How to Sort Through the Clutter


Knowing where to start and how to sort through the clutter is the stage that takes the longest and where people tend to get stuck most often when it comes to organizing a room.

A pantry is one of the most convenient storage areas within a home. However, you cheat yourself out of some of that space if you don't keep the pantry organized. You can store a lot more things in an organized space than you can in an area that is cluttered and chaotic. The following six tips can help you maintain an organized pantry.

This is what happens: you decide you are going to organize your bedroom closet. You pull everything out, start trying to decide what to do with all the stuff piled on your bed, shock and awe hits when you realize how much stuff you had crammed in there. So, you close the door and sleep on the couch.

Sound familiar?

There is a method to the madness when it comes to sorting through the clutter. You need to have a plan and you need to know what questions to ask as you handle every item.

It’s also a good idea to enlist the help of a friend or family member. Be sure it’s some who is good at making decisions and someone who is not afraid to tell you to get rid of that shirt you haven’t worn in 15 years!

Here’s how to sort through the clutter:

1. Gather your supplies.

You will need four boxes labeled keep, throw away, donate/sell and belongs in another room. It’s also a good idea to get you a big glass of water and put on some music that gives you energy. You are going to need it when you are sorting through years of stuff.

2. Start at one corner of the room and work your way around.

Don’t start hopping from one end of the room to the other. If you start at one corner and work your way around, you will be less likely to get distracted by that broken lamp you love that’s on the other side of the room. Wait to deal with that when you get to that side. There is such a thing as organized chaos when it comes to sorting through the clutter.

3. Handle every item once.

This is better known as the rule OHIO or only handle it once. Pick up each item and make a quick decision. If you agonize over each item, you will eventually get burnt out and not finish sorting through everything.

4. As you handle each item ask yourself some of these questions:

  • Is it garbage?
  • Does it need to be repaired?
  • Has it been more than a year since it has been used?
  • Do I use this item in a different room? If so, put the item in the “belongs in another room” box.
  • Is the item actually used and enjoyed in this room? If so, put it in the keep box.
  • Can this item help someone else?
  • What is the worst that could happen if I get rid of this?
  • If I were to go shopping today, would I buy this? (Question when sorting clothes.)

5. After you are done sorting every item, distribute the boxes.

Take the trash box and put it next to the trash can. Put the “belongs in another room” box and the “donate/sell” box in another room to deal with later. Right now your main focus is the current room you are working on. Don’t let yourself get distracted.

Now that you have sorted through every item in the room, you are ready for the next two steps: assigning items a home and choosing the best storage solutions.

Now it’s time for the fun part, designating a spot for the items you are keeping in the room!

Knowing where to start and how to sort through the clutter is the stage that takes the longest and where people tend to get stuck most often when it comes to organizing a room. These 5 tips will help.

More Organizing Tips for the Home:

Family Command Center

21 Family Command Centers

Home Organizing Tips -- There is one thing I do before I organize anything in my home. I do this before I touch one item, before I de-clutter and definitely before I head out to shop for storage supplies. This one thing has helped me create rooms and spaces in our home that truly work for us.

The ONE Thing I Do Before I Organize Anything (Plus a Printable)

These tips, resources and success stories show how the KonMari Method of cleaning and organizing your home can be life changing. Just like the title of her book states!

Organizing Your Home with the KonMari Method


  1. from MANY years of sorting hoarding/careless/ADD children that grew up in a small town where all the kids ran around together playing until dark in/out of each others homes seeing who’s mom had the best snacks, leaving trails of coats, one shoe(yes!), anything their little bodies could carry, you need a basket for “WHO’S IS THIS?”. also a basket for return to rightful owner (usually school or grandparents!). another for needs pieces to. like its just 1 of the playing cards and you know where the rest of the deck you don’t wander off to do it right then & get involved w/something else. it also helps to have a dust rag, a cleaning rag/spray cleaner. have a small fan handy inase you start getting overheated so you don’t run off for that either. 45 minutes max w/o break. anymore you just get tired and over whelmed. #1 is laugh & fun music!

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