With spending more time at home, a lot of us have contemplated decluttering and how to organize our lives in one week. In fact, many of us have spent more time at home in the last year and a half than ever before during the pandemic. Staring at clutter and disorganization every day for months on end will motivate anyone to set aside time for getting organized.
Organization doesn’t have to be a long process though. Plus it doesn’t take an organized person or professional organizer to get everything done. With a busy schedule, it can be daunting to think about organizing your entire life.
But you can tackle most areas of your personal life and daily routine within one week. And if you can find time every day for one entire week to get your life organized, you can set lasting changes in place for your upcoming weeks and months ahead.
Universal tips for getting organized in one week’s time
It can be hard to know where to start to organize your whole life in one week. What do you focus on? How should you tackle the different areas of your life? Do you set aside time for other things?
Before we get started with our daily guide, we have a few universal tips for getting organized in a week. These are things to do and things not to do when you make time to organize. Regardless of how you tackle your week’s worth of days, these tips will help you.
Things to do:
- Get good sleep and an early start
- Eat nutritious meals
- Create good habits
- Use a planner or journal
- Have a morning ritual/routine
Things not to do:
- Try too many new things at once
- Get rid of meaningful things
- Compromise your emotional/mental wellbeing
- Stop practicing self-care
A day-by-day guide for how to organize your life in one week
Before determining how you’re going to organize your life in one week, it can be helpful to sit down and make a task list of things you want to prioritize for each day. One approach we recommend is to think about your life according to the rooms in your living space.
Not only can this help you isolate your efforts, reduce clutter and avoid feeling overwhelmed. But also this can be a great way to tackle a mix of big tasks and habits - both physical, mental and emotional. In addition to the repetitive tasks of decluttering and organizing that you're about to do, think about the deep work you can do as well.
Start on the first day by tackling the area that you enter your space. This might be a mudroom, an entry way, or it may be a main room. Either way, there’s an area by your door that acts as a drop zone. You probably dump your keys, hang your bag, take off your shoes, put down your mail in this area. Physically speaking, this is the first encounter you have with home life. And it will likely reflect the chaos that is often accompanied by getting in and out of the house.
Taking care to organize this part of your life is a smaller task. But it could drastically improve your first moments at home. Think about the mood or mentality you want to cultivate when you enter your personal space. What needs to be done to make it more streamlined, organized and peaceful. This could take 30 minutes or an entire afternoon to optimize. But it’s time well spent. And it’s baby steps towards an improved, more organized life.
Tackle the kitchen. Whether you cook a lot or not, the kitchen is often the hub of a home. It’s a space we store and prepare our food. It is a place that influences our nutritional decisions by way of how accessible and outfitted it is for cooking. Kitchens are often where we do a lot of repetitive tasks like doing dishes. And it’s a place capable of big messes after cooking and grocery store shopping. It's a space in our homes that influences our emotions in that we often feel better if it's organized and clean.
Think about what you really need in your kitchen for better cooking in the long-run.
Start by taking inventory of your fridge, freezer and pantry. Clean out expired, old or uneaten food. Donate to a food bank if appropriate, compost or recycle. One step we can take towards a better meal plan and meal prep is to cut back on the “default foods” we stock in our kitchens that just don’t get eaten. Set aside time to also clean out unused kitchen appliances which can be many things - from food processors to garlic rockers. And make a list of the right tools that would enable you to cook more in the long run.
Do you feel ready for the next challenge? At this point, you’ve organized two key areas of your home life. Next move into the main living room. This is an area that tends to accumulate much stuff. Whether you live alone, have a partner, pets, kids… regardless of life together with others or life on your own, the main room is a space full of many things.
The main living room is the hub of a household.
This is probably the room (along with the bedroom) where getting rid of things will happen the most. Set aside one bag for donations and one bag for trash and begin to declutter. While doing these smaller steps, think about ways you want to rework how you use your space.
Does the living room end up being the place where you plop down and eat dinner while watching TV? Would you rather it be a place devoted to after-dinner reading and resting? What can you do mentally and physically to re-tool this space for something new. Set goals as you’re organizing to achieve these new good habits.
Bathrooms! Whether we want to admit it or not, we spend a lot of time in our bathrooms. In fact, our bathrooms are likely the most utilized square footage of our entire home. A morning routine starts in the bathroom. Part of personal hygiene and getting a productive day going is doing these daily tasks in the bathroom. So, it’s a great place to focus on organization, decluttering, and making sure we feel better about how this space is arranged by the end of the day.
Bathrooms are high-traffic areas and essential to keeping organized!
Open all the cabinets and begin to discard outdated and unused cosmetics, appliances and products. And while doing this, think about what items could go in different places to make a more streamlined morning routine. Try parceling down your drawers into smaller compartments with the help of bins and containers. This can be hard work. But it is a well-known tip to stay organized in high traffic areas like bathrooms.
Our bedrooms are the rooms most personal and intimate to us. Which is why sometimes they’re the most cluttered. They’re where we just drop things and allow piles to accumulate, because we can simply shut the door and no one will see or care. But at the end of the day, how is this affecting our mental health? We may not be thinking about it that way.
The bedroom is where clutter can accumulate the most sometimes.
In our bedrooms and closets, decluttering is key. But it’s also important to do some deep work here. Think about what items you want to add to contribute to your emotional and mental well-being.
What things would make this room more comfortable and special to you. This can be a big part of owning and cherishing this space and wanting to keep it organized. A comfortable chair in the corner could be a place you read before bed. Fairy lights, a house plant, new bedding… whatever it may be. These things can help you enjoy your bedroom more in the long run and help you stay motivated to keep it clean.
Home office or bonus rooms are the wildcard rooms of every home. Depending on how much they are used on a daily and weekly basis, these can be the places where many things get put down and never picked up.
Bonus rooms and offices are catch-all spaces.
Our number one tip for these spaces is to make a list of the things that ought to be in them. For example, office supplies, work-related documents, bills to be paid or shredded, and important documents are the only things that should live in the office. This gives you an instant criteria for what should stay and what should go when you start organizing. Same goes for a playroom, bonus room, homeschool room, craft room, sitting room, you name it!
You’re almost finished! Storage units or additional storage spaces (like garages, hallway closets, laundry rooms, attics, sheds and pods) are saved for the last day. If you don’t have any of these, then you’re done. Great job! Can you believe all you accomplished this week?
For the rest of us, this last category can be our nemesis. It's where many items go to be forgotten. We may not do any daily tasks in these places. But these are often places where we keep some of our most precious possessions - keepsakes from our loved ones and family members, childhood mementos, gear for our hobbies and extracurricular activities, and miscellaneous other items.
It's important to declutter and donate unimportant items.
So it’s important to stay focused and work towards organizing these spaces. Both organize and reflect on the importance of these items just like we did throughout the main parts of our lives.
Benefits of organizing your life in one week
A few of the benefits of organizing your life in one week include reducing stress and eliminating that dreaded feeling of being overwhelmed. When you face the larger tasks that have been hanging over your head, it can be incredibly freeing.
Plus, tackling your master list and task list for things that need to be organized in your life allows you to focus on building good habits. Whatever changes to your home life you want to make, you can now make.
Some examples of the important tasks that you could do better after organizing include:
- Better meal prep for the next week
- Paying bills on time to save money
- Keeping important documents in a consistent place
- Tidying your living room
- Getting rid of clothes and things you don’t use
- Establishing a cleaning schedule and laundry day
- Making a list of household chores for the upcoming week
- Keeping a shopping list
- Going to the same grocery store for groceries
- Having a master list of family member contacts important dates
- Using a calendar app or task management app
- Prioritizing your mental health every day
- Writing down positive affirmations to help you stop procrastinating
- Buying and using a daily planner or weekly planner
- Establishing a morning routine
- Reducing the amount you use social media
- Having more free time to get things done that you love
- Using better time management and time blocking
Additional how-to guides for organization and resources to check out:
Lastly, before you start to tackle organization, it may be helpful to reference some of these resources. The important thing is to do what feels right for you. But there are professional organizers that have published their strategies and approaches to organizing. These are ultimate guides to organizing your life the long way, but it could be condensed into a week if you get creative.
- Marie Kondo: The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing
Tony Hammersley: The Complete Book of Home Organization
- Space Matters Blog: The Ultimate Recommended Reading List for Professional Organizers (Beginners and Experts)
- Francine Jay: The Joy of Less: A Minimalist Guide to Declutter, Organize, and Simplify
- Fun Loving Families Blog: 11 Best Books on Decluttering and Minimalism
For more resources on taking care of yourself, how to make time for good habits, and tips for personal development, check out our Silk+Sonder blog!