How To Declutter When You Have a Busy Schedule — "Organizing Isn't About Stuff, It's About Time"

It is time to clear your mind and space — here are a few steps you can take to help with decluttering your home during those busy days

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It’s 5pm and after a long day of work, you are dreading heading back to a clutter filled home. You managed to steer clear of it for just a few hours, but then reality kicks in. ‘Ah, I left a bunch of laundry piled up on the sofa’. You head home and that’s when the 9-5, turns into the 5-9, but instead of making it feel like a chore, how can you better control your space and declutter a room in a productive way?

Time is a precious resource for many people, including myself, and I can understand and empathize with not wanting to have to do those pesky house chores after a long day, but what if there was an easier way of approaching decluttering? ‘Organizing isn't about stuff, it is about time,’ Ben Soreff, from House to Home Organizing tells us. Dedication, even if it is just for a few minutes a day, might just make all the difference you need.

Here are a few tips from an expert on how to declutter your home, while also juggling a busy schedule.

1. Dedicate time

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Most of us either spend our days either working, taking care of children, studying or focusing on other aspects of our lives, therefore making it harder to focus on the space we are living in, a space we call 'home'. It all goes back to time and how much time you have in a day, Ben explains that this plays a big role in organizing your space. ‘Most people are busy and when you throw kids into the mix you are constantly interrupted. If you work long hours then during the week you aren't going to organize and that leaves the weekend. No one is going to skip a party to stay home and organize,’ he says.

This then leads to cleaning up in a hurry and you find ‘make-it-go away areas’ such as attic, basement, drawers and built-in closets, which for a moment grants some sense of peace, but Ben says once those fill up ‘the rest is the stuff of hard-core clutter nightmares in which you start closing the doors to rooms and simply do not go in there’. Ben notes that this is due to not having a ‘systematic philosophy and method’ in place when dealing with clutter. So, why not try dedicating a little extra time when trying to tackle a space that needs a fair bit of decluttering? Even if it is just 15-minutes of your time, taking little steps is still a big win! ‘Once you have set aside the dedicated time to tackle areas in the home — the most important next step is the review,’ Ben adds.

2. Take back control of your space

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One clothing item, leads to another and then another and then… well you get the jist of it. It’s now Friday and the laundry basket is a lot fuller than expected because you completely forgot to put last week's laundry load into the washing machine. Don’t worry, it happens to the best of us. ‘Taking back control of your space is actually possible to achieve for most busy people,’ Ben says.

Feeling as though you are no longer in control of things can lead to anxiety and stress. So take a moment to reset, breathe and try to tackle the tasks at hand. ‘The concepts of being present and having, not only a well-lit space, but one filled with comfort is not possible without first decluttering,’ Ben adds. ‘Once a home is free of clutter and the surfaces are clear and the excess furniture is removed all you need to find happiness is to turn off the screens and look people in the eye at a party’.

3. Put things where they belong, not where they fit

front view of modern white wardrobe with open door, pillows and blanket inside, wicker boxes on shelf in bedroom with light interior, organized storage concept

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‘We want to put things where they belong, not where they fit,’ Ben says. It can be quite tempting to throw everything into the attic or into the closest cupboard when it comes to how to start decluttering, but doing so can actually lead to more clutter… only difference is that it’s hidden away from sight (but not from your mind).

‘Attics, basements, and garages make ideal locations to store items we don't use often,’ Ben says – which is an effective way of clearing out a space to make way for the things you need in your day to day.

4. Do not make throwing things out the goal

A kids bedroom that is neatly organized

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Be mindful and proactive when deciding on what you want to keep and what you want to get rid of. Ben advises us not to ‘focus on throwing things out,’ but instead to, ‘focus on what you are keeping, what category it belongs in and how often you use it’. He says this is an important step in organizing and looking at items that might be quite often ignored. ‘Once we know what we are keeping we can create the ideal organizing system,’ Ben adds. This will in turn grant a cleaner space and a more productive approach to decluttering.

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Advice & Gardens Editor

Faiza is the Advice & Gardens Editor at Livingetc. She previously worked for The Independent as a News Feature Writer, where she wrote articles on lifestyle, entertainment, news and more. She also worked as an Audience Editor for the newspaper for over two years. Spending a few years in the newsroom, Faiza also previously worked for Sky News as an SEO reporter, where she produced stories based on trending topics. Lifestyle and Interior design is a space Faiza has been interested in for quite some time and as she continues to grow in the field, she will be diving into an interior design course to further her skills. Faiza has a background in SEO, social media and reporting. Her passion for writing goes beyond her work as she loves all things poetry and creative writing.