How to Get Started Organizing and Decluttering When You're Feeling Stuck


Maybe you can relate to this. Your home is a disorganized, cluttered, chaotic mess. Maybe it's been a mess for a long time or maybe you've just been super busy with life (hello, holidays??) and your house needs some intensive care. When you feel like a deer caught in the headlights, and you're overwhelmed with where to begin, take a deep breath and start with the low hanging fruit. Here's my tried and true method for getting a jump start on getting your house under control fast.

Please remember progress, not perfection is the name of this game. A little work can go a long way and some work is better than no work! I know you won't finish each job perfectly in the amount of time I'm suggesting, but try it anyway. This is about getting started and creating some energy. :)

Grab a timer and let's get started!

1. Take out all of your trash and recycling. All of it. Remember to put in a fresh bags. Carry a box of baking soda to sprinkle in the bottom of any garbage container that holds wet trash. (15 minutes)

2. Make the beds. Don't change everyone's sheets unless they really need it. This is about sprucing and straightening up the rooms, not deep cleaning them. (15 minutes)

3. Put all the dishes in the dishwasher or a sink full of hot soapy water. Bonus points if you can spray some cleaner on your flat surfaces and give them a super quick wipe down. (10 minutes)

4. Pick a small area in ONE room to work on. I would suggest a main living area or your bedroom. (2 minutes)

5. Get out four bags or boxes labelled: trash, donate, mend/return (like library books, items borrowed from friend, items to be fixed like electronics or pants needing to be hemmed), and finally, travelling*. (5 minutes)

*The travelling box is for when you are working in a room and you run across something that doesn't belong in that room. Instead of leaving the room to put it away, put it in the box. When you are running out of steam, decide you are done for the day, set a timer for 10 minutes and deliver all the items to the proper rooms.

**PLEASE don't get hung up on getting the perfect boxes, bag or bins for this. Laundry baskets, cardboard boxes, grocery store bags etc. all work the same. Just be sure to take the time to LABEL them so you know what's what.

6. Work in one room for 30-60 minutes. Toss old papers, broken items, old pens and pencils, flyers, junk mail and anything else that is obviously trash. Then put items in your travelling box that are in the wrong room. Finally, declutter items that you don't love, use or have too many of. Do the easy stuff. This is not the time to go through those giant piles of papers or photographs. This is just a start! Now release those items with gratitude and GLEE! They aren't serving you or supporting you any more. If you're still overwhelmed with what to declutter, setting a goal of releasing 20 items (or more!) can be helpful.

Set time limits for each of these steps and make it fun by blasting some fun shake your booty music! The goal is to make some progress. Don't beat yourself up that it's not perfect. Go for good enough and you will be more inclined to keep at it.

When you follow this method you will be amazed at what a difference you can make in a really short time! You can get so much done in UNDER 2 HOURS. Good luck and tell me if you try it. How do you get yourself motivated when you are stuck in overwhelm? I'd love to hear your thoughts.


Photo credit: Hans