How to Clear the Clutter and Get Organized
It seems like we shouldn’t need to ask how to do this, doesn’t it?
But people are asking.
I didn’t know how to clear the clutter and keep an organized home. And I thought something was wrong with me- aren’t I supposed to know it?
Some people learned from their parents; some people learned when they were training on a job, some people never learned.
I was someone who had never learned how to maintain a clean & organized home.
For whatever reason, I could clean the bathroom, but I didn’t know how to keep it clean. I didn’t know how to handle the daily messes or excess items. The extra toothpaste and floss the dentist just gave us were useful, so they were supposed to have a home… but all the drawers and cupboard were full, so what was I supposed to do with it?
And let me tell you- organizing said items doesn’t help.
If you need more organizational or storage items to hold your stuff, you have too much stuff. And, trust me on this, it won’t stay organized.
Because it’s hard to organize a large number of items. When your Tupperware (I can’t help it- I grew up in the 70’s/80’s, Tupperware is what we call all food storage containers!) drawer is full, there is no way it stays organized.
Once you need one container from the bottom of the stack and you have to find a lid to match- you’re lucky to get the drawer closed, am I right??
But, imagine if you only have ten food storage containers. They stack easily, and even if they are all clean and in the drawer, there is so much extra space in the drawer you only have to reach in and grab what you need: no digging, no shuffling, just efficiency.
A small amount of stuff STAYS organized.
Let’s imagine that the drawer gets disorganized- large containers are on top of small containers, lids are willy-nilly, and you open the drawer to pull out a container. Because there are 10 or fewer in the drawer, you spot what you need as soon as you open the drawer!
Why? Because there isn’t much in there! Even if they aren’t in perfect order- it doesn’t affect how much time you spend getting the item you need out.
Embracing minimalism means you don’t have to spend a lot of time keeping things organized.
So if you’re wondering how to clear clutter and keep things organized, the key is to be drastic when you declutter and be conscious when you shop to not bring things back into the house.
The key is only to have what is essential.
So first off, challenge yourself to get rid of more.
Most people that I talk to, when they say they have decluttered, they mean they opened the cupboard and pulled out 5-6 items to trash/recycle/donate.
Instead, open that cupboard, pull everything out of it and decide what things you want to put back.
Think through the items you enjoy using, the things you use regularly- those belong there. The items you don’t like, don’t use or are keeping out of obligation, they are the items to get rid of.
And if you tell me you have three drawers full of makeup, but you wear all of them so you can’t get rid of them, then I’m going to ask you to be honest with yourself.
- Which items do you use daily?
- Which items do you use weekly?
Then pitch the rest of them!
Makeup typically expires within a year, so if you still have that blue mascara from high school- throw that thing away!
What would be left? One or two of each item. THAT would be easy to organize.
And you have permission to get a cute drawer organizer for it!
Yes, I did say if you need organizational items to hold your stuff you have too much stuff. This means I don’t want you to go and buy clear plastic tubs and label them “eye makeup” or “foundation/skin creams.”
It means to get rid of everything except what you use daily and weekly and then buy something pretty to keep it neat and accessible. Maybe it’s a drawer organizer, or perhaps it’s a makeup bag, but make it something that you feel would be a good fit for your lifestyle.
This method is the same for the rest of the house- keep what you like and use, let go of the rest.
After you get rid of the excess in an area, you can see how best to organize it. Most of the time you won’t need fancy organizing containers. To divide one of my kitchen drawers I have a basket from the dollar store, and for other drawers, I’ve invested in dividers like this.
But most of my drawers and cupboards don’t contain containers! When you only have one stack of plates, you don’t need to buy anything fancy to keep it organized.
When you only have one set of mixing bowls they stack and stay comfortably in the cupboard.
When you are ready to clear the clutter and organize your home:
- Pull out everything from an area or category.
- Put back only what you use/enjoy.
- Get rid of the rest.
- Arrange the stuff in your home in a way that makes it easy to get to and easy to use.
Everything you’ve ever wanted to know about minimalism
How to keep a clean house
I can’t keep my house clean, what’s wrong with me?!
First thank you! Im glad i found you. I had downloaded check off sheets an d i cant find them ha ha…i thought it was funny. Where can i download them again?
You can enter your name and email and the system will send it again- don’t worry, you won’t get extra emails. 🙂
Signup here: https://nourishingminimalism.com/blog/2019-2019-decluttering-challenge/
Shannon, you made me laugh!
I have been using your decluttering checklists for a few years. They help me to see that I’m making progress, even when it isn’t easily visible in my home. I still have a long way to go, but I’m well on my way. I’m finally beginning to see beyond the overwhelm as I take control of our space. With a husband and five kids, many things in our home are not mine to let go. However, I’m working on doing my part, setting a good example, and helping the kids to see that less stuff equals less stress, less time spent picking up and cleaning, and more time for fun. Thank you for setting the example and for giving help, hope, and challenge to those of us who are struggling.
Thank you for sharing Sarah. I’m so glad you’re seeing a change! That’s wonderful! ❤️
I thought that I have been decluttering. But after reading your article, I now realize that I’ve just been organizing clutter. ThAnK yOu for saying it like this. I am excited to open the kitchen cabinets and drawers, go through everything, and keep just the items that I use regularly!!!! Your article came at a perfect time as my projects for today are trying to straighten again! There’s a trip to Goodwill in my near future. This time to DONATE instead of to bring more stuff home. THANKS FOR SO CLEARLY EXPLAINING IT!
I’m ready’ish to start the de cluttering lifestyle but feel I need advice and support
Would enjoy hearing from you for encouragement to get organized