7 Steps For Organizing Your Home – Without Getting Overwhelmed


I have been digging through some of my favorite posts and sharing one with you today.

I must admit something.

Sometimes, I don’t do something simply because of the fact that it is trendy.

Really, that is just silly.  If I like something, I should buy it.  If I want to do something, I should do it – whether it is trendy or not.

But something in me feels a need to resist.

And one of those trends that has been around forever is that at the start of the new year, organizing.

Are you starting plans for organizing your home too?

As much as I don’t want to get caught up in the  trends, I am craving the need to organize and get SO many things in shape and more functional in my home.

But then, I start to feel panicked and overwhelmed because the list keeps growing and it seems so unachievable.

But then, I did one something.

I organized our mudroom / laundry.  Actually, I should say WE organized it.  It was really a mess and needed a full team to pull it together.  And when it was all said and done – it felt good.

So, I thought I would share some thoughts on how I am planning on approaching a long list of projects for getting my home organized – without getting overwhelmed.

But, these are not New Year’s Resolutions – those are way too trendy! 😉

1 – The obvious step of starting with a list


I am a visual person and having it front of me is helpful.  And nothing feels better than crossing each item off and then seeing it all done.  Give yourself the satisfaction of crossing something off by starting with a list.

Break the list down into manageable pieces whenever possible.  Don’t just write down bedroom.  List out closets, dressers, shelves, tabletops, floors, etc.

Also, getting it out of your head and onto paper gives a realistic view of what you are setting out to accomplish.

2 -Include at Least 5 Projects that can be done in less than 30 minutes


This is a big one for me.

We were down to one light bulb in our foyer light – of 4.  The challenge was we need to drag in the big 10 foot stepladder to change it – which I can not do by myself.  I enlisted Dana’s help, and while he was at, he also cleaned the glass for me.

It took about 20 minutes in total – check!

And while I was at – 4 bulbs were out in the kitchen – check, check, check, check!

Don’t only list out your big projects that are overwhelming you.  Write down a group of projects that have been staring you in the face that will take ten minutes, twenty minutes and even an hour. Give yourself the satisfaction of completing a few projects.

Space those out over several days so you know that you are moving forward even if you are not yet completing overhauling the attic.

This also ties in with point one – break each project down.  The more you list – the more you can cross off and know that you are accomplishing things.

3 – Don’t set an unreasonable time frame

Finding Home Living Room Coffee Table

I have a tendency to write to-do lists, that even if I didn’t get distracted, even once in day (squirrel!) I would never accomplish them and then I feel like a failure.

Projects always take longer than you think they will and usually lots of commitments come up in between that prevent you from getting started and finishing.

Pick one or two projects a week, or a month, or a quarter.   Do what is realistic, but still keep yourself on task.  There is nothing worse than getting discourage right from the beginning by feeling you have let yourself down.

And while you are at – don’t make it into a project bigger than it needs to be.  Someone I love tends to make a project so huge that it never gets started.  Just do the simple stuff and get started!

4 – Don’t Spend Money Right Away

Finding Home Mantel Decorating

Don’t run right out and spend a ton of money on new cabinets, containers, labels, etc.  Try, as much as possible, to start organizing and sorting first.  If you understand better what is left and how it will function in your home, you will be better suited to invest in the right materials and supplies.

There will be a need for some purchases of course, but don’t overlook what you already have that can be used in a new way to organize something.

5 – When you do need to spend some money, do your research to maximize your space


When I organized my craft supplies, I had one specific cabinet to get everything in and a set of lockers for any overflow.  If I went out all willy nilly buying containers, I would not have maximized the storage.  I first looked until I found a cabinet that fit in the space – then, based on the measurements of the cabinet, I researched every online place possible to find the type of containers that would maximize the space inside.

This same approach can be used for any type of organizing cabinets, storage bins, etc.  Make sure you are maximizing your space both in the room and within the storage pieces.

6 – Have a plan for what you are doing with what you are not keeping

Finding Home Revisited Traditional Kitchen Island

Did you ever watch that show on TLC with that guy who was an organizer, the British guy?  Well he knew what he was doing.  He always had piles right from the beginning of where it was going.

Have a bag / box / container available for each location: trash, donations, sell, etc.

And if you are selling it – when, how and where?  Have a plan!

Think out of the box too.  We have a local auction house here that happily takes all kinds of household stuff.  We don’t make a ton of money – but it is a little something and then we feel better that we are not throwing as much away.

7 – Get it out of your head and get started

Finding Home Family Room Vintage Display

This is sometimes where I struggle the most.  When I start to think through the list, I keep adding more.  I feel anxious about the next one while I am working on the current one.

The only way to solve that and to really getting your home organized is to start.

So this is my plan.  Like I said, we already crossed off a few things, so is good!

By Mid February:

Replace Bulbs in Foyer and Kitchen

Organize and Purge Mudroom

Get Peanuts Room Organized and give her better systems for staying that way (this is a big job!)

Purge workout room and set it up better

Purge and find a better storage system for the unfinished area

Sort and purge kids toys and crafts in the basement

Figure out a better system to get the hall closet in gear

Organize our bathroom cabinets and closet – done but needs to be redone!

Figure out where to go with the stuff in the hall cabinet

By Beginning of June:

The dreaded task of sorting through all of the stuff – especially the baby stuff in the attic and purging what needs to go and organizing what is staying. (this will have to wait till it is warmer to start)

By End of Summer:

Switch the upstairs and downstairs purposes of the detached garage.  Right now the “workshop” is upstairs and storage is downstairs.  That is not working right now – so we are switching it and creating a real workshop area for projects.  I am very excited about this one – but this is also tied to weather.

So, I have to admit, seeing it all there, with a time frame, it seems much more achievable.  I guess I will have to keep coming back into this post and crossing them off when they are done!

Oh, and if you still feeling overwhelmed about taking on organizing your home, reading this post really helped me gain perspective.

So, what do you think?  Are you interested in seeing some of the results?  Do you like organizing ideas? Should I share more?

Thanks so much for reading and wishing you a great day!


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30 thoughts on “7 Steps For Organizing Your Home – Without Getting Overwhelmed”


  1. I am so very grateful to you!!l! I clicked on the link to How to find God’s will for your life. You see I have struggled with this my WHOLE life. It was as if I had wrote it.
    Oh and please do share more on organizing!!! I need that bad too.

    God Bless you neighbor!!!!!


  2. Please do share updates of your progress with your organization goals and suggestions. Who knows – maybe they will motivate me to tackle dreaded basement storage area and even the garage after way too many years of neglect. Lists that include very small goals such as changing bulbs seem like a great idea for getting a sense of accomplishment. Always enjoy your posts. .

  3. Just the other day when my husband and I were in Target(lots of bins for organizing were on display) he commented on how everyone tries to get organized this time of year. He then asked why we don’t follow along. His comment and your post has pushed me to get our house organized. I had already started making my list but now after reading your post I’m going to break it down into a more reasonable time frame. We have that one space that I dread going into. It’s the storage space in our basement. It’s like the black hole. I’m afraid if I go in I may never come out.
    Yes please share your progress and more suggestions on how to get organized. Today I’m going to finish my list and put it on a calender. Thanks for that little extra push to get me started.

  4. Great advice! I must have/use lists as I too have “squirrel” moments. I really like the blue jar/bottle in your last photo. I have my mason jar, and my small bottle jar collections separate. How has it not occured to me before now to mix the two? Thanks for the double inspiration!

  5. I haven’t even finished reading this post but HAD to jump down here to comment – YES, lists. I will write down the most minute to-do items (gather recycling, sweep kitchen floor, clean toilets) because it settles down the overwhelming feeling of thinking the whole house is a mess, or I need to deep clean from top to bottom TODAY! Heh. I love the feeling of crossing off items. I’ll even add a finished item in order to cross it off. Okay, back to the post. . .

  6. I totally agree with your suggestions and I TRY to do the whole list thing. It does work – its just a matter if sticking to the list and not become ADD with other stuff. With working full time and then trying to keep our home in order I feel like I have such a small time frame to work with each day so setting a time line is a really good idea. Thanks for all your great tips. Keep up the good work!

  7. I’m a list maker too! Mostly because I like the feel of going back to my list after I’ve done something on it and crossing it off! How’s that for instant gratification? Lol! Anyway, your tips are helpful and I don’t do things because they are trendy either. I’d love to do lots of those things, but in all honesty, I simply can’t afford to. We have two girls in college and monies are spent elsewhere. Plus, trendy is just that — by the time I’d get it done, it would not be trendy anymore. And, I like my things! I just try and do little updates here and there. Once college is done, there will be weddings! It’s tough on the parents of girls! You have a lot to look forward to! Lol

  8. Great post! And I loved the linked post. I think everyone, and probably women more than men, struggles with knowing the will of God. Everyone should read that post, and then yours, to form a plan of action! And yes, I want updates!! 🙂

  9. I hear ya on trends…but this is a good, practical one. We all like to start off the year on an clean slate, and face it, January can be a loooong boring month! It’s funny, I do a lot of cleaning and organizing in the fall after a long spring and summer outside mostly, and come January, I’m back at it again!!

    I love your tips on breaking things down into time segments and leaving plenty of time for that domino effect when tackling something big. I also find that if a job is looming over me, I’m pleasantly surprised when I get it done much faster than the 5 years I had planned for it! I then have the incentive to tackle more.

    Thanks for all of your ideas and good luck, Laura!


  10. Hi Laura, I always want to go out and buy baskets, labels, and other storage items before I start sorting. I have some closets to clean and I am going to start first, then see what I need at the store. Thanks for the tips and the inspiration!

  11. Hi & Happy New Year from Australia. Great post – good basic info that makes new year organising so doable. So yes please do write more of these types of posts !!

  12. If you are still looking for opinions on this… I would be interested in seeing updates as you go thru and organize and tackle items on your list above. I think you did an AMAZING job on your craft and office space!!! it is gorgeously decorated, and yet SUPER functional as well, and you really packed alot of function into every single inch!!!.I keep coming back and looking at the photos of that area…so pretty! I think what you did with the craft storage cabinet officially qualifies you as a professional organizer! I seriously NEVER would’ve thought of measuring and figuring out a container system for the inside of the cabinet… that was a little piece of genius right there. I always just use whatever containers are at hand and buy a few new containers, with no regard as to how they will fit inside, or usually even what I am going to stick in which containers, HA!!!

  13. I love your suggestions for not buying til you know what you need. I also am a list maker. Hint:leave room on your list so that if you do something not on the list you can add it then scratch it off! Among my friends I’m known for this!

  14. Such great tips. I tend to get overwhelmed when I set unrealistic expectations. Something I’m trying for the New Year is to set more realistic goals and actually feel accomplished at the end of the day. Thanks for sharing!

  15. I too am a list maker and organizer. My only question is: did you replace the light bulbs with LED bulbs? They are certainly more expensive but will last for years and years.

  16. Love your post! Where did you get the white shelving on your desk, that would be perfect for my craft room!!!! Please share!

  17. I have found its best to have someone else go through my stuff. Even if they ask me what to do with stuff. For example, I have a dear friend in Houston who has piles. Well, I have piles too, but the roommate went through them with me and she got rid of the piles and trash that had collected in them out and the stuff organized, and I was there, but not the one actually picking them up with my computer tempting me to stop…

  18. As anyone who browses the web (especially Pinterest) knows, advice on organizing is a dime a dozen, and I’ve read (it seems like) them all! As someone who gets VERY overwhelmed at the scale of organizing (“what am I going to do with all this??!!??”), I just wanted to say this is probably the most succint, sensible advice I’ve ever read. THANK YOU!!!!!!!

  19. Hello. I love the white desktop organizer pictured in your opening photo. Did you build that or do you recall where it was purchased?

  20. I swear you took the words right out of my mouth!! I totally feel the same way about becoming overwhelmed by the pure mass of what needs to be done. Can’t wait to make progress along with you. Thanks so very much you are a Godsend exactly when I needed one!! God bless

  21. Thank you for the encouragement and the needed kick in the rear. I have a closet where everything is tossed in — literally! I know I need to organize. The list is going to come first. Thank you for the inspiration. Have a wonderful Sunday.

  22. Fabulous post! Thank you for putting this in perspective and in manageable pieces. I’ve a rather large home and as empty nesters, we’re presently only using about 1/3 of the rooms in it. Last Fall we turned our boys’ game room into a work-out room. We put the things we felt we wanted to keep from their childhood into our guest room. This June I hosted a bridal shower for my daughter-in-law to be (4 weeks and counting!). Afterward all the decor that I’d purchased for the shower also went into the guest room, along with bric-a-brac that I knew was cluttering the house. I have begun to do something I never thought I’d do, and used to be so judgmental of people who did . . . I now keep the guest room door closed because I just can’t bear to look in there, ugh! This is not the answer! I desperately want to get it under control and back to the way it used to look, but it’s all become so overwhelming. The worst part . . . our youngest is coming home for a rare visit next week-end. He’s not used to seeing our home in disarray (even one room) and he has become as judgmental of me as I used to be of others. What comes around, goes around right?! I’m actually panicking over his arrival because the guest room has actually gotten worse since his last visit. My point (finally) this post has helped me to see that it can be done, and yes, it can even be done in my lifetime! Thank you! Deena

  23. Last year the roomie moved her bedroom into where she works from home. This means she can climb out of bed and be at her desk in no time.

    However, we HAD planned to turn her old room into a media room, put all her tapes up (she has nearly 2000 of them) and make it a place we can watch TV. This hasn’t happened. For one thing, this is Texas, and while you have to wait for warmer weather, we have to wait for cooler weather. Especially since we had taken the window unit out of that room to her new bedroom/office and didn’t put the unit that had been in there back into the window.

    In June I had to evict the other roommate because she was a troublemaker. This means I have another empty room to deal with. This room was painted green for her, and I now want to use it as a crafting room, so I need it painted white.

    My usual painting guy has moved to Kansas, so it looks like I may have to paint it myself… argggg! Its not that I can’t paint it myself, I did it once, nearly 30 years ago, but now I’m over 60…

    We have also started putting stuff in there, stuff we’ve taken out of the “media” room so we could do a few things in there.

    I swear, I need someone to come in here and organize it FOR me!

  24. Yes, please continue to share organizing ideas and the results of your organizing “to-do-list” as you scratch off another project, thanks!!

  25. Laura, I love an organized house but you are right, it can be overwhelming!
    These are great tips 🙂
    I would love for you to stop by my blog on Mondays and share at our Something to Talk About link party !
    Have a great day!