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Easiest Organization Method Ever – One Item Per Day!

This post has been updated as of 3/25/2024

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I am a self-help book junkie. You name it I have read it (or plan on reading it). My favorite organizational book thus far is Marie Kondo’s life-changing book Tidying Up. Kondo’s book showed me what to get rid of, but I didn’t have the time to do it.

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The Kon Mari method requires that you organize your space by category instead of by room. For example, you pull together all of your clothes (from every room). Then you decide what clothes to keep, donate, sell, or throw away. You follow the same process for books, CDs, kitchen items, etc. One session of tidying usually takes a few hours. But what if you don’t have a few hours to dedicate to tidying? I’m also not someone who enjoys following a decluttering checklist.

Junk Room Before

Decluttering Your Home

Every organizational expert I came across recommends blocking off a few hours of time (maybe more) to organize a room or an area. As a busy working mom, wife, and (then) grad student–- I do not have time to clean out an entire room in one sitting. I’m also easily overwhelmed. The precious free time I have is usually spent with my family. So when cleaning out the “junk room” I decided to try my own method– “ONE ITEM PER DAY.”  

Junk Room Before #2 (please excuse the cat litter box)…it was clean

I relocated the cat litter to the garage and installed a cat door (for easy access). You can see the newly purchased cat door on the desk next to the television and orange cup.

I gave myself some two rules: My first rule was to remove at least ONE ITEM PER DAY from the junk room; my second rule was to deal with the item “that day.” If I broke either rule I could easily fall behind on my goal. These rules helped me stay on top of the project.

Junk Room Before #3

Getting Rid of the Clutter

If I gave something away on Craigslist I had to list it and arrange to pick up that day! If I donated to Goodwill I had to relocate the item to the Goodwill box in the garage that day! I tried to take a full box to Goodwill at least twice a month. If I tossed something I had to take it to the trash can that day. If the item needed to be relocated then I relocated it that dayOne item. One Day. Every Day.

RELATED POST: HOW TO STOP CLOTHIGN WASTE IN ITS TRACKS.

Junk Room Before #4

Old magazines and paper were recycled. When dealing with old papers and work from my undergrad years I scanned what I wanted to keep and uploaded them to Google Drive. If I ever have a desire to look at it I can do so electronically.

Items like an old treadmill, unopened hair supplies, office supplies, turtle supplies (the turtle was rehabilitated and successfully released back into her original environment), old CRT television, GRE books were given away for free on Craigslist. Other items like old bridesmaid dresses, Halloween decorations, picture frames, books, vases, candleholders, art, etc. were donated to Goodwill.

This post was written in 2017. Unfortunately, there wasn’t a Buy Nothing group in my area until 2020. So in 2017, I focused on giving away for free on Craigslist, Facebook, or Goodwill.

Finally, some items were trashed (if they were torn or broken). Unfortunately, there wasn’t anything worth selling–hence “junk room.”

P.S. The rehabilitated turtle was released and is still spotted occasionally. She has doubled in size and is doing well!

Now…Guest Room (as my mom was moving in).

Easy Organizational Method

When I first started, one item per day didn’t seem to make a dent, but after 30 days I removed at least 30 items, 60 days/60 items, 90 days/90 items, 120 days/120 items and so on. If you stick to at least one item a day it eventually adds up! Now when I say one item I don’t mean 1 piece of paper. One item should be a substantial object or a grouping of objects, such as a stack of papers.

Once my mom moved out I was able to reclaim the room as a light and airy guest room…with some toys sprinkled in. When we don’t have guests my husband and daughter watch tv or lounge on the bed. It’s finally a usable space. The junk room has been “dejunkified.”

With regard to cosmetic changes– I removed wallpaper, removed a shelf, spackled the walls, and repainted the room Tree Moss (Satin Sheen).

Guest Room After (my mom moved out)

Yes, there were some days when I cut myself some slack. There were a few days I forgot. If I forgot to remove at least one item per day–-I would do two items the next day. I didn’t go beyond three items per day. If I got more than one or two days behind, I would start at one item per day again. The whole point of this project was that it be EASY–not stressful.

Guest Room After #2

Decluttering Pitfalls

I did want to note that the longer the project went on the more difficult it became to find items to discard. Once you’ve cleared the low hanging fruit, the items that fill your “junk room” are harder to categorize. I subconsciously saved the more difficult items (i.e. sentimental items) for last.

Should I keep this, should I sell this, should I trash this? If I keep it where should I put it? Will I use it?”

What I Learned When Decluttering.

As the room emptied I found myself more reluctant to let things go. If you’d like to learn how to get better at decision making, I’d recommend Decisive: How to Make Better Choices in Life and Work. That’s one thing I have learned– DECISION MAKING IS KEY! Clutter is related to delayed decision making.

I avoided dealing with some items because I didn’t want to make a decision. This is one of my weaknesses–-making “quick” decisions. However, indecision is itself a decision. It was ultimately a decision to keep an item that may no longer be useful. Once I got past that hump I was able to make decisions again and finish up the project.

I started removing one item per day in January 2016. When my mom arrived in June 2016, the room was completely empty except for the desk (which she wanted).  I know this method may not work for everyone–particularly when you want to get a room in tip-top shape immediately, but it worked for me. Let me know what works for you!

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I hope you’ve enjoyed this post on the easiest organizational method ever! If you have any ideas or suggestions, please share with me in the comments or on Instagram






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