What NOT to Do When Decluttering Your Home

We’ve all seen those lists of organizing strategies for your home. But we think it’s even more helpful to outline what not to do when harnessing chaos in your home.

Do you need the help of an organizing professional without the professional price? ESTATENVY recently turned to the organizing and de-cluttering experts at Neatnik to get some words of organizing wisdom. But instead of going through the usual rundown of organizing strategies, it’s even more helpful to outline what not to do when trying to harness chaos in your home.

According to Neatnik, these are the four missteps that are the most common—and most likely to derail even the best efforts to conquer clutter.

1. Organize First; Buy Second. Don’t go out and buy a ton of storage pieces and supplies before you sort through your home. All of those eye-catching bins, boxes and baskets at The Container Store might be enticing (trust us—we’ve been there), but they won’t do any good unless they fit the space. For that reason, Neatnik recommends cleaning out your space first. Then, assess what containers you really need and buy a few bins to start. You can always add later, but you don’t want a bunch of empty containers cluttering up your home while you figure out where you can use them. When it comes to organization, starting small can save you a lot of unnecessary stress in the end.

2. Don’t take on more than you can handle. Don’t set aside an entire day to organize your whole house. Very few people have the energy or focus to spend eight hours organizing their homes without completely losing their minds. You’ll likely become frustrated and less efficient as the day progresses. It’s much better to spend a few hours on one project or space and spread them out over a few days or weeks. This way, you’ll feel motivated to do more rather than quickly getting burned out.

3. Don’t forget to complete each task completely. Sorting all of your items into categories (toss, recycle, donate or put in storage) is important. But the crucial step here is making sure that once you have decided where something is going to go, you actually put it there—don’t just let it sit in a closet or in the trunk of your car to deliver later. Take bags and boxes out to the trash as soon as you complete the project. If you don’t, chances are they’ll end up sitting there for a pretty long time.

4. Don’t stress out over perfection. Very few people have closets and drawers that resemble those in catalogues. We’ve been to a lot of houses and apartments, and even after a space is totally reorganized, it usually doesn’t look like an ad for The Container Store or Crate and Barrel. Sure, those ads look great and all, but your space is one that’s used by an actual human being—not one that has been carefully staged by a team of stylists for a non-existent client. The goal is to set up a space that works well for your needs—that is your success. You will ultimately be disappointed if perfection is your goal.