How to organize your home in 30 days - the expert step-by-step guide to a clutter-free life

Dilly Carter explains how to organize your home in 30 days, with easy steps to help you get your life in order

How to organize your home in 30 days Living room shelving in curved alcoves
(Image credit: Zeke Ruelas)

There are some simple steps for how to organize your home in 30 days, and by tackling them one at a time you can create a system that not only works for your life, but that you can keep to, too. 

“Making a home look pretty is the easy part,” says Kia Stanford, interior designer and founder of Kia Designs. “Keeping it that way isn’t.” It's all very well thinking about things like kitchen storage ideas, but add kids or dogs into the mix and good intentions are often out the window. So how can we design our spaces in a way that encourages organisation? And how can design minimise those mental barriers to being tidy?

We've asked organization expert, author and TV presenter Dilly Carter to give us the steps for a simple 30 day program, a month of sorting out that will last al year...and beyond.

How to organize your home in 30 days

walk in wardrobe with shoe storage

(Image credit: James Merrell)

1. Start by grouping items together

'Organising your home is simple, really - it's just about making sure everything is grouped together and in the right place,' Dilly says. 'First, walk out your house and walk back in with a notebook and pen and try to work out how each room has strayed from the original vision, and what you need to do to return it to that.' Look back at the living room ideas you had when you decorated as a useful starting point. 'It’s not until we take a step back that we see what needs to be done.' Dilly says. 'You might want to write a list of 30 areas to tackle, prioritising the area that most affects your life.'

2.  Begin in the bedroom

White bedroom with wall of built in storage over fireplace

(Image credit: Future)

Dilly says that bedroom storage ideas are the perfect place to begin the practical work. 'If the whole house is cluttered, start with the bedrooms, because sleep is our most important commodity,' she says. 'The questions to ask are: do you love it? Do you need it? Is it purposeful?'

3. Allow 15 minutes each day for 30 days

When hoping to organize your entire house, it's better to break the tasks into bitesize chunks. 'I recommend doing a daily 15-minute declutter challenge,' Dilly says. 'You’ll probably end up doing it for longer, but the 15 minutes feels achievable and gives you that initial boost. You have to be in the right mind frame to tackle this.' 

4. Focus on tiny areas

Roundhouse double kitchen island

(Image credit: Roundhouse)

Decluttering can be overwhelming, and it's best to be really focussed on a really small area - a single drawer, say, rather than worrying about how to organize a kitchen. 'If you are feeling despair, try starting with very small things,' Dilly suggests. 'For example, the cutlery drawer - to make you feel better.'

5. Turn your attention to other family members

Rattan bookshelf shaped like elephant pushed up against wall in nursery filled with kids toys including an abacus and panda soft toy

(Image credit: The White Company)

'Toys and clothes are the biggest problems in most houses, as we tend to have too much of both,' Dilly says, recommending that kids' toy storage ideas are the place to focus next. 'Keep an eye on what your kids are playing with and try to rotate their toys so there's less stuff in their space. Educate your kids on the value of donating their toys - wouldn't it be nice to give them away to a family in need or a children’s hospital? Children will give them away if they think it's going to help another child.'

6. Now look at every room - still for 15 minutes each day

'Kitchens are the next big area - everyone over-buys food, especially pasta and snacks,' Dilly says, with advice for how to organize a pantry. 'Try to give yourself a one-shelf/one-drawer limit. Things get messy when you’ve got too much. Match your Tupperware lids to the bottoms so it’s neater and you're not constantly searching for a lid, and stop buying bags for life, water bottles and coffee flasks - that’s often a big problem. Much of keeping clutter at bay is about keeping what you’ve got to a minimum.'

7. Stick to it

You're now ready to approach your home in a whole new way. By breaking the tasks down small, thinking of organization as a task that only needs 15 minutes each day, and learning to view rooms as zones which can be easily tackled, you'll be set up for life. Look at targeted areas like hallway storage ideas and don't let yourself get overwhelmed. You can do it. Good luck!

Fleur Britten is a well-respected journalist who for years was the Senior Features Editor at Sunday Times Style. She is known as one of the smartest lifestyle journalists around, revered for being able to decode trends and report on new zeitgeists as they happen. She now writes for the Telegraph, Livingetc, Vogue, The Times, Harper's Bazaar and the Guardian.