By Rita Wilkins
The Downsizing Designer

It’s almost January, time for those New Year’s resolutions again:

  1. Lose weight
  2. Exercise more
  3. Get organized

Do you know that getting organized is one of the top 3 promises we make to ourselves each year, but according to the US News Report, by mid-February, only 20% of us will succeed at achieving our goal. That means 80% of us will fail at our New Year’s resolutions.

If decluttering and organizing are at the top of your list again this year, but in 2021 you are determined to make it finally happen, here are a few ways to help you succeed.


5 ways to declutter and get organized in 2021

#1 Declutter first… then Organize.

Too often people think that decluttering and organizing are one and the same. They are not.

  • Decluttering is getting rid of/disposing of the things you no longer want, need, or use.
  • Organizing is storing what you do want, need, or use so that they can be quickly found when you need them.

When you declutter first, you’ll have far less to organize and you will begin to see progress.

#2 Know WHY you want to declutter and get organized.

Why does decluttering and getting organized matter so much to you?  Knowing your “why” will help keep you motivated when you get stuck.

Two reasons why people want to declutter:

  • Too much clutter can cause you to be overwhelmed, stressed, and even cause family arguments.
  • Too much time is wasted on trying to locate things that do not have a home or a special place when you are looking for them.

Did you know the average American spends 55 minutes a day looking for things?

The two things men typically look for are clean socks and remote control.

The two things that women typically look for are their lipstick and their phone.

Other reasons why people want to declutter and get organized:

  • Lacking the ability to focus and be productive.
  • Getting a head start on your own downsizing.
  • Preventing your children from having to deal with all of your stuff when you’re gone.

#3 Stop buying more.

Remind yourself that the goal is to get rid of stuff and not add to it.

Try to stop buying anything for 1 week, 2 weeks, and a month. See how good it feels to not accumulate more.

“How do I get started?”

#4 Know what decluttering methods work best for you.

One of the most effective decluttering methods for me is:

  • The Burst Decluttering Method
    • Pick one small area of your home that bothers you the most.
    • Have bags and boxes ready to fill.
    • Set a timer for 50 minutes. Go.
    • Sort into three piles:
      • Discard
      • Donate
      • Keep
    • At the end of 50 minutes take a 10-minute break.
    • You might be motivated to continue… if not, look at what you’ve accomplished in 50 minutes.

A new favorite decluttering of mine is:

  • The Compassionate Decluttering Method
    • Intentionally pick 5 items each day that you would like to donate to a charity that means something to you.

I am currently working on winter clothes that I do not wear and I am donating them to a woman’s homeless shelter. Knowing that I can help a woman stay warm this winter, motivates me to get up each day, declutter AND help someone in need.

#5 Start with the end in mind.

Set a goal that will excite you and keep you moving forward.

Examples might be:

    • You want to move to a new home or to a new apartment this summer.

Give yourself a head start by decluttering now. The day by day progress will help you achieve your goal and make it much easier when you’re ready to move.

    • You want to repurpose a room in your home that rarely gets used to create a workout space, yoga room, or hobby area, but you first have to declutter the room you want to use for a new purpose.
    • You want to be able to park your car in the garage this winter. As basic as that might sound, too many people fill their garages with clutter, making it impossible to use it for the purpose for which it is intended.

All of these goals that you set will serve to excite you and keep you motivated so you can actually make it happen.

1. Create a 90-day plan with milestones.

    • Break your project down into manageable chunks of time so you can gauge weekly progress. This will keep you motivated and a lot can happen in 90 days!

2. Have fun while making memories.

    • Make decluttering a game. Invite friends and family to join your decluttering and organizing game. Have fun together, make memories and get stuff done.

3. Declutter while doing good.

    • Visualize a family using your old kitchen table that you no longer use and has been collecting dust in your basement.
    • Visualize someone who is wearing a warm coat that you no longer wore and just sat in your closet.
    • Visualize a woman who is unable to purchase a suit for a job interview proudly wearing a beautiful suit that no longer fits you.

When you get stuck or stopped, when you feel less motivated to continue your decluttering and organizing project, remember why you want to declutter. Remind yourself of why it mattered so much to you in the first place.

When you think about quitting, think about why you started.

Ask yourself, what will it feel like when…

    • you’re living that simpler, less cluttered life that you’ve been dreaming of?
    • you aren’t that stressed out because everything has a place and you can actually find it?
    • you have more time, money, and freedom to pursue other things that matter to you rather than spending your precious time organizing all of your stuff?

I hope this inspires you to finally succeed at your goal of decluttering and getting organized in 2021.

If you’re interested in a very effective tool to help you with your decluttering and organizing journey, I created The 6-Week Decluttering Challenge that will help you get started.

Click here to access your 6-Week Decluttering Challenge.



Are you thinking about downsizing?

Check out my best-selling book on AMAZON or get Chapter 3 for FREE.

Ask me any questions in the comment section below.