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Tips On Getting Rid of Clutter and Getting Organized

"Where, oh where, do I begin?" is another big question on peoples' minds. Here are some tips to help make getting downsized and organized and wider-spaced a little easier:

Top Tips in The Clutter War

  1. Set aside a date to do it, then stick to it. Procrastination is the enemy, but as the saying goes, "if you can't spend time to do it right now, when are you going to find time to re-do it better later?"
  2. Getting organized now means it's easier to stay organized from now on. If you make a good chunk of time to get organized now, you just need to find a wee chunk of time on some regular basis to stay organized. And that saves time and creates calm.
  3. Realize that it is an investment of time, not time spent. It will save you way more time in the long run than it will cost you now to downsize and organize. Every hour you spend organizing and downsizing pays for itself multifold.
  4. If you can't set aside a chunk of time, get in the habit of doing 15 minutes of de-cluttering and organizing per day. Just like dimes turn into dollars, minutes quickly turn into hours and you'll be surprised how quickly you begin to notice a difference. Besides, a few minutes each day will be a good habit to get into for later when you're past the "get organized" stage and in the "stay organized" stage. Get in the habit of organizing something in the kitchen while waiting for the coffee to perk. Organize your coffee table during commercials on television. Organize a thing or two in your closet while waiting to leave the house. It all adds up.
  5. How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time. If you don't want to do your whole house, start with one room. It might be your favourite room that you want to enjoy more. That feeling of accomplishment and renewal will encourage you to keep going. It might be your most cluttered room that you want to annoy you less, but do one room. When you're ready to do the whole space, see the next tip below for a great strategy.
  6. Approach things methodically: Basically, de-cluttering and organizing is the purging of the unnecessary. So to make sure nothing gets missed and what you end up with is not just more de-cluttered chaos start with the end in mind and have a plan to get there. Here's one that experts say works for many of us: a. Start from the top floor and work your way to the bottom.


  • Start from the top floor and work your way to the bottom.
  • On each level, start with the room nearest the stairs and work your way around in a circle to the others.
  • In each room, start with the corner nearest the door and work your way around in a circle in the room, starting at the ceiling and working down to the floor along each wall.
  • Look around each room and pre-plan what needs to be there based on what you'd like to do in that room. Then decide to remove anything not associated with that to a better spot.
  • Go through every item in every drawer, cupboard, shelf, box, closet, and bin. Empty and each in turn and from each one sort every single thing in it into one of four piles:


          I. The "Throw It Away Now" Pile. Have as your goal that this will be the biggest pile. Put everything in this pile unless there's a reason not to.

          II. The "Label and Store" Pile. BUT BE RUTHLESS and have GOOD REASON to keep anything in this pile. Keeping too much defeats your purpose. Use the first, instinctive word you think of when labelling anything. That's the word that will make sense six months from now when you look for it.

          III. The "Stuff to Keep" Pile. Put it back neatly and in an organized manner, not necessarily where it was before, but where it will be of most use now. Consider a hypothetical 3 Zones centered around the spot you usually sit in the room:

        1. Zone 1: Tabletop, desktop, or wherever, if you use it frequently all day every day, put it within arm's length and make a home for it there. There should be very little that's this important. Arrange it so the most important thing is right in front of you at the 12 o'clock position and spread out things from there to things of least importance at the 3 and 9 o'clock positions.
        2. Zone 2: Cupboard, drawer, cabinet, cadenza, or whatever, if you use it daily or with sufficient urgency, keep it in the area nearest you, but in a grouped, organized, labelled way so you can easily reach it without getting out of your chair. Most important things at your level, least important things at ceiling and floor level.
        3. Zone 3: Stuff you'll walk across the room for but still need in the room. Put it away labelled and neatly and out of site. Put away largest things first, then place smaller things in the spaces around them to pack the most into the least space.

         IV. The "I Forgot I Had This And It's Useful" Pile. Dust it off and make it handier. You'll be surprised what treasures you find in nooks and crannies.

    1. Don't forget to use the opportunity to clean things as you go for an extra good feeling of accomplishment at the end
    2. When you find papers, look at each one, sort them into the same piles as above. Remember you have the Internet. If you can find the information online, why keep the paper? Have a box of file folders handy and an empty bankers box or two to group and file them as you go. Some files you'll keep handy in your top drawer. Others you'll archive. Most you'll throw out. Either way, you'll have less and what you have will only take a moment to have in hand when you need it. Keep going until all papers are in some assigned, labelled spot, throwing out every page you can convince yourself to part with as you go.
    3. For clothes, if you haven't worn it in the last two years, think that someone in need could be wearing it. Consider donating it to Salvation Army, Goodwill, St. Vincent De Paul, or some other organization that helps the homeless and women's' shelters.
    4. For appliances, if it doesn't work, why is it still around? You could have the space it's stealing from you waiting for a repair day that history has shown will likely never come.
    5. For books, ask of each one, "why do I still have you around"? If you can't answer, box it and have the boxes of books hauled away or donated.
    6. For magazines, if they aren't this months', throw them out. Can you actually see yourself looking again through a MacLean's from last year?
    7. For furniture, if it's being stored or not used, why is it still around? Haul it away to make room for something you will use or perhaps gain an extra room you didn't have before.
    8. Repeat above until all four corners are done and you're back at the door.
    9. At the end of each room, decide where to store the stuff you've grouped, packed, and labelled and where to put the stuff from each room to be hauled away.
    10. Move on to the next room and repeat above until the whole floor is all done.
    11. Move down to the next floor and repeat above until you hit the bottom floor.
    12. Don't stop until you're done. Half organized is still not organized and some clutter is still cluttered.
    13. Finally, sit back, enjoy your achievement and your new living space and call Friendly Garbage Removal at (416)677-3818 to pack up, pick up, clean up, and remove all of the stuff in your "throw it away now" pile.

To get past procrastination, focus on WHY you're getting rid of clutter in the first place.


  1. It's ugly.
  2. It's a fire hazard.
  3. It's a safety hazard.
  4. It gets in your way.
  5. It slows you down.
  6. It makes you frustrated or even anxious and that adds to stress.
  7. It hides the things you truly need to have at your fingertips.
  8. It makes you look for things.
  9. It wastes your precious time.
  10. It's just "stuff". If you aren't using it and don't anticipate a specific need for it soon, it should be gone. Your value is in who you are, not the stuff you have and a happy life is an uncomplicated, uncluttered one.


     1.  An organized space is nice to look at.
     2.  Never look for anything again.
     3.  Never lose anything again.
     4.  Everything is in its place and there's a place for everything.
     5.  When you are in a hurry and need something, it's there.
     6.  A de-cluttered, organized space is safer.
     7.  A de-cluttered, organized space brings calm and confidence.
     8.  A de-cluttered space gives more space to live in.
     9.  The things you need frequently are close at hand and other things are all easily accessed.
   10.  An organized, de-cluttered space leads to getting more done, more easily every day.

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