We all want them…and yet it can be a constant battle to get them and keep them. Some spaces more so than others.
With three homeschooled teenagers in the house and me working from home, our common spaces take a beating on a daily basis:
- Hello basement, I'm looking at you. Seriously when do kids learn to put things away and throw out their trash without being nagged?!
- I swear the kitchen has a mini tornado go through it every couple of hours when it's snack time…again.
- Shoes can't possibly go IN the closet, they have to go in front of it, right?
Because of all this I'm frequently purging and tweaking our organizing systems and over the years I've figured out a basic system to get and keep all the spaces pretty well organized. (At least they can be picked up within a few minutes when company's coming.)
One of the questions I ask our new email subscribers is “what are you struggling with most when it comes to your home?”. And aside from budget being an issue for many, the other most common answer is “too much clutter”.
Well the way to get rid of clutter is to pick up one space at a time, and get it organized using the method I use below. Then move onto the next space and the next.
“Being organized isn’t about getting rid of everything you own or trying to become a different person; it’s about living the way you want to live, but better.”
–Andrew Mellen, Professional Organizer & Life Coach
How to Organize Every Space in Your House
1. Empty and Sort
Remove everything from the space you're trying to organize. Dump it all out. Create a huge pile if necessary. Then start sorting. Place like with like. Don’t try to be tidy with this. The mess actually has to get worse before it can get better. Really. Just create piles of similar things.
If you’re cleaning a playroom for example, make little heaps of toy cars, dinosaurs, dolls, etc. If it’s the kitchen pantry, put all the crackers, cereal, soup, etc. in their own ‘piles’.
2. Purge, Edit and Eliminate
After your things are sorted, decide what you want to keep and what you don’t.
Get rid of anything that’s broken and unworthy of fixing. Go ahead, toss it. You don’t need it. Next, donate to local and national non-profits any items that are in good shape but that you haven’t used in a while. Then sort by season, color, name or any other way you need to organize what's left in a particular space.
3. Assign Everything a Home
All the items you decided you will be keeping need to have a specific place. Once you have sorted and eliminated, you should have a pretty good idea of how much space you need for each grouping. Assign homes in cupboards, on shelves, etc. for these things. Assign the things you use often places within easy reach. Things that are used infrequently can go up higher or in a slightly less accessible spot.
4. Shop for Bins, Baskets and Containers
This step is my personal favorite. After your ‘keep items’ have a place, you can shop for pretty containers, baskets, labels or whatever you need to get and stay organized. But be sure to do it after the first three steps have been completed. You don’t truly know what you need until you have sorted, eliminated and assigned homes for your things. It's also a bit of a puzzle to figure out what fits where. Make sure you measure height, width and depth of shelves and cupboards before buying baskets and bins though – it's no fun to choose them all only to realize they don't fit the way you thought they would. Don’t forget to shop your own house too for containers to corral all the mess and then check places like the dollar store and craft store for some great storage solutions.
5. Label It and Put It All Away
Use a Cricut to make pretty labels, or use a label maker for simple labels. Heck you can even us a piece of masking tape and a marker if money is tight (try cutting the tape straight to at least make it look tidy). Just be sure to label everything so that you (and everyone else in your house) knows where to put things away.
6. Maintain, Maintain, Maintain
You now need to put things in their place when you are finished with them. If you can't put things back right away, make sure you do it at the end of every day. It shouldn’t take more than five minutes in each room to get everything back in its place everyday. You just have to do it.
I'm one of those people who has finally – after years of not – decided it's much better for my personal sanity to come downstairs to a tidy kitchen in the morning. It means that, yes, we're loading dishes into the dishwasher and wiping down counters before bed (because we have teenagers, I feel like I do this a thousand times a day!) when we're tired, but it also means that my morning doesn't feel like it's started ‘behind the 8 ball' in a mess. I also put away the remotes and fluff the pillows on the couch before bed too. It just makes me smile to wake up to an organized and pretty version of our spaces.
7. Change Systems if Needed
If something in your new organized system isn't working, change it. There's no need to force yourself to work with a system that doesn't work. Just tweak the basics that you've started with as you find you need to.
For example, we used to keep our spices on a tiered rack that Dean made for our last kitchen. But after we renovated this kitchen, there wasn't room for it anymore, so we switched to small ledges on the wall instead. The basics of our spice organization worked, we kept the jars sorted in alphabetical order, but we needed to tweak the other part of the spice organization.
So that's the method I use throughout our house. If your house is chronically disorganized or if you feel overwhelmed by all the mess, just get started. Start with a drawer or a cupboard. There's so much satisfaction in an organized home!
The method I outlined above is super simple and can be used anywhere in your home.
But I know that there is sometimes more to organizing.
You and I both need systems for handling paper work and better morning routines and photo storage.
Which is why I'm excited to share that organizing gurus and regular people like you and I who have figured out how to tame the paperwork and stuff we all have, all got together to create the Conquer Your Clutter Super Bundle.
This Conquer Your Clutter Super Bundle will give you the information and the tools you need right at your fingertips because you want answers to your specific organizing questions right when you have them.
Let me show you some of my favorites:
Davonne Parks has been there. She's failed at keeping house. But she's also learned. And her ebook, Chaos to Clutter-Free shares how she did it – with 16 actionable steps for you to implement.
In this part of a three part series, Rachel Jones will show you how to live minimally but not sparsely. She believes that decluttering will be a constant process; it’s a journey, a change of lifestyle and habits. This book will help you to get that process started in a way that will reduce stress.
Freed From Clutter is a 7 day course that will help you stop keeping up with your things and make room for what matters: joy and a feeling of peace every time you walk into your home.
Some of you have asked how to make your own printables and this simple to follow course shows you exactly how to do that – with a program you likely already have! Laura will also show you where to find free fonts and what colors go well together to create your own eye-popping graphics!
And finally these are the two resources I personally need right now:
Tsh Oxenreider always delivers wonderful life lessons in her books. I can't wait to dive into this one about four key principles she uses to manage the same 168 hours a week that we all have.
5 Days to Better mornings – cause I'm struggling getting my day started on the right foot.
And there’s more! The Conquer Your Clutter Super Bundle includes 38 digital products on topics like how to organize your photos, decluttering, family systems, meal planning, time management, organizing homeschooling, and TONS of printables! All together, it’s worth over $650!
Here’s how it works:
- Visit their website, take a quick look at all the goodness that comes in this Super Bundle, then click “Get my copy now!” to go through their simple 3-step checkout process.
- You’ll receive an email with a login to their online access portal where you’ll begin downloading your eBooks, signing up for your eCourses, printing out planners, and redeeming your free bonus products.
- Use their Getting Started Guide to pick the area you want to tackle first and start getting organized!
The most important detail, though, is that this bundle is available through 2017.
I’d hate for you to miss out so click HERE to learn more or to buy the bundle.
It’s even backed by a full money-back happiness guarantee so you can know for sure that it’s right for you.
Happy organizing and decluttering!