Christmas and New Year’s just came and went. Family was in town visiting. They’re gone now, and the decorations are finally put away. You look around, and spaces in your home feel anything but organized, streamlined, and clutter-free. It’s the beginning of the year, even a new decade, and you feel like it’s time for a fresh start. But where do you even begin organizing your home? It all feels so overwhelming!
No worries, we’ve got this! As a professional home organizer, I organize for a living, both in-person and virtually. So I know a thing or two about setting up systems in your home that will get (and keep) you organized.
There are four things you can do yourself today to get started towards bringing more organization into your life. But first, you need to pick a space that’s a pain point for you right now. Pick something manageable. Let’s not decide to take on the entire garage today, shall we? Start with something you can begin and finish in one day. The overwhelming feeling of breathing a sigh of relief is satisfying when you do it in one go. I promise.
OK, so now that you have your space picked out, let’s get the hard part out of the way. Pull everything out. Yep, you heard me! EVERYTHING. I know, I know – it’s so tempting to just “move a few things” – but trust me. You’ll be amazed at how much your brain will begin to see things in a new light once everything is pulled out. Once you’ve got everything in your space pulled out, we can start the real work. Are you ready? Here we go!
Four Steps to Get (and Keep) Your Home Organized
1. Edit your belongings.
The first step to get your home organized is to be ruthless about what needs to go for good. Throw away/donate/recycle time! Make three piles and sort everything that will not be staying into one of these piles. Here are some pointers:
- Don’t hold on to something just because you bought it. I promise there is someone else out there who could use it if you decide to donate it.
- Don’t feel guilty about letting go of a gift that someone gave you that you won’t use/need. That person who gave it to you wouldn’t want you to keep it out of some misplaced guilt trip. Let it go.
2. Every item needs a home/space.
Take a step back and think about your space. Your home. Your family needs. Functionality, visibility, and accessibility are the top things you should think about.
For example, if you’d like to create a coffee bar station in your kitchen, pick out one spot and put all the coffee things there. Why not zone your coffee maker with mugs above it next to your favorite coffee and sugar? It sure does beat walking to three different spots between your kitchen and pantry if you don’t have to.
3. Don’t put it down. Put it away!
This simple mantra helps maintain and keep up with your systems. But I also get it. We’re all human and have a million things to do. This doesn’t mean you should have to live with the guilt of “I cannot stop and put this packing tape away in the junk drawer. Therefore my systems have failed me.”
Think about creating a “holding zone” like a basket where things go that don’t belong. And then, put them away at the end of the day.
4. Maintain (and update) your systems.
Getting your home organized is one thing. But to keep your home organized, you need to maintain the systems you’ve created! Following Step 3 above is key for maintaining your systems, especially by labeling them, so anyone in your home knows where things belong for real. Your partner and babysitter should each be able to figure out that bread lives in the bread basket and not just toss the bread in the back of the pantry!
At the same time, when you live with your new system, keep re-thinking about how you put things away. You will need to tweak the systems throughout a time period. This is normal!
Kids grow up. You may start a new job. You may decide to start a hobby that requires some storage. Things happen and change. A common misconception is once you’ve organized a space, you’re all done, forever and ever. Hate to break it to you, but that’s just not realistic. Since our seasons of life are constantly changing, be flexible to adapt your spaces when and as needed.
One bonus step: don’t buy products until you’re ready! Figure out what you actually need first. Then see if you already own things around your home you can upcycle. Then, you’ll actually know if you need to go to the store and buy what you need. This will save you time, space, and money!
So now that you’ve picked a space, you can start and finish in one day, get to work! Envision your finished, beautifully organized, and labeled space. It’s light and fresh and ready for that new start you’d been dreaming of. Not only will it be more beautiful and functional, but it will also lessen your everyday stresses. Believe it or not, a huge weight will be lifted from your shoulders when your space is organized for your needs. It changes your daily functioning when it’s organized the way you want it to be. And it will save you time. That’s quite possibly one of my favorite parts of having organized spaces.
I hope this helps you get (and keep) your home organized in the new year!