It seems that second to health, the top issue we obsess over in the new year is how to get our homes and lives organized. As a mom of two, I am all for it. No one warns you that becoming a homeowner or a parent leads to an ever-growing pile of stuff that you don't know what to do with. Add on forgetful children and sloppy spouses, and suddenly it feels like a full-time job just to contain the mess, much less clean and perfectly organize it. Then at the last minute before the school bus pulls up, the kids can't find their homework, their mittens, etc., and you have another hectic, hair-pulling morning.
It's impossible to stay on top of everything with a young child, she reminds me, so stop driving yourself crazy trying.
I now tackle organizing my home the way I do everything else - with baby steps. As an OCD perfectionist with anxiety disorder, it's all too easy to get stressed by messes, but my new mantra is "I'm doing the best I can, and that's all I can do." The hardest part of organizing is the mess gets bigger before it gets better, because you have to go through everything and sort out what you don't need anymore.
Tips on Sorting Household Items
*Don't bite off more than you can chew. The mess gets bigger before it gets better, so if you start sorting too many areas at once, you risk getting overwhelmed and exhausted before you're even halfway finished.
*Have four sorting piles: 1.Keep 2. Trash 3. Donate 4. Sell
*If it's an everyday items like clothing that is taking up valuable space, and you haven't used it in 6 months (disregarding seasonal items) just get rid of it!
*If it's an occasional item like sports equipment, holiday items, and that fondue set you got as a wedding gift and it's taking up valuable storage space; if you haven't used it in a year, just get rid of it!
Whether you decide to sell or donate items depends on a few factors. If you have a lot of items that are worn, it would be best to donate items or if you have the storage space, set them aside for an upcoming community yard sale or swap meet. However, if you have a large number of name brand items in mint condition, it might be worth it to resell them on Ebay, ThredUp, or a local consignment shop. As you're sorting things to donate, place full bins or bags directly into your car trunk so you stay motivated to drop them off the next time you're out running errands. I can't tell you how many times I've set aside a bag of things to donate, and it ends up mixed in with other things in my garage that I have to sort through all over again the next time I get spring fever.
|Storage Labels ~ click to shop!|
Now comes the task of organizing the things you've decided to keep. Do things that professional organizers do - stack, hang, divide, and most important of all label. Say this with me now, the enemy of organization is confusion. When we're confused about where to put things, we tend to put them anywhere, and the next time we need it, we have no idea where it is. Raise your hand if you've wasted money buying duplicate items simply because you couldn't find something. Labeling storage bins is a vital part of organizing your home, so you and all the members of your family can remember where things go. For young children who can't read yet, use picture labels. Click here to shop labels.
Easy Tips on Organizing Your Home
*Use storage space vertically by using hanging organizers, shelves, etc.
*Use every furniture piece as an opportunity for more storage, like a storage ottoman vs. a standard coffee table.
|Livingston Storage Ottoman with Tray Table|
*Take advantage of unused surfaces like behind doors and inside cabinet doors with hanging storage racks and over-the-door storage pockets. And get creative; an over-the-door shoe organizer can be used to store much more than shoes.
*Use clear storage whenever possible, so you can easily see what's inside.
stack able Sterilite drawers inside cabinets under sinks. They maximize storage and keep everything within reach. You can find them in various sizes to customize them to your space.
*Buy furniture with drawers whenever possible so you can have extra storage for seldom-used items or unsightly clutter.
*Store pretty items on display. By storing things like jewelry, wine bottles, your children's artwork, etc. on display, you free up storage space and save money on home decor accessories.
*Store what you use on a daily/weekly basis within easy reach. store everything else out of the way.
*Paper is one of the biggest clutter creators. This is a must for a dropbox system using file organizers labeled "In", "Out", and "Permanent File" or something similar.
*Use woven storage baskets, preferrably with lids, in every room to create additional and stylish storage on counters and other surfaces.
flat under bed storage bins.
*Maximize storage space in a small garage with a hanging storage system.
*Don't forget to organize your schedule as well as your things. Use a family wall calender/organizer to keep everyone on the same page.
*While it's easier to organize everything at once, it's next to impossible. Take baby steps. It took a long time to make that mess, so it's going to take a long time to get it perfectly organized. Start with the areas you use the most; it will benefit you the most, and will motivate you to organize more areas in your home.
|Maple Entryway Organizer|
Quick Tips on Maintaining Your Organized Home
*Just put things where they go. Just do it! It takes time to modify behavior, but in the beginning, you have to make a conscious effort everyday to put your things away instead of plopping them down on a counter or hanging them on the back of a chair hoping they will magically make their way to your closet.
*Like I said above, add it to the children's chore list.
*Add some areas to your own chore list. Split areas up so you don't get overwhelmed. For example, quickly straighten the pantry as you put groceries away once a week, then you'll never again have to do a huge pantry cleaning once a year when the spring fever hits.
*Enforce a "1 Thing Out at a Time" rule with your children. If they get a big floor puzzle out, for example, then decide they want to move on to playing Legos, they have to put the puzzle up first. No exceptions! This is crucial with young children who get easily overwhelmed by big messes, and it makes clean-up time so much easier.
*Adjust as needed; if one of your new organizational systems isn't working as you'd hoped and is more trouble than it's worth, scrap it and try something else.
*Create a weekly reward system for your kids, like a trip to the movies or to the zoo if they've completed all their chores. If they haven't, well they can spend all day Saturday doing their regular chores along with some extra chores...like helping you clean out and organize another closet.
If all else fails, go bat-shit crazy and tell your family you're on your period and will turn into a crazy bitch if they don't clean up their crap! If momma ain't happy, ain't nobody happy.
My Top Picks in Storage and Organizational Products:
|Baskets Curved w/ Lid Stained Paper Rope Wicker Set of 4 - Household Essentials|
|Sterilite 20518006 Small Drawer with White Frame and See-Through Drawer, 6-Pack|
|Over The Door Clear Shoe Organizer/Storage Rack|
|Grayline 410248, Deluxe Back of Door/Wall Storage System, White|
|Furinno 99940 3x2 Column Multipurpose Storage Cabinet Bookcase with 3 Bin-Type Drawers|
Click here to shop all home organization products.