One of my biggest problems was having "stashes" of things in different parts of the house. So, while I was cleaning, I found all my stashes and combined them.
I learned a thing about myself and my organizing habits.
I like an organized home. To do this, has not been an easy task. It is an everyday task, but it does get easier. To stay organized requires that I put things back in their "homes". Simple thing to say, but very important. Keeping piles on the counters is not the way to organize even if they are within reach.
Here are some steps I followed that were very helpful.
1. Don't try and do it all at once. Set aside a reasonable, achievable goal. Some days (or times) this is simply one drawer. Other times, it is reasonable to spend an afternoon cleaning and organizing the laundry room.
2. Leave room for expansion. This means not overstuffing or overfilling drawers, buckets or containers. If you have a cupboard of tupperware containers, it is not helpful to have it stuffed full so that every time you open it, it spills out.
3. Reduce. Everyone of us has items that we do not need. Some items are fairly new things that we are still toying with. Keep these. But, understand that if you haven't used your fondue pot in 3 years, you should seriously consider getting rid of it. Other things, we hold onto because it was a gift or an inheritance. If the item is something that you consider precious because of the gifter, not the item, then take a photo of the item and get rid of the original. No one gifted you something to make your life cluttered or useless.
4. Reduce. Do you need three gadgets to do the same task? How many coffee mugs does one family need? Do you need 8 rubber spatulas or will 3 be sufficient?
5. Reduce. Stop bringing more clutter into your home. If you are buying something because you think it will help your life, buy it. If you are purchasing something because it is cheap, on sale or you heard someone else talk about how hard it is to find---DON'T DO IT!
6. Figure out what you need in your life, not what "every home should have". If you are a family that eats on the go, keep packaging materials handy not good China. If you have little kids, make sure you have a "mudroom" -- even if this means giving up another less often used room. A "mudroom" is a perfect place for coats, backpacks, travel totes and a place for things that are waiting to be transported---travel high chairs, etc. To some families, at some stages in their kids lives, a "mudroom" is far more useful than a formal dining room or a guest room. Make your life easier. As the kids grow up, you will get your dining room back....
7. Keep your entrance clear and your sink clean. Two simple tricks. Guests enter your home at the entrance. A "messy" living room is forgivable and expected in most cases, it is lived in. But a clean entrance is your guests first impression. A clean sink, so clean that it shines is a small thing that makes a tremendous difference. If you sink is shiny clean and void of dirty pots and dishes, then the area around the sink will be uncluttered also.
I have been cleaning and organizing for the past 2 years. I am beginning to make progress. The biggest help to me so far has been deciding to change my buying habits.
Don't get discouraged, either. Tackle one kitchen drawer at a time. Then move on to your closet, your sock drawer, your purse, etc...