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Organizing the Things in your Life

Strategies For Organizing the Things In Your Life To Reduce Stress, Clutter, And Mess

By April 21, 2024May 3rd, 20248 Comments

No matter what you do or how hard you try, stuff just naturally comes into our homes. This can easily lead to feelings of overwhelm. It’s what you do after it enters your home that makes the biggest difference. When you implement effective organizational strategies, you can reclaim control and cultivate a sense of calm. Here are some practical tips to help you as you go about organizing the things in your life so you can reduce stress, clutter, and minimize mess.

Strategies for organizing the things in your life

Assess Your Environment

Take a step back and evaluate the areas of your life that feel chaotic or cluttered. This could be your home, digital devices, or even your schedule. Identifying problem areas is the first step towards creating a more organized and harmonious environment.

People often talk about wanting more balance in their life, but the truth is that it’s almost impossible to achieve complete balance. One aspect of your life or another will always need more attention from time to time.

Accepting this fact goes a long way to reducing stress. When you acknowledge that organizing the things in your life is about give and take it’s easier to give a little more space or time and attention to one area or another. For example, if you’re packing to go away on vacation you may be gathering clothes, toiletries, and a suitcase. That area will look messy temporarily.  It will look messy again when you return home and unpack. Accept it but don’t look the other way. Give that area your time and attention to return it to the way you want it.

Prioritize and Simplify

Determine what is truly important to you and prioritize accordingly. Keep the possessions you need, use, and love and let go of the rest.  This includes commitments, and distractions that are cluttering your life because they are no longer fulfilling.

As hard as it is, sometimes it’s important to admit that a volunteer activity that you used to actively enjoy is no longer something you want to spend time doing.  

Establish Routines

Develop daily routines and habits that support organization and productivity. Set aside dedicated time each day for tasks such as tidying up, responding to emails, and planning your schedule.

Create a household maintenance plan with tasks you do daily, weekly, monthly, and annually. Knowing when tasks will be done eliminates that overwhelming feeling. Use a checklist to help you stay on track.

Remember to put things away after you finish using them. This helps to minimize the mess. 

Declutter Regularly

Make decluttering a regular part of your routine to prevent accumulation and reduce overwhelm. Take off the blinders and notice when something is out of place. Then put it away. When you discover you’re not using or wearing something anymore create the habit of putting those things in a donation box and then scheduling time to make the donation.

It can be tempting to hold onto things that evoke beautiful memories or pull at your heartstrings. If this is the case, take a picture of the item and write down the reason this thing was important to you. This may help you let it go.

Create Functional Spaces

Ask yourself how you want each space in your home to function. Then evaluate the things in that space, area, or room. Do the things you are keeping there support the function of the space? Remove and rehome anything that doesn’t belong.

Next, decide how best to keep the things in that area. Invest in storage solutions such as shelving, bins, and drawer organizers to keep belongings neatly stored and easily accessible.

This makes it easy to put things back where they belong.

Digital Organization

Organizing the things in your life also includes organizing your digital files, emails, and apps. Make a point of going through your digital files, downloads, and emails regularly. Either move digital downloads to a file or delete them. Delete email messages that are no longer necessary. Even though we don’t see the digital clutter, it piles up if you do not declutter it.

 Unsubscribe from unnecessary email lists.

Shop Mindfully

 When you’re out shopping and see something you want to buy ask yourself a few questions before you make the purchase. Here are the questions:

  • Will this add value to your life or will it only contribute to clutter?
  • Do you already have something similar?
  • Are you going to donate, recycle, or toss the thing your already have?

If you don’t already have something like this, where will you keep this new purchase?

  • Will it be easy to put away?
  • Do you need to clear a shelf, clean out a basket, or reorganize to put it away?
  • When will you make room for this new purchase?

Thinking this through may make you think twice before bringing something new into your home.

Using these strategies, you can create a more organized and peaceful home that supports you in your quest to reduce stress, clutter, and mess. Remember that organization is not a one-time task but an ongoing process that requires maintenance. Accept that being organized does not mean that everything will look perfectly placed all the time. You live in your home and deserve a home in which you feel comfortable. When you use these strategies, you will have the satisfaction that comes from knowing that even though things can get messy from time to time you are confident you can restore order in a matter of minutes.

If you would like help organizing the things in your life reach out to me. We can work together virtually or in-person if you are in the Atlanta, Georgia area. I offer a free 30-minute phone consultation. Email me to schedule a call.

Diane N. Quintana is the owner of DNQ Solutions, LLC. She is an ADHD Organizing Specialist, a Hoarding Specialist, and a Chronic Disorganization Specialist. Diane is also an ICD Master Trainer, Certified Professional Organizer in Chronic Disorganization, Certified Professional Organizer, and co-owner of Release Repurpose Reorganize LLC based in Atlanta, Georgia. She specializes in residential and home-office organizing.


  • As well as taking photographs of cherished items, I sometimes like to write a little story about them. A photo won’t mean much to family members after I’m gone, but a story might.

    • Diane Quintana says:

      I agree whole heartedly, Janet. I love that you write stories to go with the photo of things that are special to you.

  • So many great ideas! I especially like the section on shopping mindfully. Too often our clients buy impulsively because they think what they are buying will make them happy. And often they will buy multiples of something when one would do. Knowing where they will store the items when they arrive is so important.

    • Diane Quintana says:

      Yes, Jonda! Knowing where something will be kept is half the process. Understanding that things don’t bring happiness is another thing altogether.

  • Seana+Turner says:

    These are all wonderful strategies. The phrase, “organizing the things in your life is about give and take” resonated with me this morning. We may have competing priorities in our space, and that’s normal. We are living here, after all!

    I think some give and take is called for when it comes to our stuff and others as well. Just like we negotiate in relationships over things like what to eat or where to go on vacation, we may need to do the same with our stuff and spaces. My family is very tolerant right now because I’m working on painting a banner for Vacation Bible School. It has been spread out on my dining room table for about two months, which isn’t very nice to look at. But I’m almost done, and then I’ll return the space to its former “glory” LOL!

    • Diane Quintana says:

      Thank you, Seana. When you live with other people give and take is a necessary part of life. One day they may have a project that will take over the dining table!

  • As always, Diane, you have such sage advice.

    So much of what you said resonated with me. However, one in particular especially did…the mindful shopping. Recently we needed to replace some small furniture items. Before I purchased them, I already knew what I was going to do with the ones I was letting go of. So when the new pieces arrived, I unboxed, assembled (well…my husband did that part,) got rid of the packaging, placed the new pieces in their ‘spots,’ and released the pieces I no longer wanted.

    It seems simple enough, but I understand how you can get stuck at any point in that process. Maybe the packaging doesn’t get recycled. Maybe the original pieces never leave the premise, or maybe the new pieces never get unboxed. It’s helpful to think about these things in advance of purchasing new things.

    • Diane Quintana says:

      Thank you, Linda.
      I love the way you talked through this process. It’s not just about the shopping and buying the one thing – it’s also knowing what to do with the things that will be leaving.

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