How to Simplify Your Life by Decluttering, Not Organizing

How to simplify your life by decluttering, not organizing

It’s easy to think organizing is the way to take your home from cluttered and chaotic to functional and clutter-free. But organizing alone will never solve your clutter problem. Today I’m sharing why decluttering, not organizing, is the best way to solve your clutter problem for good. And how focusing on decluttering first can make it simple to get and stay organized!

Always focus on decluttering, not organizing, first

Organizing and decluttering each serve a purpose in helping simplify your life. The key is the order you do them in.

Organizing without decluttering first will simply move the clutter around. The first step should always be decluttering, not organizing – actually getting rid of the stuff you don’t use regularly or love. And only after thoroughly decluttering, should you think about organizing to further simplify your life.

How to simplify your life by decluttering, not organizing
Photo by Kari Shea on Unsplash

Decluttering, not organizing, gets to the root of your clutter problem

The reason behind a cluttered, messy, time-consuming home is not lack of organization. The real reason is that there’s simply too much stuff in your home, to begin with. Clutter comes from hanging onto too much stuff that you don’t use, need or love.

If your home is cluttered and you’re spending way too much time managing all the stuff in your home, no organizational system will solve the problem. The only way to solve your clutter problem is to focus on decluttering, not organizing, first. Get to the root of the problem and actually get rid of the excess stuff causing the clutter!

Organizing without decluttering is a temporary solution

The problem with organizing before decluttering is even though the clutter is out of sight, it’s all still there. It’s still taking up space in your mind and your home. It’s still weighing on you, adding stress and burdening your life.

And when you have too much stuff to begin with, organization won’t last. It will be a temporary fix, not a long-term solution. Your home will look better for a short time. But sooner or later (although probably sooner – especially if you have young kids) all that stuff will make its way out of your organized systems and cause clutter in your home again.

Organizing without decluttering first is simply moving the clutter around and making your home temporarily appear less cluttered. It’s a short-term solution to hide the problem, without actually fixing the source of the problem.

The only way to truly solve your clutter problem is to get rid of the unnecessary and excess stuff causing clutter to build up. Focus on decluttering, not organizing, first. Get rid of the things you don’t use, need or love, and only keep what adds value to your life.

How to simplify your life by decluttering, not organizing
Photo by Cheryl Winn-Boujnida on Unsplash

Organizing without decluttering wastes time, space, energy and money

Time and energy

When you organize clutter, you spend time and energy getting it all organized initially. Then spend more time and energy reorganizing it when it inevitably makes its way out of your organized system.

Organizing and reorganizing things you don’t even need or use in the first place is wasting your time and energy. And your time and energy are too precious to waste organizing clutter!

Space

Organizing without decluttering also wastes your space. How many times have you wished you had more storage space or a bigger closet? Maybe you don’t need more space at all, you just need less stuff!

Trying to fit too much stuff into your space is frustrating. But when you let go of the things you don’t use or need, you don’t need more storage space or more organizing solutions. Getting and staying organized is so much easier when you own less stuff.

Money

Organizing without decluttering first can even end up costing you money! Have you ever needed something, but couldn’t find it because it was lost somewhere in all your stuff, so you end up buying another one?

When you own less, it’s easier to keep track of your stuff because there simply aren’t piles of clutter for things to hide in. You know what you have and where to find it.

Also, often when getting organized you buy baskets, bins, containers, shelving and organizational systems hoping to finally solve your clutter problem. But buying stuff to store stuff you don’t even use or need is a waste of money.

All those organizing products just add more stuff to your home. And even enable you to allow the clutter to stay in your home. The best solution is to get rid of the clutter to begin with by decluttering, not organizing first. When you have less stuff, you won’t need all those organizational products anyway!

Organization is a great tool to simplify

After you have thoroughly decluttered, organization can be a great tool. Organizing can help further simplify your home, make it more aesthetically pleasing and make life easier!

And once you have thoroughly decluttered, organizing becomes faster, easier and more rewarding. When there’s less stuff, organizing won’t be complicated or frustrating. Once you’ve created space and breathing room in your home, finding spots for things you actually use, love and add value to your life is easy.

Getting organized after thoroughly decluttering allows you to:

  • Easily find things and keep track of what you own
  • Maintain a tidy home with less time and effort
  • Create a home that looks good and functions well
  • Keep the amount of stuff you own in check – if you can’t find a home for an item, it’s time to declutter
How to simplify your life by decluttering, not organizing
Photo by Becca Tapert on Unsplash

Minimalist organizing – a place for everything and everything in its place

One of the easiest ways to organize and keep your home clutter-free is to have a place to keep everything. The key is making each item’s home quickly and easily accessible, so things actually get put away when not in use. Which is easy to do when you don’t have too much stuff to begin with!

When your cupboards, closets, shelves, etc. aren’t overflowing with stuff, it’s easy to find homes for the items you’re keeping.

Keep it simple – don’t add clutter in the name of organization

You really don’t need anything at all to get organized. Organizing can be as simple as neatly lining things up in your cupboard.

Organizing doesn’t mean adding more “stuff” to your home. In fact, be careful to avoid buying a bunch of bins and baskets in the name of organization. Keep it simple and make sure any organizational tools will add value to your home, not just clutter. And don’t add organizational tools that just hide clutter. Organized clutter is still clutter, get rid of it!

Organizing can help you go the extra step and make a space look good, on top of being functional and decluttered. Often times, this gives you added incentive to keep your spaces it clutter-free and organized.

Minimalist organization is not about trying to fit more stuff in your home or hiding the clutter. It’s about further simplifying your life. Keeping your home clutter-free, functional and easy to find what you need – however that looks for you.

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10 Comments

  1. I need this constant decluttering ideas to keep me motivated. Your new Spring class is fabulous. I have several people that I have seen their websites but none of them break it down like you do. They may say clean the kitchen cupboards out whereas you go into detail that helps tremendously. I look forward to all of your posts but this Spring decluttering class that has started is great. Thanks for helping so many of us to get our “act together.”

    1. Thank you so much, Karen! I’m so happy to hear you’re enjoying the Spring into Simple decluttering challenge. It is so wonderful to hear that I’m able to help you declutter and simplify your home! I appreciate all of your support for me and in the Facebook group as well. You are such a positive, encouraging member of the group and it is appreciated by so many of us in the group. Thank you for reading and for your support!

  2. Very well said. I completely agree with you. Especially the Minimalist approach.
    It’s very important to keep things simple in life. Most of people experience stress and anxiety when they accumulate clutter in their lives.

    1. Thank you! I’m glad you enjoyed the post. I couldn’t agree with you more – clutter can cause so much stress in our lives. And sometimes we don’t even realize how much stress it’s causing until we start getting rid of stuff and realize what a burden it was! Thanks for reading and sharing your insights!

  3. This is EXACTLY where I was going wrong ~ thanks to you and your clear advice (and free, I might add!) i am well on my way. Not quite up to the 15 day challenge, lagging behind a bit, but getting it done. You are an inspiration!

    1. That’s so great to hear, Mel! I’m glad you found this post helpful! Good for you for continuing to work on the challenge, that’s great! Just keep at it and it’ll get done! Thank you for your kind words and thank you for reading!

  4. I kept the Spring decluttering challenge and plan to give it to my daughters if they are interested in decluttering after they see how our home looks after we are done with our initial decluttering. (we know it will never be completely done.)

    1. That’s great Karen! I love that you’re sharing the challenge with your family. And I’m so happy to hear how much progress you made – that’s just awesome! And yes, you’re right, it takes ongoing maintenance to maintain your decluttered space. Thanks for participating in the challenge – I was so happy to have you decluttering along with us!

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