get organized - clean kitchen

How to Get Organized and Love Where You Live in 4 Steps

When life feels out of control it can help to get organized. But how do you get organized when you are overwhelmed? What does this actually look like for you? Not sure? No worries. We’re here to help you figure out how to get organized in life so you can feel good and love where you live!

Check out these tips for getting started, staying organized, and making it count in a meaningful way from our guest expert, Gold Certified Konmari Consultant, Kristin DeCou.

How To Get Organized

Before you start, know your why. It’s important to have a clear sense of how this project is going to benefit you. Chances are it’s going to be challenging at times. Having a strong connection to your “why” will help you keep going through the doldrums.

how to get organized - laundry baskets with nicely folded clothes inside

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Clearing clutter not only helps tidy your physical space and make room for what matters most. In addition, it helps reduce your stress so you can experience a greater sense of calm at home

Where Do I Start To Organize My Life?

Start by getting a clear understanding of your vision and values. Begin by recognizing where there is clutter in your life.

Is it in your physical space? Organizing your clothes is a popular place to start. Is it digital clutter – on your desktop, laptop, or phone? Start there. By going where it bothers you most, you’ll be the most motivated and experience the highest reward when you’re done. It will fuel your motivation to keep going on to other areas.

How Do I Start Getting Organized?

So you’ve figured out the where, but how do you actually get started. What do you need to do to attack that area you’ve decided to take on?

Get clear on your values and vision.

What matters most to you? Understand why you want to get organized and what’s getting in the way.

We’ve all had our lives shaken up in the past few years with the pandemic. Use this shake-up as an opportunity to reinvent yourself! Carve out time to craft a new vision for your life, your home, and what you want to remember from this season months and years from now.

Start small.

Starting to get organized can be overwhelming. How do you get organized when you’re overwhelmed? One little step at a time!

The only way to eat an elephant is piece by piece. It’s the same for your home. Begin with one category or space and make it an easy one.

Identify things that you use regularly where a small change will yield an immediate impact. This can be as simple as your cooking utensils (I’ll take a guess you’re cooking more?), or as nuanced as your book collection (doing more reading too, right?). 

How To Get More Organized at Home in 4 Steps

We’ve all spent a little extra time at home this past year and most of us have thought and rethought about the space we live in. When you’re getting organized, home is the best place to start!

Take a methodical in your approach to organizing. We recommend these four steps to help you as you organize.

1. Take everything out.

Don’t skip this step. Using the example of cooking utensils, empty that drawer or canister completely. Wipe it clean while you have the chance.

2. Select your favorites.

Start with what you use, what you like, and what supports you now. Don’t get wrapped up in what used to work, or what might help in the future. What “sparks joy”? Set those items aside.

3. Express gratitude for what doesn’t make the cut.

If you have six wooden spoons and only choose three, keep those three and take a mindful moment of thanks for the others, setting them aside for donation.

4. Store, keeping easy access in mind.

Store like with like, returning the items you keep and displaying them in a way that makes them easy to access.

Read: How to Organize Your Papers

How To Stay Organized at Home

The simple answer: Find a greater purpose that motivates you.

Life can get overwhelming. At times, getting organized may not be at the top of your priority list, and rightly so. If you are a parent, you may even find yourself with less time at home.

Even though it seems unlikely, making room in your day to reap the benefits of organization — both internal and external— can be essential in times when you’re feeling overwhelmed. It’s important to acknowledge that by confronting your clutter, you confront yourself. This can be difficult. When we really delve into the reasons for why we can’t let something go,” Marie Kondo writes, “there are only two: an attachment to the past or a fear for the future.” 

When we really delve into the reasons for why we can’t let something go, there are only two: an attachment to the past or a fear for the future.

Marie Kondo

If you watch the news frequently, you’re seeing plenty of stories that might make you long for the past and feed your fears for the future. Even so, you can choose to come back to your vision. Get clear on what you want for yourself, for your family, for your home, and for the person you’re becoming.

5 Tools To Help You Stay Motivated

Once you’ve gotten started, the trick becomes staying motivated to see it through. Half organized is disorganized. So here’s five tools to help you keep going when the going gets tough.

  1. Schedule it – Learn how to use a calender to get organized. Schedule it like you would a work meeting or event. You’ll be more likely to follow through.
  2. Get an Accountability Partner – Share your plans and organizing schedule with someone. They can cheer you on.
  3. Treat yourself – Find ways to make the process rewarding and special. Order your favorite takeout meal to celebrate important milestones.
  4. Document – Take a “before” photo and “after” photo to see the progress you’ve made. Text it to someone who would appreciate it!
  5. Listen while you work – Put on your favorite music or a podcast while you get organized.
how to get organized in 4 steps

Tips on How to Get Organized

Realistically, your home will not always be organized. Mine isn’t, with two little ones at home — and I’m a professional organizer! So I’m giving you my most realistic tips on how to get organized.

First, give yourself grace. Living with others, especially if you have kids, means that not everything is within your control. Emotions will cycle and so will your level of organization. When that happens, be understanding with yourself and stick with it.

Here are a few other realistic tips to help you get organized and stay that way.

Give everything a home

This is important to keep clutter from rebounding. “Clutter is caused by a failure to return things to where they belong,” shares Kondo. “Therefore, storage should reduce the effort needed to put things away, not the effort needed to get them out.” 

Use what you already own.

If you’re scrolling through social media, you might think you need more products to organize your life. That’s not true. Only after you’ve organized one space and category completely, consider whether or not purchasing a storage solution will be joy-inducing and life-giving for you. If not, the storage item will contribute to clutter, and no one wants that.

Keep going.

Use the momentum from milestones to fuel your next project. Stick with it and you’ll watch, little by little, how your home supports and serves you better.

Set Meaningful Goals.

Last but not least, set meaningful organizing goals. This is optional, but it can be extremely effective. Keep it to three goals or less, and pick ones that you know will transform your daily life for the better. It’s more about making a commitment, setting an intention, and bringing your goal to life. 

Maybe you want to create a reading nook, which requires clearing out a corner in your bedroom. Or maybe you want to give your desk space a face-lift, making it orderly and clutter-free while you work from home.

Studies show that an organized workspace increases productivity. Whatever you desire, whatever your intuition is leading you towards, pick something meaningful and go for it.

How to Get Organized at Home Checklist

Getting organized is more of an ongoing process than it is a destination. It’s not just your space that changes, but you change too. As you become more and peace and fall in love with your new surroundings, you change and may even find your preferences changing too. You can find yourself seeking new ways of understanding how your space serves you and that can change the way you organize, too.

It helps to have extra support as you get organized. So, we’ve provided a 10-day starter How to Get Organized at Home Checklist to help you get you going and focused!

how to get organized at home checklist

Some Final Tips for How to Get Organized

Sometimes the mess feels just too big and overwhelming. You may consider finding someone to walk by your side and coach you through getting organized. Look for a home organization consultant near you. We also recommend the author of this article, gold-certified KonMari Consultant, Kristin DeCou.

Kristin DeCou is a professional organizer, a gold-certified KonMari Consultant, and the Founder of Modern Refresh. Follow her on Instagram at @modernrefresh for more organizing tips and inspiration to uplift your space and spirits.

Finally Family Homes thanks guest expert, Kristin DeCou for this article and for being a repeat guest speaker at our Life Launch program for former foster youth in high school through college.

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  1. Wonderful content. I have already organized my kitchen tools, after reading
    your comments. My intent is to keep working until I get control of the elephant I
    have created.

    1. Thanks so much Janet! So glad to hear it’s helping and inspiring you to get organized! Keep working at it and soon you’ll have that whole elephant in order 😀

      1. i only have sisters that come to my house to laugh about my clutter
        its hard in my situation to keep organized. sometimes i try to clean but by the time im done with one section the next one is full i have too many things i live with other people that dont help an so its a vcious cycle.

        1. That sounds like a very difficult situation. Dealing with clutter when you are sharing a space can be particularly tricky. Organize what spaces you can – even small improvements can feel so good!

  2. I am a big fan of yours and read almost every article of finallyfamilyhomes. Your every article help me to get better every time. Thanks a lot.

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