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Figuring out how to start organizing your home can be overwhelming. This simple plan will help you find a starting point, and break getting organized into easy, bite-sized chunks.
At some point, you stopped noticing it. You’d walked by it so many times, it stopped registering in your mind and became part of the landscape, like blades of grass.
You could feel it, though. Still can.
It permeates your mornings, where you flail around for that missing earring and claw for something presentable to wear.
It’s turned dinnertime into a circus, where you shove aside 5 cans of (probably expired) green beans in a frenzied effort find the makings of a decent meal in your overflowing pantry.
Visits from friends and family cause your cheeks to flush hot with embarrassment as soon as you open the door. You stopped noticing it long ago, but they didn’t.
This insidious thing called clutter is overtaking your home and your life, but you don’t know where to start.
The idea of organizing a messy house is overwhelming. There’s SO MUCH to do. You don’t know where to start, so you don’t start at all.
But those little wellsprings of anxiety, overwhelm, and embarrassment won’t go away.
Until you get organized. You can do it, but you have to start organizing somewhere.
Today, I’m giving you a step by step process on where and how to get started with organizing your home.
Speaking of step-by-step processes, my Organize Anything Guide walks you through a simple process to organize any area of your home. And, it’s free!
Your information is always safe with ShowMe Suburban.
What This Post Isn’t About
This post won’t take you from messy disorganization to a perfectly ordered home in one fell swoop. It would be way too long, and would probably leave you feeling more stressed and overwhelmed than you feel now.
My goal today is to help you kick those feelings of overwhelm, and kick off your journey to an organized home. We’re starting slowly here to keep things easy and manageable. If that sounds good, you should probably read on!
Stop Feeling Bad
In addition to being overwhelming, living in a cluttered, disorganized home can be an incredible source of guilt.
You might feel bad that you’ve let your house get out of control, or that you didn’t start getting organized sooner.
Maybe you’re embarrassed, ashamed, anxious, or you might put yourself down. Maybe you failed at getting organized in the past, and feel like you’ll never be organized.
But you know what? None of that matters. You’re here, today, ready for a solution. So stop feeling bad about what you have or haven’t done in the past, and start getting excited about what the future holds for you and your home. You can do this!
Get Organized in Baby Steps
Before we get into how to start organizing your home, keep in mind that learning how to get organized is a big task. It’ll take time and effort to get your home organized, and taking baby steps to get there is the best way to avoid overwhelm.
Think of it this way. If you wanted to run a marathon, you wouldn’t start training by running 26 miles on the first day! You’d break it down in to bite-sized baby steps, and work your way up to the marathon level.
The same goes for getting your home organized. As a result, give yourself permission to take baby steps to get your house organized.
How to Start Organizing Your Home
As I stated above, this post is all about where and how to START organizing your home. Think of this as the first leg of your organizing journey.
To build positive organizing momentum, we’re going to start organizing in the area of your home that will have the most impact on your everyday life.
Pinpoint the Most Stressful Room
Think about the most stressful part of your day at home, and the room where it takes place. Here are some examples:
- Your morning skincare and makeup routine? (Bathroom)
- Deciding what to wear to work? (Closet)
- Getting the kids ready for school? (Kids’ rooms/school supplies)
- Figuring out what to make for dinner? (Pantry/cabinets)
- Walking by the giant pile of papers on your kitchen counter? (Kitchen)
The most stressful part of your day is probably rooted in some serious disorganization.
How to start organizing your home? Begin in the room where you experience the most stress. As a result, you’ll alleviate a good chunk of stress from your day. You’ll be motivated to keep going until you’ve organized your whole house.
Create a List of Areas in the Room
Create a list of each area in the room that needs to be organized.
For example, let’s say you stress over deciding what to wear, and you’re starting with your closet. The areas might be:
- Upper shelf
- Lower shelf
- Upper bar 1
- Upper bar 2
- Lower bar
Or, as in the wardrobe pictured below, you could have cube 1, cube 2, cube 3, cube 4, drawer 1, drawer 2, and so on.
When you make this list, don’t feel bad or overwhelmed. We’re going to use it to celebrate each bite-sized baby step early in your organizing journey.
Choose One Area as a Starting Point
Choose one area on the list. One bar in the closet, one shelf in the bathroom, etc. This little corner of the room will be the first victory on your path to an organized home.
Set a Timer for 10 Minutes and Declutter
The first step in how to start organizing your home is simply to get rid of things you don’t use, need, or love. Also known as decluttering!
Spend 10 minutes going through the stuff in the first area, dividing everything into these categories (You might want to use boxes to make sorting easier):
- Keep, but belongs somewhere else
- Keep, belongs here
Don’t dwell on these sorting decisions. Go with your gut instinct on each item and move on.
If you finish decluttering the first area before the 10 minutes are up, move on to the next area on your list and continue decluttering until the timer goes off.
Clean Up and Celebrate Your Bite-Sized Step!
Once the 10 minutes are up, do a little happy dance! You just took the first baby step on your way to an organized home.
If you got that first area completely decluttered, cross it off the list! Woo hoo!
If you didn’t get the first area completely decluttered in the first 10 minutes, that’s okay! Pick up where you left off the next time you declutter.
Next, clean up the fruits of your decluttering.
- Throw away the trash
- Put away the things that belong somewhere else (Where they actually belong, that is)
- Put away the things that belong in the newly-decluttered space (Don’t worry about reorganizing them at this point)
- Place the donations in your car so you can drop them off next time you’re out
Doesn’t it feel awesome to have started getting organized?
Continue Decluttering in 10-Minute Increments
Aim to spend 10 minutes each day decluttering, working your way down the list of areas in the room.
These little 10-minute increments of decluttering will help you build positive momentum and keep you from feeling overwhelmed. Giving yourself permission to stop before you get exhausted by the process is key here, so try to stick to just 10 minutes at a time.
Cross each area of the room off as you get it decluttered, until you’ve completed the whole room.
Once you have the whole room decluttered, you can start creating organization systems for the room. My post on how to keep small spaces organized walks you through it, step-by-step!
After you have organization systems in place for your (formerly) most stressful room, you can start the whole process over again in another room, working your way through your house in 10-minute increments.
You’ll also want to start decluttering regularly to maintain your progress. My free Organize Anything guide includes a bonus decluttering checklist with daily, weekly, and monthly action tips to help keep your home tidy. Grab your free copy now!
Your information is always safe with ShowMe Suburban.
A Word of Warning
Once you get that first area on the list decluttered, you may be tempted to organize that one little area with cute new containers.
I don’t recommend this for 2 reasons.
First, there are probably other items in the other areas of the room that should be organized in with the stuff in the first area. As a result, you’ll probably have to reorganize it again soon anyway.
Second, since only this 1 little area is decluttered, you aren’t quite ready to set up an strong organization system that you’ll use consistently.
You’ll feel discouraged and frustrated if you set up an organization system that doesn’t work. That’s the opposite of what we’re going for here!
As a result, I’d recommend waiting to do any organizing until after you’ve decluttered all areas of the room.
How to Start Organizing Your Home: Conclusion
Starting the home organization process is overwhelming. With a few quick decisions and a little planning about how to start organizing your home, you’ll be well on your way. Here’s a rundown of what we covered today.
- Give yourself permission to take baby steps toward getting your home organized.
- The first step to an organized home is decluttering by getting rid of things you no longer use, need, or love.
- Identify the room in your home that is the biggest source of stress in your life.
- Declutter the room section-by-section in 10-minute increments.
- Once you’ve decluttered the whole room, you’ll have a solid foundation to create organization systems.
I hope this post has given you a simple plan for how to start organizing your home. Spend just 10 minutes a day, and you’ll be well on your way to home organization.
Which room in your home is your biggest source of stress? Let me know in the comments below!