Decluttering a room is one thing, but tidying up your entire home is a whole different ball game. You will need to be committed and determined, but you will also need to have a reliable plan of attack. Just as you wouldn’t go into battle without a tactical approach, you need a game plan when organizing your space — after all, decluttering is a battle of sorts. This is where the CORE 4 method can help.
This de-cluttering technique was developed by professional organizer Kayleen Kelly who specializes in chronic clutter and clients with ADHD. Most of us find deconstructing a daunting task, some more than others, but this method consists of just four simple steps that break down the task into manageable ones. When faced with cluttering a room, you apply each step before moving on to another space in the house to help keep your attention focused.
Of all the clutter-detoxing tips and techniques I’ve come across, this is definitely the most obvious of the bunch. I spoke with the expert behind the idea to learn more about how their CORE 4 method works and why it’s one of the easiest ways to declutter your entire home. That’s what she had to say.
Lilith is an expert in following news and trends in the world of interior design. A firm believer that a tidy home is a happy home, she is committed to helping readers organize and tidy their spaces by sharing tips and practical guides. For this piece, I spoke with the professional designer behind the CORE 4 method—the most efficient way to organize your entire home
What is the CORE 4 method?
The CORE 4 Method is an analysis of four simple steps that put you on the path to organizing your entire home, one room at a time. These steps are: Clear, Sort, Cut, and Contain. To apply the method you start in one room and stay there until it is complete before moving on to the next room in your house. Thats all about it.
If you, like me, are the type who finds themselves distracted by things you come across when arranging your space, following these steps is one of the best ways to stay focused. Rather than feeling helpless and having nowhere to start, he sets clear, achievable goals that break down the larger task into more understandable chunks.
‘I usually start in the master bedroom and then work toward the bathroom, kitchen, utility, and workspace,’ says Kayleen Kelly. (Opens in a new tab)the organizer who created the CORE 4 method. To get started, choose your target room and then follow the four steps listed below.
1. Clear out
Disposal is the ultimate goal of every Disassembly mission, but this step is more about moving things that don’t belong in that specific room than getting rid of them. “This step is very important because it makes it clear what doesn’t belong and reduces a lot of bulk so you can focus on the target room and the items that do,” says Kayleen.
Start by removing any trash and items that don’t belong in the space. “Here I recommend my Bin method,” Kayleen explains. I use the boxes for each room to collect items that belong in other areas of the house and put them aside to be rehoused later. This allows you to quickly collect and remove items without jumping around your house trying to put things away.
If it’s easy to get distracted while backtracking, this scatter tip is a simple solution to keep you within the space you should focus on.
Every organizing professional will tell you the importance of categorizing your belongings. Whether you’re dealing with books or closet organization, putting everything you own and taking an inventory will help you visually understand what you already have and what you can get rid of. You may even find that you have duplicates of certain items.
Kayleen suggests doing this in rounds because you don’t want to pull everything out at once and overwhelm yourself. “Classification is critical in the regression process,” she says. “In order to make confident decisions, you need to see everything you own so you can compare and narrow down what is most useful and valuable to you.”
Decluttering is all about letting things go, and that’s what Third Step encourages. In order to have a clean and clutter-free home, you need to say goodbye to anything you no longer use or want.
“This is where you refuse to mess with the three-second undo rule,” Kailyn explains. With this technique, you can work through one category at a time and quickly decide on each item: yes to keep and no to throw. “If you hesitate for more than three seconds, it’s an automatic hold,” Kaelin adds. “This allows you to make quick, confident decisions without overthinking or regretting letting go of something you’re not 100% ready to let go of.”
This step makes decluttering quick and efficient while also being gentle. It is also an especially useful method for anyone who struggles with indecision and self-doubt. Even if you don’t end up throwing away a lot after the first run, you can repeat as many times as you feel necessary until you can fit your items comfortably into your storage areas.
Organization and organization come hand in hand. Once you’ve committed to tossing some of your stuff away, you’ll want to make sure the things you keep are neatly arranged and stored in designated spots so they’re easy to find.
“Make sure you store your categories together,” advises Kayleen. Put regularly used items in easy-to-reach areas, and use clear containers and labels to make leftovers easy to find and put away. Only make purchases once you know what you need and can take measurements if needed. You can even organize your storage with QR codes if you’re feeling really loyal.
What troublesome situations is the CORE 4 method best for?
If you’re someone who puts off decluttering because you’re easily overwhelmed and don’t know where to start, the CORE 4 method is a great way because it allows you to work on your own terms.
“This method provides you with a logical plan of action that can be broken down into small, manageable steps,” says Kaelin. Some people can go through all the steps in one day while others may do one step in a week. Every project is different. It should be noted that the level of clutter, how quickly you make decisions, and the available storage space should be factored into the time it takes to complete the de-clutter mission.
Once you get a handle on the four different steps, you can supplement them with other techniques like the 20/20 undo rule.
3 of the best distressed books to help you change the way you think
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The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up Book, Amazon
If you really want to get rid of clutter forever, this book might be for you. Written by the queen of organization, Marie Kondo, this book outlines the core principles of the KonMari Method, a revolutionary class-by-class system that promises effective results for eliminating clutter.
Keep Memories, Lose Things Book, Amazon
Perhaps the biggest thing holding you back is your emotional attachment. With empathy, expertise, and humor, Keep the Memories, Lose the Stuff, by Matt Paxton helps you let go of all the things that no longer serve you, helping you to live in the present.
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“Decluttering at the Speed of Life” book, Amazon
If an uncluttered home sounds like a farfetched reality, this book by Dana White will help you get the job done. An emotional problem-solver identifies the challenges that make it hard to separate from the things we own, and offers practical solutions, like the six-month rule, to break through and see noticeable results.