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9 Decluttering and Organizing Rules

January 12, 2015


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I love finding new ways to help me declutter and keep my home tidy!One of my 2015 goals, that I haven’t previously shared with you guys, is to get my HUGE stack of magazines read. As I was re-organizing my home office (and decluttering), my mom suggested that I put my magazines in month order before putting them into their temporary storage home (a paper box).

I thought this was a brilliant idea! Since I’ve cancelled/not renewed any magazine subscriptions this year, I should be able to make some serious progress at getting them read and gone. I realize it would be quicker to just take the whole lot to the recycling center, but I do actually enjoy flipping through a magazine now and then. The only reason I got so back-logged was because I had 3 different subscriptions that came monthly, plus my mom and grandma also subscribed to 3-4 different ones that we’d trade back and forth. Luckily, all 3 of us decided to let our subscriptions run out for the time being.

Anyhow, as I was flipping through a magazine the other day I came across a page with “The 9 Rules of Balanced Organizing” and I fell in love with the short and simple advice they offered. I knew it was something I had to share here since part of my journey is focused on decluttering and organizing my life.

Here are the 9 tips they shared and how I use them (or not!):

One in One Out

Whenever something enters your home, give another item the boot. – I’ve used the rule (at least part of the time) for the past year. I’d like to continue using it and do better about using it more often.

Thou Shalt Not Transfer Clutter

Don’t bury the den to save the dining room – I’m guilty of occasionally grabbing all the crap papers covering my dining table, piling them up and stashing them in the office or my bedroom to be dealt with “later”. The problem is that “later” doesn’t always come in a timely fashion.

Doubles are Trouble

You don’t need 2 can openers or 5 pairs of tweezers. Toss duplicates. – I’ve tried to eliminate duplicates and I go through things in my home. For the most part I don’t have this problem.

Keep it Where You Use it

Stash the toner with the printer, chandelier bulbs in the dining room console. – I don’t always do this, but I do try to store things logically whenever possible.

Make Labels, Not War

Mark shelves, bins, and boxes so everyone in your home can help put things away. – Again, I don’t always do this, but as I get things situated in their permanent homes I sometimes label their locations. I also live alone, so this isn’t always applicable to me.

Have a Place for Nothing

Aim to create one empty cabinet, shelf, or drawer in each room. It’s your backup spot when the balance tips. (and it will tip) – I recently decluttered and reorganized my medicine/linen cabinet in my bathroom and I did indeed create an empty shelf. 🙂 Unfortunately, I didn’t take pics of the process. 🙁

A to Z (Not ADD)

Fix one spot start to finish rather than jumping around from mess to mess. – I typically just stay in one room, working on one project at a time.

Just (To) Do It

Consolidate all your to-do items into a single checklist, whether on your phone or on your fridge. – I am totally guilty of having multiple to-do, to-get, to-buy, etc lists all over the place.

Pick Yourself Up, Dust Yourself Off and Start All Over Again

Organizing (and decluttering) is a circle, not a straight line. Roll with it! – Once in a while I do get frustrated when things I’ve already decluttered and organized become messy again, but I guess that’s just part of life.

Do you have any other decluttering or organizing tips?

I love finding new ways to help me declutter and keep my home tidy!

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21 responses to “9 Decluttering and Organizing Rules

  1. I think my I de-clutter, organize and minimize in spurts. You’re right though, the process is cyclical and never ending. What I have started to do is to pretend I am moving and I ask my self am I willing to have this item, whatever it may be, clutter up my new home. I have realized that by doing this I become more decisive and more willing to get rid of the item. I have started to look at things as not only taking up physical space but also emotional and mental space and those are areas I am more protective of.
    One tip I have read is to be careful of flat surfaces and not to pile or stack things on it.

    1. Yes, flat surfaces are so hard sometimes! I do tend to be a “piler” making stacks all over my desk, table, etc. Good tip on asking yourself if you’d want to move this item. I’ve asked myself that a few times too when I’m unsure about getting rid of an item vs keeping it. That question usually does the trick.

    1. haha, glad to hear that Laurie. I’m starting to embrace the empty space more myself. Prior to this I would’ve been like “oh an empty shelf, I should go shopping!!” 🙂

  2. These are great tips. I’m really a fan of the 15 minutes a day approach. Set a timer, and declutter (or clean) for 15 minutes. If you have more time and momentum, feel free to keep going after the 15 minutes are up. If not, you’ve accomplished something every day.

    1. I do try to do a little bit each day, like doing dishes or laundry, or spiffing up the bathroom, etc. Just a little bit everyday is enough to keep up with running my home (for the most part). Of course, we all have to take more than 15 minutes to do the bigger chores once in a while. 🙂

  3. These are great. I need to start using some of these tips to work on my decluttering goals. I am totally guilty of transferring clutter… and I am totally with you on the multiple lists… but I love to label things, so I think I’ve got that rule down as least.

    1. No, I like decluttering too. I actually find it quite fun to clean out my closet because I always find at least a couple pieces of clothes that I forgot about…

    1. I actually don’t seem to have that problem. I am usually able to stay focused on the project at hand (while I’m cleaning/organizing/decluttering). When I’m doing other things, like crafting, I do tend to jump from project to project sometimes…

  4. Great tips! But which came first, the doubles or the clutter? We have 3 tape measures because we had 1, couldn’t find it, bought another, couldn’t find that one, bought another, finally decluttered the whole closet and now we have 3. We’re gradually going through all our spaces to declutter now, and the hardest part seems to be all the items with sentimental value that we don’t quite want to let go. One idea I read is to take a digital photo of the item and get rid of the original (sell/donate/discard). That way you keep the memory but reclaim the space.

  5. I actually don’t like having just one list. I used to do it that way, but I switched to multiple lists. The issue was that I felt like I was always adding faster than crossing things off. My list would always be dauntingly long. Multiple lists gives the impression that tasks are more manageable, and I see results quicker.

    1. I’m “guilty” of having more than one list too, but honestly I don’t feel having more than 1 to-do list is necessarily a bad thing.

  6. About the doubles: Some things need to be doubled such as personal care items as people should not share such things as clippers, brushes, etc.. Allow one of these per each person in your household.

    1. I’m pretty sure what the doubles rule means is don’t double things you personally don’t need multiples of.

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