Trying to figure out how to organize your house?
Do you feel like no matter how hard you try, you just can't seem to get organized?
Or once you do get some organizing done, everything becomes a mess the next day?
Never fear, the professional organizer is here!
Below you'll find the answer to all of those questions. Here are the top 5 home organization tips a professional organizer (that's me!) uses to keep her own house tidy. Let's get happy, let's get motivated, let's get organized!
Even the stuff you don't know what to do with needs a home.
For example, if you've got a pile of random small parts and you have no idea what these pieces belong to, then put them in a bin labeled "Small Random Parts" AND put the bin in a part of the house that makes sense to you. If you end up figuring out that something is missing a piece, then you'll know just where to look.
If they are small toy pieces then perhaps it belongs in your kid's room or the play room. If they look like pieces to furniture or to the house in some way, perhaps the bin belongs in the garage with the tools and hardware.
Apply this to everything you own. If you're having trouble figuring out where to house items, start by identifying which room they get used in. Then containerize them and label the container.
Even if it's just in the right room, it's important to return items to their "homes" on a regular basis. This is why it's so critical to give everything you own an official place to live; it makes putting stuff away so ridiculously easy and quick.
I've integrated this practice into my morning routine, so that every day begins with a clean, fresh start. If I'm working from home that day, then the clutter-free environment is much more conducive to being productive. If I'm out for the day, coming home to a tidy house feels so awesome and relaxing.
Now it's important to say, you don't need to be running from one end of the house to the other or up and down the stairs until you're breaking a sweat. You can, for example, simply put things on the stairs that need to be brought up the next time someone passes them.
This is not as overwhelming and complicated as it sounds. Yippee!
FIRST, I always have a "home" for things we don't want anymore. [Re-emphasizing the first tip on how to organize your house: Absolutely everything needs a home!]
For example, there is always a donation bag in my closet. Whenever my husband or I come across clothing or accessories or anything else we want to give away, we simply throw it in the bag right then and there. Boom! Closet purging done!
Apply this concept to any and all things that get discarded. For example, I also have a home for batteries and other electronics to be recycled which is also just a bag.
You have a home for your trash, right? Of course you do...trash cans! And for your recycling? Recycling bins! Perhaps you sell stuff? Great! Containerize it in some way, even if it's just a bag.
SECOND, don't let your home become a dump. You do take the garbage out when it's full, right? Apply this same concept to all discards.
For example, when our donation bag is full, I put it in my trunk and drop it off at the donation center the next time I pass it. Thus, when your recycling box or donation bag or container with things to sell is full, schedule some time into your day to take it to to where it needs to go.
I suggest starting with something easy and that doesn't take very long. For example, making the bed every morning. It's a great way to start the day fresh and tidy.
It's important to say that if the practice takes too long and/or is too complicated, then you'll be less likely to commit to the habit. Be sure to simplify the process in any way you can.
For example, if your bed takes more than a minute to make, then it's too hard. I don't even use a top sheet anymore. There is the fitted sheet, the comforter and the pillows (the pillows that get used, not a million decorative pillows). I am able to quickly straighten the comforter over the bed and arrange the pillows. There's no tucking or bending or anything like that involved. Easy peasy!
Once the habit becomes second nature, you can build upon it and add another. My next suggestion would be to keep your kitchen sink clean and clear of dirty dishes.
After I make my bed and get ready, the next thing I do is gather up dirty dishes from around the house and put them in the kitchen. Then I put them in the dishwasher. Just like making the bed, keeping your sink clean and clear is a great habit that doesn't take very long and contributes to starting the day off fresh.
If you look at your house as a whole and think that you need to get the entire thing organized, you'll run for the hills screaming. This is the point at which my clients usually call me. :)
It's too overwhelming to look at it that way. Rather, conquer your house one room or one tiny, manageable space at a time. For example, do you think you could conquer the kitchen utensil drawer like the one in the photo on the right? Of course you can!
Start with the space that is of the highest priority. How do you figure that out, you ask? Which space affects you the most by being disorganized?
Whatever frustrates you the most, start there. Schedule time in your calendar to organize the space to its maximum efficiency. If necessary, break the space down into doable projects. For example, if you chose the kitchen as your priority area, then organize it one drawer or cabinet at a time.
Do you need help actually getting the space in order? Here's the organizing process you can apply to any space and every little thing.
Once your priority area is organized, then you can move on to the next priority and keep going until every space in your home is neat and orderly.
Please note that for this to work, you must revisit the spaces you have previously organized to do some maintenance every once in a while. Those areas won't keep up themselves, and this usually causes a little backtracking.
To avoid that I suggest doing regular maintenance, so let's talk about what I mean by that for a second. When I refer to maintenance, I mean doing things like putting items away or decluttering an area to get rid of stuff you no longer want.
Also, maintenance does not have to be frequent but it does have to be regular. There's a huge difference between the two. You could clean out the pantry twice a year and call that a regular practice, but two times per year is definitely not frequent. See the difference?