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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 help you learn 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 serves 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. Waisting your time, space and even money on organizing solutions you don’t actually need!

The first step should always be decluttering, not organizing – actually getting rid of the stuff you don’t use regularly or love. Then, after thoroughly decluttering, you can start organizing to further simplify your life.

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

Get to the root of your clutter problem

Most often, the real 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. There’s too much clutter!

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 get to the root of it. And that means focusing on decluttering, not organizing, first.

Get rid of the excess stuff causing the clutter first. Not only will your home will be a lot easier to manage. But getting and staying organized will be a lot easier too.

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, the 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) 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.

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!


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.


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, if you’re buying baskets, bins, containers, shelving and organizational systems hoping to finally solve your clutter problem, but are only using them to organize clutter, you’re spending money you don’t need to. Buying stuff to organize stuff you don’t even use or need is a waste of money.

Plus, 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 so many organizational products anyway!

Organization is a great tool to simplify

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

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

Even better, 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.

Simplified 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 you own.

The key is making each item’s home quickly and easily accessible, so things actually get put away when not in use. This 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. It’s also easy to return them to their home when you’re done using them. Helping your home stay tidy and organized in the long run!

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 you have to add 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.

Also be careful of adding organizational tools that just end up hiding 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 clutter-free and organized.

Simplified 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.

How to simplify your life by decluttering, not organizing
Photo by Becca Tapert on Unsplash

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Jessalynn Jones

Sunday 5th of September 2021

This was a great article Melissa. I really appreciated when you said that the organizational solutions can just bring more stuff into the house or enable you to keep stuff. I’ve found that what organizational solutions are needed like a dresser, a cabinet, a basket should be a limitation tool. Once you have filled that you don’t go get another one. You get rid of stuff. It’s like tight pants, you’d do almost anything not to buy bigger ones lol.

Simple Lionheart Life

Tuesday 7th of September 2021

Thanks, Jessalyn! I agree - space limits are really helpful for me too! Thanks for reading :)


Saturday 26th of October 2019

Your post is encouraging. Only thing for me is that I have a stockpile of detergents, bought half price. What do I do with that? Do I store it in the kitchen or store it somewhere else? My cupboards feel and look cluttered if I have it in the working kitchen cupboard.

Simple Lionheart Life

Saturday 26th of October 2019

I'm glad this post was helpful for you! I think you need to decide what makes the most sense for you, your home and your preferences. If having them all in the kitchen bothers you because it looks cluttered, and if you have space somewhere else in your home to keep them, it might work better to keep only one container in your kitchen and store the rest somewhere else. But if you'll forget you have them, or find it annoying to have them stored in two different places, it might make more sense to keep them all together. I think it all comes down to personal preference. The only suggestion I would make is moving forward, try not to buy more than you feel comfortable keeping on hand. Sometimes it does make sense to stock up on items when they go on sale. But other times it's not worth the stress the extra stuff adds to your life or the space it takes up. I hope that helps! Thanks for reading :)


Monday 16th of April 2018

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.)

Simple Lionheart Life

Tuesday 17th of April 2018

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!


Monday 16th of April 2018

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!

Simple Lionheart Life

Monday 16th of April 2018

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!


Monday 9th of April 2018

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.

Simple Lionheart Life

Monday 9th of April 2018

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!

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