Young couple organizing their apartment

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Rule #1: Focus on the Task at Hand

"We obsess over having to buy the newest organizers and tools," says Michaels. "That actually stops us from being organized, because we're always waiting for the perfect item to help us finish our task." Remember: The goal should be removing items period, not finding the right containers to corral the stuff we don't need.
Colorful living room

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Rule #2: Know Your Clutter Limit

Michaels says that even if you're someone who loves to be surrounded by lots of color and accessories and things, it's still possible to cross that line where it feels like you have too much clutter. On the other end of the organizing spectrum, someone who prefers a minimalist space might have a much lower threshold for what constitutes clutter. Figuring out your limit is key to determining the best organizing strategies for you. And if you share a household with others, you'll want to communicate it and try to compromise as best you can.
Space-saving storage bags

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Rule #3: Optimize This Go-To Storage Area

If you tuck belongings under your bed that sit there unused, collecting dust for months—even years on end—it's probably time for a purge, Michaels says. But if you use the under-bed area specifically for off-season clothing and items that you don't have the closet or drawer space for, there's a better way to do that. "Rather than shoving [plastic bins] under there haphazardly, use cloth or zippered containers that are airtight," Michaels says. The soft containers can more readily fit under the bed and maximize the narrow space.

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Rule #4: Evolve Your Space

"People get their homes set up once, and if they never move, they tend to keep them the same forever and ever," says Michaels. Instead, regularly gauge how functional your home is and make updates so that it serves you and your current lifestyle. When you don't take that time and your home doesn't reflect who you are today, she says that's when people get overwhelmed.