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Simplify Your Life With These 3 Decluttering Rules

Home Organization Ideas for Simple Living

There are plenty of ways to organize your home. Whether you choose the “joy-bringing” method of Marie Kondo, want to embrace minimalism or are just looking for the right color-coded bins for your craft room, it’s easy to get lost on your journey to home organization. 

To celebrate Simplify Your Life Week, we spoke to Andrew Mellen and professional organizing experts from Organizing for Your Lifestyle and dClutterfly to pull together a list of simple “rules” that will help you get organized – no matter what project you’re tackling.

Golden Rules to Help You Organize and Simplify Your Home

Rule #1: Approach Organizing as a Lifestyle

Jane Stoller from Organizing Your Lifestyle suggests that you make organizing a part of your everyday life. Your systems should be personalized to your habits and practiced just like anything else – until they are second nature. 

Jane Stoller

“Remember: being organized doesn’t mean thinking about organizing all the time. Ideally, being organized means that you don’t have to think about organizing all the time – because you do it automatically, as an organic part of your everyday routine. You can only reach this level of organizing bliss by making sure your organizing systems and routines are perfectly adapted to your goals, personality and needs.”
Jane Stoller | Organizing for Your Lifestyle

For example, if your goal is to have an organized entryway – take stock of everything that sits there now. Does it truly belong in your mudroom or does it need a home elsewhere? Once you’ve removed what doesn’t belong, make it a habit to always hang up your coat when you walk in the door and place your shoes inside the shoe rack. Soon enough, you won’t be spending your Saturday mornings sorting through mudroom clutter.

Rule #2: Own Less

“Nobody likes to hear it,” explains Tracy McCubbin from dClutterfly, but the key to being organized is simply to purge your home of anything that doesn’t serve a purpose. 

Tracy McCubbin

“The easiest way to be organized is to have less stuff. Before you think of organizing, let go of things you don’t use, items no one will use and anything broken. Don’t think about organization until you declutter.”
Tracy McCubbin | dClutterfly

It can be difficult to declutter sentimental items, but it’s important to remember that “things don’t have meaning, we attach meaning to them.” Instead of keeping a big collection of artwork or all of your children’s toys, select a few meaningful items to store and toss the rest. 

Once you have less stuff to keep organized, it’s easier to prevent clutter from building up in the first place.

Rule #3: Follow the Organizational Triangle

Andrew Mellen describes this as a necessity when it comes to decluttering and staying organized. 

Andrew Mellen

“The organization triangle is simple. One home for everything, like with like and something in; something out.”
Andrew Mellen | Life Hacker + Chief Expert Organizer

The first part of is easy: every item needs a home. This means that everything you own should only be in one of two places, in your hand or where it’s stored. Secondly, keep like objects together to know exactly what – and how many – you have of a specific item. These first two legs of the triangle can cure “85 percent of people’s disorganization,” according to Mellen. 

Once you’re committed to the first two principles, following the “something in; something out” rule will help you stay organized for the long haul. It will keep you from purchasing duplicates and from continuously adding new storage space. “We're not in the business of augmenting. We're in the business of upgrading and replacing as needed,” Mellen explains.

Simple Organization Ideas for Every Room in Your Home

Jane Stoller

“Common areas that tend to breed a lot of clutter are closets, attics, desks and drawers. To begin decluttering, you need to make some hard decisions about what items are practical necessities, what items are emotional necessities, and what items are just plain trash.”
Jane Stoller | Organizing for Your Lifestyle

If you need help with a particular space, choose a room from our home organization series for in-depth tips. 

How to Organize Your Home Room by Room

Kitchen Organization
The Kitchen
Bathroom Organization
The Bathroom
Garage Organization
The Garage
Closet Organization
The Closet
Basement Organization
The Basement
Attic Organization
The Attic
Mudroom Organization
The Mudroom
Get Rid of Clutter

Getting Rid of Clutter

Follow Decluttering Rules, and Ask for Help When You Need It

Clearing out the clutter and organizing your home can be overwhelming, so don’t feel like you have to go it alone. “If you’re considering hiring an organizer, you should do it before you start the process yourself,” states McCubbin. Take time to meet with a few consultants to find the right fit for you. It’s important to be comfortable with anyone who will spend time sorting through your belongings.

Jane Stoller

“Similar to when you want to reach a health or fitness goal, telling people about your organizing goals will help motivate you; once people are watching, you won’t want to fail! Tell your friends you’re on a track to get more organized, and even ask them over to help declutter.”
Jane Stoller | Organizing for Your Lifestyle

Now that you have these golden rules in your back pocket, you’ll be able to organize your home like a pro. If you’re struggling with where to start, Andrew Mellen suggests going for low-hanging fruit. Pick up items that you know belong in the garbage and start to work your way up from there. When the work gets tough, just remember, it will all be worth it in the end! 

What’s the best piece of advice you’ve received when organizing your home? Let us know in the comments!