Looking to spruce up your house, declutter and get organised? Whether you’re looking for some top tips and ideas to help get you started with a big clear out, or you’re looking to implement a systematic approach going forward that will help prevent you from having to carry out a big tidy up every now and then, look no further than this experts guide that we’ve carefully curated to help show what decluttering can do for you.
Why decluttering is important – When it comes to clutter in the home, it’s so easy to get bogged down with certain tasks and which quite often will get put off for as long as possible until the clutter becomes unbearable. You might not realise it at that time but that unbearable clutter can really drag you down and you’ll be much better off in a clean, tidy and orderly home.
When it comes to decluttering tips and organisation tips, it can really vary between your lifestyle and the type of person you are to depend on the success of the tidy up. Therefore, it’s important to remember that not all these ideas and tips will work for everyone and you really do need some patience when it comes to decluttering. Hang on in there though, as these home hacks will lead to a more organised and systematic home and you’ll be surprised as to what decluttering can do for you, especially when it comes to making household chores easier and more automatic.
Check out our experts guide below and discover some of the leading decluttering and organisation experts out there and what advice they have. We asked the below experts one simple question:
What would be your best decluttering or organising home tip?
We’d like to say a huge thank you to all of the experts below that took the time to take part. Enjoy reading this selection of top tips on decluttering and organisation for your home, and please feel free to share it with your friends if you find it useful!
(Simply click on the experts name below to read their top tip).
Sherry & John Petersik
“It might sound over-simplified, but just having a designated spot for everything helps you clean up on auto-pilot. So if school clutter builds up on your kitchen counter, assigning a “homework drawer” for that stuff to slip into can instantly solve that issue.
Another example would be to immediately shred or recycle junk mail and enter party invitation info into a digital calendar or day planner so they’re not randomly piled up around your house.”
“My best decluttering tip is to get in the habit of putting things away all the time. Practicing a ‘take it out, put it away’ mentality ensures that everything is picked up and put away most of the time. Do it yourself, teach your kids and spouse and you’ll find that it’s so much easier to keep things cleaned up and put away.
Some practical tips for keeping this routine going or starting it in the first place is to make sure that everything has a place or a home so everyone knows where it goes, before you take something else out, put away what you’re working on. Simply put, being mindful of where things go and what needs to be brought upstairs or put in a bedroom is a habit worth practicing.”
“Our #1 rule is that you must LABEL everything after you get it organized. Placing items in a bin or basket without knowing the exact category that goes in them will not keep you organized.
One of our favorite labels to use is a black chalkboard label. Our tip on how to use them though is to make sure they are a sticker that can easily be replaced and that you use a white permanent marker to write with. Anything else will wipe off.”
“When I began working as a Professional Organizier in my community, I quickly discovered that not all organizing solutions work for all people. Some people needed to “see” their belongings in order to use and put them away properly, while other people preferred to have all of their belongings stored out of sight. Just because an organizing solution worked for one particular client, it certainly didn’t mean that it would work for the next one. Organizing is not one size fits all.
You can easily become discouraged if you’ve tried to implement organizing solutions that you’ve seen on Instagram, Pinterest or YouTube, just to have those organizing systems fail. The truth is, instead of trying to recreate someone else’s system in your home, you need to first discover the type of systems that will work for your own unique organizing style.
Once you have identified your style, it’s so much easier to organize your home with the products and systems that will keep you organized for good. Clear bins or solid coloured? Bulletin boards or binders? Hooks or hangers? These are the types of questions you will have the answers to once you know What ClutterBug You Are. You can take the free test here.“
“The best advice I can give someone who is wanting to get organized is to spend some time thinking about who you are and what your habits are. It so common for people to try this gadget and that latest product trying to fix their disorganization but not all products or solutions are going to work for everyone.
You have to really understand how you think and how you behave and then create systems that compliment those behaviors to make getting organized simpler and staying that way much easier!”
“Decluttering and organizing are simple… but not necessarily easy. They both require continual maintenance in order to keep your home and life in order. It might seem like a waste of time to pick up and get organized because life is messy and you’ll most certainly have to do it again. However, just as you don’t think twice about eating or showering every day, I’m certain your life will be less chaotic and less stressed if you practice daily maintenance.”
Jacki Hollywood Brown
“The fewer things you own, the fewer things you have to store, maintain, clean, and organize. You don’t need to be a minimalist, just eliminate items that you do not use or do not bring you joy. By dedicating 15-30 minutes of work on your home each day to unclutter and organize, you’ll see a significant difference in just one a week. Slow and steady wins the race.”
“The thing that has helped me most when it comes to organizing and maintaining my home is taking time each morning to plan my day. I grab a notebook and I write out our “to do lists”: morning routine, things I need to do around the home, things I need to do for my blog, and finally our evening routine (which includes dinner, homework, and bedtimes). Having a list helps me to prioritize my day, making sure to focus on the “most important” things first. (I also love crossing things off my list… such a feeling of accomplishment.)
Another huge benefit is having a daily, weekly, and monthly plan for all the chores that need to be done around the house. Breaking down all the chores into “easy-to-manage” steps keeps me on track. I can’t say that I’m perfect and follow everything all the time, but having systems and routines to come back to helps keep my home clean and organized.”
“Prepare yourself for the mental hurdles you’re going to come across while decluttering. I’ve seen so many people get stuck in decluttering over some variation of: “I spent money on this, it would be a waste to get rid of it.” Remind yourself that what is bought is bought, and keeping it does not get your money back. This is a sunk cost.
A sunk cost is never a good reason to sink even more of your time, money, energy, and resources trying to get something to float. Say adieu and move on, because the more objects in our homes, the more we have to take care of and dust. You deserve the less-stressed clutter-free life!”
“My top decluttering tip is to have a plan for your home and what you need BEFORE you do anything. If you know what each room is used for, and what you need to have to be able to do the things in that room, then it makes decluttering decisions so much easier and takes away some of the emotions attached. You can easily see what belongs in the space, what needs to be moved into a different space, and what doesn’t belong at all. The only thing clutter really is is something that doesn’t belong in the space. Simple!”
“When you get the urge to organize, is your first step a trip to your favorite storage solution store? If so, next time try decluttering first and shopping for containers second. Here’s why this works. When you declutter you let go of items you no longer use, need, or love.
This gives you a better feel for what needs to be stored and where, which leads to smarter container selection. Plus, you might even unearth some perfectly great storage solutions in the midst of organizing, which means you’ll avoid bringing more stuff into your home. A win-win!”
“All organized spaces should begin with an edit of belongings, whether it be the closet, kitchen, or the children’s playroom alike. Skipping this crucial step is huge, as organizing without purging is just rearranging one’s belongings, and no new healthy habits are formed.
With a proper edit, items that are no longer coveted are moved out of the home, allowing the remaining objects to shine. And last, resist the urge to purchase, allowing room for white space and giving the area room to breathe.”
“Linen closets can get messy quickly if they are not planned out. I recommend using baskets or bins with tags to keep the space well organized. For example in my own closet, I store toilet paper in a woven basket and bedding in canvas bins – all labeled clearly with tags.”
“To live an organized life, you have to work at it every day. The good news is, there are many ways to do this: cultivate a more mindful way of living by being a better consumer, making do with what you already have, meditating, journaling and the like. Being organized doesn’t mean just getting rid of stuff and putting things into labeled containers. It’s about being consistent and changing your habits over time. “
Janet M. Taylor
“Use a shoe rack by the entrance to place shoes when you enter the home as this will help you find shoes quicker when leaving.”
“Open mail by the wastebasket and toss the junk mail. Also recycle circulars to stores you do not shop don’t allow them to pile up in your home.”
“Tackle a space in its entirety before moving on to the next. for example, work on a specific area in your home (like the junk drawer). take everything out, trash the garbage and unused items first, next sort the items into like categories (menu’s together, pens together, etc). then add drawer dividers to separate the space and put everything back! most importantly, don’t move on to another job before the first area is complete!”
“Create a priority list. There may be a few key areas that are causing you the most choas and those should be at the top of your to-do list. Once you are ready to get started, grab some support and start small. Choose a kitchen drawer, bedroom drawers, or a linen closet to get started on the progress. Once you’ve seen the results the momentum from the positive progress will help carry you to the next area to tackle.”
Andrew J. Mellen
“To get and stay organized, you only need to remember The Organizational Triangle® — three simple rules. Lots of people overcomplicate this process or don’t complete the process and the result is perpetual chaos and frustration.
The first two legs of the triangle—One Home For Everything and Like With Like—will get you organized. The third leg of the triangle—Something In, Something Out—will keep you organized. You can watch a short video here explaining how to instantly use them to get organized and stay that way without stress, anxiety or overwhelm.”
“It’s so easy to cling onto things you don’t need anymore because they’ve been shoved into a draw. Sometimes it’ll be stuff you can donate to the charity shop, other times you’ll find stuff that can go straight into the bin. Refraining from regular clear-outs mean you’re wasting space and your storage won’t be as organised, as it could be. Fear not! This doesn’t mean every time you tidy around the house, you don’t need to begin dragging everything out of the cupboard and deciding what should be thrown away (you’d never get anything done!)
To tackle this job, dedicate some time to filling a bin bag once a month, every month – whether you decide to donate or chuck. Choose a room that you’re going to not to just tidy, but completely declutter every space, from storage boxes to wardrobes. Breaking these tasks down to individual rooms, rather than tackling the whole house at once transforms a daunting job into an easy and satisfying task. Doing it consistently once a month will make it easier for you to decide what should stay and what should go.”
“When you are starting to declutter and organise your home, be kind on yourself – divide the job up into manageable chunks and do a little everyday and remember to keep on top of the bits you’ve already done – don’t let them get re-cluttered. And if you’re totally overwhelmed try our Mission declutter!“
“Successful organizing is rooted in the way we live – it’s a lifestyle. It takes consistent work and is reflective of our daily habits and routines, just like eating healthy and exercising. To help yourself be successful at it it’s important to find solutions that are feasible to maintain. Start out by focusing on small changes that you can easily integrate into your daily routines. This will help provide a greater sense of accomplishment and inspiration to keep making more changes as you work towards your organizing goals.
There are lots of amazing tips and tricks out there from myself as well as my colleagues so it may take some time to find the proper solutions for YOUR life and for the changes to become second nature. However, when you find them and they stick you will have successfully made them a part of your lifestyle and you will no longer have to think organizing the way you do today.”
Donna Smallin Kuper
“The hardest part of decluttering is having to make decision after decision about what to keep and what to toss. One way to make it easier is to create umbrella rules that you can apply to all items. “If you don’t love it or use it, lose it” is an example of an umbrella rule. “If you have duplicates of something, keep just one” is another.”
Excerpted from Clear the Clutter, Find Happiness (Storey 2014) by Donna Smallin Kuper
“My best tip is ‘don’t walk empty handed’ in a modern home, things are constantly being used and moved which is as it should be. But if you consistently put things back in their ‘homes’ or in the recycling or bin, you’re tidying up as you go. It negates the need for a big tidy up and your house will stay in order.”
“When you try on that pair of jeans and they’re not just right anymore, what do you do with them? If you want to keep your closet optimally organized, you need a place for everything, including those jeans. Things that don’t work, out of style, stained or ripped, need a place to go too. Don’t just drop them to the floor, put them in the laundry or hang them back up.
Get a container or box, put it out on a shelf, label it “outgoing” or “donations” and regularly toss those items into the box. This way, anything that doesn’t belong in your closet will be able to find its way out easily.”
“Organizing is a lot about putting things away where they belong. There are a variety of reasons why we resist this discipline, such as insufficient time, inconvenient storage and distractions. My best tip for anyone wishing to be organized is to put items away in the moment. Most people put things down, intending to come back later and return them to the “right” place.
Unfortunately, life tends to pull our attention in other directions and we fail to loop back. A little extra effort “now” avoids a major organizing project in the “future.”
“Before you start decluttering make sure you have bin bags, empty bags and boxes ready to put the decluttered items into and decide in advance where it is all going. Pick your favorite charity shop and double check what items they accept preventing you from bringing things they don’t want.
If you have very large items you no longer need book an appointment with your local charity shop for collection. Having a plan before a clear out really helps to clear your space!”
“My view on organizing has evolved in the past year or so. I’ve gone from thinking about cute containers and how to creatively organize all the stuff to trying to minimize the stuff, keeping just what I love, and reducing the need to do a major reorganization every six months. The reality is that clutter is clutter, even if it’s in a cute box. Prioritize what’s important in life and let your home be a true reflection of that.”