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Whether you’re trying to keep your closet more in order, finally tackle organizing the laundry room, or looked up and realized your house has become a mountain of stuff, decluttering seems like a never-ending cycle. But it doesn’t have to be. Sometimes all it takes is a fresh set of decluttering tips to get your wheels turning and your organization inspiration soaring. To help curb your overstuffed spaces, we reached out to some experts who could share a few tips and tricks so your home can get (and stay) clutter-free.
Lisa Jacobs and Kate Pawlowski are two decluttering experts here to help guide you to your most organized home. Lisa is the founder of Imagine it Done, an exclusive organization company that teaches clients tried-and-true methods to keep their homes tidy. And Kate is one of the founding partners of Done & Done Home, which offers clients help with moving, home organization, and managing estates. Together, they curated 10 decluttering tips everyone can apply to get their homes in order and finally feel at peace in their space.
1. Plan Ahead
We’ve all had that moment where we’ve spontaneously decided this will be the day to clean the house from top to bottom. But Lisa insists that it’s important to be realistic and set goals you know you can accomplish vs. diving right in haphazardly. Going in with a plan means you’re more likely to get everything done and establish new habits you can use over and over again, instead of a one-time hack that’ll fizzle out next time you need to organize your kitchen.
2. Ease Into the Entryway
If you’re not sure where to start, your entryway is a good place to consider. “Containment is key in this space because piles of shoes, backpacks, and outerwear all give off a disorganized vibe,” Kate explains. She suggests adding a few coat hooks or bins so you have plenty of easily accessible spots to store your stuff. (And less room to make excuses for not putting things away.)
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3. Avoid Distractions
The thing about tackling chores is that it’s easy to discover another you’ve totally forgotten about mid-sweep. But even if you think you’re being productive by starting another project, that kind of distraction can be troublesome when decluttering. “You do not want to press pause and promise you will get back to it at another time,” Lisa says, “Keep the pace” and you’ll get more done, more effectively.
4. Make Cleaning the Kitchen a Habit
“Maintenance is key in the kitchen, and consistent daily habits will go a long way to keeping things functional,” Kate says. Before heading to bed, consider wiping down the counters and starting the dishwasher. That way, you can wake up to a fresh start (literally) and you won’t have chores hanging over your head and disrupting your peaceful morning as soon as you wake up.
5. Find an Assertive Friend
Many hands make light work, and the opinions that come with those hands can be helpful if you’re prone to indecision. “Work with someone who is either professional or authoritative to assist in making quick decisions,” Lisa says. Having another person to hold you accountable to stay on-task and not get distracted is another bonus. With that person nearby, you’re less likely to get hung up on the small things and instead finish the work you’ve started.
6. Keep Baskets Handy
If you have children, then you’re probably used to toys and crafts taking over the entire house. To try and hold back the tide, “I recommend fabric bins that blend into your decor and shelves like the Ikea Kallax shelving unit to hold them if space allows,” says Kate.
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7. Hold Off On Color-Coding Your Closet
As tempting as it can be to make your closets look nice and uniform in a photo, Lisa explains that it’s best to “sort clothing by season first, then category, then color.” Function is more important than beauty here, and this method still allows your space to look neat while keeping items easy to locate. Overall, it’s about what makes it easy for you to find that shirt or pair of pants you’re searching for, not what looks most satisfying aesthetically.
8. Take Advantage of Every Bathroom Inch
Bathrooms have a lot to hold, even while being one of the smaller rooms in a house. The solution Kate has to offer is to “make sure that your under-sink storage is functional and that you’re taking advantage of all the vertical space available.” This could even mean taking advantage of unlikely spaces, like over-the-door organizers.
9. Weigh All Your Options
Taking a trash bag to your closet is a great way to clear out the clutter. But as you go, start incorporating these thoughts into your process: “It’s important to find a reason why and a reason why not to throw out any item,” Lisa says. By looking at all sides of the problem as you go, you’re more likely to understand what it is you truly value and are less likely to let impulsive purchases sway you into overfilling your closet again. It’s not just about what brings you joy, but also about what makes sense practically.
10. Don’t Let Flat Surfaces Become Dumping Grounds
Dining tables, entryway tables, and coffee tables have a tendency to accumulate all the spare junk you figured you’d have time to clean up later. But if you “take a few minutes every day to put things away in their proper place,” Kate says, you’ll consistently keep your surfaces tidy. That way, when guests come over, you’re not scrambling to figure out where you can hide keys or unread mail.