Organizing Small Wins: 3 Small Spaces to Kickstart Your Decluttering

If you’re at the beginning of your organizing journey, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed by all the spaces and projects you have to tackle — but it doesn’t have to be that way! I want to show you some organizing small wins you can take on today, so you can start creating better habits and building positive momentum towards a beautiful, functional, organized home.

A small step in a positive direction sets you up for an easy win, and an easy win sets you up for positive momentum. Small, simple changes over time all add up to create positive habit shifts. (In other words, you’ve got this!)

Before we dive in, be sure to grab a copy of my handy ‘Small Space Wins’ printable. It’s going to help you feel even more motivated + confident in your ability to tackle these small spaces and kickstart that positive momentum.

Here are my 3 favorite spaces to organize to get that small win feeling. Try one today, and let me know in the comments how you do!


Small Win 1: Junk Drawers

Everyone has at least one or three junk drawers, right? For this small win, I want you to pick one junk drawer and give it some form + function. The first thing we’re going to do is empty everything out of the drawer. As you go, you can begin to group like-items with like-items, making categories. For example, all pens, pencils, markers, and highlighters can go together. Another popular category is paper: all sticky notes, notepads and scrap paper. How about a clip category; paperclips, bin clips, and rubber bands? As you go, discard any broken or missing pieces. 

When you’re done sorting, wipe out the empty drawer. Then, take inventory of your categories and begin to plan a layout for containment within the drawer. 

Storage Solutions for Your Junk Drawers

Drawer organization is a game changer, and many different items can be used to group and contain your things. Here are a few DIY hacks for drawer containment, which you can easily set up using things you already have on-hand: 

  • A shoe box lid for pens, pencils, markers, highlighters
  • A small jelly jar for rubber bands and/or paperclips
  • Any small container that will fit in the depth of a drawer; jewelry boxes, sunglass boxes, makeup packaging, etc.

Any of these items can be a great solution for categories like batteries, lip gloss/chapstick, keys, stamps, or whatever you keep in your junk drawer. It’s a small win for organizing and for recycling!

If you’d rather get fancier with it, there are a myriad of wonderful drawer organization systems available at different price points. Here are some of my favorites:

Pro tips: 

  1. Always measure your drawer (or any space, for that matter) before purchasing a product. It’s easy to find starter kits that may fit your category needs perfectly, otherwise you can build a totally custom system with all the different sizes available. 
  2. Add a tiny dab of museum gel to each corner of your containers before placing them in a clean drawer to prevent them from sliding around when you open and close. It’s magical!

Small Win 2: Bookshelves

For this next small win, I want you to pick a bookshelf that gives you a headache every time you look at it. Organizing this small space is probably a lot easier than you think, and you’ll be so glad you finally tackled it!

Thoughtful placement of your personal effects — like your books, photos, art, and collections — reflects who you are and what’s important to you. So, I first want you to ask an important question: what is this bookshelf’s purpose? Once you’ve defined its use, you can decide what mix of objects you want to put on it.

Do you have books that you refer to often? These most-used reads should be kept in easy reach, and in easy-to-identify categories. Maybe that means by type — travel, cooking, politics, history — or maybe it means by color. I’m loving the rainbow craze right now, ROYGBIV! 

Once you’ve got the base of your books, you may begin to layer in art, photos, objects - keeping in mind that visual consistency lends to a natural organizational balance. Plants, a decorative lamp, a collection of vases or mirrors, metallic accents — there are many routes one can take when setting up an aesthetically pleasing, effectively-styled space. Work outward from your base, reassessing the story you’re laying out with your belongings.


Pro tips: 

  1. If you’re really after maximum impact, adding a pop of color with paint or wallpaper to the interior of your shelves elevates the personalization and style.

Storage Solutions for your Bookshelf

When it comes to giving some structure to the way your bookshelf is organized, I love the stackable Natural Canvas Storage Boxes from The Container Store. They fit almost any decor, and are great for tucking away little bits and bobs. Photo Storage Boxes are also great for storing photos (of course), but also coasters, remote controls, and other loose ends. 

Small Win 3: Coat Closet

As a NYC apartment dweller, space is at a premium, so I love a super functional coat closet. A well-organized closet can be a glorious little helper in keeping clutter from infiltrating beyond the entrance of your home. 

In your busy family, I’m sure there are a lot of things in your coat closet that you use on a daily basis. Focusing on those essentials by clearly defining item categories and labeling them is a beautiful start! 

Here are some common coat closet categories (try saying THAT ten times fast) to get you started:

  • Coats, jackets and sweatshirts
  • Hats, gloves, scarves, caps + sun hats
  • Seasonal sporting gear
  • Handbags + backpacks
  • Umbrellas
  • Dog gear (leash, poop bags, brush, jackets)
  • Easy-to-grab sunscreen, hand sanitizer and bug spray

After you’ve minimized, sorted and categorized, it’s time to space plan. When planning, keep in mind who uses this space and it’s high-traffic nature. It makes the most sense to keep your most-used items front and center. 

That may look different from season to season depending on where you live. For instance, I’m in the Northeast, so we certainly have outerwear for each of the four seasons. I have a storage bin in my basement that I use to switch my closet from bulky fall + winter coats to lighter spring + summer coats, when the time is right.

Storage Solutions for Your Coat Closet

A key part of organizing your coat closet is to use products and storage solutions that make it easy for your entire family to see where things are. Here are my favorite solutions:

  • Elfa door units are amazing to tailor to your family needs — they’re so versatile! The different size baskets are great for seasonal hats, scarves, and other bits and pieces. I even use the giftwrap add-on in my coat closet to hold my son’s bats and tennis rackets! Hooks are also a great add-on, for dog leashes, sweatshirts, and backpacks.
  • I love to have a cohesive set of coat hangers. My favorites are the Premium Non Slip Velvet Hangers from The Container Store, and there are a few colors to choose from.
  • Labeled baskets or canvas totes are great for corralling seasonal pieces. Some of my favorites are the Rugby Stripe Storage Cubes, the Hyacinth Storage Cubes, and the Multi-Purpose Bins — again, all from The Container Store! They really carry a variety of options at different price points.
  • Sports equipment can always find a happy home in a tall wire basket.
  • S-hooks reign supreme in the handbag department. 

Pro tips: 

  1. This will blow your mind. You know the outdoor utensil caddies? Well, they make great cubbies for sunscreen and bug spray. You’re welcome. 

Small Steps Get You Going in the Right Direction 

If you struggle with where to start or you find the entire process daring and daunting - then I know you will benefit from my philosophy of small wins! Start small, pick a project and follow the simple tips you’ve picked up here. 

To make it even easier for you, I’ve included a handy ‘Small Space Wins’ printable to help get you started! 

Remember, don’t stress. There is no right or wrong way to get organized, and no one size fits all. That’s the beauty of it: you get to customize a space and shift habits that are completely bespoke. It gets easier over time! Tackle a small space, test it, refine it and experience the shift in living with an organized system.  

Have a question about getting started or you’re eager for more small wins  + tips? Be sure to drop it in the comments below!