Updated: Dec 17, 2020
As a professional organizer, I've walked through a lot of disorganized homes and I've worked alongside many people who struggle with keeping their home decluttered + organized. While there are specific nuances with each home, each family and each person there are three things I see consistently in every disorganized home Neat Little Nest visits.
Too much stuff
The first thing I look for when I walk into a client's home for the first time is to see if there is a volume issue. I can tell this just by looking around. You see, when you have more stuff than your space will allow, even the best systems will be taxed beyond their capabilities and clutter ends up piling up everywhere.
One way to determine for yourself if you have too much stuff is to simply ask yourself (or ask someone who knows you well) if you have more stuff than you can manage. If the answer (the real answer) is yes, then listen to the answer and decide to do something about it. Everyone has a different limit to the amount of things they can manage, so there is no shame in realizing you are past your limit.
When you have more stuff than you can manage, it is time to reduce (aka declutter) to the point where you can manage your stuff with confidence within the parameters of your home's space constraints.
The three main principles we follow when decluttering with our Neat Little Nest clients:
Sort through your items category by category (and subcategory when necessary) rather than room by room.
Focus on what you want to keep vs. what you want to get rid of
Use "joy" and "service" as the filters to determine what you keep
If you're ready to declutter, grab yourself our free downloadable decluttering checklist.
If you want even more details on how to declutter + organize, check out our recent Spring Decluttering + Cleaning blog post.
Lack of clear systems
The second thing I look for when I walk into a client's home is to see if the space is lacking organizational systems. I am able to view a lack of systems just from walking around the space, but I often need to ask additional clarifying questions to really determine if the lack of clear systems is the major challenge.
One insight I'm always searching for in my conversations with new clients is if the items in the space all have a clear "home". If they do not, then it is a tipoff to me that one source of their clutter is likely a lack of a system.
For example, if you have too much paper in the kitchen, there is likely a lack of system for bringing mail into the home. When you have extremely cluttered bathroom cabinets or cluttered pantry shelves, often providing bins and creating clear homes where subcategories of items live organically creates the system.
Remember, systems should be simple enough for you and others in your home to understand and easy to manage so that maintaining them doesn't become a source of stress.
Decluttering + Organizing doesn't need to be intimidating. Setting up a few basic systems provides you and others you share a home with a roadmap to know where your things "home" is.
You're not putting your stuff back