How to organize your home so that you can find EVERYTHING - this is one of my TOP home organization tips explained in detail.
I am asked often how to figure out WHERE to put stuff in the home, so that it can be located again period. Then of course, it's nice to be able to find things quickly. This page lays out exactly how I figure out where to store my things in my own home and is also the same method I use with my clients to choose the best location to store items in their houses.
These home organization ideas will help you with organizing clutter, implementing family routines and turning your house into a comfortable sanctuary. Enjoy!
The first step in figuring out how to organize your home is understanding that every item in your house needs a home. In other words, all of your stuff needs a place to "live." I like to explain it like this...
Imagine what the world would be like if no one had a home. We'd all be just wandering around the Earth like human clutter! The same rule applies to the contents of your house.
Think of your home as your "world." If the items inside do not have places to live, then of course they are going to be out cluttering up the space all of the time. Thus, now the question is, how do you figure out where to put all of your home's contents? That brings me to my next point.
The second step in figuring out how to organize your home is to assign locations to everything. The first thing I ask my clients when we are trying to figure out the best location for an item in their home is, where does it get used? Start by narrowing it down to the room the item gets used in the most. Once that is answered, you can move on to coming up with a storage solution in that particular room.
For instance, let's say you are trying to figure out where to store the dog's leash. Sounds like an easy one, right? By the front door or whichever door is used most to take the dog on a walk seems like the most obvious answer. However...let's add a little normal "life" stuff to this scenario. The leash keeps ending up on the floor (which has tripped a few people a few times) and different family members put it in different places when they come back in making it hard to locate it the next time.
Okay, so we know the leash needs to be in or near the entryway but we need a storage solution off the floor that everyone can find. Perhaps you could install a hook by the door that is only for the dog leash or maybe even a basket that is labeled as such. Either way, the leash would be off the floor and it would have a home that everyone can find. Perfect!
Now, what if the item you're trying to find a home for doesn't really belong to one room? Or where it gets used isn't really that obvious?
Good question! What is the first thing that comes to mind when I ask you this:
If you had to find ___________ right now, where would you think to look?
Whichever space came to mind is probably you're answer, whether or not it makes perfect sense. For instance...
Let's say you're trying to figure out where to store matches. They can be utilized in several different rooms or spaces in your home, but let's say that the first thing that came to your mind was the master bathroom because you like to light good-smelling candles in there on a semi-regular basis. Then you think to yourself that matches are also used often in the winter in the living room for the fireplace...and outside in the summer for grilling...and on and on.
My suggestion would be to store some matches in or near each location for convenience. Then figure out one main place for the bulk of your stash. This way you have matches in all the areas they get used, but they do in fact have one home. Apply this to things like toilet paper, batteries and light bulbs, and you'll be able to find anything and everything in your home in a matter of seconds.
Once you figure out which part of the house an item belongs in, it's time to come up with a storage solution and label it. This step sort of solidifies that this location is where this item lives.
For example, our master bathroom is teeny tiny so I keep extra dental floss in a labeled plastic drawer in my closet. The drawer is VERY easy to get into, the location is close to where the item gets used and makes sense and I can direct anyone to the "ORAL" drawer in my master closet. Seriously. Here's real world proof...
Recently my dad was over at our house for a BBQ. Naturally, he had some food stuck in between his teeth. I was able to direct him straight to the dental floss without getting it for him. "Go upstairs to my bedroom, open the left side of my closet, go into the plastic drawer labeled "ORAL." That was it.
Thus, containerize and label everything. It eliminates the clutter on the floor and on the surfaces, it ensures that everyone knows how to find stuff AND where to put things back. Win-win-win.
The last component of this whole system for figuring out how to organize your home is to get everyone in your household involved. What good is having beautifully labeled containers if no one is going to put stuff back where it belongs? Without everyone contributing in this capacity, creating homes for everything in your house becomes pointless and you're back at square one: clutter world.
First, educate all of your family members on where stuff belongs. Expecting them to know is not usually a successful practice, even if everything is labeled. Rather, inform everyone so they are aware of how to find things.
Next, make it clear that leaving items out in any place other than where they belong is unacceptable. Every family is different, so enforce this as you see fit. Perhaps, violation of this rule is punishable by revoking access to certain items. For example, if toys are not put away after use then there will be no dessert after dinner or no TV time or what have you.
Lastly, being organized is so awesome so have fun with it. Make clean up time a game for younger children (like who can put away the most items in 10 minutes). Or tell your husband how sexy it is that he returned his books to the bookshelf. Or give your dog a treat for bringing her blanket back to her bed (well maybe that's just us...our Pug Brisket is so entertaining!). Anyway, make it your own, have fun and happy organizing!