Home Organization in 5 Easy Steps
While home organization comes naturally to many people, it can be a challenge for those who do not partake in such projects on a regular basis. For many of us, keeping our houses in order is something we have to constantly work at. Getting organized is often the easy part, it’s staying organized that is the problem. Over time, houses get cluttered, belongings pile up and the organization process must be started all over again. How can you get organized, and, most importantly, stay organized? Here are five steps to follow to get your home organized, and keep it that way.
Where to Begin
The following tips can work for every room of the house, so try not to feel like you have to map out different rules for the kitchen, bathroom, and living room. Apply these tips in every room, and soon your whole house will be organized.
If you feel like getting your whole house organized in one session would be too much of an undertaking, just start with one room. Follow steps one to five, get one room organized, then tackle each remaining room as a separate project. This can be a helpful approach if you find maintaining an orderly household to be a difficult task, because you will have only one room at a time to clean. Over time, as you get used to a maintenance routine, you can organize more rooms without feeling like you are trying to do too much.
Step One: Get Rid of the Clutter
This first step can really be a lot of fun. Take a whirlwind tour of your home with several boxes: one for items to be thrown away, one for items to be donated or sold, and one for items you want to keep. Add a fourth box for items you are not sure about. Go through your house and de-clutter, putting each item into one of the four boxes.
When you’re done, it is time to take action. Put the throw-away box out with the trash, and make plans to take the donations box to a local charity store. Save the box of things you want to keep for step four, and store the items you are not sure about somewhere safe until you decide whether you truly want them or not.
Step Two: Clean Up
Next, it’s time to clean up. Once you have de-cluttered, you might be left with dusty spots and patches you didn’t know you had. This is the time to get rid of those, and complete seasonal cleaning jobs like cleaning cabinets and other hard to reach places.
Step Three: Move what doesn’t belong
Take a hard look at your home for items that are not in the most useful and logical locations. If you and your family have magazines in your kitchen or shoes piled up by the front door, now is the time to move them to other places where they can be organized and kept out of sight.
Step Four: A Place for Everything
Once you’ve de-cluttered, cleaned, and have your possessions in the right places, it’s time to organize them. This is the stage where storage equipment and space savers can come in handy. Make use of baskets and drawers, under-the-bed storage containers, shoe trees, kitchen cabinet organizers, and all the other useful items that help you organize your possessions.
Step Five: Maintenance
Maintenance can be the most difficult step. In most cases, it’s not enough to simply follow steps one to four. Step five is all about maintaining the changes you’ve made in your home over the long term. Here are a few tips to help you maintain your organization efforts.
Pick a day and schedule time for maintenance. For example, clean the kitchen on Mondays, the bathroom on Tuesdays, and so on. That way you can carve out a block of time that you have free for these tasks.
Use filing baskets and other containers to good effect. For example, have a filing basket in each of the main rooms in the house to hold paper clutter. On each organization day, go through the basket and either throw the paper away, put it in away in the right spot, or take action; such as paying the bill, answering the letter, etc.
Set up a box for “homeless” items. When you come across items that aren’t where they should be, either put them in the right place or store them in the homeless box. Once a week, look through the box and put each item where it belongs. If certain items keep showing up in the box every week, that’s a good cue to ask yourself if you really need that item.
On your maintenance days, clean out the trouble spots first. You tend to have more energy and motivation at the start of a cleaning session, so it’s best to get the tough stuff out of the way quickly!
Josh Webber is a freelance writer who writes about home care and home improvement often focusing on a specific area such as home organization.
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