Clear Clutter with These 3 Organization Tips

I’ve recently moved into a beautiful Victorian terraced home in the center of this lovely coastal town and have had to get rid of 60% of our stuff—everything from antique furniture to clothes. I had thought that would be enough, but it isn’t. And, even though everything remaining is beautiful or useful, too much of a good thing becomes clutter and makes living uncomfortable. It was time to get my ducks in a row!

I’ve been spending my evenings staring at the furniture trying to figure out what should go and was drawing a complete blank. As a general rule in life, if you get stuck, get help. I invited a friend (who lives in very tiny home that is always immaculate and fresh feeling) to get some advice and a different perspective. One of the first things she pointed out is that the furniture that best suits the rustic nature of the house with its stripped pine floors and doors is the rustic, shabby chic furniture, not the fancier stuff (blatantly obvious as soon as she said it). At last, some criteria! It is ever so much easier to make decisions of any kind when you have some clear criteria in place. She suggested moving a few items from one wall to the other and voila! The space just opened right up. She then advised that I put everything in the room where it will be used. For example, I had linens stored in a chest in the living room. Those needed to go into the dining room, so I moved the chest into the dining room and not only does it look nice there, it is more functional.

Nothing like an outside perspective. As a result, I’ve now loaded up the van with stuff to take to the resale shop and the house looks much nicer.

Here’s the key: when you are trying to decide whether something should stay or go, the obvious question is:

  1. Is it useful and have I used it in the last six months/year?
  2. Is it beautiful and gives me joy?
  3. After that it gets tougher and you may need additional criteria to weed things out. Figure out what that criteria is and then, all of a sudden, the clearing is easy and effortless.

Some possible clutter-clearing criteria:

  1. What is the style of the house and what furniture best suits that style?
  2. What is the numeric limit? (E.g. I have space for 20 pairs of shoes in the closet and after that they get jumbled. Or, I have two drawers for linens and anything that doesn’t fit goes out. Put your top favorites in and the rest go to charity or ebay.)
  3. Does it match or belong with a set or is it an odd, stray item? (Strays go!)
  4. Is it in the room where it will be used? Move it in there and then you’ll see just how much you are dealing with and can decide to toss or build storage for it.

P.S. Read more articles on decluttering here and in particular this article Banish Clutter Forever! One Simple Secret is all You’ll Ever Need.

P.P.S. For support on clearing clutter join our community in the Coach Yourself To Success online course.

Talane Miedaner
Talane Miedaner is a Master Life Coach and the founder of LifeCoach.com. She is the international bestselling author of Coach Yourself to Success: 101 Tips for Accomplishing Your Personal and Professional Goals (McGraw-Hill, 2014), Coach Yourself to a New Career as well as The Secret Laws of Attraction.