Declutter Your Home: Organization Strategies to Keep It All Clean

Time Several Hours

Budget $ $$$

Skill Level

WORDS BY Gillian Grefe

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Published on August 4, 2020

A jacket and shoes by the door, mail pile on the kitchen counter, an overstuffed closet, and dresser drawers that don’t close… Are you feeling the stress yet? A cluttered house is a cluttered mind. Free up your space while giving yourself some peace by decluttering your home for good with these top strategies.

Rather than waiting for spring cleaning to roll around, practice purging your space more frequently, such as every season. This prevents the dread of sorting through a year’s worth of piled-high clutter at one go, a daunting task indeed. Make it a date with yourself—pour a glass of wine, crank the tunes, and dance it out as you go. Make it fun and exciting!

Styling with coffee table books

Go Marie Kondo on your apartment, breaking it down room by room to prevent overwhelm. A simple place to start? Airing out the skeletons in your closet. Take all of your clothing down off the hangers and place them in a pile on your bed. Then, one by one, go through every item. Reminisce about the last time you wore it, if you plan to wear it again, if it is in or out of style, has any holes or tears or stains, and of course, if it sparks joy

Repeat with your shoes, and any other boxes or bags you have stashed about. Freeing up space in your closet gives you places to store your clothing and other items out of sight in a more organized matter.

Enlisting in the help of a partner, roommate, family member, or BFF doesn’t just make decluttering more fun, it is a necessity—especially in shared spaces if you live together. This prevents the accidental purge of someone else’s prized treasures, and gives you both ownership in keeping your small space clean. 

Having another set of eyes on the situation, not to mention a little tough love to ask you, Do you really need that sequin sweater you’ve worn once to a holiday party three years ago? makes it easier to part with items you may otherwise be inclined to hold on to. Not to mention, a little company can be helpful to keep you motivated and powering through, especially when you’re ready to give up and pass out face down in a pile of old bridesmaid dresses.

Pod Planter

Mail piles, front door piles—it can be far too easy to allow build up of items we may not want to deal with at the moment. Instead of waiting around for one day when you think you’ll be more motivated to put away your work bag and gym shoes and old coffee cups or sort through your bills and junk mail, do it now. Yes, now!

Commit to touching each piece of mail or items you bring into the house only once. Open it, toss it, stash it, or take care of it—all at once. Instead of waiting for the dreamy one day that just plain isn’t coming, give yourself instant gratification—not to mention peace of mind later—by tackling it all now. Have an accordion file on hand to store important papers and with slots for bills needing payment. Toss out junk mail immediately. 

And please, stop kicking off your shoes into a pile at the door. Walk them lovingly to your closet or shoe basket. Your future self is raining down the thank yous.

organize books by color

Decluttering your space doesn’t have to be drudgery—enlist in cute home accessories to keep your things tucked out of sight and out of mind. Baskets come in all shapes and sizes, and are great at holding all sorts of trinkets, from fall sweaters to sandals to linens. Keep jewelry in ceramic bowls on your nightstand or in the bathroom. Hang necklaces from a thumbtack on a corkboard. 

Furniture can also be a great source of hidden organization. An ottoman is a great place to stash blankets, while beds with drawers built into the base can replace dressers in tiny or cramped bedrooms. Getting creative with your storage solutions can keep your home still looking stylish and beautiful.  

As Marie Kondo, the organizational queen herself says, “Keep only those things that speak to your heart. Then take the plunge and discard all the rest. By doing this, you can reset your life and embark on a new lifestyle.” So set aside the time for a deep clean, then commit to keeping it that way. Watch your heart grow a little lighter, and your love for home a little deeper.

Organization and design go hand in hand. Get started with our interior design style quiz

Words by Avery Johnson