Home organization can be taxing and overwhelming, especially when there’s a lot of clutter involved. But it doesn’t have to be that way. Whether you live in a condo in Miami or a house in Atlanta there are several quick and efficient ways to organize your home. Here are a few:
- Keep, trash, or donate: No maybe piles; apply this rule in every room as you begin organizing.
- Make a plan: Once you’ve decided on all of the items you’re going to keep, make a plan for the function of the room housing them. Think about how the items will complement that plan.
- Put it where you use it: For maximum functionality, store items where they’re going to be used. This will reduce the time you spend searching for them.
“If you are overwhelmed and not sure where to start, begin by removing any garbage and recycling from the area and then work to declutter one small space in the room such as a single drawer, shelf or corner. You will feel empowered when you get through your first declutter and it will motivate you to keep moving forward.” Koralee Pearson, Organized Inspiration
“Organization is mostly about minimizing what you don’t use or love. Only after we go through that process of decluttering can we organize and find a proper spot in our home for our belongings. And when we only keep things we truly want, we create abundant space not just in our house, but in our minds.” Brooke Moore, Simplify with Brooke
If you apply these steps to every room in your home, it should be easy to get things in order. Here are some additional plans to ensure maximum organization:
Organize your kitchen with cooking in mind. If you bake often, have all of the baking items in the same place. If you often cut up meats and vegetables, keep those items close to the functional area (i.e., island or sink). Here are some other tips for getting your kitchen in order for your home organization project:
- Hang big utensils: If you don’t have room in the drawers for all of your utensils, use peg boards or hooks. This makes them easy to find and access.
- Minimize your cookware: If you don’t use it, get rid of it. Keep only what you really need and use on a regular basis.
- Free up counter space: You shouldn’t keep a lot of countertop appliances out in the open, especially if you barely use them. Keep appliances in cabinets or in the pantry to make room for food prep and other kitchen tasks.
- Add pull-out shelves: Install pull-out shelving in cabinets to make reaching cups, plates and other hard to reach items easier.
- Parse through your cookbooks and recipes: “On average, people make the same 9 recipes over and over. Copy or pull out your most frequently used recipes and donate the books to the library or to friends.” Julie Coraccio, Reawaken Your Brilliance
- When you organize, categorize: “By placing the same or similar items together you can see firstly, how many you have and secondly, realize you don’t need quite so many.” Sally Walford, Declutter Me
- Don’t waste what you already have on hand: “Repurpose attractive containers leftover from gifts or food, such as small tins, boxes, sturdy paper packaging, fancy champagne boxes, glass jars, etc. Use them, and their lids, to organize drawers and shelves. You’ll be doing your part to keep trash out of landfills and save money that would’ve gone to new containers.” Tanya Hipona-Pereira, Intelligent Organizing
- Use clear containers: One of my favorite organizing tips is to use clear containers to store items that are visually appealing. I love using glass penny jars which you can find at most retail stores. I use them in the kitchen for cereal or candy. In the laundry room to store detergent pods or dryer sheets, in a playroom for small items like balls or legos, or in a craft room for buttons and tape. Patty Munn, Smart Organizing Solutions
Your living room is one of the most popular places in the house; it’s also among the most prone to clutter. Minimize the mess with containers and bins, and get creative with other organization tools too, having a clean and uncluttered living room can be important for your home organization:
- Repurposed bookshelves: Use bookshelves to store bins and baskets of frequently used items. It’s a quick and easy way to organize, and it also adds to the visual appeal of your living room.
- Calendar all of your decluttering and moving projects: “Most people don’t know how long it takes them to complete a project, let alone plan, and activate a decluttering plan. For every hour you spend decluttering an area, you need an additional hour to pack what you plan to keep or remove. If you put each aspect of your project on the calendar you will increase the likelihood of achieving your goals.” Regina Lark, A Clear Path
- Cubbies: Made of fabric or plastic, cubbies are a good way to efficiently organize different people’s items for the best home organization. You can also do this in the entryway for shoes or jackets.
- Storage ottoman: A storage ottoman is both furniture and organization in one complete package. It’s a great place to store linens and accessories.
- Declutter before you buy bins, baskets, or other storage containers: “Decluttering first gives you a better idea of what you need to buy. You’ll also save money because you won’t need to buy as many containers.” Anita Chastain, Owner, Simple Life 365
Your bedroom should be extra tidy since it’s where you start and end the day and will make your home organization easier. Make use of space underneath your bed and in your end tables. Other tips to consider include to make your bedroom a sanctuary:
- Clear off your dresser: Don’t let your dresser get cluttered. Store items on it that you use on a daily basis — jewelry box, hand creams, etc.; otherwise keep it clear.
- Start small: “Choose a dresser drawer or a desk drawer that has been organizationally frustrating and go from there. Purchase drawer inserts to fit your lifestyle. So often, tackling a space no matter how small will only encourage one to continue to organize.” Sarah and Tami, Simply Organized Solutions
- Clean up the inside of your dresser: Use an organizer to get your clothing in order. Keep socks, underwear, tees, sweaters, and other clothing in neat piles. That way, you can find clothing more easily when you get ready for work in the morning.
- Don’t overuse hidden space: Having open space doesn’t mean you should fill it to the brim with stuff. Keep it organized and use little bins if needed.
- Organize your nightstand: “Organize your nightstand by keeping items that promote restful sleep more accessible (ie books, eye pillow, journal). Keep electronics away by creating a charging station on the dresser or other surface across the room.” Katie Siefermann, Fall Into Place Organizing
- Don’t use a hamper: Hampers seem like a good idea, but oftentimes they end up filled with clothes, spilling more on the floor. Try to get your clothes to the laundry room instead, and keep your bedroom clear of dirty clothes.
- Go Vertical: “If you don’t have a lot of floor space to work with, utilize your free wall space. Adding floating shelves is a trendy way to display your favorite books, art, or collectibles.” Nichole Allard, iOrganize4U
Closets should be organized for maximum functionality and excellent home organization, which is especially helpful when you need to find clothes and shoes in the morning. If your clothes are strewn on the floor — or your shoes are mismatched – trying to find everything adds extra time to your routine. The key is to get rid of everything you don’t wear and hang what you do wear. Shoes should be in their proper place – right next to one another. If you have clothes that you don’t want to hang, fold them neatly and put them on shelves.
- Organize your clothing by function: “Group and separate clothes into categories like work clothes, casual clothes, dressy clothes, etc. Within each category organize them by sleeve length instead of color. When you wake up in the morning, you’re likely to select your clothes according to the weather, not the color.” Julie Gutman, Simplify Me
- Keep a donation bin in every closet: “Having donation bins in all of your closets will help prevent a total overhaul of your closet if you are able to continually let go of items that no longer fit you or your lifestyle.” Stephanie Blair, Simplify with Steph
- Hang clothes by category first: “All shirts with the shirts, sweaters with sweaters, pants with pants, etc. I would then do the shirts & sweater by sleeve length, all long sleeves together, etc. Then arrange them by color. I personally go by the rainbow, red, orange, yellow, green, blue, purple, then gray, then black, and put the whites before the reds.” Anne Lucas, Ducks In A Row
- Review your wardrobe twice a year: “Only keep clothing that fits well, looks good on you, and you like wearing. Toss or rehome anything that doesn’t fit, is torn or stained, or you just don’t like. The goal should be that everything in your closet is something you want to wear, which makes getting dressed in the morning much easier.” John Odalen, Organize and Maintain
Bathrooms are where we like to relax or get ourselves ready for the day. Keeping everything you need within reach makes it easier and is great for home organization. Here are some ideas:
- Clean out the medicine cabinet: There are probably a lot of medicines you don’t need or use anymore. Trash what you don’t use and put the rest in a drawer.
- Clear off the counter: Keep most items off of your counter. Akin to your dresser, it should only hold your essentials — soap, toothbrush, and toothpaste, razor, etc. Put the rest in a drawer.
- Hang soap and shampoo: Use organizers and hanging baskets in your shower/tub combination to free up space on the floor and prevent injury.
- Tackle your towels: If your linen cabinet seems cluttered, try rolling your towels or putting them in a basket. It will make them neater and easier to access.
- Clean out your medicine cabinet: “Responsibly discard all medicines you no longer use or that have expired. Remove all remaining prescription medicines and move them to a location that is not hot or humid. Heat and humidity can affect potency.” Jonda Beattie, Time Space Organization
When you have children it is common that their play area can become consumed in toys, crafts, or games. If you have all of your children’s toys in one room it may become overwhelming and overly cluttered. Using storage bins that are easy to access is a great way to incentivize your children to put away their toys when they are done playing, and great for home organization.
- Spread out the toys: “Place toys strategically and inconspicuously around the house for optimal use and to avoid one room becoming crowded and overwhelming. If your kids like to read while you make dinner, place some kids’ books among your cookbooks. If puzzles are best completed on the dining room table, stash them in the cabinets of your buffet table.” Lisa Eckerle, Sort Support
- Label Storage Bins: “When labeling storage bins, attach labels both onto the short end and the long end. That way you can store the bins so the labels always show. I like see-through plastic stick-on label sleeves that easily allow the insert to be modified when you use the bins for other things down the road.” Thalia Poulos, Organized Beautifully
- Pack up some toys and store them away: “Many playrooms are packed with so many toys, it’s a challenge for the kids to see and choose what to play with. Pack up some toys into containers and store in an out of way place like a hall closet, garage, or attic. Then, every now and then, pull out the containers and swap out the toys.” Laura Ellis, Organized by Ellis