10 Easy Decluttering Projects to do When You’re Stuck At Home

Inside: Don’t let cabin fever get to you. There are easy decluttering and home organization projects you can do that don’t require much time. If you’re stuck inside due to inclement weather or because of a health scare, check out these 10 easy decluttering projects to do when you’re stuck at home!

I woke up to ice and condensation on the INSIDE of our windows. It was another cold day…-19c to be exact. The skies were grey and snow was drifting across the street. The heat from the floor vents was warming my feet. Staying inside was definitely a better choice than going outside today.

I work from home and spend a lot of time in our house, but when you’re stuck at home…meaning it doesn’t feel like it’s a choice to be inside, you can become stir crazy!

Instead of sitting by idly, it’s helpful to keep busy and work on a project…queue decluttering. Remember that closet that you’ve been meaning to get to…or the pile of papers that frustrate you every time you need to find something. Well, this is the PERFECT time to tackle them.

Decluttered closet with sweaters neatly hung up with text 10 Easy Decluttering Projects to do when You're Stuck at Home

Decluttering Project Criteria

Whether you’re stuck inside for a day or weeks, make it your goal to take on small projects you can do with short bursts of energy. Don’t take on something that will be overwhelming or require a lot of time. Aim for projects you can complete in 60-90 minutes.

1. Organize Your Junk Drawer

It can be so satisfying to organize your junk. Seriously, when you see the transformation it is very rewarding. Picture unused birthday candles, coins, hair bands, pens, paperclips, and batteries. These are just a few of the things we found in our junk drawer.

Junk drawers are convenient and, in my opinion, necessary, but they need to be functional. If you can’t find anything in them or have no idea what they contain, then they are not helpful and will be frustrating at times.

So, how do you make it useful? Sort the items into ‘like’ categories. Discard broken items, garbage, and items that you will not use again e.g. a burnt birthday candle.

Use things you have around the house to help separate and organize your small items. E.g. an iPhone or other technology box, a mason jar, or an empty plastic food container.

2. Declutter Your Bathroom Vanity

Cleaning out under the bathroom sink, a drawer or a cabinet is another good area to organize when you’re quarantined.

Throw away any of the following items that are over a year old:
• Lotions
• Cosmetic samples
• Make up
• Expired medicines

Like the junk drawer organization process mentioned above, sort things into like categories and use containers to help separate.

3. Organize the Coat Closet

If you’re like me, you may not think of your coat closet until you have guests come over and they need to hang up their coats. Remove any coats that have collected there or that family members have outgrown.

Relocate items that shouldn’t be there e.g. sports equipment, hobby gear, games, whatever!

Organize things so that you can easily access space for coats when guests visit.

4. Clean out Your Deep Freeze

How many things get buried in the back of your freezer. If only you knew what was in there…you might be able to save some money on groceries. It takes surprisingly little time to clean out and organize your freezer.

Throw away any food with freezer burn and use the chart below to determine what other food should be discarded.


Lasts in the Freezer
Raw beef, veal, lamb, and pork4-12 months
Raw poultry9 months
Lean fish (flounder)6 months
Fatty fish (salmon)2-3 months
Wild game8-12 months
Ground meat3-4 months
Bacon, sausage, luncheon meat, or hotdogs1-2 months
Cooked meat2-3 months
Cheese6 months
Butter6-9 months
Milk3 months
Yogurt1-2 months
Cream, half-and-half4 months
Most fruits10-12 months
Most vegetables10-12 months
Casseroles2-3 months
Soups2-3 months
Pizza1-2 months
Cakes4-6 months
Cookie dough2 months
Fruit pies, baked2-4 months

Once you’ve discarded the expired food, make a list of the food that remains in your freezer. Then incorporate the items into your weekly meal plan and save money grocery shopping!

5. Organize the Pantry

Cleaning out your pantry is also a good thing to do when you’re trapped inside. Your pantry is likely larger than your freezer, so you may want to break down the work into smaller parts. For example, instead of cleaning out the entire pantry, just do one shelf or one area at a time. You want to keep busy, but not get overwhelmed! However, if you’re on a spring-cleaning streak and have the motivation…go for it!!!

Check out this post for details on how long pantry food lasts and this one for ideas on organizing your pantry!

6. Pair Mismatched Socks

If you’re like most modern families, you probably have a pile of mismatched socks sitting somewhere around your house. Well, here’s your chance to finally deal with them.

Put on your favorite show, place all of the socks in front of you and try to match them. If you can’t find a match, then it’s time to discard the pile!

7. Eliminate Paper Clutter

Do you have a stack of papers you’ve been shuffling around the house? How many times have you touched that pile in the last month? I’m willing to bet it’s been more than once.

Sort into the following categories:
• Shred
• Recycle
• Action required e.g. pay a bill
• File

The File category will need to be future sorted. The good news is, you don’t have to keep many papers on hand. Check out this post for the types of documents you need to keep and for how long you need to keep them.

Pile of papers - easy decluttering project

8. Organize Your Tupperware Drawer

Another easy project in your kitchen is decluttering your food storage containers. Remove any containers that don’t have their partner…the lid or the container. Organize lids vertically like a file folder. Stack containers by shape…square containers, rectangle, circle etc. from largest to smallest.

9. Declutter Your Book Shelf

How many books do you have on your shelf? Are you still interested in all of them? How frequently do you pick them up to read? If your bookshelves are overburdened with books, use this time to sort through and declutter.

Remove any books that no longer interest you or that you have electronic copies of. Remember most user manuals are online now, so you can recycle any that you have hard copies of.

If you have a hard time getting rid of books, set a goal of the number you want to get rid of. This will force your hand a bit and help you prioritize as you review the titles.

Pile of books that were easily decluttered

10. Organize Your Board Games

The last area you can declutter if you’re quarantined is your board games and puzzles. Discard any games that are broken or missing parts. If you have games you no longer use or your kids have outgrown, put them in a pile to donate.

Being stuck inside is a good time to bond with family or friends. You can organize your games, cards, and puzzles and pull out a couple to play together while you’re stuck inside.

Things to do when you’re Quarantined

Don’t let cabin fever get to you. There are easy decluttering and home organization projects you can do that don’t require much time. If you’re stuck inside due to inclement weather or because of a health scare, make a plan to become productive and tackle projects you’ve put off in the past.





How To Declutter Your Kitchen Counters – Like a Pro

Inside: Stop kitchen clutter with these practical decluttering steps and kitchen countertop storage solutions.

Usually, around 7 p.m. my husband and I are struggling to not raise our voices as we deal with the kid’s bedtime drama.  But one night a month, I have a reprieve, G.N.O. (Girl’s Night Out) also known as “book club.”  It’s a much-needed break from the ordinary.

My neighborhood friends and I relax with a cool glass of fresh, crisp, citrusy white wine.  We talk over warm appetizers and sugary desserts.  Laughter fills the room as we share stories of our kids’ latest antics and other life musings.

This night, book club would be at my house.  And it was time for me to unleash the cleaning tornado.  Time to sanitize, dust, and declutter so that the home is welcome to visitors once again.

Clutter-free kitchen counters with text How To Declutter Your Kitchen Counters Like a Pro

Kitchen Counter Clutter Battles

The kitchen counter is where you likely fight daily battles with clutter.  It’s the landing spot for so many things…mail, homework, rubber bands, and hairbrushes.  And those are only the things that shouldn’t be there.  You’ve still got dirty dishes, the sticky cutting board leftover from cutting fruit at breakfast, and crumbs from the last kid that cut her muffin before eating it.

This is one clutter challenge I wrestle with on a daily basis.  Because we constantly struggle with it, I have figured out some tips that can help all of us.

Dealing with Kitchen Countertop Clutter

First and foremost, you need to understand why you have a clutter problem, to begin with. Here are three reasons you should consider.

  • Homeless – Something doesn’t have a home or designated place so it floats around and often ends up on the counter.
  • Poor Routine – Family members are not practicing daily routines and habits to keep the counter clear.
  • Lack of process – You don’t have a process in place for managing the new things that come into your home e.g homework, mail, or the latest toy from the kids’ happy meal.

Do it now:

  1. Take a look around. What clutter is on your counter?  Is it reoccurring clutter, meaning, it usually reappears every week. 
  2. Consider why it’s on the counter. Is it there because it’s homeless, family members are not putting it in the right place, or you don’t have a process in place?
  3. Write down the trouble spots and the reason for the clutter.

Professional Tips for Decluttering Kitchen Counters

Before starting any decluttering or organizing process, it’s always helpful to know what the pros say.  If you were going to hire an organizer, they would give you a few guiding principles to help you get organized.

  • Give it A Home – Make sure everything has a home or it will continue to float around and end up as clutter. If the electrical tape keeps ending up on the counter and you move it around from week to week.  You need to pause and think, where is the best place for this item and put it there.
  • Behind closed doors – Spaces look clutter-free when things are neatly put away out of sight. Consider your cabinet and pantry space.  What things can you take off of your counter and move to a hidden location?  Things like a toaster, blender, or cookbooks often fall in this category.
  • Use Attractive Storage Containers – There are some things you’ll want out on the counter, like a bowl of fruit. Instead of just placing the bananas or tomatoes directly on the counter.  Find a pretty bowl, potentially one that you already have, and use it to store your fruit.  The same can work for mail, sugar for coffee, or utensils.  Instead of a bowl, you may use a basket, canister, or bin.
  • Implement the One In – One Out rule – As you bring new appliances, dishes, or serving ware into your home, make sure to remove something from the space. This will help you to maintain your space and prevent future overcrowding.
  • Go Vertical – Make use of every vertical space.  For example, we put cutting boards vertically filed above our microwave in a space where practically nothing else could work.  Vertical space works well for spices, racks, and shelves.

Kitchen Countertop Storage Solutions

Now that you have a few tips from the professionals, let’s get to the nitty-gritty.  These are really practical steps you can do today.  Refer to the list you made earlier with the type of clutter that’s on your counter.

Paper Clutter DIY Solutions

If you find receipts, recipes, and mail often end up on your kitchen counter, then you need a paper clutter solution.

  • Create an incoming mail bin. Find an attractive basket or box, to put mail in when your first bring it in.  Give yourself a timeline to go through the mail and sort it.  A best practice is to do it immediately when you bring it into the house.
  • Get a folder or a plastic pouch for receipts if you save them for tax purposes or in case of returns. Otherwise, recycle!
  • Establish a command station if you have space. My daughter brings home a ton of schoolwork every day.  The sparkly glitter, colorful construction paper, and Crayon drawings became a mountain of clutter at the edge of our counter.  It lasted for weeks and clearly wasn’t a problem that was going away.  It called for a solution.  We created a mini-command station in our mudroom (near her backpack) where she could put her homework folder and any incoming papers.  The clutter is now gone from the counter!


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Trinkets and Misalleanea Storage Solutions

  • Create an organized junk drawer. You may find random things land in your kitchen like never used birthday candles, all of the extra batteries in the house, flashlights, and rubber bands.  Designate a drawer or two for these things.  Fill the drawer with little containers to divide and create zones.  You can use plastic bins or even technology boxes like the box from an iPhone.  Even small mason jars can work, but circles don’t make the best use of the space.

These zones can be used to categorize the random things that land in the kitchen.  Now, instead of being on the counter, you’ve created a small home.

  • Make A Kids Basket – No matter where we go, it seems that we end up with little tiny trinkets for the kids. It could be the toys from a happy meal, stickers from the dentist, or loot from a birthday party goody bag.  It comes in all forms and lands in our house regularly. While I’d prefer to toss it, the two little humans in our home want to hang onto it – for-ever!!!  So, they have a designated space that includes a bin for their markers, papers, and trinkets.  A bowl works great for this too, but it has to be maintained (pruned regularly) or it becomes a clutter bowl fast.

Appliance Storage Solutions

  • Discard First – If there are appliances that you don’t use, give them away, donate, or sell them.  There is no need to keep them in your kitchen especially not on your counter.
  • Coffee Station – If you regularly have coffee or tea, then you can contain the supplies by making a cute coffee station.  Grab a trey, put your sugar on it, coffee beans or tea bags, potentially even a few spoons for stirring.  The trey contains the items and makes them look like a neat cluster instead of unruly clutter.
  • Make Use of Cabinets – For the appliances, you do use, put them out of sight as much as possible.  A lower cabinet is a great place to store them or an “appliance garage” or even the bottom of your pantry can work.


Spices Storage Solutions

  • You may store your spices on top of your stove or your counter.  This can add to the feeling of clutter.  Move your spices to a drawer, cabinet, or the pantry.  I grew tired of the amount of space my spices required, so we went vertical.  My husband built an inset spice rack on a pretty much useless wall in our pantry.  I love it and will never go back to storing spices on a horizontal surface. 

Cook Book Storage Solutions

  • This is another item to put out of sight.  Some people make use of their vertical space and put racks on the side of a cabinet or a wall.  Others make a shelf at the end of their island.  Also, cabinets are a great place to store cookbooks if you have the room.


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How to keep your kitchen counters free from clutter

Once you declutter and clear your kitchen counters, you’ve got to make sure you have good habits or routines to keep your final product. Create a habit that works for you and your family.  Here are a few ideas.

  • Do a nightly clean sweep and make sure your counters are clear before you go to bed.
  • Have family members immediately put dishes in the dishwasher
  • Sort mail when you bring it into the home

Here are 5 things to do in the kitchen before you go to bed.

Conquer Kitchen Clutter

Most kitchens see a lot of traffic and can quickly become clutter traps.  Now you have the steps you need to take to declutter your kitchen countertops.  The storage solutions will help you keep things neat and tidy.  And your daily routines will allow you to keep them clutter-free for good!

Pinterest: I’m overwhelmed with the clutter on our kitchen countertops and ready to get rid of it once and for all! These practical kitchen counter decluttering tips were so helpful.  Now I have great storage solutions and a clutter-free kitchen counter!





Decluttering for Downsizing  – What You Need To Know

Inside: You’ve decided to downsize and now need to declutter. Check out these downsizing tips and steps to decluttering your belongings.

Stuffed animals from my childhood, a faded high school letter jacket, and an outdated Encylopedia set are just a few things taking up space at my parent’s house.  Their next move will be to downsize and deal with the clutter that has accumulated over a lifetime.  

Are you in the process of downsizing?  It happens all the time!  You may be motivated to have a smaller home that requires less maintenance.  Or you may want to spend less money on your mortgage.  You may have retired and don’t need the space you once did.

While the reasons for downsizing vary, one thing remains the same.  Everyone who downsizes needs to declutter BEFORE the move. 

This can be overwhelming and you may not know where to start.  Don’t worry, I have tips that can help you get unstuck and make a plan to declutter before you downsize your home.

Step 1: Make a List of the Things You’ll Need In Your Downsized Home

You want to be sure to keep the things you need as you downsize.  Make a list of the furniture you’ll need for each room in your new but smaller home.  You may also want to make a list of the things you need to get rid of.

Let’s say that you have a king-size bed, but know that it won’t fit in the size of your new room.  You could add it to the list of things to get rid of.

Go through room by room and make your list of general items you want to keep.

woman decluttering before downsizing packing boxes before the move eith text decluttering before you downsize what you need to know

Step 2: Make a Decluttering Action Plan

In order to create your action plan, you need to identify your priorities. Many of us have rooms that overwhelm us, a closet we’ve ignored, or categories like books, clothing or sentimental items we’ve held onto for far too long.

1) List your top 5 rooms or categories that need attention.

2) Indicate the size of the challenge: small, medium, or large.

3) Finally, indicate how important a priority it is for you – high, medium, or low.

Now write down the action steps you need to take to declutter each space.  Get as detailed as you need. The larger the step, the more likely you are to get stalled. The smaller, the step, the more likely you are to accomplish it.

Big Action Step

  •  Clean out and organize the kid’s rooms.

Bite-Size Action Step

  • Clean out Johnny’s Closet
  • Organize Johnny’s Drawers
  • Donate Johnny’s items to the Salvation Army

As you make your list of action steps, put a target date by each item. 

Step 3: Deal with Other People’s Stuff First

Outside of the people living in the home, make a list of anyone else that has substantial stuff in your home.  This could be an adult child, an old roommate, the friend that stayed at your house “temporarily.” 

Contact them to see if they want you to discard their things or if they could come over and get them.  Set a date if they choose the latter.  If you really want to expedite the process, go ahead and box their items, so that you can put it all in their car and nothing remains.

Do not have them sort through the things at your house.  This will only prolong the process and you will more than likely end up with the things they don’t want.  Creating another problem for you.

If they are ok with you discarding them, then box them up and take them to a donation center. The goal is to avoid spending too much time sorting through the items.  Get them out of your house as fast as possible.

Step 4: Declutter Your Most Dreaded Space

You likely have a space in your home that you dread decluttering.  Even when you make progress in other areas, this dark cloud hangs over your head.  This sort of thing can encourage you to procrastinate…and then make the decluttering process take twice as long as necessary.

Focus on the gratification you’ll feel once you’ve conquered this space!

Set aside the required time…1 day…5 days (whatever you need) to conquer it!  Be committed.  Part of the battle is your mental stance.   Put mind over matter and commit to accomplishing it. 

Decluttering Process

Start with one category in the room.  For example, if you’re decluttering a bedroom, start with the clothes.  Then ask yourself these questions:

  • Do I need this in my new space / do I have room for it in my new space?
  • Is it a duplicate or do I have something like it that fits the same need?
  • When’s the last time I used/wore this?
  • Do I like it? E.g. is it still my style or taste?
  • What would I do if I didn’t have it?

Keep in mind, when downsizing, your goal is to get rid of as much stuff as possible. 

How to Get Rid Of Decluttered Items

Discard doesn’t mean “throw-away” you have many options.  Some require more effort than others.  As you identify things to get rid of sort them in the following piles:

  • Keep
  • Donate
  • Sell
  • Trash
  • Recycle

>> Make Money Decluttering <<

If you have large things like furniture or valuable items like jewelry, handbags, or electronics, selling them is a great option.  However, small items like clothes, books, etc.  can take a lot of time for little financial return.  It’s better to donate those items and get them out of your house instead of selling where you risk them piling up in another space.

Check out this post for more details on what to do with unwanted items.  It contains a helpful list of items that donation centers will typically accept.

 >> 5 Options for Getting Rid of Unwanted Stuff After Decluttering <<


sentimental items including books and photos that need to be decluttered before downsizing.
Stack of old family photos and photo albums

Decluttering Sentimental Items When Downsizing

When decluttering and downsizing, you are faced with parting from things that are special and meaningful but that you no longer have space or use for.

This can be difficult.  Don’t rush this process and don’t try to get rid of it all.  Give yourself a specific amount of time.  Thoughtfully sort through and keep only your prized possessions.  Consider if there are family or friends that would appreciate it just as much.

Allow yourself to keep some of these items.  One option is to keep the things that are the most important to you.  Get a plastic bin and dedicate it to your sentimental items.  The goal is to only keep things that will fit in that container.  When it is filled, sort through and reprioritize discarding the items that are not as special. Time helps bring clarity to what you really want to keep.

Every family member can have their own box.  As an example, I have a container for my kindergartener.  She brings home school projects every week.  The projects that required more effort go into her memory bin.  Right now, the pile is a couple of inches thick.  But, she’s only in her first year of school. As each year goes on, we’ll need to reprioritize to keep her sentimental items to the one box.

Also, consider if there are other formats for the items.  For example, if they are photos or documents, can they be scanned?  If they are material, could they be made into a quilt?

Lastly, give yourself permission to let go of things.  Some times we hang onto things we think are sentimental because they were passed down.  Maybe you have a china set, crystal vases, or wooden furniture that was handed down to you.  They aren’t your style, you don’t really like them…you just like what they represent or who gave them to you.

Truly, the value for you isn’t in the item, it’s in the memory.  You don’t need that item to keep the memory.  Give yourself permission to pass it on or sell it.

For more ideas check out How to Deal with Decluttering Guilt.

Plan Ahead

If possible, plan ahead and give yourself time to declutter before you downsize.  Downsizing may be an emotional process for you.  So, do a little decluttering at a time.  Take on one space a month.  Commit to going to the donation center once a month. 

Of course, you can do it all at once, but that may be more emotionally draining for you.

You’re now ready to get started!  Mentally commit!  Make your Action Plan!  Remember your options for discarding.  And give yourself permission to keep some sentimental items while getting rid of others. 

How to Save Time Grocery Shopping [+ FREE Template]

Inside: This free grocery store list printable will help you to save time and frustration the next time you go to the store. It organizes things by categories so you never forget an item again.

Squabbles were breaking out between my son and daughter.  They were hungry and I could tell.  No problem, Taco Tuesday meant cooking would be quick and easy. 

I pulled out the red taco seasoning and the shredded cheese when my heart started to race.  Where was the ground meat?  My face heated up.  Don’t tell me I forgot it at the store (again).  This is the worst time of day to take the kids to the grocery store!

Sound familiar?

woman shoping by aisle with her free grocery list printable

Maybe you’ve made a practice of swinging by the grocery store after you pick the kids up from school.  Perhaps you make your grocery list on the back of an envelope from discarded mail (only to misplace it later).  Or stroll the aisle hoping everything you need will come to mind as you look at all of the products.

While these methods can work, they usually lead to frustration that you forgot something at the store, had to zig-zag across the store to get something you overlooked, or wasted time by going to the grocery store multiple times.

That’s where a Printable Grocery List comes in.

When I was single, I could do the quick trips to the grocery store, but it’s more complex when you have a family to feed.  That’s why meal planning and making your grocery list is a super helpful habit to make.

Tips for Making a Grocery List

Making your grocery list is super easy and will save you loads of time!  Listed below are a few tips that will help you make the most of your planning efforts.

Step 1 – Make a list of your meals and snacks for the week.

You’ll most likely find it easiest to spend a little time planning over the weekend.  Take a look at the week ahead and get an idea of how busy your schedule will be. 

Make a mental note of the days you have available to cook or eat at home and the days you’ll plan to eat out.  Jot down the recipes you’ll make.  I usually cook 3-4 recipes a week and plan on leftovers or take out for other days. 

If you want more ideas about meal planning check out this post.

Step 2 – Look up Recipes

If you don’t have family favorites like “Taco Tuesday”, then you may need to look up a few recipes.  Be sure to have your recipes in hand prior to making your list.

Step 3 – Check your refrigerator, freezer, or pantry

Next review your recipes and the meals you jotted down.  Check and see if you already have some of the ingredients in stock. 

You’re probably aware of the majority of things you have on hand, but if you have a deep freezer, it’s easy to forget what you have.  That’s where printables like a freezer inventory come in handy.  My Home Management Binder has templates like this plus over 100 pages of tools and templates to help you get your home life organized!  Right now, you can grab it for just $36. It’s normally $49, so this is an awesome deal!

Step 4 – Make Your Grocery List By Category

My FREE PRINTABLE grocery list is organized by category which will also help you save time at the grocery store.  There are sections for each area of the grocery store…produce, pantry, meats, baking etc.  So, I can easily go through each section without having to return!  I love the thrill of knowing I’ve picked up everything I need in a section! 

Pin the below image so that you come back to this post for reference later!

picture of the free grocerly list printable template organized by category

>> Click to download the FREE Grocery List printable here!<<

Go Grocery Shopping!

Be sure to remember your grocery list and a pen when you go to the store.  If you take kids with you, you can also involve them in the process. Have them hold onto the list and cross things off as you get them. 

Make notes of anything the grocery store was out of.

But I Order Groceries Online

Even if your order groceries online, the list is helpful and necessary.  When you order online it’s usually because you don’t have time to go to the store.  You have to pay for this modern convenience.  Usually, grocers either have a fee for the service or they’ve increased the prices of the products.  So, if you’re trying to avoid going to the grocery store and forget a few items, it will really stink.  It’s a double whammy costing time and money!

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My Favorite Printable

Honestly, this printable is the one I use EVERY SINGLE WEEK without fail.  It’s rare that I go to the grocery store without it and when I do, it’s pretty much guaranteed that I’ll forget something.

If you’re tired of wasting time making multiple trips to the grocery store, forgetting things and returning to an isle because you overlooked a key ingredient, or just want to take some of the stress out of life, then be sure to get this free printable here! 

And if you’re really serious about getting your home life in order, then grab The Busy Girl’s Household Planner right now, while you can get it for just $36.

Grab It Here





Tips for Making the Marie Kondo Method Work In Your Busy Life

Have you read Marie Kondo’s book, “The Life-changing Magic of Tidying Up” or watched her popular Netflix show “Tidying Up”?  The woman seriously knows how to declutter and organize a home!

Whether you have an abundance of clothes and gear for your young family, things left in your house from grown children, or sentimental heirlooms, Kondo has a tried and tested method for decluttering.  She can take the most overwhelming home and get it organized. And she promises that you’ll never go back to the way things were!

The KonMari Steps

In case you’re unfamiliar with Marie Kondo’s KonMari Method, let me give you a quick review.

It focuses on two basic principles 1) discarding and 2) deciding where to store things.  Kondo gives 6 rules for her discarding process which she says you must follow to be successful.

1) Sort by category, not by room e.g. clothes, books, etc.

2) Make it an event…(a marathon that could last up to 6 months)

3) Put all of the category items in one pile on the floor before you start to discard

4) Focus more on the things you want to keep vs. trying to get rid of stuff

5) Only keep items that “spark joy” forget all other criteria!

6) Address each category in the following order: Clothes, Books, Paper, Miscellaneous (Kimono), and Sentimental things.

Decluttered cabinet with text Tips for Making the Marie Kondo Method Work in Your Busy Life

Don’t Follow Marie Kondo’s Rules

As much as I admire her technique and the results, her approach just isn’t possible as a busy mom.  After reading both of her books, I did exactly what she told me NOT TO do. I didn’t follow her order. I didn’t bring everything into the middle of the room. I didn’t go on a decluttering marathon. Lastly, I kept many things that I needed that did not “spark joy.”

I didn’t follow Marie Kondo’s rules.  Instead, I chose pieces of her method that would work for me and my family.  Let me share with you how I applied Maria Kondo’s practices…it isn’t as she prescribes, but it works if you don’t have much time!

Does It Spark Joy

First, let’s talk about her one and only criteria, “Does it Spark Joy?”

This is a great criteria that you should use.  How often have you considered your emotions towards an object and let it be THE deciding factor of whether you keep it or not?  You may have been only focused on practical things like do you use the item or is it worn out etc. 

Her joy criteria gave me permission to get rid of things that were not worn out or that I may use, but not love.  It was very freeing to accept this new criteria.  I realized I kept things in my home because I felt I and to.  In reality, I wasn’t using them, they were just taking up my time and space as I shuffled them around.

I encourage you to incorporate the “joy” criteria…but, break the rules by not making it your only criteria.  I found the “joy” criteria too limiting.  There were just some things that I need to keep…things that don’t bring me joy.  

The Decluttering Marathon

Do you find it near impossible to work on a project for a couple of hours?  Imagine dedicating months to a project?   It’s just not realistic for most modern-day families.  Life is busy.

That’s why I decluttered in small chunks of time.  If you take this approach, you should aim for progress, not perfection.  (Marie Kondo is aiming for perfection – which is totally admirable)

Instead of doing all of the clothes in your entire home, just do the kid’s clothes…one drawer at a time.  Or just do the dresses in your closet…then the suits…then the tops as time permits.

I used Marie Kondo’s vertical filing technique for our clothes.  It was seriously life-changing, but, I didn’t do it as a marathon.  I went drawer by drawer.  Then I made sure my husband knew how to do it and now I’m teaching my kids.  I’m happy to share that two years later, we still have our drawers organized the same way.

Address Each Category In A Specific Order

Like Frank Sinatra, “I did it my way!”  Part of not being overwhelmed with decluttering and home organization is following your own motivation and passion.  You may have days where that junk drawer is totally bugging you and you would feel such a sense of accomplishment if you could get that one thing organized. 

There may be other times when you have a lot more energy to give to your home organization projects.  Maybe it’s January and you’re motivated by a fresh start.  It’s time to start with a clean slate, so you want to reorganize all of the clothes or take on your paper clutter.

Go where you have passion and purpose.  Take on the decluttering project large or small that works for you.

I decluttered as time permitted…and some days it was one drawer at a time…in the bathroom, kitchen, or bedroom.  Other days, I was motivated to tackle an entire project like the basement storage closet.  Declutter by room or category in a way that works for you.

Decluttering Progress without Perfection

Even though I didn’t do the KonMari method, I still learned a lot from Marie Kondo. I just made tweaks so that her approach could work for me in this season in life.

If you’re ready to declutter but overwhelmed by this popular method, consider the following.

  • What areas in your home are the most important to you?
  • Are they functioning as you need them to?
  • Do they make you happy or frustrated?

If you want more tips for how to get organized when you have little time, check out this post?

5 Steps to Home Organization When You Have No Time

If you’d prefer to do the KonMari method as prescribed, check out this post.

The Exact Way to do Marie Kondo’s Decluttering Method

Remember, the goal is progress, not perfection. Life is busy and there’s a lot on your plate.  Give yourself permission to find a home organization method that works for you.





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