Want to organize your house, but don’t even know where to start? Today’s post covers a simple outline to walk you through this process so that you can get things in order and keep them that way.
Home Organization Basics: First, focus on decluttering and downsizing.
Don’t waste your time organizing things that shouldn’t be kept. Before you even start trying to organize your house, just focus on getting rid of what you don’t need or actually want.
If you haven’t used an item in six months, let it go. The only real exceptions to this rule should be items that you know WILL be used in the near future, at a specific time, such as:
- Seasonal clothing
- Supplies for specific (scheduled) projects
- Holiday decorations
To declutter, follow the first three steps of the SORTED system:
- Summon — Gather together the items of one main category
- Order — Further sort the items into smaller, more specific categories
- Reclaim — One small category at a time, choose what you want to keep (and let the rest go)
Related: How to KNOW What to Let Go Of
Focus on keeping those things that serve you well and you are appreciative of. You don’t need “stuff” to fill you up! Give yourself permission to pass the things you don’t truly love on to others, who will benefit from them more.
It’s so much easier to organize when you have fewer things! Everything “fits” so much more easily, and things are a lot easier to find, even if they aren’t perfectly categorized. There is less of a “sea” for things to get lost in.
Home Organization Basics: Second, one category at a time, find homes for your possessions.
Once you’ve decluttered your entire house (one category at a time), it’s time to really start organizing! You need to find a home for each and everything you own, so that each item has a happy “resting” place that it lives while not in use. Items without homes look like clutter!
Find homes for everything you own can be an overwhelming project! Tackle it the same way you decluttered: one small, specific category at a time. The more you have, the more specific your categories will need to be.
For example, if you don’t have many clothes, then you could probably easily find homes for all of them at once. However, if you have a lot, then it’s important to break it down more. First, find a home for your blouses, then, find a home for your T-shirts, then find a home for your sweaters, etc.
Each item’s “home” is where that item is stored. Don’t let this be an excuse to store items that you don’t need, though! Storage should be for items you regularly use and enjoy, not just for anything that you’re keeping around “just because” or “in case you need it.”
When you’re finding homes for everything, there are several principles to keep in mind to make sure that your storage will be agreeable and will continue to work for more than five minutes.
Storage should be simple.
Keep things basic! Simple storage keeps things contained and gives things a place. Elaborate storage might make you feel more organized, but will be much more work to maintain. You’ll keep up with what’s easy, but if you make it too complicated then you’ll probably start to let it slide — especially when life gets busy!
What to avoid: storage solutions that have too many compartments, are too difficult to get into, or are unnecessarily bulky.
Storage should ease putting away.
When you want to use an item, you’re motivated to take it out, but when you’re done using it, and it’s time to put it away, you’re not going to feel as motivated. So, if you want your house to stay organized, then it’s important to store items in ways that make them as easy as possible to put away.
What does this mean? Store similar items together, even if they aren’t used together. Store all your small electronics together (even though you probably won’t use a flashlight together with a mini bluetooth speaker or a camera battery charger).
When you want to use any of these items, it may require a little more walking to get what you want (since you aren’t keeping each of the items in the room where you use it), but, you’ll know exactly where to find it. (And, a little extra walking certainly won’t hurt you.) When you’re done using it, putting it away will be easy because it will be simple. You won’t have any doubt where it belongs.
Also, if you happen to fail to put away everything you use throughout the day, at the end of the day, when you’re tidying up, having your possessions organized this way makes it go so much faster! Rather than putting dozens of items away in different drawers in different rooms, you just have one place to put away each specific category of items.
Storage should be attractive.
Living in a beautiful space makes living more enjoyable. You’re going to be living with whatever storage you set up, so make it as attractive as possible.
Why have decorations AND storage? Many storage solutions are very artistic and beautiful, so you might as well have storage that works as decor. You’ll have less things over all, and much less clutter!
Home Organization Basics: Commit to Replacing Items
Once all of your items have found homes (or, even while you’re still working on this), your final task is to keep them there! If you don’t develop habits to keep your home in order, then soon, everything will be disorganized again, and your hard work will have gone to waste.
There are three habits you need to develop. The first is to replace each item once you are done using it. I know, this isn’t new information! Your mom has been telling you to do this since you were two. Really, though, it makes a huge difference!
Yes, it will be hard at first. Habits are always hard to get started. You may have been practicing leaving things out for your whole life! That is all the more reason to start today. When you are done using something, put it away.
Home Organization Basics: Work Your Chore Routine
The second habit for keeping your home organized is to follow a weekly chore routine. Schedule each task that you need to do each week to keep your house clean and organized. Assign one or two to each day of the week, and commit to making that task your #1 priority each day.
I know you probably have more “important” things to do than sweep the floor, do the laundry, or clean the bathroom, but I always make my daily chore my #1 priority anyway. Why? Because I work so much better in a clean, organized house! If I have important things I need to get done, then it’s extra important for my house to be tidy. Clutter distracts, and undone chores weigh on my mind. Disorganization lowers my quality of life, and my enjoyment of it! What’s even the point of doing your “important tasks” if you aren’t enjoying life?
The final habit for keeping your house organized is your DAILY routine. Specifically, a set of tasks that get completed before each day is over, such as washing the dishes, your weekly routine chore, and balancing your budget. Whatever you personally need to do to maintain order in your life.
I break my routine into two parts, morning and evening. You can read about the specific tasks I do for each in these articles: