10 Steps to Organize Your Whole Home {Simpler Steps to Spring Cleaning, Part 2}

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Have you ever walked into someone else's home and wondered how in the world they keep it so clean and organized?

I have! When I see people's craft spaces that are beautifully organized or filing solutions that make everything look so easy to find, it motivates me to improve upon my own space! It's not a competition, but it can serve as inspiration and a reminder to revisit my own organizational habits. And in doing so, I came up with some wonderful tips for organizing your space!!

Don't forget to grab your printable version of the list here!

 

1. Declutter before you organize. 

"Stuff is the enemy of clean," says The Lazy Genius Kendra Adachi, and I couldn't agree more. If you try to organize without first clearing out the excess stuff in your home, you're going to get stuck in a never-ending cycle of organizing and tidying up because there's just too much chaos to reign in with bins and cute labels.

If you haven't decluttered yet, if you're not sure where to begin, or if you're just looking for some additional pointers, you can check out the first post in this series here.

2. Put like things together.

Corral like items from around your home, and put them in one place. All the documents for your house in the same filing cabinet. All the shoes in the front closet. All the games on one shelf in the basement. It's much easier to find what you're looking for if it's all in one place!

3. Put things in the first place you look for them.

If you go to the kitchen drawer to look for your scissors, then keep them there. If the first place you look for your tools in the garage even though they've been in the basement, maybe it's time to put them in the garage.

Keeping things where you're most likely to look for them will save you time and energy in the long run! Imagine how good it will feel to know where things are and not waste your time looking in places they're not!

4. Keep things you use most often easily accessible.

If you use a certain kitchen appliance on a daily basis, make sure it's easy to get to. If you have to put it up high or tuck it into the back of a cabinet every time you use it, you're giving yourself more work!

Top shelves, high cabinets, and the back or corner of other cabinets are best used for things you don't use on a regular basis-- seasonal dishes, extras, etc.

I use pots and pans all the time, so they're at the front of one of the lower cabinets in my kitchen. By comparison, I rarely use my rolling pin, so it's on the top shelf of one of the upper cabinets, where I have to use a stepstool to reach it.

5. Have some rhyme or reason for your organization.

There are a lot of options for how you can organize your things, and you get to choose how you want to do it!

You can organize things like books in several ways: by color, by height, by genre, by author, by title. You can do the same with movies (okay, height doesn't apply, but you get the point).

When it comes to things like paperwork, you're going to want to organize that in a way that makes sense to you, too. You can sort things by year, type, or action required. I like to sort mine by type, so I have different sections for papers pertaining to my house, my car, my health, my IRA, and my taxes.

6. Use baskets and bins.

Baskets and bins can keep stuff organized in an attractive way. Sometimes our things don't look too appealing on their own, like all the cords we have for various electronics or a bunch of pens or file folders and binders. 

I'm a big fan of unifying both form and function. Whoever said organization is purely practical? It can look pretty, too!

A single bin or basket looks far less cluttered than several separate things on a shelf, and you can label it, so you know exactly what's inside it! Speaking of labels...

7. Use labels.

To make sure you know where things are without taking extra time to look inside of every jar, bin, basket, or folder, use some labels.

There are so many good options out there now, from clear adhesive labels to tie-on chalkboard labels. Some can be reusable if you change the contents of a container. If you're not interested in getting more supplies and want to use what you have instead, I've also found that some pretty decorative masking tape (or washi tape) and a permanent marker can do wonders!

8. Create a command center.

If your home gets chaotic because there are just too many landing places for everything that comes inside (mail, kids' homework and artwork, work projects, laptops, purses and bags, food, and whatever else accumulates on the horizontal surfaces in your home).

If you have a single dedicated space from which you can funnel everything into your home, you'll feel more prepared to handle it all. You could post the household calendar with everyone's activities, include a meal plan for the week, and have folders or a sorter for each person's mail or homework or projects. If everything has a place, and it's all kept in that one place in your home, it won't spread as easily all over, and it will be much more manageable for you!

9. Establish routines for things coming into your home.

It's great to get the clutter out of control and organize it in a way that works for you, but if you don't change how you handle things coming into your home going forward, the change won't last long.

Whether you use a formal command center or not, it's important to have certain routines and rhythms for how you process the things that come into your home. 

How are you going to sort your mail? Recycle the junk. Pay the bills. File the statements. Keep it from piling up and causing more stress.

When you get home, make sure you funnel things through your command center. Instead of hanging your jacket on the back of the chair, put it in the closet. Hang your bag where it goes. Put kids' homework and artwork where it belongs instead of piling it up on the dining room table. 

10. Adopt a one-in, one-out rule.

One of the simplest routines to keep the clutter from coming back and to keep things organized is to adopt a one-in, one-out rule. 

When you buy a new sweater, you donate an old one. You maintain a limited number of things this way, instead of continually bringing more stuff into your home that will only add to the mess.

This rule is so simple that everyone can do it! And it serves as a sort of check-and-balance for your shopping habits, too! Because if you're not ready to part with an old dress in order to buy a new one, then you don't want the new dress enough, and you know you can pass it up! It's a win-win! 

 

Which one of these was the most helpful for you? I'd love to hear from you in the comments!

Don't forget to grab the printable version of the list here!

And if you're looking for more help and encouragement to tackle your decluttering or organizing, let's chat about it!

Later, lovely!Jessie (1).png