Assess Your Rooms
Walk through your house with a pen and a notebook, writing down the activities that take place in each room and the items associated with those activities. "Then 'purpose' your space," says Vicki Norris, president of Restoring Order, an organizing company in Portland, Oregon. "Note your desired use for each room, even if you are not using it that way currently." Remove anything that doesn't relate to your proposed activity for that space.
- Start with one room, but keep the whole house in mind.
- Think of rooms that have multiple purposes as several smaller areas, so it's clear where items should be returned if they stray. If gift-wrapping is the designated activity for a certain part of the study and you find a spool of ribbon in the kitchen, you'll know exactly where it belongs, and so will other family members.
Why It Works
- This strategy lays the foundation for long-term change. "By taking an `aerial view' of your entire home, you'll see how certain activities and their supplies are strewn throughout the home―like paperwork, memorabilia, or toys," Norris explains.
- Tackling clutter without knowing your priorities can be counterproductive. "People who take a `tidy up' approach are actually rearranging rather than organizing," Norris says. "Sooner or later, the space relapses to its original condition."