You can't buy an organized home--you have to create one. You can spend money on a cleaning service, and you can hire a professional organizer, but maintaining an organized home takes your time and attention on regular basis.
The formula is to work on 2-3 spaces a day to declutter, sort and organize. You don’t need to buy anything; all you need are a few tools to help you along the way.
01 of 05
A timer you can set for 15 minutes will keep you motivated and honest and while you declutter and organize your home.
I use the timer on my iPhone all day long. I set 30 minutes for spurts of writing, use it when cooking, I time when I put a load of laundry in, and when I’m decluttering a room. You can use your timer to declutter and organize your house by setting it for 15- or 30-minute increments.
02 of 05
A trash bin for... trash, because, duh, you are going to be throwing a lot of stuff out.
I love this one because it would look right at home in any room--even a bedroom. I use this one at my house because it is so mobile. If your trash bin is mobile, just pull it into the doorway of the room or space you are working in.
Tip: If you put small trash and recycling bins in every room in your home, you will seriously cut down on the amount of clutter you have to sort through regularly.
03 of 05
A recycling bin for recycled items like bottles, cans, papers, plastic cups, packaging, cardboard boxes. I like this stack-and-carry one from The Container Store.
04 of 05
A catch-all bin or bag.
Very important -- a “catch all” bin or even a bag with a wide mouth that you can how’d-it-get-over-there items into while you work.
I like this bag because you can hang it on your shoulder (you know, as you do with bags), and tucks items into it as you go along.
A key ingredient to the art of decluttering is finding items that have wandered out of their designated storage space. Think about the cookbook on the coffee table that belongs in the kitchen on the shelf with all of your other cookbooks.... You only have 15 minutes in each room so rather than waste time walking back to the kitchen and putting your cookbook back, just toss it into your catch-all bin. After you’re done with your 15 minutes (or later that day or even the next weekend), put the items in the bin back into their rightful storage spaces.Continue to 5 of 5 below.
05 of 05
Music (and possibly flowers).
I like to put my favorite Pandora station on my iPod and find the music to be very motivating. This is also a great time to listen to a book on tape or your favorite podcast. Pairing up a favorite hobby (listening to music) with a chore (decluttering) makes it more bearable.
Another great decluttering assist can come from flowers. If you have a particularly cluttered spot, place a vase in that area and you will magically become more interested in decluttering.
So pick up a bin and plan to spend 15... minutes per space. Read more in the guide to organizing your home weekly.