If you’ve been following along in this series, you are now ready for Part Three of Creating a Plan to Organize Your Home. In Part One, you figured out your starting point and your main challenges to keeping a cozy organized home. Then in Part Two, you decided on your overall approach and put housekeeping and chores systems in place to cut off the clutter and get everyone in the family helping!
Congratulations! Take a moment to be proud of just how far you’ve come so far. Remember, it’s about to get even better from here. Now we are ready to do the actual declutter tasks and tackle our messy monster for good! So let’s get to it!
Essentially, whether you are decluttering a box at a time, or your whole house at once, we will go through the process in Three Main Steps:
In Step One we will gather whatever tools we might need for this project and then gather and stage our clutter.
In Step Two we will sort through and purge that clutter.
Finally, in Step Three, we will put everything we are keeping in its proper place.
Step One – Gather Your Tools and Stage Your Clutter
Essentially Step One will be to gather any tools which will help you temporarily stage your clutter. When I go through this process, I try to go through the loose clutter in one whole room at a time. To do this I gather and set up several empty boxes in the center of the room. My kids then help me put all the clutter into those boxes.
Tip #1: If you notice several like items during this gathering step, try to place them all together in one place. This will help you during the sorting and purging stage.
Doing this step this way helps give us the illusion of accomplishment since the clutter is up and off the floor. This illusion helps keep us motivated to go through the rest of the steps. It also helps clean up the clutter temporarily on days we don’t yet have time to go through the next steps yet. For me, this is a win-win, albeit a temporary one.
Step Two – Sort and Purge your Clutter
Now that our clutter is gathered up, we are ready to sort and purge through it. First set gather any like items together into piles or additional staging boxes if you haven’t already done so in the last step. Then use your paper, markers, and tape to label 7 to 8 boxes or bins as follows:
- KEEP – HAS A HOME – IN THIS ROOM
- KEEP – HAS A HOME – ELSEWHERE
- KEEP – NEEDS A HOME – IN THIS ROOM
- KEEP – NEEDS A HOME – ELSEWHERE
- LET GO – TRASH
- LET GO – RECYCLE (optional)
- LET GO – SELL
- LET GO – DONATE
- MAYBE / DECIDE NEXT TIME (optional)
Download the entire set of nine FREE Printable Sorting Labels here: Printable PDF – Sorting Labels
Tip #2: If you will be frequently sorting through small amounts at a time, I recommend setting up a sorting and purging “kit” using bins like those in the cover photo. Those shown are from The Dollar Tree and are available online here [link to be added].
For sets of like items, decide on a reasonable number to keep and pick out that number of your favorites. Then decide whether the rest should go to the sell, donate, trash, or recycle bins.
Tip #3: If you might be filling a box more than once during this stage, it’s a great idea to line the box with a trash bag. Label the bag with the same title as the box it comes from so you know exactly what to do with the contents.
Next go through the items in one box or pile at a time. Pick up each item and quickly decide whether you still love it, want it, or use it. If no, then you should let it go. Anything broken or unsafe should go to the Trash or Recycle bins. Anything in good repair should go to the sell or donate bins.
Tip #4: Do not allow yourself to get bogged down in this step. For now, anything you aren’t sure about right away can go into a 9th box labeled: Maybe / Decide Next Time. Schedule a date and time that you will come back and go through the items in this box more slowly.
Anything in good repair that you still need, want, love, or use should go into one of the Keep boxes. To decide which Keep box it belongs in, ask yourself where the item should be kept. For instance, if you know you should keep it and it has a home in the room you are in, then place in the box labeled “Keep – In this Room – Has a Home”.
Step Three – Everything to its Proper Place
If you are like me, this is actually the step you tend to slip up on the most. Therefore, it is super important to follow through on this step. The hard part is done. Now we need to follow through and take care of everything we have sorted and purged.
For each labeled box or bag you will do the following with its content as soon as possible:
KEEP – HAS A HOME – IN THIS ROOM or ELSEWHERE: Go through the contents of these boxes or bags and put all items away. Start with those labeled “IN THIS ROOM”, then move on to those marked “ELSEWHERE”.
MAYBE / DECIDE NEXT TIME and KEEP – NEEDS A HOME – IN THIS ROOM or ELSEWHERE: Set aside a shelf, closet, or area in your basement where these boxes can be stored as needed. When able, go back through to purge as necessary or figure out how and where to containerize the items as needed.
SELL or DONATE: Get these items out of your home as soon as possible. For items marked “Sell”, schedule a yard sale or post on local online yard sales. For those marked “Donate”, place the boxes in your car to drop off to your local donation center as soon as possible.
TRASH or RECYCLE: Again get these items out of the home as soon as possible. Place in their respective receptacles or take to your local dumpster as necessary.
This is Only the Beginning!
Congratulations! Whether you have decided to tackle your clutter in one big overhaul, or little by little, you are well on your way to tackling your messy monster for good! Whether you have a box, a room, or a whole house uncluttered, you should be so proud and feel so accomplished! Remember though, this is just the beginning! Don’t stop now.
Keep that momentum going by periodically reassessing your mess and go through all three parts of this series again and again to keep your home clutter free for good! Figure out where you are.
Periodically decide what is working and what is not. Keep all the tools you need on hand. When you get overwhelmed, just go back through the steps and remember how far you came this time and how far you will come again.
Keep doing that as frequently as you need and you will soon find that your mess monster will no longer be a match for you and your family! You will finally have the cozy organized home that you deserve!