Where are my keys? Has anybody seen my left shoe? If these are things commonly said in your home, it might be time to get your home organized.
Read on to discover some easy hacks that can help you find must-have items when you need them most.
1. Getting rid of clutter
Many homeowners feel better in a clutter-free environment, so this is a great place to start. If parts of your home serve as a dumping ground for household items – from junk mail to dog toys and sports equipment, you can make organizing clutter easier by following these steps
- Sort through the amount and kinds of goods that need a designated place
- 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
- Place storage where people naturally use or drop things (e.g., an outdoor dog toy bin by the door)
Sort through your things, your way
You don’t have to go through everything in your house at once – you can go room by room or focus on one container or one object type at a time (e.g., loose paper or outerwear). Begin with whatever is the easiest or makes the most sense for you.
Look for easy storage solutions
These days, storage is more than just totes. Try repurposing intact containers or adding pieces that give you great form and function. By moving a few things around, you can maximize your existing space and save money with readily-implemented storage solutions that are easy and fun, like the following:
- Use a tension rod for easy under-the-sink storage
- Make mornings easier – put a magnetic key holder in your kitchen or front hallway
- Dispense plastic bags easily by laying them flat in a folded cardboard box to pull them out one at a time, like facial tissue
- Keep bedding sets organized by putting flat and fitted sheets inside matching pillowcases
- Organize your small kitchen appliances by what you use the most to maximize counter space
Pro Tip: Begin with the items that you use the most or that take up the most space. You want to be able to find the things you need and feel relaxed in each space, but you won’t need to put everything away when not in use.
Label your items in memorable ways
If sticky notes and traditional labels don’t seem to work for you, try these nontraditional systems to help you clutter-free journey on track.
- Color code family member’s keys by add nail polish or metallic permanent marker
- Wrap ribbons around each person’s lunchboxes, gym bags, and laundry baskets
- For neatly-labeled containers, use printable magnetic labels
- Use dry-erase markers to write your laundry supply needs on white washers/dryers
- Lazy Susans aren’t just for serving – use them in your bathroom, home office, and more!
2. Stop clutter before it starts
Now that you’ve got things sorted, how do you limit clutter for next time? Make it easier to maintain a more functional environment by using these tips to limit future mess.
- Use the color-coding and labelling options recommended above
- Set a calendar reminder for a daily or weekly 20-minute tidy, and create a playlist to match
- Rotate through your home by picking one room to clean each day of the week
- Determine a “clutter point”, at which you give yourself 48 hours to clean your home and put everything away
3. Clutter control: Create a designated room for a specific activity
If the items you use for a certain pastime (sports equipment, crafting supplies, etc.) are spilling out of their corner nook and into other rooms in your house, consider transforming an unused space to give this gear an official home.
In just a few hours to a few weeks, you can create ample room for these items, limiting stray objects in other rooms of the house and getting your clutter under control.
Don’t know where to begin? Start here!
Step One: Figure out what you have, use, and need
Trim your inventory by donating or tossing any items you no longer use, and sort things into piles of what you use the most, sometimes, and the least. Even if you’ve done this already, one more round can help you get rid of things you’d like to keep, but will more than likely gather dust. Don’t forget to factor in seasonality!
Step Two: Figure out functional storage solutions
Whether you’re updating half of the guest room or an old garage, storage can make the difference between having a chaotic assortment of things in one place and having an inviting area to engage in your favorite activity.
Pro Tip: This may even be a good way to start organizing, as turning one part of your home into a more usable space can lead to the same in another.
Step Three: Start small, then build over time
It’s okay if your new hobby zone takes time to feel just right for you. You may find that your needs change once you start using the space, so in the beginning, start with your core design needs and build out from there. These may include:
- A fresh coat of paint
- A desk with plenty of storage and counter space
- Curtains and an area rug to make the space more beautiful and functional
By giving yourself ample space to fully engage in your favorite forms of leisure or play, you can get the most out of those activities, while being able to keep it all in one place.
4. Make time to de-stress
Whether you’re taking a break from organizing or just getting in after a busy day, it’s important to for your home to be a space where you can unwind comfortably. With a bit of rearranging, you can make each room more welcoming, appealing, and relaxing. Create a set zone to de-stress by putting your favorite things together in a relaxation corner.
Now that you’ve successfully decluttered your home, you'll always know where your keys and left shoe are: Right where they belong.