Where did I put that appointment card? Have you seen my favorite blue shirt? How on earth did the keys end up in the fridge? If you frequently find yourself asking these (or similar) questions, or you simply want to declutter your life, then this article is for you. It contains simple steps on how to organize a room with too much stuff as well as some useful organization tips for your home, to help you get organized and stay organized!
PART ONE: Getting Organized
No, organizing is not shunting piles from one room to another, and neither is it shoving shoes under the bed. The easiest, quickest and most painless way of organizing your home is to tackle one room at a time. Each room can be divided into smaller, manageable sections, such as the floor, closet, pantry, draws, and tables – then give yourself a well-deserved pat on the back as you achieve each of your goals.
Get rid of everything you no longer need – As you progress from room to room, first make piles of anything that you no longer need, including paperwork, clothes, utensils, and ornaments. These items can be donated, passed on, recycled or thrown out. The creative soul may wish to repurpose or upcycle – extra mugs, pots and empty shoeboxes are ideal for creating a new and improved storage system.
Add extra storage – Corners, high places, and other hard-to-reach places are often wasted space that can be exploited for storage with the simple addition of bookshelves or cupboards. This is a great chance be creative with many ingenious storage solutions available, such as rotating cupboards in corners, nooks under stairs and floor-to-ceiling shelving. Raising the bed onto a plinth with roll-out drawers or adding a loft may also be viable options. If you still feel that your home is bursting at the seams, consider building a garden shed or renting a storage container off-site.
Give every item a home – This important step allows you to tidy quickly and efficiently later on, setting you up for success in PART TWO: Staying organized.
Use labels – If you think you might forget where things live (or know that other people will), labeling draws, boxes and those repurposed mugs is a quick, simple and stylish solution – and is one of the best ways to organize a cluttered bedroom.
PART TWO: Staying Organized
Identify problem areas and times – Mess is commonly encountered at the dining room table after breakfast, on the living room floor at Christmas and in the closet all year round. Once identified, you can then create a system and routine that works for you.
Create systems – For doing laundry, dishes, rubbish, recycling and any problem areas identified. For example, you could consider using a drying rack, multiple washing baskets or a composting system.
Form habits and routines – As with any skill, keeping your room clean and organized all the time needs to be practiced regularly (yes, it can be classified as a skill). Soon, your systems will become productive habits that will save you time, energy and stress in the long run. This may be always making the bed in the morning, sorting the mail as soon as you come home or clearing the dining room table immediately after dinner before sitting down with a hot cup of cocoa as a reward.
Make a list for errands, shopping, and chores – A chalkboard, whiteboard or tear-off notepad can be a stylish addition to your kitchen décor and ensures you will never again have that awful sinking-stomach feeling when you discover you forgot to buy more cereal. It also allows clear communication between roommates/family members, so you are informed when they do use up the last of the cereal.
Image Source: Sacha Chua via Flicker
Create lists of daily and weekly chores – This could include washing dishes, vacuuming and cleaning the bathroom/toilet.
Draw up a job roster – If there are multiple people in the house sharing the workload, try drawing up a “chores wheel” consisting of your daily and weekly chores. This way, everyone knows exactly what is expected – and has a deadline. The same method can be applied to just you if you need some extra motivation.
Stock up on cleaning products – So there are no excuses for a missed rotation on the job roster!
Schedule in down time – You have deserved it! Whether you love reading a book before bed or attending sunrise yoga classes, make time to enjoy the satisfying and liberating feeling of being organized!