Is clutter overwhelming your home and your life?

Does organization continually elude you?

Do you want more money?

I can help you with all of those problems with this one simple post. With spring just around the corner, it’s the perfect time to declutter and organize your home and your life – and to make money in the process. Here are some organization tips that will reduce your stress level big time and make your home a more relaxing place to be.

How to Organize and Declutter Effectively

Decluttering your home might seem like an overwhelming task, but there are ways you can do it that will make the process more streamlined. Here are some ideas:

  • Approach rooms, cupboards and closets one at a time
  • Choose to declutter and organize just one area each day so that you don’t get overwhelmed by the process
  • Have a “keep” pile, a “sell” pile, a “give” pile and a “trash” basket or pile each time you start an area. I suggest using a black trash bag so you can’t see the contents and end up changing your mind about the items in the bag.
  • If you’re having trouble being objective, have a family member or friend come and help

By keeping these four tips in mind, you’re automatically setting yourself up for organizing success.

Basic Organization Tips

Why do some organization plans work and others don’t? There are several reasons for that. Sometimes it’s because you aren’t organizing things in a way that works for your specific lifestyle and/or personality type.  Other times it’s because you don’t have a staunch save/sell/give/trash plan in place. Here are some tips that will help ensure that your organization plan lasts for the long term.

  • Put things in places where you use them. For instance, if you’re most comfortable paying your bills at the kitchen table, create a drawer, cabinet or cupboard in the kitchen that holds your bill-paying tools. If you simply put them in the office because that’s what you’re “supposed” to do, the plan will never hold.
  • Get simple tasks out of the way fast. Put simple organization tasks – such as making the bed or wiping down the bathroom – on the morning “to-do” list and get them out of the way quickly.
  • Clean as you go. This may sound overly-simple, but practicing cleaning as you go instead of waiting until later – especially in the kitchen – saves a ton of time and will help lower your stress level as well.
  • Make a Maintenance Plan. Once you’ve finished your organization plan, make a weekly maintenance plan with a checklist that will help you to keep things organized, so that you don’t undo all of your hard work. For instance, if paper is a problem, make a plan to go through your paper items once a week and do a mini-clean.

By keeping these basic tips in mind as you work through the house, you’ll be able to better organize your home in a way that most suits the people living in it.

Deciding What Stays and What Goes

This is often the toughest part of decluttering for most people. It’s hard to let go of things for many people, especially when those things carry an emotional attachment with them. Here are some tips for helping you be objective about what stays and what goes.

  • Ask yourself, “When is the last time I used/wore this item?” If it’s been more than a year, get rid of it unless you have a really good reason to keep it.
  • When it comes to items with an emotional attachment, consider taking a picture before you throw it away so that you’ll always have the memory to look at.
  • File things such as kids’ drawings into a compact filing system (such as a three-ring binder with see-through plastic sheet holders) that will take up less space in the house, and save only those drawings that have significant meaning.
  • Have a loved one help you to decide if you really need something, if it can be better used by someone else or if it’s ready for the trash heap.
  • When you find something that is broken or in need of repair, and you’re not able to find the time to repair it within a week, get rid of it.
  • Ask yourself if the item you’re looking at really brings value to your life, or if it is simply taking up space.

Maintaining Organization in the Home

  • Keep a calendar in a prominent place that lists all of the week’s or month’s appointments and tasks.
  • Go through each area on a weekly or monthly basis and do a mini declutter.
  • Keep an eye out for bins, drawers and baskets that can hold specific items so that you can continue to find ways to be more organized.
  • Get your family in on the game, and include them in getting and staying decluttered and organized. Assign areas of responsibility for each member of the home.
  • Set up your pantry and linen closet like a grocery store, having every item in order and aligned oldest in front with newest in back in order to avoid buying duplicates that aren’t needed and in order make grocery shopping more streamlined and to save money on food.
  • Schedule a day each week or month to do technical organizing, such as clearing out emails and files/documents on your computer that are no longer needed.

Make Some Money

Here’s the fun part, my friends! Now it’s time to earn extra cash with the items in your “sell” pile. If you’ve got some things that you no longer use or need that are still in good shape, figure out where you can most easily sell them and make some money to put toward your debt freedom or other financial goals. Here are some places you might be able to sell your unwanted items:

  • Craigslist
  • Ebay
  • Private Facebook group
  • Used book store or consignment shop
  • A private or neighborhood garage sale
  • An email note to your group of friends/family

By choosing to sell the items you no longer need, you give yourself extra motivation to get organized and to remove as much “stuff” as you can from your home.

Organizing and decluttering does seem like a big task from the get-go, but with a little planning and help, you can make your home into the neat and clutter-free sanctuary you want it to be.

What is your favorite organizing or decluttering tip? What time of the year do you feel most excited about getting organized?

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