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  • Writer's pictureAbby

10 tips for decluttering and organizing any space

Moving around a lot has helped me to live more minimalistic and keep most spaces decluttered. I can't say that about before or even the first time I moved cross country to Chicago, but after moving back to Seattle and then the big one: to Zambia, using just suitcases, that was when I really got serious about the things we need, rather, think we need. Ever since that move, the houses we've lived in (3 in 3 years so far) we've tried our best to not have any junk areas or full closets/storage space. With each shift in Ndola, we've always decluttered before the move to make sure we're not moving unnecessary items.

I can imagine this would be much harder to keep up with if living in the same home for a number of years, but I hope to keep on with this habit and encourage myself and others to do this for every space, every 6 months!

In December as I was doing a more or less routine reorganization of the kitchen pantry, organizing my jewelery and decluttering a few spaces around the house, I wrote down these tips.

This week for my Day 7 of my August focus month, I decided to tackle a few boxes that had piled up with unnecessary things. Most things we don't use, some things we've never used, and old receipts and documents that can now be recycled. I read through this list of tips and it still rings very true and helpful so I thought I'd share them with you!

I wrote this before ever hearing about Marie Kondo's show and her method, but now that I've seen it, I think a lot of the philosophies and tips overlap. Her information is great resource if you're looking for more detailed help! Also feel free to reach out to me for support with it. I have helped my parents with cleaning out, decluttering and organizing spaces around their home along with friends and even one time a random person who asked for help and I volunteered my time with her haha! Keep in mind that this is an ongoing process. Doing it once doesn't mean you're done. If your spaces are in good condition I still recommend at least every 6 months. Or maybe you're someone who likes to do it on a weekly/monthly basis. If you're someone who needs help, reach out! Hopefully these easy tips can give you a jumpstart to getting some of your spaces clutter free and more ENJOYABLE!

1. Take everything out.

If you’re reorganizing a whole room, there may be a way around this, but overall, you need to see a clean slate and really take a look at everything you have.

2. Assess what can go.

Don't just reorganize everything that's already there, you should also be throwing things out: donating and repurposing.

3. Find the right home.

As you’re going through the space, you may find that some things there should be somewhere else. For example, while cleaning out our storage/toolbox/miscellaneous cupboard, I found random tissue paper and gift bags stuffed in. So I organized them all into one bag and found a new home for them in our spare room desk. Many times the reason things get put in the wrong place is simply because they don't have a designated home, make one for every single thing.

4. Take pictures.

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve cleaned and reorganized but never took a before photo. It will be more rewarding and will give you more of a sense of what you accomplished as well as if you want to do more or if you’re satisfied.

5. Set timers and goals.

You don’t want to spend too long on one thing if possible. Decide what you need to get done and what you have time for. This will also help with motivation. Get your timer going and do as much as you can in that specific amount of time. If you follow my instagram, you've probably seen my timelapse videos of organizing. This is a fun way to mix the take pictures and set timer tip. The moment I start the video, I try to see how much I can get done in that short period of time.

6. Music or something motivational/focus driven.

Maybe it’s a tv show or a podcast. Or dance party before you begin. For me, it was Christmas music in December. This time around it was a podcast or reality TV. Find what works for you and help it to motivate you! 

7. Prioritize.

Choose what’s most important. One project usually begets another project. If you have time and energy to do it all, then maybe. But choose which room or which drawer and stick to it! Don’t move onto the next part or another one before finishing the first project. 

8. Get help!

You’ll be surprised how fun it can be to work with another person. And it goes so much faster! Buy your girls some champagne and toast to your basement cleanup. Or maybe some family time to work together and accomplish something rewarding.

8. Think about the WHY. Focus on it. It’s tiring and frustrating and unmotivating. But just a few hours for months of not feeling chaotic is so worth it.

10. Reward yourself. Have something in mind (apart from the obvious benefits) that you can look forward to. Maybe it’s a special coffee drink, a bottle of wine, your favorite show, or a trip. 

Going off tip number 4 - here are some photos of my process on this focus day of August 7th!

The piles that were somewhat neatly hidden in the closet

First step of slowly looking through and sorting everything. I have all sorts of piles going on such as: important documents, decorations, electronics, give away, take to work, etc.

As it begins to look messier, it is actually getting closer to finishing off the process.

After all that mess, just 2 boxes remain: 1 for give away/sell and 1 for throw away. Everything else is in its home!

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