How to Declutter & Organize Your Home: 6 Hard Truths & 1 Lie

Angela | Arrow
by Angela | Arrow

Today I want to share how to declutter and organize your home with seven decluttering and organizing truths and lies.

The secrets I'm about to share with you are common sense, but the problem is they're often misunderstood or misrepresented. That leaves people feeling anxious or scared to even start decluttering or organizing processes in their own lives.

Decluttering and organizing is not the same thing

Truth - decluttering and organizing is not the same thing

Many people have them confused or bracket them both together, and they get frustrated when they try to organize, aren't making any progress, or try decluttering. That falls apart later on when the systems aren't in place, things are not put back, and the clutter comes back in. 

Decluttering is the act of removing the excess from our lives, all of those physical items cluttering our spaces and the extra commitments that are taking up our time.

We get things down to a reasonable and manageable level, allowing us to move to the organizing side of the equation, where we can find homes for the items we've decided to keep.

Decluttering has to come first, and then organizing comes second. 

Clutter is a personal discomfort

Truth - clutter is a personal discomfort

What one person is overwhelmed and burdened by differs from the next. So if you go to somebody's home and they have things everywhere, you would see it as being cluttered.

If it's not causing them issues, if they're not burdened by it, if they're not overwhelmed by it, it is not clutter to them. It only becomes clutter when it becomes a burden. It also means that decluttering is a very personal journey. 

Decluttering does not need to happen quickly

Truth - decluttering does not need to happen quickly

When we're overwhelmed or burdened by clutter, our human nature tells us we want to get rid of that clutter as quickly as possible and move on with our lives. Don't push yourself just because you think that it has to happen quickly because it doesn't.

The truth is that it will take some time and different amounts of time for different people. Whatever speed you decide to work with, that is the right speed for you. 

Whether you're the person who can go through an entire weekend and clean and declutter and organize an entire space in one weekend, or you're the type of person who needs to take it just one small drawer at a time, one small space at a time that is entirely okay. 

Clutter is a result of choice

Truth - clutter is a result of choice

Clutter is a result of choices that we make. That can be a hard pill for us to swallow sometimes, to realize that the burden and overwhelm that we're feeling is all brought about by choices that we've made in our past.

Whether we bought things that we didn't need or didn't really use or kept items around for longer than we needed to keep them, eventually, those choices have built up to a level where we can't handle it anymore, and it's frustrating. 

That feeling of taking ownership and realizing that I brought myself to that place helped me move forward and make more positive, intentional decisions later on about what to buy and how long to keep things. You can make better choices going forward. 

Organizing systems need to evolve

Truth - organizing systems need to evolve

This can discourage some people when they feel like they've gone through the hard work of decluttering, organizing, and getting those systems in place. They want to be done with all of the work. They want to move forward with smooth sailing and a generally clutter-free life from here on out.

Sadly, that's not the case. The reason is that our lives are constantly changing. That means that our organizational system needs to change as well. 

That means that perfectly good systems need to evolve, and they need to rise to meet those changes in our lives.

The good news is it's very easy to spot when an organization's system is not working anymore as it had been previously. Things will not be finding their homes if you had a place for them, and it's not making it back into that place.

Organizing keeps clutter levels down

Truth - organizing keeps clutter levels down

Specifically, I am talking about the container method of organizing and recognizing that setting a boundary or limit on the number of items we keep is very healthy and will help us maintain a good inventory level in our homes and our lives.

When you think about your home, many different containers are already built into it. Our closets, our cabinets, our drawers. There are also those standalone containers that many of us think about when we think about the word container.

Essentially, they are limited to how much they can hold, and we need to respect those boundaries. When we recognize the finite nature of how much space we have to keep things, it does help to make the decision process easier. 

How to declutter and organize your home

Lie - a perfectly decluttered and organized home exists 

 It doesn't; that is a lie. That Instagram post that we see of perfectly tidy houses, even any videos you've seen here on this channel where my house is perfectly clean, is not like that all the time.

Trying to live up to any ideal during the decluttering and organizing process is pure folly because you are searching and going towards something that isn't even true. 

There are going to be days where we get busy, we get sick, and there's going to be clutter that comes in organization systems that stop working for whatever reason.

It will not always be perfectly clutter-free, tidy, and organized. Instead of perfection, find what works best for you and your family and the organization systems that work for you.

How to declutter and organize your home

As I share how to declutter and organize your home, I hope to give you some insight and encouragement in understanding what is true and what is false.

What have you discovered in your decluttering journey? In the comments below, share the truths and the lies you've discovered about decluttering and organizing.

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 1 comment
  • Rosemary Rosemary on Aug 10, 2023

    Great ideas here! The one thing I would add is to remember that decluttering is not a "one-and-done" thing: you may get your entire house decluttered---and that's awesome!---but this is not the end of your decluttering journey. Clutter will most likely still creep in (it's sneaky like that) and you will probably have to continue to declutter on a regular basis. Don't despair at this thought! It will never again be such a huge job like it may seem the first time! You just need to remember to keep watch, and continue to declutter as needed. Great list here!!