The Tricks Professional Organizers Use for Decluttering Homes

With the weather turning cooler, we’ll soon be spending more time indoors. You might welcome the nights in front of your Heatilator fireplace, but you may also be overwhelmed by the clutter around your house. If you’re struggling with how to begin organizing, we have some tips and tricks from professional clutter-busters. With their organization tips, even the messiest person can learn how to be organized.

1. Teamwork
You may be well-intentioned in your organizing quest, but if others in the house aren’t on board, you may get frustrated quickly. Let them know what you’re doing and why, and see if they are willing to help – or at least maintain your new system once in place. Ask them if there are areas they consider off limits. If you go it alone, you may find that others will quickly revert to what they know, resulting in more clutter. Or worse, they’ll get upset with you every time they try to find something you’ve now organized.

2. Start Small
Start small for an easy win. Rather than tackle your large walk-in closet first, organize your medicine cabinet or linen closet. Once you realize how good it feels to have that first space organized, you will be inspired to continue. Zen Habits provides 18 five-minute decluttering tips if you need help identifying the best way to start – or maintain your decluttering momentum.

3. Creative Storage
Professional organizers advocate for jars, baskets, bins and tubs to contain alike things. In the kitchen pantry, pour bags of rice, dried beans, pretzels and even chips into clear glass mason jars or storage containers to store them in a uniform manner. Instead of a pile of bags heaped one on top of the other, you’ll have jars that stand vertically. You’ll also protect fragile foods from being crushed.

In the kids’ room, labeled plastic bins and baskets can eliminate the need to dump out an entire toy box to find one specific toy. Put stuffed animals, toy cars, building blocks, etc., each in their own separate container for easy identification. Similarly, you can segment and label clothing in appropriately sized containers and place the containers in the closet or inside an armoire.

In the bathroom, a pocketed shoe organizer hung over a door can organize bottles of shaving cream, shampoo, deodorant and other bottles that can clutter your precious vanity space.

And don’t forget, hooks in strategic locations can be extremely helpful to organize a “drop zone.” Hang a mail organizer with key hooks and hooks for backpacks and coats near the door.

4. Eliminate Excess
Becoming Minimalist has compiled several tips for reducing the excess in your library, clothes closet, child’s toy box and garage. Giving away one item a day, filling one trash bag for tossing or donating to a local charity, employing the 12-12-12 challenge or the four-box method are all great ways to make a dent in the clutter.

When it comes to clothes, we love the idea of hanging every item in your closet in one direction and then returning it to the closet in the opposite direction after wearing it. Clothes on the hangers not turned around after 6 to 12 months are obvious candidates for donating or discarding.

5. Maintain
Once you’ve got one closet, cupboard, room or your whole house organized, be diligent to keep it that way and not fall back into old habits. Gretchen Rubin, author of Better than Before; Mastering the Habits of Our Everyday Lives and the Happiness Project, believes in the one-minute rule for clearing away outer clutter, which leads to inner calm. She also offers these tips for minimizing clutter in less than 5 minutes. Remember, the best way to beat clutter is to minimize our new purchases. That’s not much fun, but neither is a disorganized home.

Once you’ve got the inside of your home tidied up, you can think about how to make your outdoors as inviting as the indoors. Start with these Ideas to Make Your Backyard the Envy of Your Neighbors.