Keeping your home organized can be a challenge, and this is especially true if your home feels out of control. In many cases, life happens and gets in the way of your best intentions. As a result, your home that used to be manageable is now out of control. As if trying to get your home organized isn’t a big enough challenge, finding the motivation to even get started is likely even more overwhelming. Knowing what to do, finding the motivation to get started & even knowing where to start are all common problems. We’re going to tackle it all here. I’ll share the step by step process you need when you find yourself asking, “How do I get organized?” You’ll know exactly where to start. Plus, you’ll have a plan as well as the step by stress process. And then, with a plan and process to follow you’ll have the motivation to get your home organized in less time.
Before we move on…
One of the things you’ll need for this process is our Decluttering Questions. These questions will help you decide what to keep & what to get rid of. Download and print them them once you tell us where to send them!
Grab These Decluttering Questions
Download & print these questions to get your decluttering underway!
As we get started, I’ll show you where to start. Then, I’ll tell you what to do next. I highly suggest reading through all the steps before you actually start. That way, you’ll know exactly where we’re going.
With that, here’s what you need to do when you need to know how to get organized – even if your home is a mess!
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Start with one small space that ISN’T your biggest problem
While it may sound counter-intuitive, starting with a smaller cleaning & organizing project will give you a quicker win. Once you experience a quick win, you’ll be more motivated to just keep going.
Get ready to clean & organize first
I call this strategy the 4 S’s: Sort, Strategize, Simplify, and Supplies. This is a series of things you’ll want to do relatively quickly.
- Sort – sort the things in this area into groups of like things.
- Strategize – what will be the smartest way to organize and store these things?
- Simplify – pare down as much as possible – make sure you truly want to keep everything using the Decluttering Questions HERE
- Supplies – what will you need while you’re working on this project – water? music? a safe activity to keep kids entertained while you work? Get these things ready now, before you actually start organizing your home
Set yourself up for success
This is a four-step process.
- First, determine if you need quiet or the noise of music, an audio book, or something else you enjoy listening to.
- Second, make sure you’ll have alone uninterrupted time for a block of time – ideally at least 20-30 minutes every time you’re going to work on this area.
- Third, find a way to make this task enjoyable. I love listening to a podcast or an audio book.
- Finally, get some motivation. Determine how you’ll reward yourself once you actually get this done. This is the final kick in the pants that will help you just get started.
In many cases, the just getting started part is the hardest part.
The supplies you use when you’re organizing can be simple. These are the things you’ll use to temporarily sort and organize your things initially.
When you’re organizing your home, you’ll need plenty of cardboard boxes, containers, or bags to work with. I prefer working with cardboard boxes as I initially sort and work with the things in each area.
Start sorting and organizing in your area
Go thru everything, asking yourself the decluttering questions as you go. Following the questions through question by question will help you know what to keep and what to get rid of. In essence, these questions will give you the permission you need to let go of things once you determine that these things are long longer serving you.
Remove what you’re not keeping
This follows the out of sight, out of mind principle. Once you decide what to get rid of, get it out of your house and into your car to take to a donation drop off, someone you’re giving these things to, or even the local shelter.
The sooner you can get these things to their intended location the less things you’ll decide you want to keep after all.
Sort and organize what you have left
Now it’s time to work with what you have. Typically I start by grouping like things into piles. Then, I transfer them into the boxes or containers you collected above as a temporary holding area.
Determine the best way to permanently store things in that space
Looking at what you have and the space you have to keep it in, decide how the things you are keeping will store best.
Organizing into the smallest groups possible is best
Break things down into smaller groups than you think you need. This makes things easier to find and also easier to put away. I find this is especially true with kids toys, clothes, and other belongings.
Having just one smaller container with matchbox cars in it will be more effective than having cars of all shapes and sizes in a container.
The same is true for clothes. Having one bin for just tall socks will be easier to deal with than a bin for socks of all sizes.
Take your measurements of the space
Once you know how you’ll break things down and how you’d like to store them, you’re ready to move on.
Since space is typically limited, you need to make every square inch count.
As you prepare to purchase what you’ll need to keep things in, you’ll want to know exactly how many square inches you have to work with in your space.
If you’re working with a closet and have shelves, make sure you measure the space you have to work with on each shelf.
You will want to know the height, width, and depth of the space you’re organizing in.
Decide if you like to see your things or not
Baskets, bins, totes, and bags all come in a variety of colors including clear. Ask yourself if you want clear bins so you can see inside them or would prefer opaque containers so you can’t see anything inside at all.
There is no right or wrong here, it is strictly just personal preference. But, knowing what you prefer is worth thinking about so you can maintain your sanity.
For instance, if looking at clutter tends to stress you out, you’ll likely want bins that aren’t clear so you can’t see all the stuff inside.
Buy your organizing containers
In most cases, I find it’s easiest to go to a store so you can see everything you have to choose firsthand rather than ordering your organizing supplies online.
Choose the store that has the widest selection of totes, containers, baskets, and more. Be sure to take your measurements with you.
When you’re there, make sure you choose containers and bins that maximize your space and fit your needs. Working with bins and containers that have lids generally allows you to maximize your space best because you can stack one on top of the other.
If cost is an issue, you can even get organized with boxes if needed. They come in all shapes and sizes, and many stores and businesses are more than willing to give you boxes for free.
Label everything that will be going in
In some cases you’ll want to label the box, bin, or container itself, and in other cases you may want to just make a master list.
When working with a master list, you’ll just need to label each box or bin with a number or letter. Then, list the contents of that box, basket, or bin on your master list to correspond with the letter or number.
Personally, I’ve used both methods. I find the master list works well because it really allows you to list what is inside each container so it’s easier to find what you’re looking for.
The more specific you can be, the quicker you’ll find things. And, it can be really difficult to specifically list contents when labeling the box, bin, or container.
The downside to this is if you temporarily misplace your master list, you won’t know what is where. Speaking from experience, this is a real bummer!
Load everything into your containers
Avoid packing things into the baskets, bins, or totes so tightly that it’s hard to get things in and out. Space matters, but so does ease of use.
Clean the area you’re organizing in
Wherever it is that you are are storing the things you’re organizing, clean it well before you load the area up.
Be sure to clean the floors, surfaces, and any other areas in the space. This will make the space and everything you’ve just organized feel cleaner and more organized overall.
Put it all away
Now that you’ve got a clean space to work with, well organized and labeled bins, and everything organized and accounted for in a way that makes sense, you’re ready to put everything away.
Make sure that any labels or markings are facing the front so you can easily read them.
You’ve gone from asking, “How do I get organized?” to a clean and organized space. This is cause to celebrate!
You’ve worked hard, and it feels amazing!
Now is your chance to celebrate all your hard work.
A disorganized space can feel so overwhelming. It’s hard to know where to start, where to find the motivation to get started, and how to make it all happen.
Following these steps and using the decluttering questions found HERE will give you everything you need to finally get organized – and in less time!