I get two comments about home organization. First – it’s too overwhelming, so I’m going to muddle through the system I have because I’m scared to change. Second – I know where everything is. Why does it need to be organized?
Whatever school of thought you’re apart of, organization leads to efficiency, control and peace. Or as author Gretchen Reuben puts it, “outer order, inner calm.” But where do you start? Here are five tips to consider when you’re thinking about tackling your home organization.
Start from the top and work your way down.
When cleaning your home, one of my favorite methods is to start from the top and work my way down. What does that mean? That means I’ll dust ceiling fans and cabinet tops first, then clear countertops, then work on my floors. I try to apply the same methodology to organization.
Think of your closet. What’s at the tip top, where you have to stretch to reach it? Your belongings that don’t get every day use. So when you’re organizing, start there and ask yourself the following questions:
- Have I used it within the last year?
- How often do I use this?
- What’s this items purpose in my home?
If you want to go deeper, you could use a page from Marie Kondo and ask yourself “Does this spark joy? Do I have a physical, happy reaction when I touch this item and think about it’s role in my home?”
If you can’t remember the last time you used it or know what it’s purpose is, it may be time to consider donating it or giving it to someone who does need it.
Give every item a purpose.
This idea is so important, so we’re going to dive a bit deeper.
I love flowers. My husband buys me flowers almost any time he goes to the grocery store. When we were dating, he surprised me one night with three dozen roses and chocolates for Valentine’s Day. We’ve now been married for more than three years, and I’ve kept all three vases. I’ve also since collected many, many more.
Do I need a bajillion vases? No. Do I need to get rid of some? Yes. Especially considering the fact I have one vase of flowers in my home on any given occasion. I simply can’t justify having almost ten flower vases!
Answering the question whether or not an item has purpose in your home can be so valuable in your organization process. You can also apply this question to decorations you only pull out once a year. For example, we have three Christmas totes in our garage. When Christmas 2020 came and went and I realized I only used a handful of those decorations, I went through them and picked out the ones that didn’t make it out of the box that year. They didn’t get put back in to storage. They aren’t going to make me wonder why they’re a part of our decor next year. They didn’t have purpose – so I donated them and hopefully someone who does need them will be able to give them purpose in their home.
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Clear your space and trash as you go.
This may be reiterating my previous idea, but the sentiment is different. As you’re organizing your home, you need to give every item a purpose but you also need to have a set expectation for what happens when that item doesn’t fulfill something for you in your home. Will you donate it? Are you going to throw it away? Will you prepare for this by creating a donation bin and having a trash bag handy? Set yourself up for success and think through all the possibilities you’ll encounter when organizing.
Accept when you no longer need something.
My daughter quickly outgrew some of the toys that kept her occupied when she was an infant, but I didn’t want to let go of her being that tiny. So what did I do? I kept her toy bin stocked full of toys she had absolutely no interest in. She’s now over a year old and we’ve finally created a new rotation of toys for her to enjoy.
I’ve noticed I will do the same thing when it comes to something else I harbor in my home. Do you do that? “I have to keep the keychain I bought when I was give years old because I bought it in Wyoming even though it clearly says ‘Made in China’ on the back of it.” I’m so bad about this, especially when it comes to clothes!
Accepting that we no longer need something may be harder for some than it is for others. Maybe that item is a piece of decor you just don’t want to let go of. Maybe that item made your life easier – or so you thought. Relinquishing something will not only clear space in your own home, but it will help you move forward.
Start with what you have.
When my daughter outgrew her toys, her new toys seemed to multiply over night and totally consume my living room. Her play area went from a single tote that was housed by our entertainment center to almost stretching the length of our entertainment center! I had to look for a better way to organize her toys. So I started with what I had.
Before she was born, I organized my daughter’s shoes, hair bows, burp cloths and extra toiletries in a cube shelf in her closet. Today, she was only using two bins of the nine in the organizer. So I knew I needed to move that organizer from her closet and breathe new life into it. It now lives in our living room and every bin is occupied. Her toys went from being scatter around my living room to each toy having a place in its cubby. And better yet? I didn’t have to spend any money trying to buy some fancy organizing system!
This nine-cubby cube organizer worked great when my daughter was an infant, but wasn’t working well now that she’s a toddler. However, giving it a new purpose has extended its life and now it is working well.
Tools you may need
- Storage totes. These black and yellow totes are similar to what we have.
- This is a cube organizer similar to the one that now houses my daughter’s toys.
- Every cube organizer needs bins! Love these foldable fabric bins.
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