Are you buried in “stuff?” Can’t seem to get organized? I used to spend too much time looking for this or looking for that. Over the last 10 years, I have become increasingly aware of how important it is to simplify life. It can be literally life-changing!
For a long time, I felt like disorganization and too much clutter was controlling my life. Could not find a thing. We have a tendency to keep things we shouldn’t, and it got to the point of having boxes of stuff sitting in closets simply because we did not want to get rid of it (after all, we might use it some day). Overwhelmed is putting it mildly!
I decided one year to do a spring cleaning and a fall cleaning. No more boxes sitting around waiting for someone to empty them. Now I do a mini spring and fall cleaning every year. And gosh, do I feel free and much less frustrated! And much more productive!
I also find that my housework is less, I misplace or lose things infrequently, and that my mood is much more upbeat when the clutter is gone.
Try taking 10-15 minutes out of your day everyday to declutter. Many people find that the last few minutes before going to bed is the best time. It is amazing how much you can accomplish in those few minutes. And it is so refreshing to not see junk sitting around when you begin your day the next morning!
Maybe you’ve made a New Year’s resolution to declutter. What a great resolution! Before you do, be sure to take before and after pictures. This will keep you motivated!
Following are decluttering and organizing hacks that have helped tremendously.
Once you get home from the grocery shopping trip, put those groceries away. All of them. It is tempting to leave items on the counters and move on to something else. Don’t do it. When you walk back in that kitchen and see your shopping trip completely put away, you’ll feel relieved.
Put erasable labels on canisters to store your flour, sugar, cornmeal, etcetera. And don’t forget to write the expiration date on the erasable label.
Create a home for everything to live. And make sure you put it home after you are finished using it.
Hang an over-the-door shoe rack on your closet door, either in your bedroom or entryway, or both. Use it for storing items like lotion, shaving cream, hair spray, nail polish remover, nail polish (keep mine in the refrigerator to preserve it longer), umbrellas, scarves. You can really store anything in the shoe rack that you can fit in it. We have one in the closet in our bathroom, and it is full. Leaves so much room under the cabinets.
If you have a spice rack with a ton of spices in it (like I do), stock those spices in alphabetical order, and I promise that it will save you a bit of time looking for what you need.
Keep only the cleaning supplies (one of each) on hand that you actually use. Get rid of all the other extras. If you live in a larger house, keep one of each cleaning item at each end of the house, maybe under a bathroom cabinet.
Rather than keeping magazines or books, tear or cut out the pages that peak your interest or that you need. Dispose of the rest of the magazine or book. Then file the articles you kept in a three-ring binder, in alphabetical order so you will not have to search to find what you want to re-read.
Do you have a jewelry box that you sort of toss your necklaces, bracelets, or earrings in after wearing? Get a cork board, put some type of holder (like a pin tack) and hang your necklaces, bracelets and earrings on it. You will no longer have to search for the right jewelry when it comes time to leave.
How about those instruction manuals for items you do not even own any longer? Ditch ’em!
Sometimes you simply must keep receipts, especially if you own your own business. Get one of those A-Z accordion files, and file your receipts by the very first letter of the name of the company or establishment on the receipt. For example, file post office receipts under U for U.S. Post Office.
Same with restaurant receipts, department store receipts, etcetera. Use that very first letter. I guarantee that the next time you are looking for a receipt, you will not have to look long. Throw away the receipts you do not need to keep. Don’t store ’em.
Get rid of the gadgets in your kitchen you no longer use or haven’t used in forever. Imagine what you could do with that extra space!
Don’t wait until you have a “free” weekend to declutter. You will never get it done.
Turn your clothes facing the same way in your closet. As you wear an item, turn it the other way. If you have not worn an item in what seems like forever, give it to someone who will wear it. Put like items together (shirts, pants, etcetera), and arrange them by color. Not only does this look great in the closet, it will take much less time to figure out what to wear.
Get rid of those shoes you never wear. Seriously, give them to someone that needs them. Many people do need them!
And for the love of warm feet, get rid of those mismatched socks! Toss ’em!
A great declutter hack I saw (and have done) is to put one of those extension bars under your cabinet in the kitchen. Hang your bottles that have a spray nozzle on them over the bar. You’ve got the space they were sitting on to store other things that can’t hang. Brilliant idea!
Take your extra clothes hangers to the cleaners. They love to get those hangers back to re-purpose. A big plus is your closet looks better without all those empty hangers.
Use the back of your doors in your home for great storage ideas. For instance, attach a magazine rack (the kind you might see in a home office) to your kitchen pantry door. Store your aluminum foil, plastic wrap, baggies, etcetera in it.
Clean out that makeup drawer! Never put expired products of any kind on your face. Get rid of what you don’t use. You’ll spend much less time looking for stuff!
These are just a few of my favorite hacks to instantly declutter and get somewhat organized. If you are tempted to throw things away, see if maybe they can be donated to others who can use them.