Clear the Clutter: How to Get Organized

6 minute read

By Kathleen Corrigan

Tackling clutter and getting organized can transform your living space and mind. A well-organized environment leads to increased productivity and a sense of calm. Fortunately, you can find the best organization tips with a search online.

Discovering effective organization strategies can simplify your daily routine and enhance your overall well-being. With the right approach and tools, turning a cluttered space into a serene and functional area is within reach.

Get Rid of Things That You Don’t Use

This tip seems like a no-brainer, but chances are if you look around your home you’ll see plenty of items that you’re hanging on to “just in case” but that you don’t actually use. The “one-year rule” can really come in handy when deciding what to keep and what to give or throw away. If you haven’t used something in the last year, you don’t need it in your life.

This rule is especially useful when it comes to paring down your closet. Start by turning all the clothes hangers in your closet backward. After wearing something, hang it back up the right way around. After one year, whatever is still hanging up backward can be donated to a local clothing drive or shelter.

Get Rid of Things That You Don’t Like

In Marie Kondo’s best-selling book The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up, the Japanese organizational guru gave one big piece of advice that was both widely admired and scoffed at. She advised that you should assess your possessions one by one while asking yourself, does it spark joy?

While it might seem silly considering there are many things in our lives that are joyless but still completely necessary, it can be a good jumping-off point for general clutter around your house. If something doesn’t make you happy when you look at it, consider whether you actually need it around. Life is too short to be surrounded by things that make you unhappy.

Make Use of Wasted Space

If you look around your home, chances are there is a lot of empty space that could be put to good use with a little creative organization. Spaces on top of or beneath furniture can be great places to store neat rows of boxes; while the backs of doors and cupboards are perfect for hanging racks, hooks, or baskets to store things whilst keeping them easily at hand.

In many homes, vertical space is rarely taken advantage of, and a simple shelving unit or hanging rack can be the perfect way to maximize that space.

Give Everyone in Your House a “Stuff Box”

Organizing one person’s stuff is hard enough, but when you throw a few kids or messy roommates into the mix, your shared space can quickly become a disaster zone.

Establish a “stuff box” for every person in your home and place it in the room that gets untidy the quickest. Toss things like keys, books, toys, and other personal items that tend to be left lying about into the owner’s stuff box. If everyone commits to putting the items in their boxes away on a regular basis, you can cut down on the clutter and encourage the whole family to be a little bit tidier.

Motivate Yourself With an Event

If you’re anything like us, you like to keep your mess private and oftentimes avoid having people over so that they can’t witness your untidiness. There’s also a good chance that like us, you’re a procrastinator who needs a little bit of pressure in order to get the job done.

Set a deadline for yourself and mark it with an event that will motivate you to declutter and tidy up, whether that be a yard sale, a dinner party, or just having a friend over to show off your newly organized space.

Clean Out Your Purse or Briefcase

There’s nothing more embarrassing than having to dump all the contents of your purse out onto the store counter just to find out your wallet – especially when there’s a line of impatient customers forming behind you. If your purse, backpack, or briefcase is a black hole filled with receipts, ancient dinner mints, and used tissues, cleaning it out on a regular basis will make you more organized when you’re on the go and lighten your load.  Store things like your keys and your wallet in a designated inner pocket so you’ll always know exactly where they are.

Start a Bullet Journal

If finding yourself the “perfect planner” for your lifestyle has stopped you from actually sticking to one, a bullet journal is the perfect solution to your planning woes, and all you need to start one is a notebook and a pen.

A bullet journal is a combination calendar, to-do list, diary, and habit tracker that can be completely customized to suit your needs. Essentially, it boils down to planning out your tasks, appointments, goals, and habits in bullet-pointed lists that can be as simple or intricate as you like.

Check out the #bulletjournal tag on social media to see hundreds of creative methods that avid bullet journalists have invented to keep their lives organized and their habits on track.

There’s an App for That

If bullet journaling is a little too analog for your taste, remember that we’re living in the 21st Century where there’s an app for just about everything you can think of.

Need an app that combines all your calendars, notes, and to-do lists into one place? Awesome Note is a widely used all-in-one organizing app that lots of people swear by. Are you drowning in receipts that you just can’t throw away? Shoeboxed is an app that scans and files your receipts digitally and tracks your expenses. Can’t remember all the different passwords for your various online accounts? LastPass is an app that can keep all your usernames and passwords in one secure place. If you have an organizational problem, chances are there’s an app that can solve it.

If a Task Takes Less Than Two Minutes, Do It Now

When a task is small, it can be easy to say you’ll do it tomorrow, but sometimes tomorrow never comes and the small tasks can start to pile up and become one big job. A good rule of thumb is that if you think a task will take you less than two minutes to accomplish, don’t wait for tomorrow; do it right away. By getting the small things out of the way quickly, they won’t pile up and you’ll get an immediate sense of satisfaction for having crossed a task off your to-do list.

Devote 15 Minutes a Day To Tidying

One tip that many organized people swear by is the 15-minute rule. Each day, set a timer for 15 minutes and do as many tidying tasks as you can in that time, whether it be putting things back in their place, cleaning some dishes, or dusting all the surfaces you can find in one room. You’d be surprised by how many things you can get done in those 15 minutes, and by setting aside a bit of time each day, you’ll cut back on those day-long cleaning sessions that every sloppy person dreads.

Set a One-Month Habit-Forming Goal

Experts say that it takes between 21 and 30 days to develop a habit and stick with it. Perhaps you’ve tried using some of these tips before, but the practice just hasn’t stuck. Aim to implement some of these tricks into your life for one month straight. Do whatever it takes to hold yourself accountable, whether that be marking tasks on your calendar or giving yourself some gold star stickers for a job well done. After 30 days, chances are you’ll have turned that one-month practice into a lifelong habit, bringing you one step closer to being the real-life, sh*t-together grownup you’ve always wanted to be.

Learn More Organization Tips Today

While getting organized can feel overwhelming, especially if it doesn’t come naturally, there are simple ways to start. This list is a great starting point but there are many other organization tips worth considering too. Start a search online today to learn more ways to get organized.

Kathleen Corrigan