Spring is coming this month and many of us are already starting to think about getting organized. If this sounds familiar, this blog post is for you! It contains some of our favorite home organization tips so you can get a jump start on your spring cleaning.
1- Make an organization schedule
If you try and organize your entire home in a weekend, you will probably get overwhelmed and give up relatively quickly. It’s much more realistic to make a schedule for your home organization that spans a month, or even two. Start with something small, like a bathroom. Getting one room organized relatively quickly will help you get “get in the flow” and give you the motivation to keep going. Save difficult tasks, like the kitchen, until the end.
2- De-clutter while you organize
Are you getting overwhelmed just looking at everything you have to organize? Think about this: it will be a lot easier to organize everything if there is less of it! If you decide to do a full spring clean before you organize your home, you might end up procrastinating for quite some time. Instead, grab three garbage bags: one for trash, one for old clothes and one for items that can be donated/given away. Have them ready when you start tackling your cabinets and closets.
A general rule of thumb is that if you haven’t used it in over a year, or if it’s broken and you don’t want to invest the money to get it fixed, then throw it away or recycle it. Once you get going, you will likely find it much easier to start parting with things that no longer serve you or your family.
3- Invest in storage tools
Before you begin organizing a room, take stock of what you will need to make your home organization sustainable over time. If you are organizing a closet, make sure you have enough hangers. If you are organizing books, purchase more shelves if yours are already over flowing. If your kitchen cabinets are over filled to the brim, invest in a pot rail. If you have these things before you begin, you can easily do the entire room in an afternoon. If you stop in the middle of the organization to go purchase storage tools, there is a good chance you will get derailed by going to lunch, helping your kids with their homework, etc.
4- Keep things out in the open
It is super easy to shove items in a junk drawer or closet without giving any thought to where they belong. “Out of sight, out of mind,” as they say. However, if you must look at messy shelves or unsightly cubbyholes every day, you will probably be much more inclined to keep things organized. This is particularly true if you frequently entertain- no one wants their guests to see little messes in their home. So next time you decide to shove things into a closet or under a bed before your guests arrive, take a moment to think how you could invest in some open air storage ideas. Moreover, open air storage solutions are much cheaper than investing in custom made cabinets and closets.
One of the easiest ways to store things in the open is on shelves. For your public spaces, think about items that also look attractive when displayed in an organized fashion. Glasses, for example, almost always look pretty when strategically placed on shelves in your kitchen, dining room or even living room. As long as they are clean, they will catch the light and add a little sparkle to your living area. If you have colored glasses, you can even organize them by colors which can turn a simple storage area into wall art.
5- Don’t get overly ambitious
Different storage systems work best for different lifestyles. If you live alone and are a very tidy person, you might very well be able to make every drawer in your home look like the “After” photo of a display at “The Container Store.” However, if you are super busy and/or have a less than tidy significant other or kids, you might want to back it off a little and focus more on general organization, rather than getting every single item in your home in the perfect place.
In situations like this, boxes often work well. For example, in the playroom or your children’s bedrooms, you can have separate boxes for toys, studded animals, art supplies, books. etc. If you don’t like the way plastic containers filled with toys and such look, a really great idea is to invest in storage benches. This way you/your kids can simply slide out the storage bins and easily see the entire contents.
You can also try this for your things. Instead of having every single item in your bedroom dresser perfectly folded, you can purchase small bins and put them inside your drawers. Place your socks in one bin, underwear in another, t-shirts in a third, etc.
6- Allow extra “real estate” in your storage areas
If you have all of your storage bins/shelves 100% full, you will feel like you are solving a puzzle every time you have to place something back into its place. If you are in a hurry, you likely won’t take the time to do this. Instead, the item will probably get thrown on the bed or the floor until you have time to organize it properly. This is how things pile up and giant messes are made. Instead, leave empty space in your storage areas. This way, it will be easy to place items in the right place, even if you are in a hurry.
This is true for closets as well. Don’t use all the hangers in your closet. Instead, leave some extra hangers and open space in the closet so you don’t have to hunt around for an available hanger and move all the clothes out of the way to make room for the blouse you want to hang up after a long day of work.
7- Think about your daily routine
It is much easier to be organized if you don’t have to think about it very much. The easiest example of this is to have a little rack by the door where you have your keys and a coat closet next to it. If you have to go into your bedroom to hang your coat and into the kitchen to store your keys, you will very likely get side tracked along the way. You will easily end up with your coat thrown over a chair and your keys in a random place that you won’t ever be able to find the next time you leave the house.
The same is true of the bedroom. If you know you are too tired at the end of the day to hang your clothes in the closet or put your sweater in the proper door, invest in hooks that you can put by your bed. You can hang your clothes here at the end of the day, then when you have more energy you can put them in the proper place. This way, they don’t end up filled with wrinkles when you toss them on the floor at the end of the day.
8- Make color your friend
Many people are visual, so it can be much easier to organize items by color, rather than having little labels on everything that you have to read. For example, if you are a visual person, it can be much easier to have different colored file folders for categories such as your car, your home and bank statements rather than tiny labels you must write out and later read when you are trying to find a specific document.