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In this post: Creating an organized home that works for you is easier than you think. Follow these ten tips to get started.
Home organization can feel like a massive task to take on, so much so that you may avoid it far too long because you are afraid of just how long it will take.
However, as you probably already know and have maybe experienced, the more clutter you let build up, the more difficult it will be to clean it!
Trust me, we’ve all been there at one time or another. No judgment here.
The good news is that organizing your home doesn’t have to be this gargantuan task that you never get around to. And once you do tackle all that clutter, you will be rewarded with a neat and tidy home where you can find any item you need.
Believe me, that will be worth the time and effort you spend organizing!
Tip #1: Declutter Regularly…Before You Organize
There is no use in organizing items you aren’t using. That’s just crazy and will likely make you give up before you get very far at all.
Start by doing a deep cleaning of all your belongings throughout your home. Work through one room or space at a time and then move to the next. For checklists to guide you through each space, check out my second book, The Clutter Fix.
Don’t feel you need to get rid of everything though, or that you can’t keep your most precious items. Just let go of anything that you don’t use often, haven’t seen in years, or can live without.
You may find it easier to let go of more stuff as you continue organizing, especially if you watch “Tidying Up” or “Hoarders” on Netflix while you’re cleaning. 😉
Tip #2: Keep Only What You Need
Getting your home organized is much easier when you are only keeping the items you really want and need.
Get rid of duplicates, and items you haven’t used for six months to a year or more. As you go through things, really think about whether you need something or whether you’re just holding onto it “just in case.”
Ask yourself if each item is:
- Beautiful. It’s okay to keep something just because it is beautiful to look at and brings you joy by having it. As long as you have room for it!
- Useful. Does it serve a purpose? Is it the ONLY thing that can serve this purpose? Don’t keep duplicates unnecessarily.
- Sentimental. Keeping some sentimental items is absolutely okay. If you have room for them. (Read The Clutter Fix for more details about sentimental clutter and how to handle it.)
Tip #3: Know Where to Discard Items
Once you’ve begun to sort through your belongings and have a pile to discard, decide whether each item is something that can be donated or whether it should just be thrown away.
- Throw away items that are broken beyond repair or stained or damaged.
- Return items that are new, with tags, or are otherwise unused.
- Give to friends or family who love your style or who are otherwise in need.
- Repurpose things in ways you hadn’t thought of before. But don’t use this as an excuse to hold on to things to “someday” reuse them. Make use of them now, or get rid of them.
- Donate to local charities, churches, or shelters that may need the things you’re parting with.
- Sell your items to consignment stores or via online venues like Facebook Marketplace.
- Recycle your items in typical municipal recycling programs or at specialty recycling centers and programs.
Inside The Clutter Fix, I have an extensive list of places to donate, sell and recycle your used items.
Tip #4: Watch Out for Bargain-Hunting
Clutter collected from shopping often comes because of the thrill of finding a bargain and feeling like we’ve found a deal. But that bargain-hunting thrill can get us into trouble if we buy things only because they’re a deal and not because we actually need them. We may find that our drawers, cabinets, and garage are stuffed much fuller than we’d like them to be.
Shop mindfully and evaluate your purchases, don’t shop when you’re bored or stressed. And never buy something just because it’s on sale.
Tip #5: Everything Needs a Home
A good rule of thumb is that every single item you own should have a space where it belongs. This is really the only way good home organization will work.
If you have too many things and not enough space, you can’t possibly keep things from getting too cluttered and chaotic.
Only keep the items you most love and cherish – or that bring the most joy to you and your family.
Tip #6: Take it One Room at a Time
Organizing your entire home is much easier when you break it down into manageable chunks.
Start with just one room in the home. The main living areas are ideal, to begin with, as you may be moving things from these rooms to bedrooms or closets. By doing this first, you eliminate the need to re-organize other rooms later.
You also get some small wins under your belt, which can create a snowball effect to help you keep moving along with your organizing tasks.
Here’s an overview of how to do this:
- In the first room, start on the floor and work your way to the ceiling.
- Clean out every single drawer and shelf.
- Make sure that space is completely finished before you move elsewhere.
You may feel like you should stop organizing the DVD racks and go clean out the kitchen junk drawer. However, moving around the house like this is less productive and adds more work for you in the long run. Plus, moving your focus around is what starts to become overwhelming for many.
Once you’ve organized a room, if something needs to be put into an already cleaned room, make sure you put it all the way away in that room. This keeps you from having to go back and re-clean areas. No need to do double the work, right?
Tip #7: Organize Your Decluttering
When you start to declutter, you will want an assortment of bags, tote boxes, or bins to help you out. Label these based on what you plan on doing with their contents.
A great method for labeling is:
- Keep (optional – for items that you’re keeping, but that need to go to another room)
Everything you declutter from the rooms in your home should fit into these bins.
You may need more than one box for a particular category, and that’s okay. It means you are working hard to declutter so you can live in an organized home.
Create a relocation center – a room or tabletop in another room – in your home for the items that you plan to get rid of. All full boxes should be moved here until they can be removed from the home. An attic, garage, basement, or storage shed are ideal places to relocate your unwanted stuff.
Tip #8: Find Hidden Storage Opportunities
As you are decluttering and cleaning, look for ways you can store the items you plan to keep.
Thinking vertically – wall shelving – is probably the best way to find more space to house your belongings. Often, closets and bookcases are overloaded while the walls are bare and in need of some shelves to better organize things.
Under the bed is another great location for storage. Don’t simply toss shoes, out-of-season clothing, or toys under there, though. Get bins and label them with what they hold to keep things better organized. That way, things can stay in their proper places and be easy to find when needed.
Baskets can transform the shelves in your pantry or bathrooms to hold more items than before. Specific baskets in your kitchen may hold K-cups, tea bags, or kids’ snacks. In the bathroom, baskets can hold small toiletry items like toothpaste, tissues, or cotton swabs. Using this technique gives you more space, but also makes you feel more organized and makes transporting items a lot easier, too!
But remember not to just stuff things you don’t need or don’t want to deal with into these hidden storage spaces. Use them for keeping things you genuinely want and need.
Tip #9: Get the Family Involved
Home organization should never be a one-person job, if at all possible. You didn’t clutter the house all by yourself, so why clean it alone?
Get the entire family involved in the process to take some of the workload off yourself. Plus, when everyone is pitching in to organize the home, they are more likely to take pride in their work and keep it looking great. It also saves you the hassle of the “hey, where’s this?” questions you’re bound to get later on.
Emphasize the importance of every item needing a home, and that unnecessary items should not be kept. While you are working on the main living spaces, create bins for the kids to sort their toys, clothing, and shoes. That way, you can just do a quick run-through of the bins later, cutting down on the time you spend decluttering the bedrooms. The kiddos will be happy with where all of their things are.
If you need more ideas for getting the family on board with your decluttering and organizing, you will want to read the chapter called “How to Get Your Family on Board – Or Not” in The Clutter Fix.
Tip #10: Spend 10-20 Minutes a Day Putting Things Away
The final tip for organizing your home is to spend a few minutes each day putting things away where they belong. This is the secret to a well-organized home.
Create at least a morning and evening routine for getting the house back in order each day. Load the dishwasher, tidy the living room, and put shoes away. Or whatever needs doing at YOUR house.
If you don’t return things to their proper homes, your house will quickly become cluttered again. That’s where habits and routines will help you immensely.
For more about routines and the awesome power of habits, grab yourself a copy of The Clutter Fix.
More Organizing Ideas
- No-Fail Tips for Organizing Kids’ Rooms
- 5 Tips for Seasonal Clothes Storage and Organization
- Organizing Kids Toys – Ideas for Doing It With Style!
- Pantry Organization Ideas: How to Organize Your Pantry in 5 Simple Steps
- 7 Best Closet Organizing Tips: How to Organize Your Closet
- Nightstand Organization: How to Organize a Nightstand in 4 Simple Steps
- How To Organize Your Fridge: A Step By Step Guide to Fridge Organization
Home organization doesn’t have to be so scary if you go about it the right way. Just break down the task into manageable chunks and remind yourself of how great it will be once everything is decluttered and has a home.
What’s your best organization hack that you practice within your home?