If everything was always in the proper place, life would be perfect. Snap out of it! Perfection is never going to happen. Keeping things organized is a struggle for most of us. However, there are small tweaks we can quickly implement to make your routines, tasks, and living environments more efficient and visually tidy. Welcome to easy Home Organization 101.
The first time I walked into a Container Store, I probably had the same sensation as a child entering FAO Schwarz. I was mesmerized. I think my jaw dropped open for at least thirty seconds as I looked around in wonderment. It was all things orderly and neat. I had found my happy place, these were my people.
My close family and friends know that I am an organizational and clean freak. I savor the word freak, with pride. My mom is also a freak, so I guess that fruit did not fall far from the tree. I gained all my preliminary skills from her as a child. It was natural for me to organize, sort, compartmentalize, and arrange items at an early age.
My two sisters did not inherit the family trait. Even as a very young child, I was perplexed they did not keep their rooms clean or pick up after themselves. Yes, I was a nerd before nerds were cool. Guilty. I continued to hone my organizing skills over the years. Much to the disdain of my siblings.
Many friends over the years have asked me to help them organize a kitchen, closet, room, or even their entire house. I have never done the full-fledged operation like Martha Stewart or Marie Kondo. Still, I have guided others in giving inspiration, tips, and have rolled up my sleeves a few times.
Save Time and Reduce Stress
Probably the most significant obstacle I have heard from friends is that they don’t have time for home organization. I call B.S. on that one. Being organized actually saves you time and stress each and every day. After the initial effort in organizing, you then spend less time thinking, searching, finding, sorting, and rearranging daily. It is a time saver! Kind of the gift that keeps giving.
Essential Home Organization Products
I’m going to touch on some tips and advice to help with the most common pain points for getting your space organized. However, there are a few essential items you must have on-hand to get started in the right direction for almost any space:
- Label Maker / Black Marker
- Tape Measure
- Clear Storage Bins
- Clear, Stackable Containers
- Modular Compartments
- Shopping List App
The sizes will vary depending on each space, like a drawer versus a closet. But the overall concept for organizing is the same.
Top 10 Home Organization Tips
Follow the ten indispensable steps below for basic home organization 101:
1. Start Small
This could be a drawer, a cabinet, closet, or an entire room, but don’t venture beyond that space. Focus on the task in front of you, and do not get distracted. Put one foot in front of the other, and soon you’ll be walking ‘cross the floor. Seriously, those baby steps will point you in the right direction.
2. Allocate Time
Block off the time you need to get the task done. For larger jobs, you might need to work in stages. Just remember the time you are allocating today to organizing is saving you tons of time in the future.
3. Purge The Area
First, go through the area you are about to organize. Anything that you have not used or worn in two years or longer needs to go into a bin (including sentimental items). Do not get bogged down with the details in the container, you will go through those afterward and decide its final destiny.
4. The Remains
After you’ve removed extraneous items, take a look at what is left behind. Does it make sense to keep it here? Is there another place where you’ve got more room to keep it or another area where it would be more easily accessible for its purpose? If it needs a new location, just put it in another bin for now. You will deal with that later.
5. Create Additional Space
Think creatively about additional areas where items can be stored or displayed. Prime examples include over doors, above toilets, underneath beds, and above built-ins. These areas are valuable real estate in your home and are often overlooked.
6. Split The Space
By adding additional shelves instead of a single shelf, or by using stackable containers, you can divide the vertical space and make efficient use of the area. By splitting the space, you eliminate the possibility of stacking tall piles of clothing, papers, or other items that are destined to topple over. I probably have twice the number of shelves in each cabinet or closet than most people. It is a highly efficient use of all of your space.
7. Compartmentalize The Space
Putting similar items into bins, stackable containers, or modular compartments is your most significant solution for organizing. This is really the secret weapon for organizing and makes a considerable impact quickly in your project. Are you working on a catch-all drawer, medications, folded scarves, workout clothes, candles, coffee pods, or lightbulbs? The list is endless. Having objects in their own designated compartments is highly efficient for retrieving and putting back. This is true for everyone in the household. Wink, wink.
8. Incorporate VAF
The three rules to organization are visibility, accessibility, and flexibility. Choose containers that are either transparent or that you can easily label to help immediately identify the contents and save valuable time. Make sure that the items you need most often are the easiest to access. Likewise, place the things you don’t need to get to as often on a higher shelf or in another area. Select a storage system that can adapt to your changing needs (even if it is just modular compartments in a drawer). That way, you can reconfigure and reuse solutions to solve a variety of storage and organization problems as your needs change.
9. Label Everything
Well, not everything, but almost. My husband makes a joke that if he sits too long, I will put a label on his forehead. Should the label be his name or something more creative? I am thinking of the latter. Thoughts? Labeling containers and boxes make identification quicker and easier for everyone in the household. I hear a lot less, “honey, where is the…” You are welcome.
10. Make a List
Create an on-going shopping list during your organizing phase of items that you do not have on hand. If the area has a size requirement, then measure the space and note it on your list. That way, when you are shopping in a store or online, you already have the sizes handy.
Once I was in a store, laying out the modular components onto the floor for a drawer, I was trying to organize. I impressed a few shoppers walking down the aisle. I then took an overall measurement to ensure each piece would fit perfectly. One customer even asked if I would come to her home. LOL. No, however, maybe I planted a little organizational seed.