How to declutter a room and get organized

Benefits of applying this knowledge:Decluttering a room

• Maintain an organized room with less need for major decluttering.

• Save time by not having to search for misplaced items. You will know where your stuff is and find what you need immediately.

• Peace of mind. Physical junk weighs you down emotionally,
thus decluttering your room will have a decluttering effect on your mind as well.

• Since your outer world influences your inner world your mind becomes
calm and clear.

• You will feel more at ease inviting people over and they will feel more
at ease in your decluttered rooms.


Things to consider before starting:

• Keeping your room organized is actually less work than not to do so. So if you are lazy / practical, then keep stuff tidy!

• Rid yourself of everything that isn’t absolutely essential, that you don’t love or use often.  If you have not used an item in two years time, it is unlikely that you ever will. You will probably not miss it, so seriously consider getting rid of it.

• Either start today or make a note in your calendar for a specific date and a time when you will start decluttering. Just saying “Some day…” is a recipe for failure.
Setting a date does not mean that all decluttering has to be completed at the set date, only that you will start, even if it is just for 15 minutes on one shelf.

• Don’t allow more stuff into your home unless it really adds value to your life. You can even set a rule that for every item you bring to your home, you have to get rid of one (or two if you are hardcore!) other item that you already possess.

• Tackle one room at a time, and only one small section of the room at a time. Focusing on a small area at a time is less daunting than trying to take on a big cluttered room.

• If you don’t have the energy for a long session, you can choose to just deal with one small area today. Even if you do only one shelf or drawer or cupboard each day – small efforts each day will eventually make a big difference.


Assigning “Homes” for your items:

• A great way to keep a room from becoming cluttered is to assign a “home” for every single item.

• A “home” is a space you have decided that an item belongs in – A default place where it is suitable to store the item.

• A home can, for example, be a certain space on your desk, your book-shelf, or somewhere in a cupboard, drawer or other container.

• What is clutter? Clutter is simply when things are not where they are supposed to be.
So as long as all items in a room remain in their designated homes, a room will not be cluttered!

• Having a home for each item not only keeps your room tidy, it also helps you find your stuff a lot quicker when you always know exactly where every item is.

• Whenever you acquire a new item, you should make a habit of assigning a home for it.

• Be a bit clever when assigning homes. Put stuff you use most on places where they are conveniently reached.
I.e. washing-powder near the washing-machine, the pans and pots close to the stove and so on.

• You may later discover that some items you tend to move around may require multiple homes – For example, a book you like to read in different rooms.
Having two or three potential homes for an item will still be better than looking everywhere for it. However, don’t worry about multiple homes to begin with.

• After using an item be rigorous about putting it back in its default space – its “home”.

Organizing an item into one of the boxes or assigning a "home" for it.

General information:

• If you like you can put on some music, which tends to put you in an energetic mood.

• Get 4 big boxes or bags, or simply make room for 4 piles on the floor and assign one for the following:
   – Give / Sell – Everything you intend to either sell or give away.
   – Throw away – Everything you intend to throw away.
   – Store / Archive – Everything you intend to store / archive for future use or reference.
   – To do – Everything you need to take care of in some manner.

• Should you feel that you need an additional container (i.e. for laundry), go ahead and add it to the above ones. However, try to keep the number of “extra” containers to a minimum or things can get confusing.

• Don’t let not finding containers be an excuse to stop you from beginning. If you can’t find any suitable containers, simply put stuff in specific piles on the floor.

Declutter a room one small area at a time.

Declutter a room one small area at a time.

• Go through the room clockwise, one small area at a time.

• Start by standing in the doorway of the room. Now look at the square meter area immediately to your left and start there.

• Start from the top working your way downwards item by item. Stop at every single item and ask yourself: “Have I used this item in the last two years?” If not, seriously consider getting rid of it.

• If you have several items which are similar, ask yourself if you really need x amount of those items, or if you can get by with just one or two?

• If an item has sentimental value ask yourself how often you actually pick up that item to revel in its presence.
Remember that one can hold on to a memory without keeping a physical item.
If you still have a hard time letting go of it, consider taking a photo of it and rid yourself of the physical object that is taking up space.

• When you encounter an item that you are determined to keep then ask yourself: “Is this a good place for this item to be?”
If not, assign a new “home” for it. If you cannot immediately come up with a good home, then put the item in the “To do”-box and take care of it later.

• If an item belongs in another room or building, don’t waste time on it now, just put it in the ‘To do’ -box for now, and deal with it later.

• It can be tempting to skip unremarkable or difficult objects but don’t do that. Be thorough and take care of each item before moving on to the next.

• When you are done with one square meter, move along the wall clockwise to the next area and repeat this procedure throughout the whole room.

• Skip drawers, cupboards and other closed containers during the first “round”.
Go through such enclosed storage-spaces in a second round.
The idea is to clear the larger areas first in order to see a big change quickly, thus giving you a mental boost to continue.

• The first round is all about the big picture. Don’t loose your momentum by getting caught up in small details like assigning homes or going through papers or binders. Put any time-consuming items into the “To do”-box and deal with those later. You should focus on moving quite swiftly through the room at this stage.

• Try not to get caught up in things. Resist the temptation of browsing through a book, an old letter or such things. Don’t get sidetracked. Keep your focus on tidying the room!

• When one of your boxes or bags gets full, it’s time to either deal with it to get it empty again, or to put it outside the room for now and replace it with a new and empty container.

• Keep going until every item in your room is either in one of the boxes or at a place you have assigned for it.

• Keep your spirits high even if it takes time. A messy room may very well need more than one day to go through.
Focus on the progress you are making and let that inspire you to go on until the current room is completely done.

• Clear one room before moving on to the next.


Dealing with the boxes, bags or piles:

• When you are done with a room, it is time to take care of the boxes. This part is also important, so make sure you deal with it!

• Start by sorting the garbage and throw it away.

• Put any laundry into the washer.

• Continue with the “Give away”-pile and put all that in a suitable container to be brought to a suitable charity.

• Prepare adverts for the stuff you want to sell.


Preventing future clutter build up:

• If you have assigned homes for all your items and are making sure to return things to their assigned space, then your rooms should stay tidy. Some clutter build up may be unavoidable, but it will be a lot less of it for you to deal with.

• When a room is only mildly cluttered a good habit is to grab just one or two of the misplaced items and put them where they belong if you happen to pass by. By doing such small efforts continually, your room will remain tidy.

• Use times when you are waiting (for example, for water to boil in the kitchen) by taking a quick look around to see if there are things you can declutter, rather than just linger.

• Visit an office-supply store to buy a hole puncher and some binders with indexes and mark the back of a binder with the current year. Use the binder to store any papers that you can’t throw away.
Don’t keep more than two (or three) binders. One for the current year and one for last year. When a new year begins, throw out the stuff in the old one and make it the current-year binder.
That being said, a third binder could be used for tax related stuff and long-lasting warranties and the like.

• If you share the area with other people, take a few minutes to (tactfully) explain that you would like it to remain uncluttered and ask for their help. Let them know about your suggested homes for certain items. It’s best to do this diplomatically.
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