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2 Organizing Tips That Will Change Your Clutter Forever

I am a closet organizational fiend. Not many know about my organizational fiendish ways. I can’t help it.

When things are not put up in their proper place, I feel nervous, all stressed out, like there is inner turmoil there. I can’t seem to rest or have peace.

It somehow affects my mind and my thought process. It’s like the clutter in a home = the clutter of my mind. Things everywhere, not connected, scattered.

Can you relate?

******BREAKING NEWS: I have been so overwhelmed at the response to this post and all the people asking me for more organizing tips and tricks that I decided to start an entire organizing Pinterest board (like today!) dedicated to people who are organized obsessed like me. 🙂 I would love for you to follow me there! You can find the Pinterest board, Organized Obsessed by clicking here.

Because of that, I really like to live in a minimalist way. I don’t need a lot and what I do have is quality. Here’s how I accomplish that on the cheap. I definitely take the ‘less is more’ approach. Unfortunately, my family is not the same!!! lol.

They don’t care if clothes are scattered in the middle of the hallway and you’re tripping just to get to their rooms.

Matt messy room

They don’t care if there’s a big piece of paper in the middle of the kitchen floor, or a mountain of clothes on the couch that need to be put up.

Related: Organize Your Entire Life eBook and Planner

To me, these things drive me nuts, and I probably drive them a little nuts too. Hey, isn’t that what family is all about? 😉

Organizing Tips

With that said, two of the absolute biggest helps you can learn if you’re not a nut-case organizational freak like me are:


One: Apply the 6 month rule

If you haven’t used it, worn it, played with it, or missed it for 6 months, it’s safe to get rid of. Throw it away, give it to Salvation Army, sell it on eBay, give it to a friend, whatever you do, get rid of it. You do not need it.

The Excuse: What if I’ll need it later on?

I can say that by applying this method over the course of my life, I have been able to get rid of a lot of things and have a much neater, cleaner, and organized home, but there are a couple things that I have actually had to replace. It hasn’t happened often and definitely not enough to warrant keeping all my junk.

Perfect example, don’t get a storage unit to store your stuff. Just don’t! Sell it and have the cash in hand. Now, I know there are a few exceptions to that rule, just use your best judgement.

The Exception:

• Seasonal items like clothes, etc. For those types of items, apply a one year rule. If you haven’t used it in one year, get rid of it.

• Organizational supplies. I’m a big fan of things like modular boxes and use them for many things, such as receipts, in my closet to organize beauty products that I bought while on sale and so on. The modular boxes fit nicely under the bed, so you can store things under there as well.

Anything that you can organize with, I don’t throw out. I have a row of pantry cabinets in my garage and one of them is for things I am not using, but am not getting rid of yet. Right now, I just moved, so there are curtains, lamps, and wall decor in there as well, waiting for me to decorate with it and if I don’t, I’ll sell the items. Since I have a dedicated cabinet for these items, everything is still 100% organized and I can find what I’m looking for super quick. I know right where everything is.

2 Organizing Tips That Will Change Your Clutter Forever | Just 10 Minutes a Day Keeps the Clutter Monster Away

Two: Spend just 10 minutes a day organizing

It doesn’t seem like a long time to organize. Maybe you are thinking you’ll never get things done if you only do this for 10 minutes a day, but I guarantee you that you will if you do it consistently. This is not a race. It took you years of accumulating stuff, it’s not going to happen overnight, but what WILL happen, is you will begin to set a pattern for yourself.

Related: 10 Tools That Will Make Your Life Easier & Help You Get Organized Now

Even a super busy mom who works 80 hours a week can find the time to set aside 10 minutes a day. Set the timer, and only organize. Take one drawer one day. A closet the next. Start small and work yourself up. If you are in the middle of organizing and the timer goes off, your 10 minutes is up and you still want to finish up, then do it. No harm, no foul.

**Everything you sort in that 10 minutes, remember your 6 month rule.

Depending on the amount of clutter, even the most gruesome of spaces can get a major overhaul with those two principles applied. Just be consistent. You can do it!

What are your top tips for staying organized?

You might also like:

7 Tips to Organizing with a Messy Family – Having a messy family can be hard if you love to be organized. This post will get you thinking about this problem in a whole new way.

Organize Your Life: 2015 Free Printable Calendars – These calendars won’t suck up a lot of ink and have plenty of room for writing inside the boxes.

10 Tools That Will Make Your Life Easier and Help You Get Organized Now – 10 fantastic tools that will help you get and stay organized. A must read.

10¢ Cleaning Hack: How to Clean Your Microwave Oven in 1 Minute – I love this quick and easy cleaning hack that anyone can do.

Top 5 Things To Clean in a Time Crunch – Company’s coming and you have 5 minutes. Here’s what to clean.

Organizing your home can be so difficult. You have no idea where to begin or how to organize your home in a way that makes sense. This organizing essentials guide is the perfect solution. With real life advice, this go-to guide covers almost everything you own! Get started now and say goodbye to clutter forever!

2 Organizing Tips That Will Change Your Clutter Forever | Just 10 Minutes a Day Keeps the Clutter Monster Away

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  1. I think I could probably get rid of a lot of stuff by just applying a 12 month rule rather than 6 months. Should I admit that? I also like your idea of 10 minutes per day, because anyone can do that. I feel like I really need an hour and then I don’t do anything because organizing is not a high enough of a priority for me to set aside a whole hour. But I can definitely set aside 10 minutes just about every day!

    • The 12-month guideline is actually the only way to sort seldom-used items, especially if you live where there are four seasons. If I go through my closet in October, see that I haven’t worn my snow boots, wool coat, gloves, hats, or scarves since April, am I going to get rid of them? I don’t think so! Same with my summer sandals and swimsuit in reverse – I’m not going to get rid of them in April because I haven’t worn them since October. If we’re talking about non-seasonal items, then, yes – the 6-month rule makes sense. But it is not a “blanket” statement – pun intended; I get out the heavy-duty comforters in October, too! 😉

      • Yes, good catch. 🙂 For seasonal items, I generally like to wait two same-seasons to see if I’ll wear/use them. So, if it’s a swimsuit, I’d go 2 summers before deciding to get rid of it or not.

        • One thing that I bet you “get” but I would like to introduce to would-be but less informed organizers: People with medical issues and disabilities may have other standards. I, for one, change sizes quickly due to digestive problems and right now waistbands on clothing that I haven’t worn for a good bit over 2 years are exactly the ones that are right. Similarly some of those are items I hadn’t used for over 2-3 years when I last needed them before that. I have a very low budget, and replacing even one or two of them would be prohibitive right now.
          Same for supplies for home IVs, for my former power wheelchair (doesn’t work well but is so much better than nothing when my current chair — less reliable in general – is totally on the blink.) Some people see that as pure clutter as not using them now, but too hard to collect and find what really works well. Don’t have much energy in the midst of all of that to go out and hunt and collect.
          Then there are the crafting supplies for which I have energy sometimes and then not for months at a time. When people come in to help me now (newly legally blind but with some vision) what they think is now useless, I know I have a chance of “reinventing” a way to use — again, priceless both for mental health and for how prohibitive it would be to replace them. A contractor threw out a 20+ year fabric stash as I wasn’t quilting when the work was being done; now devastating as quilting would be a perfect project — or at least a way to experiment and stay entertained and stimulated!
          Yes: at times it looks like a hoarder because I have things spread out everywhere, but only because I lost the table-top height counters that I could see and use best (badly done renovations that were misrepresented and thus that I didn’t fully understand) and I can’t see what things are to organize them as I formerly would. But with 1-2 hours of a good help, I “saw” what was useful and what was not with ease.
          SO: If medical alone (or medical + financial) – different rules might apply.
          Thank you!

          • Hello JOy, I understand what you are saying about being disabled and not using craft supplies for months at a time due to illness. I am also disabled (in body, not in mind nor in Spirit :), I have severe psoriatic arthritis and battle with chronic pain. I am a sewer (sew Civil war era clothes for reenacting), spinner and fiber artist and love papercrafts like cardmaking , that is only a little of the crafts I love. lol ohhh fabric, I did go down in my stock pile but have saved some for future gowns and dresses.

            I am trying to downsize and really declutter nearly everyday, as with my pain I find it so much easier to clean when things are organized and off the floor. I have a craft area in a bedroom with shelving and cabinets and I am constantly going through things and passing them on to others interested in crafting and selling them too.

      • I am doing more of the one year rule also.

        Help with this issue everyone…… I live in Florida and down here we do not have basements, nor can we use our attic, ( I tried and even in containers my things such as sweaters got scorched and wrecked!) sooo I have a storage unit. I do not have a large house (just a little over 1000 sq ft), plus NO garage and just a small shed ( no A/C) and not much room. I only have 1 closet in my house.
        I don’t know where to put my seasonal items like Christmas ornaments and clothes except in a storage unit? I added up the cost and thought maybe we could build a garage, but the placement due to city ordinances places it smack in the middle of our back yard, which is soo dumb soooooooo
        In June I am planning on doing a big yard sale and really paring down items. I wish I did not have a storage unit, but I cannot think of another way. It is not an option to move to a larger house, since I am disabled we really cannot afford it in our area.

        Any ideas???? Anyone???????
        I believe God has blessed us with so much, and I want to be a good steward of His blessings.I am sooooooo blessed and believe it or not, even though I struggle with pain 24 hours a day, od has used this to strengthen my faith and help me rely upon HIm for everything. He has helped me to gain compassion for others who are going through chronic illness like me and reach out to them and show them God’s hope. 🙂 Being organized helps everyone, in so many ways.

        • Thank you for sharing Sue Ellen. About 5 years ago, I lived in a very tiny apartment, so can definitely relate. We had a small closet out on the balcony that helped to store Christmas things. I would say think about height. Use the top shelves of closets. If a closet doesn’t have shelves, make them or buy them. Try to utilize every inch you can and have smaller furniture. Like my entertainment center was an end table! It worked. 🙂 I’d love to hear others thoughts as well. You can also check out this post if you haven’t seen it: Tricks and Tips for Organizing A Small Apartment.

        • Hey Sue Ellen,
          I saw the neateast idea on Pinterest: make your storage boxes into part of the decor by using a giant landscape mural on the sides of stacked boxes! I pinned one that looked like those cartons that reams of paper comes in at Staples or Office Max and they were stacked so the long side was against the wall and facing the room. They were maybe 6 boxes (about 10-12 ft) wide and 5 boxes (maybe 5-6 ft) tall, so it was almost an entire wall of an apartment living room.

          I was looking on a posters site for a beautiful landscape, but decided they were too expensive for the size I want, so I am collecting boxes and planning to paste and/or modge podge a large (free) US map on the center 4-6 boxes and spray paint the other boxes read/white/blue and use old, collected calendar scenes in the surrounding boxes. Maybe I’ll label the tops (that don’t show) with the contents . . . . maybe I’ll make column 1 Christmas boxes, column 2 sheets/towels/clothes, column 3 the crafting supplies . . . . . .right now I’ve collected about 20 boxes (10 are already soray painted on all the exterior sides) which are mostly filled with unsorted (mostly unorganized jumbles) of 30 years of math teaching supplies & worksheets that I didn’t use and wanted to keep for tutoring instead of just recycling the paper . . . . .. I went to the dollar store and bought CHEAP, but beautiful calendars to add to my “collection” of free calendars from charities that I have received over the years and cut apart for bulletin boards, etc . . . .if we used Sarah’s idea of 10 minutes a day, (or sorting 1 box a day), I bet you & I could both have a beautiful wall (of organized storage) in about a month! What do you think?

  2. Thanks for the great tips! So easy and this makes tackling my clutter not so overwhelming! I can’t wait to get started!

  3. These are great tips. I love being organized and not just by throwing out stuff or putting stuff away (shelves, closet, cupboards and drewers). But by sometimes actually using bins/baskets, stuff for dividers, labals, hooks and so on combined with decorating and beig crafty. With that being said still working on it and hubby and I tend to have clothes by the washer needing folding, clothes on bedroom floor needing washing and some rooms in the house needing organizing. I am working it. I find that sometimes going through stuff you find stuff you haven’t used in 6 months yes… maybe even longer. But then you can be like hey I forgot about this or don’t even remember having it to begin with haha. So once you find homes for stuff anf have it organized rather then randomly put away then you will probably use or wear that item. But it really is a must to get rid of stuff and not keep everything. Thanks for the tips which I first saw on pinterest.

    • That’s awesome Melanie. I know, my house is the same right now. I’m spring cleaning and it looks like a disaster. There are kids clothes everywhere on one side of the living room, sorting through summer clothes, which ones fit, which one’s don’t. lol. I keep thinking, it’s gotta get worse to get better! But, it isn’t very motivating. haha! I’ve decided that we just have WAY too many clothes and toys. Going to be selling off at least half!

  4. Thanks for the reminder! This will be a perfect motto for me – I’ve been trying to cram everything in – exercise, cleaning, etc. Just 10 minutes. I can do that! 🙂

    • I hear you Lori, I seem to be overwhelmed at the moment as well with Spring Cleaning because I DIDN’T follow my own advice the last few months as it got super busy here. Boo me! So, to catch up, I’m just taking one room at a time. Today, I focused on the abundance of clothes that we go through every season that seem to have exploded on my couch. There it is. Found it. Knew I had a couch under there somewhere! lol. We ALL need reminders! 😀 Maybe it would be easier to remember to organize/clean for 10 mins if we set up a time to do that. Like, I remember to brush my teeth before bed because I always do it at the same time of day…what do ya think?

  5. I am always putting off de – cluttering due to lack of time ! I read your foreword and thought ‘gosh she has just summed up in words EXACTLY how i feel !’ I can’t sit still and relax knowing that something needs to de done elsewhere, it really is mind over matter though and i am going to start to allocate 10 mins a day to get on top of things ! Thank you for jogging my memory 😉

    • I can’t sit and relax or even sleep when I know something needs to be done. I wonder how a person goes about changing that. It sure would relieve a lot of stress! LOL.

  6. I have a hard time throwing away something that’s still useful, so I joined a group called Freecycle.org. They have sites in most areas. No money changes hands, you list the items you want to get rid of and some one will always take what ever you have! They pick up the items or you can arrange to meet some place public to exchange. It’s a controlled group and everyone I’ve dealt with has been so nice and appreciative of the things I no longer need. And it keeps things out of landfills. Love your ideas.

  7. if you dont buy a storage shed where do you store all the clothes you buy ahead for the kiddos? I dont have a garage or closet space at home so im not sure where to put the “stuff” namely stuff my kids outgrew that im saving for siblings (i dont have time to go shopping with 3 littles) or stuff ive bought ahead for the kids to grow into later that were good deals.

    • Yeah, that would be a tough one. I am thankful that I have a garage and just use metal heavy shelving to store the totes on. If you don’t have a garage or closet space, perhaps underneath beds? They make long, short storage totes to fit under beds. I would also have a hard time paying for a storage unit, because they are at minimum around $30/month. Do you have parents or family that could help you store them? Maybe someone in your church has space in their garage or closets? At the very tip top of closets is a good place. You can easily get garbage sacks and just label them and put them up there. I’ve also made 2 poles in my kids closets before. The pole at the top is clothes that I’m storing for future, and then the clothes on the bottom pole are the ones they wear now. It helps because then they can reach their own clothes.

    • I am a hereditary pack rat and a miserable housekeeper and so I recruit help – EVERYONE knows SOMEONE – a coworker, sister, child, friend who is good at organization. And if you DON’T know someone personally, ASK AROUND. Local 4H or Scouts or Church. I could never do anything without help. Re: Storage – We live in a converted 2-bay garage – one decent sized room. I have a metal utility shelf which can hold up 12 storage bins – I actually have golf clubs, bowling bags, cooler, stadium seats and bins for books, tools and some of my larger appliances like my stand mixer stored on it. We purchased the wire curtain system that is ceiling mounted, waited for a great sale at Christmas Tree Shops for drapery ($7 a pair for 8 ft lengths) to close it in. My daughter is RUTHLESSLY organized and periodically she helps organize and clean out drawers and bins and the like. Anything she thinks should be got rid of that I’m not sure about we put up. This DOES NOT include clothes, tools, blankets the cat carrier, craft supplies (yarn, fabric, my sewing and knitting paraphernalia) etc . If I haven’t touched it in six months then I know it won’t be missed or needed. Conversely, if it gets brought out again, it’s for keeps.

  8. Take a few minutes a day really does make a HUGE difference. One of my goals this year is to de-clutter our house. Setting a side 10 minutes a day can make the entire process a lot easier.

    • That’s a great goal Addi! I have about 40 minutes set aside every day to do one thing for 10 minutes each (so 4 tasks) and it REALLY keeps me focused and organized because when I’m done, I stop, I don’t get sidetracked as easy. 🙂 I just set the 10 minute timer on my iPhone.

  9. When my two kids were very young I learned a trick that I still use today, 30 years later! I “police ” the house EVERY night before I go to bed, straightening up and putting away things from that day. It has never taken me more than 30 minutes, even when I felt my house was a disaster. If you only have one day’s worth of things to deal with it is much more manageable and not so intimidating. One last thing I learned from my mom … Never go to bed with a messy kitchen! If you spend those few minutes cleaning it starts the next day so much brighter 😉

  10. I love the 10 minute rule. So simple, but the time will add up!

    I desperately need to go through my clothes as I know have have plenty that don’t pass the 6 month rule (or 3 year rule…). I have thought of just doing one drawer per day and know that it would so helpful! I just haven’t gotten myself to start just yet. 😉

    • That’s a great idea, Emily. One drawer at a time. Yeah, seasonal clothes can go past 6 months, but definitely something 3 years old, you want to take a look at. 🙂 I think of it like this….If I’m not wearing it, why shouldn’t someone else wear it rather than the clothing collect dust? There are so many people out there who would LOVE to be able to have clothes. Could I use what I have in excess to help someone else? Knowing I can help someone else, helps me be able to part with things easier. Hopefully that makes sense. 🙂

  11. I use the “One Touch” rule. If I have something in my hand I have to put it where it belongs right then because if I set it down to deal with later I will have to touch it more than once. This proves to be very helpful with clothes and keeping my bedroom clean because all of my clothes are always hung up and put away. Also it keeps clutter from piling up in other areas of the house because it gets put away the first time. It is actually fun to challenge myself to not touch an item more than once!

  12. Hi, I am just having a major sort out of my crafting, sewing stuff as I got overwhelmed with the sheer quantity and variety I had collected. After going to a brilliant exhibition and seeing how the professionals were focused in their work I decided to set myself a focus for my work. I am going to use mostly neutral fabrics and dye or color them myself( a summer job as have no messy working area) to save me having so much fabric. I’ve also kept all my sheer and opaque fabrics as I found a lovely book on transparency from the library. I’m having a boot sale so I can use the money to buy more dye etc. I started my declutter by deciding what to keep that really caught my imagination rather than concentrating on what to throw away and have found that my boot sale items have now reached 6 crates and I’m not panicking like I usually do about whether I’ll need it another day. My new rule is, can I buy it somewhere if I ever need it in the future? If yes, and I don’t need it now, off it goes to a new home. It’s very liberating. In future I am going to try your 10 minute rule to sort and tidy every day so I never get to this mess again.

  13. Sarah, I love your blog. It is helping me in many ways. I have endured personal heartbreaks similar to yours and it is very encouraging to see that YOU have risen above and not only survived but PROSPERED!!!! I praise GOD that I found your blog. Thank you for being so honest and open. Thank you for the free eBook (I had already gotten it!). Keep doing the great work that you are doing! Blessings through Jesus!

  14. I am not great at sticking to a tidying routine, but recently I started the magic#30 rule for myself. When the house is starting to get out of control and I am too wiped out to move, I tell myself I can go to bed after I tidy 30 things. This doesn’t mean picking up 10 shoes counts as 10 or loading the dishwasher bangs off half the job. Hang up coats equals 1. Load dishwasher equals 1. It may seem like a long road to 30. It’s not – 15 to 20 max. And it’s just enough work to make waking up a pleasure when I open my eyes to a tidy enough bedroom and make my morning coffee in a shiny kitchen.

  15. Hi Sarah,
    My top tip is to do JUST 5 THINGS. Every time I walk into or through a room, I pick up and re-home 5 things. Or toss 5 things. So I’m in a constant cycle of moving from room to room and doing 5 things. I have to give myself permission to stop and relax, from time to time. But then I get up and start again. It’s a great way to keep on top of the mess. My son “get’s it” too, which is great for a 7 year old – he likes the simplicity of doing JUST 5 THINGS. He knows there’s an end in sight and he doesn’t have to be burdened by cleaning his whole room.

    Thanks for your blog. I only discovered it via Pinterest this morning and I currently have 13 of your pages/posts open. Maybe you’ll inspire me to get my blog moving again.


  16. Hi! Sarah! This was the very first blog that I have finished reading till the end! I’m impressed with the way you have summarized tips to declutter! Indeed your thoughts are also decluttered!

  17. I can totally relate to everything you’ve said! I can not think straight unless things are organized!! Also I have a messy daughter lol!! I’m enjoying your tips!!