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Decluttering and Organizing 101

Decluttering and organizing go hand in hand. Basically, you can’t have one without the other. The key is to understand that you can’t organize clutter, so it is logical to think that decluttering comes first. However, if the idea of organizing wasn’t in your mind first, you wouldn’t be thinking about decluttering at all.

The day I wrote my first post Organizing Your Home: The Essential Guide, I wrote it in hopes of providing my readers (the ones I did not have then!) an informational -and printable- guide on how to tackle home organization without being overwhelmed throughout the process. Organizing is not an easy thing to do when there isn’t a plan in place, and that plan should always include decluttering.

Every single day I push myself to get things done so I do not fall into the ‘black hole’ of clutter. Just because there’s ‘extra space’ in the house, doesn’t mean that I need to have every closet, every shelf, and every nook filled with things. Especially if there is no special reason to save or display said things.

How to Become Practical

If you want to be successful at organizing, you must master the art of decluttering. And to master decluttering, you must be practical.

Once you become practical, you will realize that decluttering and organizing is an easy thing to do. Decluttering does not require an entire day -or weeks- of cleaning and sorting, and organizing is a breeze if there is no clutter to sort through.

Decluttering and Organizing: Are you practical or a procrastinator?

Practical people are constantly disposing of things they know they don’t need. They make decisions on the spot, e.g.: when they pick up the mail, they open it, and make a decision. Whether it’s filing, saving on a to-do tray for later, or tossing, practical people don’t pile their mail on the counter. They take action, immediately.

This is a method I adopted a couple of years ago and I feel absolutely liberated. I sort the mail in the driveway and half of it doesn’t even make it inside our home; it goes directly to the recycling bin.

Practical people live an uncomplicated and clutter-free life, because they make decisions quickly, tackle small chores as needed, and they are not attached to material possessions.

Stop Procrastinating

To live clutter-free and organized life, you must stop procrastinating. The procrastinator tends to leave the pile of mail on the counter, the dishes in the sink, and the clean laundry over the bed. Everything is left for later.

If you don’t take care of things when you are supposed to, like washing the cereal bowl right after breakfast, opening the mail same day it arrives or folding the laundry as soon as the drying cycle is done, then you will have a pile of chores and clutter at the end of the day.

Putting things off just adds to the clutter problem. Not only your house (or any given space) is cluttered, but your mind is cluttered too. When you procrastinate, you start thinking about all the things you should have done but you didn’t.

Decluttering and Organizing: Are you practical or a procrastinator?

Procrastination makes easy things hard, hard things harder.

Mason Cooley

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Everyone manages their time at their convenience but, if we are honest and analyze our habits, we will realize that there is no reason to put some things off. If you are doing laundry… you are doing laundry. And there’s no need to jump into something else until that is done. I am not saying you can’t do anything else while the cycles are running, but when it is time to pull out the clothes out of the dryer, then it’s time to fold them.

Whether it is picking up a pair of shoes left in the hallway and putting them away, or clearing the table to get it ready for dinner, if it can be done immediately, take the chance and do it. Whenever possible, avoid letting the small things add up as they could easily become a bigger project to tackle.

5 Things You Can Start Doing Today

Finally, I would like to share 5 random things (and strategies) that make my days more organized and are helping me to live clutter-free. And you can try them too!

  1. Eat The Frog First. That means, I tackle the task I like the least, first. I use my very own Neat To Do List (a free printable) to help me stay focused on my daily goals.
  2. 15 Minutes Organization.  Three or four times a day, I allow myself  15 minutes to tackle any particular project that needs attention. It could be a closet, the kitchen’s pantry or my desk. I set a timer and stop. It is amazing what you can get done in so little time when you are focused!.
  3. Plan Ahead (and write things down). My calendar, to-do list, and meal planner; they all help me stay organized. You can find them all here.
  4. Learn from Peter Walsh. Discover the secret to home organization success. Learn how vision, function, zones, and limits can help you live a clutter-free life. So easy to put them in practice, too! 
  5. Manage Your Time Wisely. One of my favorite posts explains how I manage time at home.

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Decluttering and Organizing: Are you practical or a procrastinator?

I hope you learned something new today. If you have a special tip for decluttering and organizing, I would love it if you share it with me!

Clutter isn’t just the stuff in your closet. It’s anything that gets between you and the life that you want to be living. — Peter Walsh

Happy decluttering,

Flavia

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20 Comments

  1. We have to be careful about buying bulk because we wind up with more than we need and then have to clean out the clutter. And I realized it’s not saving money if the items are not used. Great post!

    1. I agree. Sometimes we save stuff just because we think we would be throwing away money if we give it away, or toss it. But the truth is we’re not getting any richer by holding on to things in a closet!

    1. True Vidya, it can be very frustrating. The first stages of decluttering are very hard. You don’t know where to start and everythings seems to be important and have some sort of value. I recommend this printable, it helps you put your prioriorities in order! Thanks for stopping by Vidya.

  2. I’ve totally been putting off organizing my bathroom closet. I never use it and it’s basically just storage but it bothers me just thinking about it!

    1. Liz, that was my case too…for seven years, I am not kidding! It only took me 45 minutes and a few baskets to organize it. Here is a post that can help you feel motivated and I also included free bathroom printable labels! – Happy organizing! 🙂

  3. something I always have great intentions of doing and do it quite of ten but never get as much done as I would love to thanks for your tips

    1. Hi Cassandra! Yes, I agree. It is hard to let go of clothes. I found out that this is the best incentive : ” If I give this away and I need it again one of these days, I will go buy a new one! 😉 ” – 90% of the times, you don’t need it at all. Out of sight. Out of mind!

  4. I love this post. I’ve finally gotten to the point where everything must go. I’m so happy I took the leap and started to really purge. I used to find sentimental value in everything!

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