Feeling Overwhelmed? Try These 7 Easy Organization Tips

happy woman relaxing in a clean, organized room

These days there's so much uncertainty in our lives, it’s easy to feel like things are spiraling out of control. It puts a strain on our finances, our relationships, and our mental health. Take a step back and get a handle on something you CAN control. We’re talking about getting a little organizing in your life. It doesn’t have to be a huge undertaking to get a major sense of relief. Take a look at this list for ideas to help you regain some control.

1. What’s Broken Must Now Be-Gone!

broken plate

Ok, this is probably a hard one to stomach. We get it. We’re DIYers and we’re always looking for ways to repurpose old things, you know, like turning a salvaged window from your kitchen remodel into a cold frame, a broken lamp into a pendant light, or fixing up an old van into a home. Where would this world be without your creativity and ingenuity? Probably buried under piles of wasted materials that could have otherwise been turned into something useful. For this we thank you!

But really, it’s time to re-evaluate your list of current projects. If that list includes things that you don’t anticipate starting until next summer, AND if it’s taking up so much space in the garage or basement that you’re starting to pile newer projects on top of it--say goodbye. You don’t have to trash it though. Websites like nextdoor or craigslist allow you to post for free, so you can offer them up to the people in your area. Why not make a few bucks off the things that would have otherwise gone in the trash?

2. Jettison the Junk Drawer

junk drawer

Again, another difficult one to fathom. Okay, so if it’s too much to even consider, how about just tidying it up a bit, because we know it’s gotten so bad you either can’t close it all the way, or else can’t open it fully because something inside has wedged itself firmly in place.

Reclaim that drawer by tossing those old take-out napkins, soy sauce and chile flakes packets, plastic forks, rubber bands and twist ties, bar coasters, pens--you get the picture. Envision a blank slate—a spare drawer for something other than spare things!

But fear not! Those take-out extras don’t have to go to waste. Gather them up for storage in your emergency stash. You’re prepared for an emergency, aren’t you?

3. A New Home for Hotel Toiletries


We love traveling, and who knows when we’ll be able to get back to it. In the meantime, those cute bottles of hotel soaps, shampoos, and lotions that you swiped are just teasing you with the memories of vacations to new places. If you actually use them, cool. If you’ve amassed a collection that threatens to spill into the toilet, consider donating them to places that might appreciate them like homeless shelters or locations that provide for the needy.

4. Clear off Horizontal Spaces

clean office desk

Why is it so hard to keep horizontal space free of clutter? Coffee tables, desks, bedroom nightstands, if it’s a horizontal space, it’s a magnet for clutter. They become catchalls for all things. Mail. Newspapers. Receipts. Spare change. Books. Flyers. We hate horizontal space. Oh, but hate is such a strong word, and our mothers would not approve. Rather--we DISLIKE them.

It’s a lot of effort to declutter horizontal spaces, and even more of an effort to keep them from being cluttered in the first place, so we suggest you start small. Start with the smallest horizontal space you can manage without getting annoyed or upset. Clear it off and put its parts into proper places e.g. receipts in tax files, newspapers in recycling, spare change in your wallet. We won’t even suggest you stop putting things there because that’s a whole other mental ballgame that we aren’t qualified to address. Instead, find the joy in accomplishing that goal, and if you’re inspired to clear off another horizontal space, go for it!

5. Clothes That Don’t Fit

plastic containers on a wooden table

If space is at a premium, this should be high on your list. If space isn’t an issue, at least store them so they’re not front and center. It’s hard enough getting up in the morning and having to choose an outfit. If you’re holding on to certain pieces for sentimental reasons, we understand. Store them properly to keep them in good condition so you can look back fondly when nostalgia hits.

6. Stuff That Doesn’t Belong to You

donating clothes in a box

Maybe you borrowed a sweater from a friend. Amassed a collection of dishes and Tupperware from potlucks at your house. Sunglasses from the pool party. If you know who they belong to, remind them that you have them or bring them back next time you go visit. If it’s been sitting in your house for years, the law of “finders-keepers” may be on your side. Use it if it’s something you like. Otherwise, toss it.

7. Expired or Uneaten Food

expired food can

We HATE wasting food. (And yes, this is a place where the word ‘hate’ is justified.) Wasted food is wasted money. Unfortunately, it happens. Trying new things makes you adventurous, but when it comes to food, sometimes, it just doesn’t work out. Unopened cans and boxes of non-perishables can be donated to a food pantry. If you don’t plan on ever getting back to the vegetarian hot dogs in the fridge, best to just get rid of it.

No one knows when we’ll get back to a sense of normalcy, but at least there are some things you can do to give yourself some control and satisfaction in your current situation.