Where are my keys? Has anybody seen my left shoe? If these are things commonly said in your home, it might be time for a big clean. With these home organization hacks, you can make the items in your home much easier to find when you need them.
Organize your physical things
Many homeowners tend to feel better when there is less visual clutter, so we’ll tackle any physical disarray first. Homes often have an unofficial ‘way station’ that serves as a dumping ground for an array of household items, from junk mail to dog toys to sports equipment. Follow these steps to learn how to organize clutter:
- Take stock of existing storage solutions and see what can be saved/should be bought
- Give usable items, like storage bins and racks, a thorough clean
- Use storage solutions creatively (e.g., a shoe organizer as part of your pantry organizer system)
- Place them where people naturally use or drop things (e.g., an outdoor dog toy bin by the door)
Clear your inbox
Now that your household’s belongings have been given a proper place, let’s turn to digital clutter. Dealing with a full inbox can mean cutting through a jungle of spam and once-urgent emails, but you can use the following ideas to untangle the mess without breaking a sweat:
- Create or revise your folder system, merging and deleting folders to keep emails easier to find
- Assess your system for flagging, pinning, and filing important emails, modifying as needed
- Unsubscribe from emails that don’t serve you or can tempt you to overspend or waste hours online
- Consider registering a new email account for discounts, leisure, sale, or hobby-specific messages
…And your home screen
Once your inbox is all set, take a moment to prevent Future You from opening the screen to chaos. Use these ways to organize your home screen:
- Put your documents in a folder that rests on your desktop as one item, or in folders that are out of sight
- Arrange your desktop files by file type, date created, purpose, or project
- Remove anything you no longer need, and set monthly or quarterly reminders to tidy your home screen again
Organize Your Pictures
Pictures are also notorious for dominating storage space. Get your photo stash under control by taking these steps to help you consolidate your digital files. Depending on your photo load, you may need a few sessions to get everything sorted.
- Remove any pictures that are duplicates, embarrassing, or of a moment that no longer matters
- Organize pictures into folders (Searchable photo galleries are a big help!)
- Create albums by vacation, activity, or photography subject
- File new pictures and videos away as soon they are captured or on a regular, doable basis
Pro Tip: Make sure your photos are regularly backed up to the digital cloud or an external hard drive! It would be awful for all that time spent to be gone if something gets dropped, spilled, or goes on the fritz.
Make time for rest
Every time you finish a section of cleaning, take a break with pre-planned rewards to keep you motivated and energized, as in the examples below.
- Small section: Take 5 minutes to enjoy your favorite song or snack
- Medium section: Press “play” on the next episode of your new favorite show, or take a nice walk
- Large section/the whole house is clean: Go on an outing with a loved one, or invest in a hobby
Now that you’ve decluttered, you know that your keys on the hook, and your left shoe is next to the right one, by the door.