There are so many wonderful tips and ideas for getting organized. I’m kind of an organizational junkie myself. I like to read books about organizing and I love to organize my own things. One thing I’ve discovered is that it’s easier to organize your home if you get rid of the clutter!
The best tip I have for getting organized is not something you can buy at Ikea or The Container Store. The best way to get organized is to get rid of the junk! Years ago in a time management class I learned that if you don’t take care of something the first time you pick it up, you touch it 40 more times before you actually deal with it. What a total waste of time!
No matter how many bins, baskets, drawers, containers, files, and notebooks you own, managing these tools takes time. (Check out the planner I’m using to keep my house organized!)
The less clutter you have, the less you have to maintain.
How to Live an Organized Life with Less
As someone who likes to save money, I tend to hold on to things because I might need them in the future. Better to reuse something you have than buy something new, right?
Well… that is sort of right. When you hold on to everything it becomes difficult to manage, things become disorganized, and you end up not being able to find the stuff you were saving.
In my life there are only a handful of things I wish I hadn’t thrown away or dropped off at Goodwill, and all those items are replaceable.
Stop holding on to all the these use to fit me in college outfits.
Seriously, if you ever fit into them again they will be so outdated you won’t want to wear them. Keep a basic wardrobe of items that fit you and your lifestyle. I’ve actually started renting clothes to avoid purchasing one time wear items for weddings and special events.
Clothes are cheap to replace at yard sales and thrift stores, so only hold on to pieces that fit you well today.
One great tip for living with less clothing is to turn the hanger the other direction in your closet after you wear something. After three or four months you will be able to quickly visualize what items you wear all the time and the ones that are cluttering your closet. After six months consider donating items you haven’t worn.
Paperwork clutter can drive a person bonkers! I created a notebook system to help me track all my paperwork. I keep what’s necessary and shred the rest.
Another way to simplify paperwork is online banking and bill pay. I pay almost all of my bills online and this has greatly reduced the paper clutter in my home.
I plead guilty to toy clutter in the first degree. With seven kids it is almost impossible not to have a toy filled house!
Once a mover went into our basement she remarked that it looked like a Toy’s R Us. That was after I had dropped off several van loads at Goodwill.
I’m preaching to myself here, but kids don’t need every toy ever invented. They don’t even need .0005% of the toys invented.
My kids are happier and play with more of their toys the less they have. Toy clutter overwhelms kids and they end up not wanting to play with anything.
Or, toy clutter gives kids the opportunity to make incredible messes with all the toys. Go on a toy de-clutter spree. Your kids will not notice and you will have a better life, I promise.
If you plan on going through your kids toys and they are little, I recommend sending them to grandma’s house for the day. I use to declutter while my kids were gone and pack everything I planned to donate in totes. I stored them secretly for two to three months. If the kids asked for an item I had packed away I would get it out and give it back to them.
However, 99% of the time the kids never even noticed a toy was packed away. After several months I donated the bin to the local thrift store.
I’m guilty of kitchen clutter too. I love kitchen tools! They are so much fun and helpful, when I can find them!
Have you ever spent 10 minutes searching for that certain kitchen tool in the over-crowded drawer? I have. It isn’t fun, and it is a big time waster.
Go through your kitchen and get rid of things you have never used, then go through it again and get rid of the tools you haven’t used in over a year. You really can do more with less in the kitchen.
Since I really struggle with kitchen clutter I use the same technique as I do with toys on myself. I pack away a box of kitchen tools I *think* I can part with. If I don’t absolutely need it after a month or two the box is headed to the thrift store.
A disorganized pantry is a huge time and money waster! How many times have you cleaned out your pantry only to find several of the same item and not because you were stockpiling?
Perhaps you run to the store to buy that needed ingredient at full price, only to find another box or bottle unopened in the back of the pantry weeks later.
Have you thrown out food because it has expired or gone bad in a disorganized fridge? While it is great to stock up on sales at the grocery store, create a system before you begin. Meal plan so your family eats all the leftovers and nothing goes to waste in the kitchen.
I like to clean out the fridge once a week, the night before garbage pick up. It keeps us from eating spoiled leftovers and it keeps food from sitting in my garbage and stinking up the neighborhood. We clean out the pantry every month.
In my opinion, stuff is the worst kind of clutter. It wastes your time, clutters your home, and robs you of joy? The refrigerator magnet that came in an advertisement, the broken frame you know you are going to fix…. one day…, the books you will never read, the kid’s meal toy, the magazines you already read.
I realized after moving 19 times in 18 years that “stuff” was the thing I hated to unpack the most at the next house. I was never excited to open the box labeled “hall closet” or “kitchen drawer miscellaneous.” In fact I once had a dream about throwing away those boxes before even opening them!
Get rid of these things. Give them away, throw them away, burn them in the fire pit, but get rid of the stuff you don’t need.
Why having less is truly having more
I’ve lived on my own for 25 years. In the beginning we were broke and had very little. Over the years we’ve acquired a houseful of things. These things bring me very little joy. What brings me joy is spending time with friends and family.
If my time is spent cleaning, organizing, and sorting through my house I have significantly less time to spend with the people that matter the most to me.
Having less truly is having more.
More time, more space, more joy.
This year purpose to get organized by getting rid of the things you don’t need so you can spend time on the things that are important.