5 Steps to Home Organization When You Have No Time

Are you overwhelmed by disorganization in your home? Are you ready to get organized but don’t know where to start?  Do you find it hard to carve out time to the declutter and get organized?  Trust me, I know exactly how you feel!

As a busy mom with two young kids, a job, and a side hustle, finding times to work on a project can be next to impossible.   After becoming frustrated with a lack of progress, I became determined to figure out how to get things done during the little spare time I have.    

busy mom taking care of kids with a disorganized house with text 5 steps to home organization when you have little time

Step 1) Make your Home Organization List

First, make a list of the areas in your home that need decluttering or organization. Is it the island counter you see every day when you walk into your home? Is it the mudroom that is out of control with shoes, gloves, and backpacks everywhere? Maybe it’s your closet filled with clothes that no longer fit or are out of style.   Write down every area in your home that you need to declutter and organize.

Step 2) Prioritize Your Home Organization List

Prioritizing your list is a step that helps you clarify what’s really important and where you need to focus first.  You can use a simple 2 x 2 grid to rate the level of frustration with the space and how important the area is to you.

Consider your frustration and the importance of the space. Take every area on your list and place it on the grid.

2 x 2 grid with one axis showing high and low Frustration and the other axis showinghigh and low importance to help you prioritize your home organization efforts.


Does that space cause high or low frustration for you?  High frustration areas are spaces where you’re moving piles around, wasting time looking for things, embarrassed when someone outside of the family sees it, etc.


Is it high or low importance to you?  High importance areas are typically areas that get a lot of traffic- you and your family use the space a lot.  They are often very visible e.g. the kitchen or living room.   

Now look at the list of areas, anything identified as category 1 are your top priorities.  This is where you start.

Step 3: Create Bite-Size Home Organization Projects

Now it’s time to take your top priorities and break them down into manageable steps.  Things you can get done in as little as 15 minutes. 

Confession, I once was an overachiever.  I always tried to complete a project from start to finish in the same day.  But that’s just not possible now.   A friend of mine recently said having kids was God’s way of putting Type A people in their place, I couldn’t agree with her more!

So, I’ve retrained myself and how I get stuff done.  Now, I look for much smaller projects. For example, instead of cleaning out the entire pantry I aim to clean out one bin or one shelf in the pantry. By readjusting my expectations I’m able to get things done a little at a time.  Try this and you’ll see that you feel successful once you accomplish the micro-goal.  This sense of satisfaction will motivate you to keep on keeping on.

In Step 3, you need to break your home organization project into smaller steps.  Here is an example of ways you can breakdown overwhelming large projects into smaller steps you can accomplish in 15 to 30 minutes.

Start with one drawer at a time

  • If you’re in the kitchen: do a silverware drawer, the Tupperware drawer, or the junk drawer.
  • Your kids’ bedroom: take out the T-shirt drawer or the sock drawer.
  • The bathroom: organize under the sink, the towel closet, or the toiletries shelf/drawer.

HOme organization list with big projects borken down into smaller steps

Step 4: Set Decluttering Criteria Upfront

Another area of difficulty I hear from you about is not knowing how to make decisions on all the stuff. What to keep and what to get rid of.

It will save you time if you think about this before you start to organize. You don’t want to keep the stuff you don’t need or even like. You also don’t want to organize it and keep shuffling it around your house.  So before you begin to organize, it’s important to remove (declutter) the things you no longer need or want.

Make a list of your criteria. 

Here are a few examples:

  • When is the last time you used it?
  • Do you like it?
  • Is it in style?
  • Does it have sentimental value?
  • Will you or a family member use it in the future?
  • Do you have duplicates of it?
  • What would happen if you got rid of it?  Is there something you could use in its place?

Having criteria before you start decluttering and organizing your things will help you make decisions along the way and speed up the entire process.

Step 5: Manage Your Time

It can be very motivational to commit to only spending a small amount of time on a project.  If you feel like you’re going to spend multiple hours, then you’re more likely to procrastinate.  But, if you commit to just getting started and only spending 15 to 30 minutes on it, you’re more likely to push through.

Set a timer for 15 – 30 minutes.   Do as much as you can in that timeframe and save the rest for the next window of time you have.  Remember the list I had you make breaking the larger project into smaller steps? Use that list to keep track of where you are in the bigger project. For example, when working on your pantry, you might make a note that you cleaned out two shelves and need to finish organizing the next two shelves.

What are You Waiting For?

Home Organization…most people love it.  Well, they love the end result of it.  The reality is, it can be hard to find the time to get started.  It can also be difficult to even know where to start.  By making a list, prioritizing it, breaking the project down into smaller steps, establishing your decluttering criteria, and working in a short burst of time, you can tackle your unorganized space.

You don’t have to have ideal circumstances or a ton of time to conquer your clutter.  A little planning and prioritization can help you get unstuck.  So, what are you waiting for?  Isn’t it time to make your list?

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