We’re all for decluttering. But you don’t have to live like a minimalist to feel organized. It’s okay to own things—your things serve a very real purpose and deserve a space in your home. Maybe they help you keep your home clean or your kids alive. Or maybe some of your things are simply there because they make you happy, and that’s a good enough reason to keep them. But here’s the catch: You need a place to put all those things. They need to be easy to find, ideally at a glance. And you have to be able to maintain your system for storing them, or what’s the point of it all?
In decluttering hundreds of homes, we’ve learned a ton of organizing tricks along the way. So let’s team up! In this workbook, we’ve divided the typical home into categories so you can tackle your things-to-space ratio in a manageable way before
the piles get so high you’re left with no room to breathe. Each chapter helps you conquer one room or area, like the kitchen or your bedroom. And within each chapter smaller challenges break down that room or area into zones, like the fridge or the dresser. But here’s the deal: You know your home best! So, first choose a chapter (it doesn’t have to be chapter 1) and dive in. Jumping around from zone to zone within each chapter has our stamp of approval. It’s just plain realistic. And if one room or zone doesn’t apply to your home? Skip it.
Tip: We suggest beginning with the easiest challenge, The Junk-No-More Drawer (page 10). That’s also where you’ll find our how-to on Home Editing your space, tips you’ll want to implement throughout the entire house.
Once you’ve chosen the chapter where you want to start, flip through the challenges and rank them in this very simple way: On a scale from one to ten, rate the space’s mess at the top of the page. Then start with the challenge you gave the lowest number. Always tackle the smallest messes first. Gradually you’ll work your way up until, check, that chapter’s done and you can kick up your feet before you’re ready for the next one. Each challenge and each chapter gets easier once you find your rhythm. You don’t need to be as obsessive about organizing as we are. You just need to develop a system that works.
Along the way we’ll check in to help you think about how you want each space to make you feel. You’ll get to write lists—are we the only ones who do a happy dance every time we check something off one of our lists?—answer fun questions about yourself, and sketch some plans (IN PENCIL PLEASE! Unless you’re an architect, in which case you’ll probably nail it on the first try).
You’ve totally got this. And if you’re feeling overwhelmed, you’re in the right place, because conquering clutter and making homes pretty—it’s kind of our thing. But trust us: When it comes to organizing, if we can do it, you can do it. It’s easier than you think, and we’re going to have a blast—you’ll see.
—Clea and Joanna
Copyright © 2021 by Clea Shearer and Joanna Teplin. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.