01 of 08
Your New, Improved Weekly Organizing Routine
You can’t just organize your home once and say, “all set!” It’s an ongoing process. Homes (and lives) need constant upkeep to stay organized. This is especially true for decluttering. If you’re not decluttering regularly, it piles up and then it becomes overwhelming.
But thinking about the phrase “I have to organize my home” is daunting.
My solution: Dedicate a little time each day and work in 15-minute increments. You will be pleasantly surprised to see how much you can get done decluttering... and organizing a room in 15 minutes.
As stress management expert Elizabeth Scott, M.S. writes "clutter stresses, order soothes."
Clutter can also cost you money and time: Money because if you don't know where things are you may buy duplicates, and time because you are probably spending way too much time searching for things in your home.
This guide will ease you into decluttering on a more regular basis. I personally like to walk aimlessly around my home decluttering, but pros advise you to concentrate your time in one place - a room, a corner of a room, a zone -- to be more effective.
Great. I’m sold, but if decluttering my home is so important, why am I spending only 15 minutes? Why not 30? Or an hour?
Because 30 minutes is more of a commitment and 15 minutes is easy peasey.
I chose 15 minutes because 15 minutes is so doable each and every day. Picture yourself sitting at work at 2p.m. thinking about decluttering your kitchen for 30 minutes that evening. You’re exhausted. Now picture yourself imagining 15 minutes of decluttering. Much more pleasant.
What do I need? I don’t want to buy anything (or maybe I do)?
You’re in luck because you likely already own these 5 items that will help you declutter your home, and if you don’t--or you just wanna upgrade--they are all very budget-friendly and readily available.
How to Get Started
I developed the Weekly Organizing Routine. This routine will take you through your home to declutter one space at a time for 15 minutes a day. I focused on the most high-traffic areas: bathroom, bedroom, closet, entryway, and kitchen. We also add in time for laundry, meal planning and meal prep.
Here’s what my home was like each week before I instituted this Weekly Organizing Routine:
- My house started out fairly organized.
- My entryway and launchpad were organized; my kitchen counters were clear.
- My meal plan set.
- There was no clutter in my bathroom and my clothes hung neatly in my closet.
Then, slowly, as the week wore on, my home would fall further and further into disarray: Some clothes were strewn about in the bedroom, laundry piled up in the living room, and my meal plan was thrown the window out for take-out Chipotle or delivery food.
That’s why I created this weekly organizing routine. Instead of marathon cleaning/organizing sessions on the weekend which would be negated by Tuesday, I do a little bit each day. This constant upkeep works well for me. It's not what the experts recommend, but if it works for me, it may work for you too.
What It Is
A list of tasks you need to get done every week paired up with a day in which it makes sense to schedule this task.
In short: it's a schedule, and there's also some flexibility baked in: you can focus on one room a day, or you can double (or triple) up to give yourself some days off.
This routine not a full-home organization or a full home cleaning. These are light decluttering and upkeep projects you can do after (or before) a long day at the office. I have a list of 30 minute projects and weekend projects for when you have more time.
You probably already have everything you need to in your home: a waste basket, a recycling bin or bag, a timer.
Once A Day
Here are the three things you need to do every day as part of the weekly organizing routine.
Continue to 2 of 8 below.
- 5 minutes: Clear kitchen counter clutter, bathroom vanity clutter and coffee table clutter. This simply means sweeping these areas for clutter and putting everything back in its place. or tossing it--a lot of clutter is really trash masquerading as clutter.
- 5 minutes: . My launch pad is a tray where I keep keys, cell phones, outgoing and incoming mail
- 5 minutes: Clear clothes clutter from rooms that your clothing simply doesn’t belong in, like the bathroom, living and kitchen (just me?). Either put it back into the Don’t worry about the bedroom every day. We’ll do that on Days 2 and 5.
02 of 08
Monday: Meal Planning + Kitchen Decluttering
Declutter and tidy the kitchen, prep lunches, prep breakfasts, clear the counter tops. This is your time to organize, declutter and store kitchen items and generally do what needs to get done.
If you browse Pinterest you will see those 28 DAYS OF MEAL PLANS and A FULL YEAR OF MEAL PLANS IN ONE AFTERNOON. That’s great, but, I like to have some flexibility in my life so I meal plan only 3-4 days out. If you have time to do more than that, fantastic.
Prep... lunches/snacks for the week. This could mean cutting up veggies, putting nuts/fruit in baggies, making sandwiches or salads, etc.
Continue to 3 of 8 below.
03 of 08
Tuesday: Closet + Bedroom Decluttering
Before you declutter the rest of your bedroom, you need to sort out your closet clutter. This is because closet clutter tends to overspill into the bedroom. Remember: when you’re organizing, always start with storage spaces.
Once your closet is sorted out, it’s time to declutter your sleeping space. I believe very strongly that a good night's sleep is vital to health and happiness and sets you up for a more productive day ahead.
Since you're already handling clothing... today, do a load (or two) of laundry.
Continue to 4 of 8 below.
04 of 08
Wednesday: Decluttering the Entryway and Sorting Mail + Paper
Let’s start in the entryway. At this point in the week, your entry is probably a bit cluttered. Maybe you have mail piling up, maybe you need to re-arrange your handbags, accessories or electronics (smart phones, blackberries, GPS systems, etc). Spend 15 minute decluttering this space.
Mail + Paper.
All week long you’ve been putting your mail in the launch pad. Now it’s time to sort, shred, and action your incoming mail.
Continue to 5 of 8 below.
05 of 08
Thursday: Check In With Your Meal Plan + Tidy the Kitchen
Check in your with your lunches/snacks. Do you need to replenish anything? Add it to your grocery list.
If you meal planned 3-4 days out on Monday, it’s time to update the meal plan. Go through the same steps you did on Day 1: eliminate day you don’t need to cook, decide when you can eat leftovers, and then plan meals accordingly.
Tip: Employ the “cook once, eat twice” technique here, meaning make enough so that you have leftovers. If I’m paying close attention to yield... when reading a recipe, I can stretch one time into the kitchen into 2 or 3 more meals.
If you have someone in your household who doesn’t like leftovers, remind them that they are free to cook as well. :)
We're hitting the kitchen for the second time this week because it's such a high-traffic area (in fact, if you have the time I recommend decluttering your kitchen every day).
The second time around may be a bit easier than the first because you've already been through your cabinets, refrigerator and pantry and have swept over the counter tops and table. This time, spend a little extra time on the area that tends to be the most troublesome. Maybe that’s your coffee station, the area around your sink, or your cabinets or pantry.Continue to 6 of 8 below.
06 of 08
Friday: Decluttering the Living Room and Bedroom
Everyone’s favorite space, the living room deserves some attention. This space tends to collect clutter in the form of piles of old magazines, newspapers and books. Watch out for mail that belongs in the launch pad, clothes that belong in the closet or hamper, and school work that belongs in a desk or workspace.
It’s important to get restful sleep during the weekend, especially if you’re getting up super early during the workweek. Declutter your bedroom, swap out bedding,... rearrange your nightstand so there is no clutter right next to your head when you’re trying to fall asleep.
Bring whatever clothing needs cleaning in the bedroom directly to the laundry room and do a few loads of laundry. If you, like me, live in an apartment building and don't have laundry in your home, use this time to schedule a trip to the laundry room or laundry mat. Will you do it over the weekend? Will you go one night next week? Plan ahead so it gets done.Continue to 7 of 8 below.
07 of 08
Saturday: Closet Clutter Sweep + Sort Paper Document
In addition to decluttering your closet in 15 minutes, think ahead for the week: what do you want to wear on Monday to work, are your gym clothes in the hamper ready to be cleaned? Take the time while you’re straightening and re-hanging to plan ahead.
Mail, Paper, and Workspaces.
This is a great purge day. Grab a cup of coffee or tea, sort your mail, recycle old newspapers and magazines, and tackle that stack of papers piling up in the entryway launchpad.
Declutter your home workspace... whether it's an entire office, a desk or even just a collection of files (mail, a calendar, a notebook, your planner).
Another laundry day. We've built in laundry 2-3 times a week to this routine so it's not overwhelming on Saturdays, but, this may be the only day you can get it done. If it's your laundry day, try to pair it up with something enjoyable like reading a magazine, a book, or the weekend newspaper. You could also spend time doing your meal plan and grocery list for the next few days.Continue to 8 of 8 below.
08 of 08
Sunday: Declutter the Bathroom and Your Entryway
If you went grocery shopping over the weekend (I like to go very early on Saturday or Sunday; if I'm away for the weekend, I always go Monday right after work), chop your veggies, prep you lunches/snacks, portion out anything going into the slow cooker, etc.
Swap out hand towels, bath towels and laundry. Declutter the counter, drawers and under the sink. Empty the trash and clear this space of clutter.
You sorted mail and paper yesterday, so today is all about getting... your accessories like bags, backpacks and gym bags ready for the work/school week. Declutter bags, declutter the launch pad, return umbrellas, keys and papers back to their rightful places. This will make the Monday morning rush a little easier.
Did this routine work for you? Do you need to adjust days/projects? If it did, great. Keep going and each week you'll find you're doing less and less decluttering.
If you need to adjust -- do! The whole point of this routine is not to be too rigid, just make sure you're putting in 15/30 minutes a day to decluttering, you're tackling your mail and not letting your laundry pile up for too long.
Now that you've completed the Weekly Organizing Routine, you may enjoy the Organize Your Home Weekly E-Course. It's a free and easy-to-follow weekly course to help you really organize your home: Sign Up.