4-Step Process to Organize Any Pile of Clutter
Need a declutter-plan? Here are some key steps for making a plan to organize the piles of clutter in your life:
Step 1: Make a declutter-plan. Schedule time and gather your supplies.
First of all, block out a specific amount of time you think you can handle for your first initial sort. For example: a standard clothes closet: 2 hours; a kitchen pantry: 1.5 hours; a garage: 4 hours.
Because setting a realistic and specific goal before you start will help improve your odds of success. Do you have time to finish the whole room? Can you reach everything on the top shelf without the ladder you don’t currently have? Do you need to ask for help or can you command this mission solo?
Step 2: Prep for your declutter-plan. Set yourself up for success.
Limit your distractions: Turn off the television, put your computer to sleep and set your cell phone to silent. Motivating music is a good idea but make sure it will keep you energized.
The key to a successful organizing session is sorting. Gather 4 boxes or bags and label them: Keep, Donate, Doesn’t belong, and trash. If you don’t have boxes or bags (or you aren’t sure the size or how many you will need), no worries, just letter-sized paper signs (to act as labels) are good enough– no excuses to not do this!
In addition, gather any other supplies (markers, tape, gloves, etc.) you may need so that for the time you have set aside you will not need to leave that space or stop sorting. Interruptions can be a serious buzz kill to staying in the “sort zone.” Get your snack. Go pee. Make sure the kids are occupied and Fido has had his walk.
Depending on the scope of your sorting project, and how cluttered the space already is, you may need to empty out the room, or a section of it, to make space to sort. Simply clear a space to work. Don’t worry; the sorting part is coming up next.
Step 3: Sort and declutter time!
So now that you have put everyone on red alert not to bother you, and you have your sorting receptacles lined up and/or a space to pile each like item, now is the time to tackle the big mess.
Of all tips I have described so far, this one is the most challenging: Work as fast as possible! Yep, that is right. Therefore, try to morph yourself into a Tasmanian Devil of clutter-busting chaos. Other than deciding which pile/category the item belongs to, don’t think about what you are picking up. Whatever you do, don’t stop! Stopping to reminisce on memories or emotions is the quicksand of any organizational endeavor that will severely lessen your chances for a successful completion.
Step 4: Clean – up
Okay, so I know you are tired. But you aren’t quite done yet! Just a little final push and you will cross the finish line. Once you have sorted all the clutter, take a moment to observe your boxes/bags/piles. With momentum still on your side, take the trash out to the garbage can immediately. Put the items to be donated in your car to take to the donation drop-off. Take the collection of items that didn’t belong in that space, and go put them away, or at least in the room that they belong. What’s left is what you want or need to keep. It should be a volume of stuff that can easily fit in the space you have available. Put away what you can, and make notes for additional storage you may need to purchase. And lastly, don’t forget to label!
This is a tried and true organizing process that never fails to deliver. All you need is the will and determination to execute it. Do it and I promise you will feel accomplished, and hopefully, motivated to continue living a more organized life.