Whether you find yourself in a full house after the holidays or are getting ready to sell your home, here are some tips on making it easier to organize your surroundings. 

Candace Wiebe from Candace Wiebe Household Assistance has been in your shoes and has found a few rules she likes to follow that make it easier to organize the house, even with young children at home. 

Her first tip is to “Guard the door to your home.” 

“Start the year with a spending freeze to help get into the lifestyle of being more intentional about what you bring into your home,” she says. 

Wiebe says organizers often talk about the many items frequently found in most homes, noting that it is believed that 80 percent of the time we are only using 20 percent of what we have at home. 

The purpose of a spending freeze is to reduce the number of items we have to manage, organize, clean, etc. 

Wiebe’s second tip is to declutter before you organize. 

“If it's true that most of the time we're only using 20% of things we own, there's a lot in our house that isn't serving us and doesn't have a purpose,” she says. “Maybe we're keeping it out of guilt, or we had good intentions of buying things and it just isn't useful for us anymore. So, I would suggest decluttering one small project at a time.” 

And sometimes, a written list can be helpful in staying on track. Wiebe recommends breaking down tasks in each room so that it’s easier to tackle small projects when you only have a few minutes. 

“Prepare your list and get a garbage bag, a donation box, and start going through each little project. And if you come across something that doesn’t belong in that area, I highly suggest you avoid making another bin that’s ‘stuff to deal with later,’ because you’re not going to want to deal with it later. If you find something that's out of place, just go bring it to the right room right away, and then you're not left with an undone project at the end.” 

When there are children at home who want to keep everything, Wiebe says it can be helpful to give them a “safe box” for things that will not be thrown away. However, when that box gets full, it is time for an adult to help them sort through those items to make space for new things they want to keep. 

She also suggests people try to avoid purchasing toys during the year, unless it is for a birthday or Christmas. When a child sees something in the store that they really want, Wiebe says she has found it useful to take a picture of her child holding that item so that she can make a list for gift ideas when birthdays or Christmas roll around. 

“And they're usually pretty happy with that,” she says. “They want to be acknowledged and remembered for the things that they want.” 

Wiebe also has some tips for people who plan to sell their home. 

“Make the process easier on you by starting to declutter your home as soon as you can, and I promise it'll make a huge difference. I've done this every time my family has moved. You really want to declutter and say goodbye to anything you're not excited to bring into a new home. And once you've decluttered, you can pack up anything you won't use in the next, let's say 8 to 12 weeks or so. And that really starts to show in your kitchen or in your storage closet. When people come and view your home, they can see how much space there is, and they can really envision their stuff being in your home and them living in your home instead of just seeing all of your stuff everywhere, and the closets jam packed. 

“I think if you can box up and labels things that you won't be using for three months or so, then you're partly packed and you're going to have an easier time selling your home and impressing the people who are coming to see it.”

-With files from Carly Koop.