid of things that are simply taking up space with no purpose. This will be a little bit different in every space. For example, in the kitchen, throw out the foods you tried and just didn't love, expired items, etc. (I personally encourage having a “Chopped Challenge” kind of week to get rid of all of this because I hate wasting food!). In the playroom, throw out broken toys or excess Happy Meal toys, donate those old baby toys your kids haven't touched in years. In the closet, throw away damaged or overly worn clothing and donate things that don't fit anymore.
If somebody else can (honestly) get some use out of it, donate it! There are plenty of low-income consignment or thrift stores in just about every area that could use those items. But ask yourself – could somebody else honestly use this or make needed money from this? If not, don't clutter the donation centers with your junk. Toss it.
I'm a big believer in filing your home with the things and people you love. If you don't love it, don't give it real estate in your home.
3. Group similar items.
It has helped me tremendously to have similar items in the same place in our home. That way, anytime I need an item, I know exactly where to go without spending precious time searching. I also know exactly where to go when making out our grocery list – it's super easy to go to one place to check supply levels.
On that note – don't feel like you have to go out and spend a ton of money to group your items! Use organization bins that are already in your home. Shoe boxes, old diaper boxes, and washed jars are great for grouping items in many areas. I've also found an absolute ton of our favorite organization items at Dollar Tree – they have everything from pencil boxes to plastic shoe boxes that are staples in my organization now. (But, I will say that if spending a little extra on pretty organization items motivates you to keep those things organized, I think it's a totally worthwhile investment.)
4. Refill your spaces with grouped items (in a meaningful way).
Now it's time to decide where those grouped items will go! I personally choose to keep our most used items at the most convenient places. I also like to use space limitations to keep less used (or don't-need-to-be-used) items a little more out of reach.
Take our pantry, for example. I keep healthy kid snacks on the bottom shelf to make it really easy for my children to grab a snack when they need one. I also keep fruits and veggies at their eye level to motivate them to reach for those more often. In contrast, I keep candy and cookies on a higher shelf. It's even above the adults' eye level, so we don't automatically reach for it, and the kids have to ask to get one of those snacks.
Our closet has a high shelf that I've used to organize winter clothing and boots when out of season. I make sure the kids' closets have seasonal clothing that is easy for them to reach if needed. These are just a couple of examples of how I use the space to work for us. Really inventory what you're filling your spaces with and ask yourself how often it will be used. If you think it's going to be a common need, make it convenient to access.
5. Stick to it.
This might be the most difficult (and most important) part of my method to declutter my home. What good is it to organize a space if you're not going to maintain it? You have to get used to putting items where they are supposed to go. Don't let yourself fall out of the habit of maintaining that beautiful organization.
I've said it 100 times – it takes 2-3 weeks to really form a habit. So, for 3 weeks, set a timer for 10 minutes a night to put everything in your home in its place. That might not sound like a lot of time, but you can do so much more than you think in 10 minutes! As a matter of fact, you might find that you run out of things to organize in that time – but, if your timer hasn't gone off yet, find something else to organize. There's always something else, I promise. 🙂
This decluttering time block is discussed more in Journey to Clean – as a matter of fact, it's a pillar of my cleaning system that I recommend doing every day. I don't know anybody that's too busy to carve out 10 minutes of their day – and it's so worth maintaining a clean and organized home.
(And Journey to Cleaners – if you didn't see my Instastories, I just started work on the 2020 edition this week! Now is the time to make any requests for edits – you can fill out this short survey to tell me what you love or don't love about the current edition. I want to build this cleaning system to work for you, so I need your input. Thanks in advance!)