From Chaos to Calm: The Power of Decluttering Before You Organize

 Inside: In this post, we explore why decluttering is the essential first step to organizing. Learn why decluttering can help create more space and make organizing a more effective process. Read on for some tips and encouragement to help you get started on your decluttering journey.

Have you ever tried to organize a pile of clothes, only to realize that half of them don’t even fit you anymore? Or tried to organize your utensils only to find that you have tons of duplicates, broken gadgets, and tools you haven’t used for at least a decade?

As you organize this excess stuff you’ll likely find yourself cramming things into cabinets and drawers, and have trouble finding what you need when you need it.

Image of a white couch and decluttered coffee table in front of a bright window. With text from Chaos to Calm: the power of decluttering before you organize.

The Difference Between Decluttering and Organizing

You see, there’s a difference between decluttering and organizing

.  Decluttering is like Marie Kondo-ing your life – it’s the process of purging things you don’t need or use anymore. Think clothes you haven’t worn in years or old textbooks from college that you’ll never read again. The goal of decluttering is to create more space and less stress in your living area.

Organizing, on the other hand, is all about putting your belongings in the right place. It’s like giving your space a makeover to create a more functional and efficient environment. Think of it like rearranging your kitchen cabinets so you can easily find your pots and pans or organizing your closet so your favorite shirt isn’t buried under a pile of clothes. Organizing can be done after decluttering or on an ongoing basis to maintain a tidy and stress-free living space.

In short, decluttering is about getting rid of stuff, while organizing is about putting stuff in its place. Together, they can transform your living area and help you feel more relaxed and in control of your environment.

With that said, there is a sequence to these two separate but related activities.  If you try to organize before you declutter, you’re going to face a few obstacles.

Challenges with Organizing Before You Declutter

If you make the mistake of trying to organize before decluttering, you may face these challenges:

  1. Cluttered Storage: You end up creating a false sense of order. The clutter is still present, just hidden away in storage spaces, leading to a temporary solution rather than a long-term fix. Then instead of organized the space, ends up overcrowded and difficult to navigate.
  2. Frustration: Instead of taking the opportunity to simplify your life and let go of things that are no longer serving you. You end up with the same frustration day after day.  Holding onto things takes up space and causes unnecessary stress in your life.  Ultimately, you end up organizing and reorganizing the same items repeatedly, which can be time-consuming and mentally draining.
  3. Wasted Space: When you organize before decluttering, you may end up storing items that you don’t need or use, wasting valuable storage space that could be used for more important things.

On the other hand, if you declutter first, you can get rid of items that you no longer need or use. This will free up space and make it easier to organize your remaining items in a way that makes sense.

Why Decluttering is Important Before Organizing

That’s why decluttering should always come first. It’s like preparing the canvas before painting – you wouldn’t want to start painting on a dirty and bumpy surface, right? The same goes for organizing – you can’t create order out of chaos. Well, you can try, but it’ll be a Sisyphean task.

Here are some reasons why you need to declutter before you organize your home:

  1. Reducing clutter: This one’s a no-brainer. When you declutter, you get rid of things that you no longer need or want. This means less stuff to organize, less overwhelm, and easier to see how you should group and categorize your things.
  2. Saving time and effort: When you declutter, you’re essentially editing your belongings. You’re choosing what to keep and what to discard. This means that when you do organize, you’ll spend less time and effort figuring out what to do with everything.
  3. Maximizing storage space: When you declutter, you free up storage space. So when you organize, you’ll have more space to work with, which can make a huge difference in a small space.
  4. Better aesthetics and functionality: When you declutter, you’re left with only the things that you truly love and need. Ultimately, when you organize, you’ll create a space that looks and feels great, and that functions in a way that works for you.

Click here to get your copy of my –> FREE Decluttering with Tiny Tasks Starter Kit.

Benefits of Decluttering Before Organizing

But the benefits of decluttering go beyond just a neat and tidy home. Here are some other perks including reduced stress and anxiety and improved mental clarity and focus.  Decluttering a space can also increase your productivity and creative. When you’re not constantly distracted by clutter, you’re free to focus on the task at hand.

How to Declutter Before Organizing Your


So, what’s the best way to declutter? Here are some tips:

  1. Start small: I call this the Tiny Task approach. Declutter working on small projects that take 30 minutes or less.  If you have a large area to tack, look at the smaller components for example, just declutter one drawer and not the whole dresser! 
  2. Sort items into categories: Create piles of items that you want to keep, donate, sell, or discard. You can use label four boxes or bags with the categories and go through each item in the room, placing them into the appropriate box.
  3. Donate or sell unwanted items: Don’t just throw away everything you’re getting rid of. Donate or sell items that are still in good condition. And, if you have any hazardous materials or electronics make sure you discard them in an environmentally friendly way.

So, there you have it. Decluttering before organizing is the key to a neat, tidy, and functional home.

Decluttering is important before organizing because it helps you get rid of the things you no longer need or use, creating more space and less clutter. When you declutter, you can better assess what you have and organize it in a more efficient and effective way. By contrast, organizing before decluttering can lead to a disorganized space, where you may end up keeping items you don’t need or have space for.

So, if you’re feeling overwhelmed by clutter, now is the time to take action and start decluttering. Set aside thirty minutes each day to get started.  Begin by tackling a specific area of your home, like a closet or a drawer. Sort through your items, and be honest with yourself about what you truly need and use. Donate or discard items that no longer serve a purpose, and organize the rest in a way that makes sense for your lifestyle. Remember, decluttering is a process, and it may take time, but the end result will be a more peaceful and enjoyable living space.





Click here to get my free decluttering with tiny tasks starter kit.  



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