The One Thing that Motivated Me to Get My ENTIRE House Organized

Have you ever felt overwhelmed by the clutter in your home? Or maybe just the out of place but always there stuff? Everyone has that little pile of things they don’t know what to do with. The stuff is always somewhere just out of sight enough to ignore it.

In our home, it seemed like everything we either didn’t know what to do with or didn’t want to deal with ended up on our kitchen counter in a corner. That stack o’ stuff kept getting bigger and bigger. I would dig through the pile to find an envelope that had something important in it… and then not put anything else up.

This pile of junk on my counter made me realize something: every piece of paper, every envelope and notepad would have only taken one minute or less to actually put away. One minute.

The pile also made me realize I was being lazy and wasn’t actually as organized as I believed. Based on the “one minute rule” – if something takes a minute or less to put away, do it! I organized my entire house to be easy to access for both me and my husband. And I did it in three steps.

This post contains affiliate links. If you click a link and make a purchase, I will receive a small commission at no additional charge to you. It’s what keeps Hello Brownlow going!

Step One: Declutter

For us, we had become pros at decluttering the big things. When it came to smaller stuff – hobby items, mail, paper documents, photos – we just weren’t efficient.

We took each category and went through everything. The hardest two things were medical/tax documents (having a baby means lots of paperwork) and all of my crafting supplies. Because there was so much, I had never been motivated enough to toss out what I really didn’t need.

Read More on Decluttering >>>
Simple Guide to Purge Your Whole House
28 Things to Declutter from Your Home This Weekend
How I Eliminated Over Half of My Wardrobe

Step Two: Categorize

With lots of paper, mail, photos, and other documents that pile up, you need a serious organization system. You can opt to buy a scanner like this one to digitize your documents and organize them on your computer or an external hard drive. If you’re old school like me, put all the papers into different categories after you have decluttered them.

For us, paper documents are stored in a medium sized file box similar to this one. There are hanging file folders inside that labeled “medical, accounts, receipts, taxes” and the list goes on. Depending on your family, your categories will vary.

Another big item on my to-do list of decluttering and then categorizing was all of my crafting supplies. In late 2018 I decided that it was more important for me to have my own space where I could write, craft, and do just about anything. We got rid of our queen sized bed in the guest bedroom and turned it into my craft room/office. Or as I like to call it – my woman cave.

I categorized my craft supplies and was ready to organize everything.

Step Three: Organize

This was my favorite part of the whole process. With everything “small” decluttered I was able to see what I had and figure out how I could optimize how everything is organized. I needed to have a clear space in my office so that no more piles of junk ended up on our counters.

I went to the thrift store and grabbed just about every basket and tub I could find. Containers, whether they are gift boxes, plastic tubs, wicker baskets, or cardboard boxes, help you to keep everything categorized and separated so that nothing is out of place.

With files and just about everything else organized, the one minute rule has changed our lives. No more is the pile of junk on the counter. No longer does my planner and pens sit on the kitchen table for a week at a time. Everything has its place. My planner has its own basket that holds extra inserts, washi tape, stickers, and pens.That’s truly what it takes for the one minute rule to work.

The one minute rule is designed so that any task that should take less than a minute to complete (taking your shoes off and putting them up, hanging up a coat, tossing junk mail in the trash, putting clean dishes away) can be done efficiently. There should be no guessing as to where something goes or questioning where something went a week later. Organization is the key to time optimization. And that’s really what the one minute rule is about!

Recommended Articles


  1. It’s so true how most chores we have only take one minute or less. Even folding laundry takes less than 10 minutes. Not a lot of time when you put it in perspective!

    1. It’s such a great tool to put productivity at the forefront of your day!

  2. So true, it would save us all so much time!

    1. Exactly! That’s why I love it so much (especially as a mom to a crazy little boy!).

  3. This is great motivation to get moving. I could do with a purge and clean myself, but I feel like it’s just one of things on the list of things.

    1. Start small! Take a bag out to your car and start decluttering there. You’ll be amazed at how calm you feel the next day driving to work or running errands. It might be the motivation you need to start the rest of your house which takes time.

Leave a Reply