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Is it hard to find the things you need in your house? Do you hesitate to invite people over? Do you have a room or closet no one is allowed to see? I understand. It’s not pleasant, but don’t give up hope, because the good news is it can get better. Way better!

So you’ve decided it’s finally time to get your household organized. Good for you! This is a big step and one that will change your life in ways you can’t even imagine. It will lead to you having more money, more time, and less stress. Yowza, where do I sign up? (We’ll get to that later) To start, you need to decide which living space in your household is the most out of control, wasting your time and straining your limits. OK. You probably figured that out fast. Once this space is in order, you will feel so calm and confident that the same level of control will come to your other living spaces as they get organized as well. But remember, it’s important to start with your highest priority living space and work through it until completion. One victory at a time. You can do this!

Before we start you need to be mentally prepared to get rid of things you no longer need. This can be a very emotional activity. Thankfully, there are Clear Questions you can ask yourself to help with this process, for example:

1. How much do I love this?

2. When did I last use this?

3. When will I use it again?

4. How much would I buy it for today?

5. Do I own something else that serves the same purpose?

6. Does it elicit bad memories or cause stress?

7. Does it save me time?

Your answers to these Clear Questions need to be clear in order to help you clear your space. Being honest with your answers is hard, which is why it’s good to have a sympathetic ear, someone who is understanding and has your best interests in mind.

So now that you know where you want to start and you’re psyched up to make good decisions, here are the steps I take when organizing a living space.

1) Remove and Presort Everything

You won’t know exactly what you are getting into until you remove every item from the space you are working in. So, let’s get started. It will save you time to presort items into three categories as you remove items from the space: Keep, Purge, Undecided. If you already know you don’t need something anymore put it into the Purge category. If you can’t make up your mind yet, put it into the Undecided category. For all the items that you can sincerely say you love or will be used frequently, put them into the Keep category. Be sure not to stack items too high or block passageways – you want this to be safe.

2) Prepare the Space

Do a quick cleaning of the space – with everything out, this is the best time for it. If you discover a large mess that requires professional cleaning or a handyman is needed, this is the best time to do that as well. Once everything is out of the space, you can now visualize and plan how to make the space aesthetically pleasing and thoroughly functional for your needs.

3) Sort the Stuff You Will Keep

It can be hard to let things go that you don’t really need. As you categorize the items you decided to keep, you need to answer Clear Questions above to help you make the right decisions. For the items that you love or frequently use you need to further sub-categorize them into: Stay, Relocate, Nostalgia. Within each of these sub-categories, place items that are similar together. Duplicates should be moved to the Purge category. Items that make sense to stay here will stay, while those that are used elsewhere in the house should be relocated. It’s OK to keep some nostalgic items, but only if when you hold these items you have intense positive emotions. You can also consider taking a picture of nostalgic items and letting them go. You don’t need to keep a physical item to keep a memory.

4) Purge the Stuff You No Longer Need

This part should be easy, as you have already decided you aren’t keeping any of these items. However, this can be challenging if you have a lot of items you still perceive as having enough value that you’d like to sell them. To make this easier, you should come up with an amount for which it’s not worth the time and effort to sell something. A good rule of thumb is compare how much your time is worth vs the effort of selling an item. As an example, if your time is worth $50 per hour to you and it takes 30 minutes to take pictures, write an ad, post it, field all the “interested” responses, and meet with potential buyers- you should instead donate anything worth under $25. Purging includes selling, as well as donating, and trashing. Donating unused items is fulfilling as you are helping charities and giving these old items new life to those who actually can use them. Plus, you’ll get a tax break for each donated item. Just remember, the difference between trash and donations is that donations must be in good/working condition. All broken and tattered items will not be kept by donation centers, so do everyone a favor and throw it away now. It fulfilled a purpose for you at some point and that time has passed. It’s OK to let it go this way.

5) Rearrange Your Space

This step is so much fun and satisfying, as you see your newly organized space come together. It is important to assign homes to everything in a way that is both functional and aesthetically pleasing. Also, similar items should live together. Examples include: all sharp kitchen tools are available next to your cutting board; your paperwork is in one file cabinet next to your desk; you have a storage bench at your entryway for all your shoes; you have a shelf reserved for leftovers labeled with chalk markers in your fridge; both of your cars fit in your garage! It feels so good when you actually see everything come together.

6) Reflect

Set aside some time in a week or two to ask yourself what is working, what could improve and take some action. Your household should not be the root of any stress. Family members should be putting items back where they live after use. If something isn’t working, now is the time to change it.

Now you are ready to get organized! If a room seems too overwhelming, I suggest you start with something relatively small like a cabinet, a group of drawers, or your purse. Enjoy some success and then move on to entire rooms. However, if you still feel you need help, well, that’s why I’m here! No matter how disorganized your house is now, I love to untangle messes and help people get past any embarrassment they may have on their pathway to an organized life. It really doesn’t have to be that way if you make the investment. Weir Organized will help you change your life. You will do less and accomplish more.