10 Steps to Get Your Home Organized

by Karen on February 10, 2015

Tidy Living RoomA lot of our clients want an organized home – and they know we could help, but they don’t know if it’s worth hiring someone to help find the floor, the back of the pantry, the garage you can park in….  Here’s what we know about organizing, and why it’s always okay to ask for (and even pay for) help.

It’s about breathing.  Yes, breathing.  A home that breathes and, as such, enables you to breathe in it.

So in the interest of catching your breath – and assuming you’re one of the millions who resolved to get organized in 2015, we have some tips.  We want to help you keep your resolution and breath easy this year!

Here are 10 top organizing hiccups and ways you can overcome them – one a month through Christmas 2015 if you believe our first tip and want to break up the job into manageable bits!

1.  Don’t do it all at once. You’ve heard it before, organizing happens a room at a time or even one drawer at a time.  If you can commit to one project a month or a even a certain amount of time (set a timer) each month to getting organized, you’ll be 12 drawers/closets closer to done by end 2015.

Family photos are some of the most sentimental keepsakes2.  Sentimental Value.  If you are bent on de-cluttering and have your Glad Bags in hand, don’t let the kids’ old baby toys take you off your game.  It’s hard to get rid of family items, pictures, memorabilia – it’s worth considering what it does FOR you.  Could you digitize letters, pictures, documents and save piles of memories on a flash drive?  Could you give pieces to other family members who may appreciate them more than you do? Could you save a few pieces and display them prominently and discard the rest (dishes, collectibles, etc.)?

3.  Clothes.  The 20/80 rule we all know – you wear 20% of your wardrobe 80% of the time.  So figure out what your 20% is over the course of the year.  Turn your hangers around “backward” and as you wear your clothes, put them forward.  You’ll quickly see what gets worn, and what is just clogging up your closet.

4.  Kid Friendly.  As you organize functional spaces – entryway, kitchen, bathrooms – make them work for and by the kids.  If you want the kids to know where things are and help out around the house, make the house come to them.  Put water glasses in lower cabinets so even the shortest member of the family can get his own drink of water.  Put baskets under a hallway table for hats/mittens so you don’t have to retrieve them at every departure.

Senior and ability friendly organization

5.  Senior Friendly.  We’re all older than we used to be…and our physical abilities may not be what they used to be.  Consider any mobility issues you or your visiting parents may have as you organize.  If your guest room is a secondary storage unit, it could be a trip hazard when mom comes to stay.  It may be time to consolidate your life to one floor of your home if stairs are an issue – bring toothbrushes to the powder room or bring the office armoire down from the bedroom to make it easier to navigate your space.

6.  OHIO.  Yes, it’s a state in the upper midwest, but it’s also an easy way to remember:  Only Handle It Once.  When you pick something up, finish it right then. Moving around clutter vs. deciding its ultimate fate makes it own you.  That huge stack of papers to “deal” with wouldn’t be a stack if you had filed, shredded, or recycled each one when they crossed your threshold.

Handle everything once when organizing7.  Handle it at Least Once.  In the spirit of OHIO, when you’re clearing out the house, touch everything that one time you’re allowed.  If you skim over boxes because you think you know what’s in it, or you know it’s Christmas stuff – so you’ll deal with it “then,” you’re setting yourself up for failure to some degree. This process is where having a disinterested party helping you is key – someone who can recognize the broken frog statue as what it is.  Junk.  If it has meaning, take a picture, share it with whoever thought it was funny to start with, and pass it on.

8.  Perfection.  Get over it as much as possible.  You don’t have to have Martha Stewart level matched and labeled boxes to hold your “stuff.”  Use the cardboard box you just got from Amazon, label it, and put it away neatly.  Leave the junk drawer to its purpose – let it collect junk.  That’s its job.  Set up the kids’ rooms so they can “clean” them by themselves – no alpha order books, stuffies by size.  Doesn’t matter.

Use binder clips to hand frozen food bags from freezer shelves.9.Double Duty.  Be open minded about solutions – think about that shower caddy hanging on a wall in the garage with car wash supplies or binder clips hanging your frozen veggie bags from the freezer racks.  Spice racks fit nail polish bottles surprisingly well. Magazine files can hold canned goods vertically. Over the door shoe organizers seem to have endless uses. Google double duty organization, and you’ll find tons of creative ideas.

10.  Leave it Open.  Once you’ve found some space, let it be.  Don’t knick knack newly empty shelves or fill up empty storage baskets.  That’s the breathing room.  There’s a comfortable flow that happens with empty areas and knowing every box you see isn’t full to the brim.

empty shelf space

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