IF you feel like the mess has gotten away from you in your home, starting the decluttering process can be overwhelming.
But speaking to the US Sun, pro organizer Siân Pelleschi has shared her simple tips for getting started and managing that mess without drowning.
As Conference Director for APDO and the founder of her own decluttering business, Sorted!, Pelleschi knows her stuff – and helpfully broke down her organizing tips.
PLAN IT OUT
"In the initial instance of decluttering and organizing, when everything seems a little chaotic and probably overwhelming, write a plan of what you want to get organized," she advises.
List everything in order, starting with the disorganized areas that bother you most or are easiest to fix.
"From there you can start on the easy, big wins that then make you want to continue and then work on the harder not so worrying areas when you feel more in control," Pelleschi says.
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FOCUS ON A SPECIFIC AREA
"It can be easy to get distracted," Pelleschi concedes, so when you're organizing a specific area, stick to that area until you're finished.
While you're working, put everything in one of four piles: items to be given away or sold, items to be put back in their rightful homes elsewhere in the home, items to go back into that space, and items that need to be tossed.
With everything divided up, "put back those items that live there first and then work on the other piles."
"Don’t be tempted to put back items around the rest of the home while you’re still organizing it, as you can then be distracted with other jobs," she says.
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If you or your family struggle to remember where things should be put away, labels make it easy.
"Label where the lightbulbs are kept, the tools, the washing powder or liquid, the tins, dried goods, etc," Pelleschi recommends.
"Labels are a great way of helping you and the rest of the family keep on top of what you have.
"Once you all know where they belong, you can take the labels away if you want to, but it’s a great way to keep things organized."
GO SMALL AND OFTEN
Unless you're sure you have the energy and know what you're doing, don't tackle a big area all at once.
"Start with a drawer and time yourself for 20 minutes to see how far you get," says Pelleschi.
"If you find that was easy, work on a slightly bigger area (again for 20 minutes) and see how far you get. You’ll start to know how long it takes you to get through a space or type of item, which in turn will help when planning to declutter an area."
"It’s about making quick decisions, not rash ones," Pelleschi continues.
Decide right away: Is this item worth keeping, headed for the trash, or something to give away?
"If you’re unsure as soon as you pick it up, put it down, move on, and come back to it later," she says.
"Decluttering, quite often, is hindered when a person picks up an item and is unsure what to do about it. It leads to hesitation, questioning, and a feeling of unease that can halt the whole process.
"It’s OK if you’re not sure, but don’t dwell on it, just come back to it at a later date."
DEVELOP A SYSTEM
Once you're organized, it's easy to stay organized.
Pelleschi explains that once you have an organizational system in place, you'll have an easier time keeping everything in its rightful place.
DECLUTTER AS YOU GO
Pelleschi says that it's possible to get organized while doing other things – if you're intentional.
"Adopt a new routine: Every time you leave a room, take something with you that doesn’t belong there and put it in its rightful place," she says.
"If you get into this routine of doing, you’ll find there isn’t a build-up of items that need to be organized on a regular basis, giving you back time to be able to focus on more exciting things!"
PAIR LIKE WITH LIKE
Group similar items together for easier organizing.
For example, gather all your tools in one place, all your towels, all and all of your bedding.
"Once you have them all together, not only does it help you keep on top of what you have, but you can easily see what you no longer need or what needs to be changed," she says.
PICK THE RIGHT LOCATION
Finally, keep your stuff where it's most needed.
"It’s not great to have to walk through the house, from one side to the other, to put your coat away when you come home," Pelleschi points out.
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"Likewise, don’t overcrowd an area with too much – you don’t need all of your extra toiletries crammed into the bathroom. It’ll just make it feel messy, disorganized (if not contained), and full.
"Just keep what you’re using available and have spares in another cupboard nearby, or cut down on the extras you’re housing if you don’t have the space."
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