No matter how much time I spend organizing my home, there are certain spaces that always become a dumping ground for household clutter – especially as my home wasn't built with any handy storage nooks.
Although I think myself pretty clued up on all the decluttering tips you could think of, my bedroom and home office were spaces I could simply never muster the motivation to get truly tidy. Enter, the overwhelmed organizers' new savior – the 'ski slope' organizing method – pioneered by therapist-turned-designer, Anita Yokota.
Here, I go into detail about what the ski slope organizing method is, and how it helped me tackle my most tedious spaces.
What is the 'ski slope' organizing method?
The ski slope organizing method is perfect for decluttering a home when you feel overwhelmed. The process involves breaking down a room into separate zones which you can glide between one after the other, crisscrossing across the room to reach your end goal.
The idea, Yokota writes, is to avoid diving head first down the slippery slope of clutter and becoming overwhelmed and crashing before you reach the end. Moving from corner to corner, rather than from front to back, ‘lessens the angle.’
Anita is a therapist-turned-interior-designer whose background lends itself to a holistic approach to design. She creates spaces that lean into both aesthetic principles as well as functionality, designed to make clients' homes both beautiful and intentional.
How I got on with the ski slope organizing method
To thoroughly test the method, I tried it out in two different rooms in my house. My bedroom, which was in its usual state of everyday untidiness, and my home office, which was far more cluttered and, in my opinion, a bit of a disaster.
It is suffice to say that I was far from disappointed with the results!
First, I used it to help organize the bedroom, which was suffering from the usual piles of unfolded laundry, dumped clothes that were not quite ready for the washing machine yet, and small piles of things on the floor next to my bed waiting to go into my under-bed storage boxes.
I started by putting two large laundry baskets in the center of the room (on my bed) to collect items that belonged either downstairs or in other rooms on my top floor like my office or bathroom. I then began in the furthest corner from my bedroom door.
Focusing only on this area, I put anything that needed to go in my nightstand away, everything on the floor piled back into my under-bed storage crate, and picked anything up off the floor that needed to go elsewhere – for example, I put my laptop charger in the basket to be moved to my home office, my empty drinking glass in the basket to go downstairs, and some stranded socks in a small pile on the bed to be moved into my dresser storage when I got to that section of the room.
The trick, I found, was to not move to another area without completing the first.
This helped me to avoid moving on and becoming distracted organizing a dresser, for example, before my nightstand corner was completely clear. I continued to do this process back and forth across the room, moving to the opposite corner, organizing, and then moving back again until I was back at my bedroom door and my room was tidy.
I had to mentally remind myself a few times that I shouldn’t walk something to the other side of the room, just because it belonged there. For instance, when dealing with my ‘doom pile’ of lightly worn clothes on my chair in the corner opposite my closet, I was tempted to quickly take some fresh laundry straight over – even though I had not dealt with that area yet. I knew, however, that if I did I would get distracted hanging them all up and forget about the corner I was working in. Instead, I put these on the bed, ready to carry over when I was ready to move on.
To finish, I moved anything left on the bed that needed to go back into the corner I first started in back to that area, leaving nothing on the bed except for the two baskets full of items to go elsewhere in my home.
In total, the room took me only 30 minutes, and with any un-housed clutter contained in the laundry baskets, I had the opportunity to delay sorting those items to another time if I felt worn out.
After completing my bedroom, I moved on to organizing my home office, applying the same logic and working from the corner furthest from the door. This space had become my household dumping ground for anything that was bulky or didn't have a home, so it was in desperate need of a complete refresh.
For this room, I once again employed my laundry baskets in the middle of the floor within reach of each corner and also carried a trash bag with me to quickly dispose of old paperwork or packaging. This room had previously been incredibly overwhelming, with gym bags mixed with cables in one corner, and my hobby materials like sewing sets and paints in the other. My home office seating had also become overrun with coats I was phasing out with the warming weather and paperwork from the living room that I hadn’t filed away in my office desk organizers.
I use some silicone cable straps like these to help keep my unruly cables from taking over my desk drawers.
I find that a monitor stand is ideal for storing small stationary, and for tucking keyboards away when not in use
This room took me a little longer, at 50 minutes to complete the space, but having stuck a TV show on in the background it didn't feel like a chore. Completing individual zones continued to provide me with a satisfying serotonin boost that powered me through the entire space in one go – leaving me only with the two laundry baskets that I could carry around my house and put things away as I went.
Since decluttering and home organizing using this method, I have not only found it easier to keep on top of the clutter each day but also simpler to employ different cleaning tips as surfaces and floors were left unobstructed. What’s more, working in smaller areas allows me to leave decluttering at a moment's notice without having created a bigger mess.
I don't think I will ever go back to organizing any other way. Will you be giving it a go?
Home Therapy | $26.78 at Amazon
Whether you’re looking for better work/life balance or design solutions for your family, interior designer and licensed therapist Anita Yokota walks you through Home Therapy: her signature system for setting up your spaces to nurture your mind, body, and spirit.
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Chiana has been at Homes & Gardens for a year, having started her journey in interior journalism as part of the graduate program. She spends most of her time producing content for the Solved section of the website, helping readers get the most out of their homes through clever decluttering, cleaning, and tidying tips – many of which she tests and reviews herself in her home in Lancaster to ensure they will consistently deliver for her readers and dabbles in the latest design trends. She also has a first-class degree in Literature from Lancaster University.
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