Decluttering: 7 FREE Acts of Self Care

A women decluttering, sorting and donating clothing

Have you ever considered the act of decluttering as a way to take great care of yourself?

What pops up when you think of self care? Likely a weekend away, a bubble bath, or a spa experience? It’s less likely that your mind wanders to a fun night of decluttering your pantry.

However, if you’re like me, you feel amazing and refreshed when purging items from your precious space. So, before we dive in, let’s define self care – any action we take, or action we avoid, that helps us on our journey to stay calm, happy, and healthy. Pretty simple, right? We know when we’re doing it right because our insides seem to settle and our mind starts to calm. 

Living and working in a cluttered and disorganized space can take a toll on anyone. Can you relate to feeling overwhelmed when it comes to the cluttered state of your home? You’d likely agree that it feels quite the opposite of ‘self-care’.  

While decluttering might seem like a superficial chore, its power  goes far beyond having more room to store your shoes. When you start decluttering and organizing your physical space, you create mental space. You open pathways that lead to a greater understanding of yourself, your priorities, and your life goals. If this isn’t the ultimate self care act, I don’t know what is!

As a Professional Organizer it’s exciting to help my clients discover HOW they want to live, how they want to interact with their space and, how their environment can serve them.

Decluttering and creating an organized space isn’t just about your home, it’s about you!

You’re not just organizing your space, you’re taking the time to put yourself first and treat yourself to a much, much, deserved act of self-care. Item by item, decluttering has the ability to uplift your mood and strengthen the relationship you have with yourself. In turn, your relationships with others are likely to improve.

Start treating decluttering as an act of self-care and experience the lasting peace that comes with living in a home you love.


Read on for 7 ways that decluttering will help with your self care.

1. Makes Your Life Easier

Creating an organized home isn’t a vanity project! It’s about streamlining daily life and making our space work FOR us. It’s about saving time and limiting frustration.

You will become more efficient, more productive and undoubtedly more laser-focused on your goals.

We might daydream of having that “Pinterest perfect” home, but getting caught up in perfectionism actually creates ‘action paralysis’.  Instead, let’s focus on getting our homes to a state we can live with, one step at a time.

By taking some time to put yourself first in this way, you will enjoy an easy flow to your day. Life can be tough enough without having a home that trips us up on a daily basis!

If you’re about to tackle an organizing project in your home, start here. These are 3 questions you’ll want to ask yourself before you empty the cupboards.


2. Understanding yourself is an act of self care.

Home organizing is not a one-size-fits-all approach. Some people love to be surrounded by personal belongings and take joy in the memories and feelings evoked. In fact, for some, living in a home with lots of belongings on display is actually a great comfort.  For others, it’s hard to plan the day until every last dish is put away and the counters are cleared.  

Weère all different. It only matters what works for you.  So, what allows you to live your best life and remain at peace?  

There is no universal way to organize our homes or our household systems.  Certainly there are tried and true organizing principles that apply to everyone. However, the truly right way to organize your home is to discover the way that works for you! Stop comparing ourselves to others and recognize that your way is the right way for your space!

Once you determine how you like your space, how you want to organize, store and retrieve your items, a space for self-acceptance can open up in your life.

Your signature organizing style could take any number of forms. Do you value eco-friendly organization systems? Is a minimal approach actually what’s best for you? Perhaps a more eclectic approach would be your jam?

Self care activities

3. Reduce the Friction Points in your Day

Reducing daily stress is an act of self care.

We’ve all been there. You’re rushing out the door and can’t seem to locate your keys.  You’re kicking yourself for not having a single place you always leave them! Although we all have different tolerances for clutter, no one likes to be searching endlessly for misplaced belongings.  We all have our limits and could do without the daily annoyances.  

For many, physical clutter acts as ‘background noise’ in their life and can create an underlying sense of anxiety.  

When our home is chaotic and cluttered, it reflects back & unsettles us in ways we may not even be aware of. Clutter can set a tone for our mood and have a significant impact on how we feel about ourselves and how we move through our day.  

What better way to practice a little self-care than finding some ways to reduce stress in your life? You don’t have to make any major life decisions.  Simply start by doing a little decluttering. See if you can create a home environment that reflects how you want to feel on the inside: calm, in control, at peace!

4. Clear your Mind

Clarity is an act of self care.

Sometimes clutter is blocking us from thinking straight and from working on our personal goals. Once you declutter the your home, you’ll begin to experience the freedom and clarity you need to focus on your personal life goals.  

If your home wasn’t hindering you from working on your goals, imagine how far you could go?

Is healthy eating one of your personal goals? It’s difficult and uninspiring to prepare meals in a kitchen that is cluttered and messy.  Instead, you may find yourself grabbing something quick (read: unhealthy) so that you can leave the kitchen quickly.  Imagine if you could actually locate the veggies in your fridge? Now imagine if you had the counter space to actually chop those veggies?

So much of self-care is about going after the things that make you feel healthy and happy.

If you want to discover your personal style on the way to creating a more organized and efficient home, book an in home or virtual organizing session with us.  We’ll walk you through the entire process and help you create a space that fits you perfectly.  

A major benefit of decluttering and structuring your home is that you’ll start to see possibilities and feel ready to tackle your goals head on.

home organizing

5. Feel Empowered

Self empowerment is the ultimate self care.

Decluttering can change your outlook and motivation by giving you a sense of control over your life. When helping my clients declutter and organize, we take it one small step at a time. It’s thrilling to watch confidence grow as they finally make decisions about items they have kept for too long. The ‘decluttering muscles’ start to grow and a sense of empowerment takes over.  

Once you take control of the clutter it sets you up for progress in other areas of your life. I’m not exaggerating when I say that creating an uncluttered, organized home can literally transform your life. I’ve watched women tackle relationship, social and health goals in ways they never dreamed!

The reality of clutter is that it can cause feelings of overwhelm. Check out this article for a step-by-step plan for getting organized.

6. Helps you Settle into your ‘Nest’

Creating a comfy, cozy ‘nest’ is an act of self care. Do you face a cluttered, disorganized mess when you walk through your door at the end of the day? What you really need is to come home to a little ‘nest’, a place that feels inviting and simple.  It’s difficult to practice self care and positive self talk in a home that screams ‘chaos’.

At the end of a long, hard day, a place that feels comforting and peaceful is just what you need. Having this space allows you to regroup and re-energize yourself so that you can face the next day.

Once relaxed

Whether that’s curling up with a book or playing games with your family, allowing yourself to enjoy your safe haven is such an important way to practice self-care.


7. Improves Your Mental Health

Reducing the strain on your mental health is an act of self care.

If you’re dealing with confusion, stress, or even depression, making changes to your home environment can help.

The very same feelings holding us back from getting organized- overwhlem, shame, guilt, anxiety – are actually make worse by the lack of organization.

It’s actually quite a vicious cycle that can paralyze us from taking action. This is the point at which my clients typically reach out for my help.

If you live with mental health concerns and suspect your cluttered home is making it worse, maybe today can be your ‘Day 1’. Consider spending even 10 minutes a day to begin tidying your space.  It will make a difference. If your mental health concerns are more significant – or the piles of clutter are too high to tackle alone, please reach out to a trusted friend or a Professional Organizer for help.  

Your self care is of utmost importance.  Address your physical space first. This will pave the way towards other habits and efforts that will improve your mental health and well being.

You’re Worth This!

Getting organized can reduce your stress, increase productivity, and empower you in all aspects of life.

So, the next time you’re thinking about practicing self-care, bring decluttering and organizing into the conversation!

There is no one-size-fits-all solution to home organizing.  Reflect on the type of order you’re longing for and then find a method that will help you get there. If you’re still feeling stuck and want to talk to someone about getting organized, book a free consultation with me.  The consultations are free. I’d love to help you bring this act of self care into your life.  You’re worth this!

3 Sanity Savers for the Holiday Season

3 Sanity Savers for the Holiday Season

Raise your hand if you’re craving the peace and serenity that the holiday season promises. One way to create a simpler, more enjoyable holiday season is to start preparing your home.  I’m going to share my top 3 secrets for decluttering and organizing your home in preparation for the holidays. 

The holiday season can get so busy, frantic even.  I remember hearing a message at church years ago that stayed with me.  The message was about how this season is best celebrated and enjoyed as a season of shhh … a season of peace, of waiting, of anticipation, and of rest. I love that idea.  

It’s no secret that the holiday season brings its own set of stressors, particularly in the form of gift-giving and increased social obligations. You may find yourself up late at night trying to search for the perfect present for your boss or scrambling to clean your house top-to-bottom before the big holiday party.

If you’re like many, most years end up feeling more scattered than serene, more chaotic than calm. 

What if we could prepare for the holidays ahead of time to create new possibilities for peace? Maybe this could be the year ‘Merry & Bright’ becomes your reality!

Christmas decluttering

Here are 3 sanity savers that can help you survive the holiday season with minimal stress and anxiety. Hint: the key is to declutter and organize your home starting now. 

1. Declutter unloved, unused, and broken toys and books

When you look around your home can you imagine adding even more STUFF? Most of us, if we’re honest, will say, please no!  Especially when it comes to toys, it feels like there is no end to the incoming gifts, given with love. We keep seeing these inspiring articles about minimalism, gifting kids with experiences rather than more toys.  It’s a wonderful goal and, in my family, we’re definitely moving in that direction. However, new toys always find their way through the front door.

You’ll have more items coming into your home over the next month so now is the time to make space.

Christmas decluttering and organizing
Santa’s on his way!

Now is the perfect time to go through the house and find unloved or unused toys and books.

Why don’t you try to include your child in this process?

Doing the decluttering and decision-making together allows them to practice identifying what’s most meaningful and what they can live without.

Decluttering is an important life skill and childhood is the best time to learn it!

As you’re working with your child you can remind them how much easier it will be to find their favourite toys when there are fewer of them. Playtime will be more enjoyable. For any child living with ADD/ADHD, you’ll be helping to reduce the overwhelm that occurs when they have too many options. You’ll also be reducing the visual clutter that can serve as a distraction.

Toy decluttering

Where to Start?

When engaging children in decluttering tasks, it’s best to make it a game! You’ll get more ‘buy-in’ if you create some enthusiasm and present it in a positive light. Empowering them to consider how their decisions/actions will affect another child in the community is so important.

Steps to Declutter the Toys:

Step 1 – Have garbage bags and donation boxes/bags handy. Also, have a box/bag labelled ‘undecided’.

Step 2 – So, like with many games, there is a timer. Let the child set the timer for a short period of time. Consider their attention span and age. The key is to keep it positive and not push them past the point of it being fun. Ideally, have a little reward following the session. It might be a great time for a hot chocolate, sharing story time, or watching a Christmas movie together. Schedule several short sessions to continue working on the toy decluttering. Like with many life skills, it takes time and repetition to learn.

Step 3 – Choose one area of the home to start in. This might be the living room, child’s bedroom or the basement. I recommend starting with an area that isn’t too overrun with toys. You can always gather a bunch of toys, place them in a bin, and then just go through the bin together.

Step 4 – Hold up each item for the child and ask questions such as:

Step 5 – Pump up the motivation with encouraging comments like:

Step 6 – Let your child help with placing the toys into the proper bags. Keep up the enthusiasm and remind them of their generousity and how their decisions are going to make another child really happy.

‘Tis the season for giving.

Step 7 – Tie up the donation bags and place them into the trunk of your car right away. Trust me on this one! If you leave those bags inside, your child might start to second guess their decisions. Make a plan to drop off your donations to a local charity. If possible, bring your child along to see this part of the process.

Step 8 – For any toys in the bin labelled ‘undecided’, put them somewhere out of the way for the season. Pull out the bin after the holidays and see if more of those toys can be passed along.

Please make sure you don’t donate toys that are broken or unsafe.

This will only add to the workload of thrift store staff. Also, there’s a decent chance they won’t notice that the toy is broken and it will get sold/given to a family unknowingly.

If your child is led through the decluttering process with patience and enthusiasm, they just might surprise you with their decision-making powers.

If you don’t have children in your home, you could work through the same process with books or home decor. The ‘game’ approach works just as well for adults!

2. Declutter and Organize Your Fridge

So, let’s move on to the kitchen where the magic happens. In many homes, this is the gathering place. People like to be as close to the food as possible. During the holidays, we tend to do more baking, preparing special meals, and socializing. A cluttered kitchen is going to interfere with your ability to do these things efficiently. Let’s begin with the main culprit – the fridge! Cleaning out and organizing your fridge is one significant way you can make life a little smoother over the holidays.

Fridge decluttering

Decluttering and Cleaning

Planning and Organizing

Now that the mess is behind you, it’s time to move on to the fun part.

Step 1 – Take stock of what you have and write all the categories on paper (ie. fruit, veggies, meats/proteins, dairy, sauces, leftovers, condiments, beverages, etc.).

Step 2 – Give some thought to containment. Categories such as kid’s snacks, cheese, veggies are easier to keep organized when in a bin. In order to avoid food waste, you need to know what you have and when it’s about to spoil or expire. Having a well-organized, clearly grouped fridge is the key.

fridge organizing
Who knew a fridge could be pretty?

Step 3 – Purchase containers. Begin to reorganize your nicely categorized food items into the bins and place them where it makes sense in your fridge. Use some nice, bold labels either on the shelf or on the actual containers. It makes a big difference in helping you find what you’re looking for and knowing where to put it away. Again, this is all about knowing what’s in your fridge so you can avoid wasting food.

Step 4 – Leave a shelf just for leftovers and label it as such. This is so much better than stuffing everything ‘somewhere’ never to be found until the smell reminds you to go searching. It keeps leftovers top of mind and you’re more likely to eat them. This step is especially important during the holiday season when there will be lots of leftovers.


While you’re in the kitchen, you may as well take stock of the ingredients in your baking shelf/cupboard. Plan ahead and make sure you’re well stocked for baking supplies. You’ll save the time, money, and hassle of running to the local convenience store where you’ll be paying double for those chocolate chips.

3. Clear the Surfaces

Do you find that the piles grow during the holidays and you can barely see the countertops? It’s partly because people are home more often and they’re feeling very relaxed. Any good habits you may have had for putting items away might be lost this season. Get a jump start on the clutter and clear the main horizontal surfaces in your home…think kitchen counters, ledges, table tops.

In a sweeping motion left to right, take a close look at each item and decide if it actually belongs there. If not, put it where it goes (which might be in the donation bin).

Unless the item is used on a daily basis, it’s best to put it away.

Be mindful over the holiday season to continue to keep those counters clear. Easier said than done, I realize. However, it will really help to prevent the feeling that the walls are starting to close in somewhere around Dec. 29th.

Here’s a quick summary of the 3 steps you can take in the coming weeks to organize your home for a more peaceful holiday season.

  1. Declutter unloved and unused toys and/or books.
  2. Clean out and reorganize the fridge. Take stock of baking supplies.
  3. Clear off horizontal surfaces so that it looks streamlined and uncluttered.

I hope that something you’ve read in this post has been helpful to you.

Wishing you and yours a lovely and peaceful holiday season.

If you’d like a little company on the path of living more organized, come on over to my Free Facebook Group The Home Organizing Sisterhood. You’ll receive some great tips and support from a wonderful group of women just like you.

Follow this link to join

Allison Moon, Professional Organizer

If you’d like hands-on or virtual support with organizing your home, we’d love to help. Along with my amazing team, we can help you create the beautifully organized and functional home of your dreams.

You can reach me at 289-829-3223 anytime.


Three Questions You Must Ask Yourself Before You Start Organizing

Three Questions You Must Ask Yourself Before You Start Organizing

1) What’s your vision for your home?


What could that possibly have to do with something as practical and hands-on as getting your home organized?

Well, it turns out, quite a bit!

When I first meet with a prospective client, one of my very first questions is “What is your VISION for this space, this room, your home? A lack of clarity about the vision for the space will make it very difficult to plan and execute the organizing project.

In this day and age where we are bombarded with so many beautiful images of perfectly organized bookshelves, impeccably designed living rooms and hand crafted kids lunches (bento box style),  it’s easy for us to get caught up in thinking that’s the ideal…that’s what we should all be striving for.


We all know that those staged pictures rarely reflect reality! Reality looks more like kids toys all over the place, piles of paper work on the kitchen counter and (occasionally) rotting food in the fridge…oh, is that just me?

So here’s my question for YOU.

What does having an organized home look like to you? Yes, you! That’s all that matters here. You don’t need to compare yourself to the perfection you see on Instagram or your favourite Pinterest Board.. This is only about what you and your family need in order to function happily and efficiently in your home.

What’s your vision for your home

2) What level of order do you need?

Some people can tolerate, and in fact love, being surrounded by lots of momentos and personal belongings. They feel cozy in their home and the ‘stuff’ doesn’t register as clutter. Others want the walls, counters and shelves as clear as possible. They breathe more deeply when they see lots of space!

Where are you on this continuum? Are you determined to keep every countertop clear or are you okay with a little catch-all basket, or even a couple of planned piles? Does your clothing have to be colour coded to help you achieve bliss or are you okay as long as everything in your closet fits and doesn’t have holes? We’re all different and that’s a beautiful thing!

beautiful living room

Embrace You!  Really think about what you love, what you need to maintain a peaceful existence in your home.  You’ll also want to challenge yourself to be realistic. If you have 2 toddlers running around, don’t set yourself up for failure by demanding that toys shall never enter your beautiful living room!   This is the fun part of organizing…and should happen before you even start…write it down, post it, find pictures of inspiring homes you’d like to emulate. Never make it about perfection though…you’re better (and more real) than that!

3) How do you want to FEEL in your home?

With each of my clients, I always ask  how they want to feel in their home? In my mind, the space in which we reside is like another family member. It has a role. Do you notice that?  It can either make your life and daily tasks run smoothly or it can trip you up at every turn! Also, like many teenagers, it can be moody and is rarely in the same state 2 days in a row. Consider how you want to feel when you enter your front door at the end of a long day? How do you want to feel when you enter your bedroom after finally tucking your overtired and grumpy kids into bed?

When our homes become cluttered and out of control, it’s so easy to forget that we are in control of our space…even though it’s ‘bossing us around’.  The first step to taking back control is to decide what your dream is for your home, what level of order you need to feel at peace, and how you want to feel when you’re at home.

feel your home

Also, before starting your organizing project, you might find it really helpful to create a mantra which reflects your vision for your space.  Print it off, make it pretty, post in on your fridge or somewhere visible to help you stay on track and stay inspired!

A recent one? “I want my home to feel like a luxurious hotel suite so that when I walk in I feel like I’m on vacation”. Nice!!

Okay, to summarize here are the 3 questions you’ll want to ask before starting your organizing project:

1) What’s your Vision for your Home?
2) What level of order do you need in your home?
3) How do you want to FEEL in your home?

Your Simple 5-Step Plan for Getting Organized

Your Simple 5-Step Plan for Getting Organized


Have you ever felt motivated to organize your home but felt completely paralyzed about HOW to start? 

As a Professional Organizer, this is a struggle I hear daily from women just like you. They’re fed up with living in a cluttered, chaotic home that makes them unhappy.  The struggle is real, my friends! 

That struggle is why I developed this simple, 5 Step  D.R.E.A.M. Method for getting organized. It’s easy to follow and will help you tackle your clutter and create a home that feels peaceful and welcoming.

WHY Do You want to get your home organized?

There are SO many benefits to creating an organized home. Here are just some of them.

What are your motivators? Once you know that, you can move on to taking action and creating the magic! Here’s the D.R.E.A.M. Method breakdown.

Making Decisions to Get Organized

DREAM – Decision Making

You can’t get organized without making a few decisions. You’re not alone if you’d rather bury your head in the sand and avoid the whole thing.  Some of these decisions will be tough, no doubt. There are likely sentimental items from your childhood or from loved ones who have passed on. It can be SO hard to let those items go.

The good news is that getting organized isn’t only about what you let go of but about what you keep.  Think of decluttering like a treasure hunt. Find what you love the most and make sure it’s on display not buried in a box in your garage.  Once you find what you love, need and use and it will be easier to let all the other things go!

  1. You’ll need 5 bags, boxes or bins.  The categories are KEEP, DONATE, RECYCLE, GARBAGE, and RELOCATE (in house).
  2. For each and every item on the shelf or in the box you’re sorting, make a decision and place it in the right box.
  3. If you’re finding this process very difficult, you may want to add a box called UNDECIDED.  Try not to put too many items in there! However, better to use this box than to get completely paralyzed and unable to move forward.
  4. Keep going until every item is in the correct category.

Clear Out the Clutter

DREAM – Removal

One of the most satisfying parts of decluttering is feeling the ‘space’ in our homes start to grow.  So, get all of the donation bags, garbage bags, etc. out of the house ASAP. You’ll feel the progress and give yourself more room to complete the next steps. Also, make a specific plan for when you’ll deliver the donated items…and yes, put it in your calendar! For now, put everything in the trunk of your car if you can. 

Any boxes labeled ‘RELOCATE’ should be emptied with all items ending up in the correct room. Sometimes, this creates a bit of a mess in another room. That’s okay…you’ll get back to that room later.  

Group all Like-Items Together

DREAM – Establish Categories

Now you’re left with only the items you want to keep!  Group the items into categories. If you’re working in the kitchen, your categories might look like this.  

This will help you make a great plan for arranging and storing your belongings. You need to know how much of everything you have in order to decide how big the container or shelf you’ll need.

Organize Your Space

DREAM – Arrange

Here’s where it gets pretty! This is my favourite part and likely yours too.  Now that you have everything sorted, it’s time to decide on the best way to store and label each category.   

Cue the angelic choir…this might involve a trip to IKEA! Oh I love IKEA!  It could also just be a trip to your local dollar store (or even your basement).   

Keep it Organized

DREAM – Maintain

As you have likely learned along the way, organization is not a one-time-event.  Even though it takes lots of effort to get your home organized it takes almost no effort to undo all of your hard work.  What’s needed now are some NEW HABITS.

Here are my favourite ways for staying organized: 

Daily – Crank the music and for 10 minutes every day (or as often as you can), get everyone involved and get everything back to where it goes.  Pick a different room every day and you’ll notice how awesome it stays! 

Weekly – Again, crank up the music, get everyone involved and spend 30 minutes organizing the area that seems most out of control. This can be a good weekend activity.  We do it on Sunday evenings to start the week off right.  

Monthly – Spend 2-3 hours doing a more thorough organizing of one or two rooms.  Ideally, the whole family is involved. This might be a good time to dig into the pantry and get rid of expired foods or pack up the off-season clothing.   

If you can make these shifts in your daily habits, you’ll notice everyone becomes more aware and mindful about where they put stuff.  Honest! I’ve seen it happen.  

Are you someone who’s looking for more support getting your home organized? You’re welcome to join my free Facebook Group The Home Organizing Sisterhood. 

 Here’s the link

4 Moving Tips For Your Smoothest Move Yet

4 Moving Tips For Your Smoothest Move Yet

Moving doesn’t have to be hard.

We all know that moving can be one of the more stressful events to happen in our lives.

What if there was a way to be fully prepared for your move?

Imagine the feeling of freedom you would experience if you knew that every item you pack is something that you love and that you use!

Unpacking in your beautiful, new home would be a smooth and enjoyable task! Imagine that!

Here are 4 TIPS to get you started!

#1 Plan Ahead

I know planning ahead is difficult for many of us!

There’s nothing like a deadline to really light a fire under us!  Best to start the process of decluttering at least 2-3 months prior to the move. Label  3 different boxes/bags as follows: TRASH/RECYCLING, DONATE (to charity), GIVE (to a specific person).  Ideally, store these boxes in an area where they won’t be in the way of daily life. Book time into your calendar when you will tackle the clutter. Whether it’s 30 minutes a day or several hours at a time, you’ll be on the right track.  The biggest clutter offenders are typically: kitchen cabinets/pantry, clothing, toys, books, and garages.

#2 Sort It Out

So, you have your sorting boxes ready and you have a great schedule for completing this task. Now it’s time to make those tough decisions. No more DELAYED DECISIONS!  Here are some great questions to ask yourself as you decide:

#3 Eviction Notice

During the decluttering journey, you will likely find there are oodles of bags and boxes to go.  Make sure they are removed from your home right away. Don’t wait until the time of the move to make your run to Sally Ann or to the dump. You will have more than enough to focus on.

#4 Pack Smart

Now that you have decluttered your house so beautifully, packing up will be easier and, YES, even enjoyable!  Remember, every item has earned its’ right to follow you to the next home! When you pack, try to use the categories in which you intend to store them in your new home.  Do yourself a favour and use effective labelling on all of the boxes to be moved. That way the movers can place the box in the correct room right away. The more specific the labels, the easier it will be to unpack your items and put them away where they belong right away.

All the best with your move! May it be your smoothest yet!

How to SMASH Your Home Organizing Goals

How To SMASH Your Organizing Goals

The year is coming to a close

Soon we’ll be making those New Year’s Resolutions all over again!

Is it just me or have you noticed that your goals look exactly the same every New Years Day?

No, not the one about losing weight and getting to the gym…the one about being MORE ORGANIZED.

If you’ve clicked on this post, you likely have that goal (or at least a vague wish) of getting more organized floating around in your head.   That’s the problem isn’t it?

Our goals are often floating around, as vague concepts or wishes without any focus, clarity or action plan!

Well, in this post, you’re going to learn 5 strategies for finally putting your goals into action and getting organized at last!

Trust me…it’s worth the effort because you’ll gain time, clarity, and decrease your stress.  Sounds good, right?

As a Professional Organizer, I work with women every day that struggle with getting and staying organized. Let me tell you…once they get organized they feel amazing and free to do all the other things in their life that they actually want to do.

I don’t know if you’ve noticed but it’s really blinkin’ hard to chase down our dreams when there are piles of crap all over the place. Most of us can’t live in peace with homes in that state because we are constantly distracted by all the ‘undone’ things around us.

It’s no way to live. It’s a waste of time, of energy and our our attention.

BUT, before we go any further I want to check in with you.

What is it you want?

Do you actually want to have an organized home or do you feel like you should want to have an organized home.  There’s a big difference. Some of you can tolerate a higher level of clutter and live quite happily.

The only reason you feel compelled to get more organized is from fear of judgement or snide comments made by others (mom, is that you?).

Likely the work before you is to learn to let go of fear of judgements and the comparison trap. If you feel happy and at peace in your home (and there’s nothing dangerous or unhygienic about it)… then perhaps you’re better off spending your energy on other goals and letting your home stay just as it is!

However, for most of you, you’re clear that having an organized home is important to you and will maintain your sanity! But, you have that vague notion of wanting to get organized but no idea how to make it concrete.

First we must make it a priority, then set a clear and specific goal and then create an action plan!

A goal without a plan is just a wish

Here are 5 key strategies that will lead you to the organized home of your dreams.

Home Organizing Strategy 1: Why, Why, Why?

You need to start here. Having a very clear sense of your motives for getting organized will go a long way towards keeping you focused on the outcome of your efforts.   Ask yourself: Why do I want to get organized?

Grab a journal and write down your answers to these questions.  Doing this brief check in with yourself will help you define your goal and help you get in touch with your motivation.  We only spend the time and effort chasing goals that will bring us an outcome that we need and want in our life. For more tips on creating your organizing vision check out my post  “3 Questions to Ask Before Organizing Anything”

Strategy 2: From Brain to Paper

Okay, now you know your ‘why’.  It’s time to decide on your what. Here’s where you brainstorm a list of all the areas/rooms in your home that you want to get organized.  It might be a big list and that’s okay! The very process of putting these thoughts to paper will take the stress level down a bit.  Next, I want you to go back and number each area in order of priority. When setting priorities think about which one, when accomplished, will have the biggest impact on your day to day life!  Pick that one! When setting priorities think about which one, when accomplished, will have the biggest impact on your day to day life!

Strategy 3: Meat on the Bones

Okay, so now you have a clear sense of your priority…

Great.  Now we have to put some meat on the bones of this goal.  What are the steps involved in tackling this area?

Let’s assume you’ve chosen the goal of getting the toys organized.  Now we have to break it down and get more specific.

For example, this goal might include:

Don’t forget to set specific time frames for when you’ll complete this goal.

For example:

Make sure the time you plan to spend on this goal is reflected in your daily calendar (because that’s where all of your high priority tasks are found, right?). It’s a perfect way to bump this vague wish into ‘yes-I-will-finally-do-this’ territory.

Before starting the job, make sure you have everything in place that you’ll need. You’ve come this far, you may as well do it right! Think it terms of supplies and scheduling.

For example:

There, that puts a little more meat on the bones of your goal. Now you’re ready for action.

Strategy 4: Action

Here’s where the magic happens. You will be taking action and making big changes in the feel and flow of your home.

Here’s a very brief outline of my DREAM method which will be a great help as you navigate this job.

D – Decision Making   Okay, let’s assume you are trying to get the kids toys organized.  I’m a momma of 3 so know that those toys are likely spread throughout the home! So, you’ll want to start by gathering these toys…use big bins or bags and get them all together (ideally in the area where you want to actually keep them stored at the end of this project) Now let’s make some decisions.  Does this toy belong in the keep, toss, or donate pile? Okay, once each and every toy is in the right category you can properly see how much of each you have. You might find that you have too many colouring books, for instance, and can quickly add a few more to the donate pile.

R – Removal   One of the most satisfying parts of decluttering is feeling the ‘space’ in our homes start to grow.  It’s best to get all of the donation bags, garbage bags, etc. out of the house asap. You’ll feel the progress and give yourself more room to complete the next steps. Also, make a specific plan for when you’ll deliver the donated items…and yes, put in in your calendar! For now, put everything in the trunk of your car if you can.

E – Establish Categories   Now it gets fun.  Do your best to group all like items together. Common toy categories might include:

Now we have to put our thinking caps on, zoom out a little, and think about your kid’s play habits and patterns.  Obviously, anything they use often will need to be very easily accessible. If you have younger kids, you will want to ensure the craft supplies are kept out of reach.   It would be great if you could choose just one (or two) areas in your home where all these toys will be kept/stored.  Then think of this area as a library. Sure your kids can take the toys to other rooms to use them but, when finished, they are returned to ‘library’.  Make sense? What I do with my kids is let them have a small bin in each of their rooms where they keep some of their favourite toys and books.  Once they’re bored of those they can simply trade them out for new ones. It’s not a perfect system and of course it can get unruly sometimes…but, for the most part, it’s great!

A – Arrange   Here’s where it gets pretty! My favourite part and likely yours too.  Now you have your categories sorted. You have a central location for this ‘toy library’.  Now it’s time the decide on the best way to store and label each category.

***Cue the angelic choir…this might involve a trip to IKEA! Oh I love IKEA!  It could also just be a trip to your local dollar store (or even your basement).

M – Maintain   As you have likely learned along the way, organization is not a one-stop-shop.  Even though it takes lots of effort to get it organized it takes almost no effort to undo all of your hard work.  What’s needed now are some NEW HABITS. Sticking with our example in the case of toys, I would show the kids each category and do your best, in a really positive, upbeat way to describe how and why it’s set the way it is.  Most kids will love this sense of order…after all, it’s what they’re often exposed to in the school setting. Depending on the age of the kids, you may want to brainstorm the best ways to keep the toys organized (put things away right after using them, a 10 minute clean up ‘blitz’ after supper every day, etc.) Incentive always works well so you may even offer a small prize at the end of the week for a good job using the new system.  Habit building in all ages can take a little incentive.

Strategy 5: Build Your Habits

We don’t expect to clean our house and never have to do it again! Same goes for home organizing.  Often we have to do a lot of work to get everything back to ‘square one’ by doing a big declutter and setting up new systems.  However, in many ways, that’s the easy part! Now we have to change how we function within our homes. Sometimes it’s simply a matter of getting in the habit of putting things away where we found them (because we found them where we want them to live, right?)  This can be easier said than done. Another good idea is to spend 10 minutes at the end of each day to do a quick tidy getting things back where they belong.   I think the biggest challenge with maintaining order is the constant influx of things coming into our home…from toys, to clothes, to groceries, etc. So be mindful and make sure you let in only the things you love and plan to use.  A ‘one in one out’ method might be useful for you. For instance, if you buy a new pair of shoes make sure you donate one of your older pairs.   Why not start doing Organizing Blitzes?  These can actually be a fun and focused way to get things back to where they belong when the house starts to get unruly.  Mark these sessions in your calendar, crank up the tunes and include the whole family. You will be so glad you did and you’ll be amazed at how lovely your home always looks and feels.  The last thing you want to do is waste all that effort you spend getting organized in the first place.

Okay! Have fun smashing your goals.  I promise…you’ll be glad you did.

If you’d like a copy of the D.R.E.A.M. Method for getting organized CLICK HERE.