• Daniel Hartz

Have a Greener, Cleaner Home: 18 Sustainable and Quick Organizing Tips You Can Stick to


Chances are, decluttering your home, keeping your space organized, and becoming more sustainable with your choices are items found on many homeowner’s New Year’s resolution list. And with any resolution, the hardest part isn’t making the decision, but actually following through with your vision for the year. However, there are countless sustainable and quick organizing tips you can start – and stick to.


We’ve reached out to professional organizers across the country, from Jacksonville, FL, to Vancouver, CA for their best tips and tricks to make decluttering and sustainability that much easier. Check out what they had to say so you can have a greener and cleaner home this year.


Put a physical date on the calendar to get the decluttering process started


Half the battle is making the commitment to begin. Be sure to make an event of it and don’t forget to set the vibe – open the blinds, light some candles, put on some comfy clothes, a killer playlist and let the sorting process begin. Afraid of losing memories by decluttering? Take photos of the items in question and create a little photo album you can look back on that takes up way less space than keeping it all. – Whitney Pynn, President + Founder POSITIV SPACE, LLC


Envision your ideal home


The most important item I tell my clients prior to starting decluttering and organizing is to come up with a vision of what their ideal home and life would look like. It’s very difficult to reach a finish line when one doesn’t exist in the first place and allows for us to come up with a roadmap to reach the end. I like to bring up this vision in the middle of decluttering because it’s also easy to lose sight of the overall goal and progress when the client is in the weeds of making decisions one item at a time in a pile of 100+ items. – Michael Quan, Fulfilling Your Future


Start decluttering the oldest things first


When overwhelmed by a large pile of papers, turn the pile upside down and start from the bottom up. Get rid of all of the older items first. This will make your pile more manageable and less overwhelming. Also try making your storage systems as simple as possible. For me, removing lids from all of my bins allows me to slip items quickly into where they belong in one step. – Shara Koplowitz, O.P.E.N




Work with the habits you already have


I always ask people where their mail lands when they come into the house with it (almost everyone has some horizontal surface it piles up on). If they say the coffee table, we put a cute basket next to/under the table for recycling the junk the moment you bring it in, and a sorting system in a complimentary style on the coffee table. You don’t have to reinvent the wheel, or spend 90 days learning a new habit, to create a system that is easy to maintain and helps keep the clutter at bay. – Cari Sweet, Founder, Jane Organizes (aka Jane Does, LLC)


The first thing is to determine what you own and what you really need


For instance, if you have five winter coats and you have not worn one in fifteen years, it’s probably time to donate that coat to those who could use it now. While you are reviewing what you own in your home, it’s also a good idea to document what you own and store it in a safe, secure application like HomeZada, so that you can reference this list of items in the future. Documenting the contents of your home in a home inventory is important because it can prevent you from overspending. It can keep you from buying the same item multiple times just because you cannot find the original item. And it can help you find what you need in a timely fashion because you can find it in your app first and then locate it in your physical home. By documenting what you own, you can save money and time and learn to live with less. Minimalism is effective when you know what you own to begin with and what is truly important to you. – Elizabeth Dodson, Co-Founder, HomeZada





Work on becoming a better decision-maker


Most clutter that has piled up around your home or office is caused from indecisiveness. If you can decide where to store something, when to throw something away, if it’s worth your time, who to give it to, or if you simply don’t need the item, that’s half the battle. Professional organizers take people from indecision to making hundreds, if not thousands, of decisions in a single organizing session. That alone is a priceless skill. So work your “decision muscle” for a less cluttered lifestyle. – Amber Malone, Certified Professional Organizer ®, Amber’s Organizing


Purge with a purpose


The goal shouldn’t be to get rid of (or donate) everything you own, it’s about determining what is and isn’t working for you and start to scale down. Get specific on your needs and wants (in that order), this will not only help you declutter your physical space but also create more mental clarity. – Jacqueline DesLauriers, Founder & Lead Organizer, Overdue Organizing


Make organizing fun and motivating


Wear something comfy, turn up the music, grab a strong garbage bag. You want to feel happy and motivated. Start with the easiest items first, anything you know you don’t want including anything unused, uninspired, uncomfortable or duplicate. This helps you gain momentum. – Liana McGinley, CHO ® owner of Moss & Mint Home Organizing in Jacksonville FL, member of ASPO




You’ll never be “done” with decluttering


It is a constant process that becomes much easier with daily practice. To maintain your larger decluttering efforts, set up a donation bin in an easy access location (or two). Pop some trash bags in the bottom and a Sticky Note label on the font. When it gets full, place everything in one of the trash bags and donate. – Aimee Bloom, Professional Organizing & Declutter Coaching, NAPO Oregon Treasurer, Inspired Living NW


Reduce your shopping trips and keep a shopping list


The less you bring home, the less waste you’ll have to deal with. An attempt at going minimal waste and living a minimalist lifestyle starts with small changes. It’s within anyone’s reach, and change starts at home. Living a minimalist life is not only better for the environment, but it also improves health, saves time and money. – CheckSammy


Don’t buy gifts, buy experiences


Instead of buying items or objects as gifts, buy an experience. Gifts often end up in landfill, but memories created from experiences can last a lifetime. Plus, they don’t take up any space. – Daniel Hartz, Founder of Sustainability Champions


Pick a point and declutter clockwise


When organizing a room, pick a point and declutter clockwise throughout your space. This allows you to see the progress that you have made, & keeps you motivated. While decluttering when you find items that are out of place don’t walk away to put things back yet. Instead, make a box or bag of items to distribute at the end of your session. This will keep you focused & you won’t get distracted trying to organize another area. – Rebecca Sullivan Professional Organizer, Happy Tree Organizing





Tidy up your memories too


The most important possession to tidy up is what brings you the most joy: your memories. Organizing your photos clears the clutter, makes it easy to enjoy them, and allows you to preserve them for your grandkids. Be sure to scan and tag with facial recognition and keywords so you can quickly share your photos and keep them safe from disaster. – 2000 Paces


Keep countertops clear with a “Where is it?” bin


Assign an open bin to each family member. Any items left on the countertop will be placed in their bin and they are responsible for properly putting those items away at a designated time. This will keep your countertops clear and you will no longer hear …. “Mom, where is my … ?” – Pamela, CEO/Founder Creating Clarity


Store it where you use it


“Store it where you use it” is one of the most practical organizing tips you can immediately put into action. Dish/glassware by the dishwasher, paperwork wherever you like to sit and sort through it, toys where the kids play them, etc. Make life easier retrieving your items in the “prime real estate zones,” as well as seamlessly putting them away by applying this tip. – Bianca Grimmel, Professional Organizer CEO, BG Organizing





Take inventory and keep only what you love


Imagine walking into a clothing store that has clothing all over from this season and past seasons as well. It can be overwhelming and probably not an enjoyable shopping experience. Is it possible your home looks like that store? Do you have too much inventory? Make sure your home houses current items that need to be there and that you love. Start in a small space that you know you can be successful in and ask yourself these questions with each item you touch. Before you know it – your home will magically be restored. – Malka Rodal, The Organized Fairy


One in, one out


This tip works especially great when you’re limited on space. Whenever you get something new, take one item out. Personally, I love my mugs and leggings, but there’s only so many I can have before the space I have designated for them starts to overflow. Whenever I get a new mug that I really love, one mug has to go. This simple tip stops any space from overflowing. One in, one out. – Nancy Salazar | NS Organizing LLC, Owner & Professional Organizer


If something doesn’t have a home, it will always be in your way


Make a permanent home for everything. I have a bin labeled “what is this” for putting away random household items that I’m not sure about, so that I don’t have to keep spending mental energy on them. – Carol Jones, A Jones For Organizing


Originally published by Redfin


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