Declutter – 6 small steps you can take to get organized for good

Quite often when we sell a property, our clients often tell us their house has never looked that good. A big part of that is because the home is tidy and they have spent time decluttering. The thought of getting (and staying) organized spurs a variety of reactions in different people. Some consider it a quick but necessary chore, while others see it as an insurmountable obstacle. Research shows decluttering, getting your physical belongings in order, can also help foster a positive mindset.

As you start organizing, remember that creating a functional home that works with your lifestyle is key. It should reflect who you are and what you love.
When everything in your home has a place, it’s easier to solve everyday problems, even if it’s as simple as knowing where to find new batteries for the remote control. Being capable of fixing these small inconveniences also enhances your sense of control because you know exactly where to look.

You don’t have to sell/rent your home to start decluttering and give your home a designer look. Just do it once, then it is a matter of maintaining it.

1. Have no fear and guilt

It’s OK not to be organized. It’s a skill that not everyone is born with, but it’s a skill you can learn. Seeing clutter causes some people to feel overwhelmed and paralyzed with the fear of not knowing where to start. Taking things slow and being kind to yourself during the process can take some of the fear out of getting organized.
Decluttering can bring about feelings of guilt, which is usually manifested because we assign emotional attachments to our possessions. For example a family member or friend may have given an item to you, which can make you feel guilty even if the object is outdated or broken. Guilt can also arise if you have clothing/items you bought for a special occasion, such as a honeymoon, that you will never wear again because it’s not your style or doesn’t fit anymore.

2. Set a schedule

Although many of our schedules have changed recently, we still need structure in our days. Prepare a to do list because sticking to a schedule can boost feelings of productivity as you check items off your list. Simply use the list to create a better sense of control over your day.

3. Break larger projects into sections

Start small to avoid getting overwhelmed by sizeable tasks. For example, if you want to organize your kitchen, start by cleaning out your pantry. Focus first on throwing away expired items or donating shelf-stable items you won’t use, then work on arranging like items together the following day (store breakfast foods, condiments, and grains on separate shelves, for example).
Instagram or Pinterest are great to get ideas or inspirations.

4. Do daily 15-minute projects

To conquer a disorganized home in quick daily bursts, pick a short task to do each day. Finishing one task today will give you a sense of accomplishment that can help motivate you to take on another small project tomorrow. These small tasks can be as simple as organizing your sock drawer, cleaning out your medicine cabinet.

5. Get the kids involved

Whether you have kids, grandchildren/nieces/nephews around the house, it’s never too early to teach children how to organize. Putting away should be part of the play. Encourage kids to get involved, appreciate their efforts and value the input of young ones. The more you can involve kids and get them to think creatively, the more they will be willing to participate Start a decluttering project during school holidays and you will be amazed how much they learn about you.

6. Donate or sell unwanted items

Now that you’ve cleaned out your cabinets and closets, the final step to staying organized is parting ways with your old stuff. To get rid of unwanted items, start with your inner circle. Ask friends or family if they want anything, especially any family heirlooms. Here are some options:
-Find a charity you want to support, donate to a cause that is meaningful to you will make it easier to part with something since you’re helping someone in need.
-If you want to sell, try Facebook Marketplace, eBay or Gumtree (in Australia).

Once you are happy with the functional home you have created, a good way to keep that up is by organizing seasonally, or every spring, so you can evaluate the colour scheme, what you typically wear and what is or isn’t working in your home.