Keeping an organized home doesn’t come naturally for many people. There are a few exceptions that thrive in it but the rest of us must make a conscious choice to stay on top of our game. The benefits of an organized space cannot be over-emphasized. If you want to be productive, reduce your stress and anxiety levels, and even lower the risk of heart attack, start by clearing the sink and doing the laundry. Having a neat and tidy house has also been shown to improve relationships and help you eat better. Now you know!
So just how can I be a good organizer at home? From my own experience, it all boils down to five important secrets: de-clutter, develop a routine, use storage bins to your advantage, have a good system of arranging your stuff, and deal with procrastination. Once you master these five tips, you will be a winner.
To be honest, staying on top of the mess is always easier said than done. Let’s take a look at the tips one by one below.
1. Purge, purge, purge
It is amazing how much unnecessary stuff people store in their house. If LA Times stats are anything to go by, the average American home has upwards of 300,000 items, most of which are never used. The Telegraph also carried out research and found out that an average British ten-year-old owns 238 toys but only plays with 12 every day.
De-cluttering doesn’t only slim down the items that require cleaning but also saves you coins in the storage store. Ask anyone who maintains a neat and clean environment and they will tell you the secret lies in de-cluttering. Once you master the art completely, you’ll be halfway to your goals. When it comes to purging, consider the tips below:
- Start small: it can be intimidating to go through all your closets and purge all the unused items at the garage all at once. It can kick your mental health out of whack. However, if you commit to de-clutter the bedroom one day and the kid’s rooms the next, the task will be manageable – perhaps even enjoyable. Small wins count in the purging game.
- Get rid of it, don’t put it away: de-cluttering is one thing, putting the items to the specified destination is another. For instance, if you decide to create a donation pile, resist the temptation to keep it in your room for long periods of time. Throw it at the back of your car and drop it off on your way to the grocery store. Place the trash in the trash bin and not your garage.
- Let it go: during the de-cluttering process, you will encounter items that have sentimental value to you. Perhaps it is a food processor your grandmother gave you ten years ago. It could be a jacket that you bought with a fortune. Deciding whether to give it away or not can be daunting. Here’s a rule of thumb: if you haven’t used it in the last six months, it’s better off gone. You will feel so much better knowing you have touched someone else’s life in a positive way.
- Make it a habit: the process of purging is not a one-time project. Granted, the first time is the grandest but you need subsequent ones to really tackle clutter. As time goes, you acquire new stuff. If you don’t get rid of the old ones, the clutter will add up.
2. Commit to a routine
Here’s another winning strategy that will get you to your destination. The thought of cleaning the bathroom, tackling the laundry, organizing the closets, and more can be overwhelming to think about. However, if you create a solid routine and stick to it, the mountain will melt right before your very eyes. As a matter of fact, you will be surprised at how fast and effective you’ll be crashing your goals. Create a daily routine and stick to it. Before you know it, the routine will have become a part of your life. Here is an awesome routine that has helped thousands of people keep neat and tidy spaces for centuries.
- Make the bed as soon as you wake up. This alone has been proven to set the pace for the rest of the day. It is a simple task that can revolutionize your life in the most amazing way. While you are at it, draw your curtains and let the outdoors in. The difference this will make is astounding.
- Wipe your bathroom after the shower: this will only eat away a few minutes of your time but will create a positive impact on your cleaning efforts. Clean your countertops wipe around the sinks, use a squeegee to remove the excess water on the walls, and run a damp towel over the floor.
- Do one load of laundry including folding them up on a daily basis.
- Load and unload the dishwasher daily and clean the dishes as soon as mealtimes are over
- Tidy up the bedroom areas both in the morning and in the evening: if your kids are of age, let the tidy their own rooms twice a day.
- Do a sweep before bedtime: this will barely take fifteen minutes but is a real game-changer. Arrange the pillow, vacuum the living room, and put away any laundry or toys lying around.
- Set aside weekly or monthly schedules for deep cleaning: daily organization and cleaning can only get you far. If you want to truly keep clutter and disorganization at bay, you have to dedicate time to do just do that. This can be any day of the work that fits perfectly with your schedule. Get rid of expired food in the pantry, clean hard-to-reach areas, purge your kitchen towels, get rid of cobwebs, and clean out the fridge. Break it into smaller, achievable tasks to stay motivated.
3. Storage containers are your friends
Once you have put away the clutter, the next thing to do is to purchase plenty of storage bins. Containers, whether large or small, make organization a whole lot rewarding and fun. Before trading your coins for some, measure your space and write everything down. This will act as a guide during the buying exercise. While you are at it, keep in mind that square bins are both stable and sturdy. They also utilize less space than other shapes. Additionally, clear containers are great for visibility. However, opaque ones are tidier. Take your pick. After ordering the bins, be sure to correctly label them to make the whole process effective.
4. Arrange items based on usage
Whether you are organizing the wardrobes, kitchen drawers, or anywhere else for that matter, the idea is to place items used on an everyday basis in plain sight or eye level. This way, you or the rest of the family can easily reach for it. Ultimately, those items that are used once in a while can remain organized for long periods of time. Utilize high shelving or the garage for those. For instance, place your underwear on the top drawer, your favorite pants and shirts on the middle shelves, and rarely worn jackets on the bottom one.
5. Work on procrastination
It is human nature to want to postpone tasks to a later time (at least it is for many people). The human brain is an expert at convincing you that you can get to the task at a later date, despite several failed attempts at it. Sure, things can pen out as they planned sometimes but for most people, the time never comes around. As a result, they end up piling the tasks ultimately making it hard to get them done altogether. If you fit the description, consider addressing the issue once and for all.
Procrastination is a serious problem that has been linked to poor performance, increased stress, and a plethora of health problems. It can also make you wallow in negative thoughts of shame, self-doubt, and guilt. If not checked, it may lead to depression and unfulfilled life. Lucky for you, you can do something about it. If you hope to be a good organizer at home, you have no choice but to combat task aversion. Here are a few tips that can help.
- Follow the five-minute rule: professional organizers live by the five-minute rule which states “if it takes five minutes or less, do it”. As you walk around and come across a task that needs attention, go back to this rule.
- Think long-term: procrastinators base their decisions on short-term rather than long-term gains. Rather than think about how it feels to have a clean closet, they would focus on the actual work involved in organizing it. For instance, when cleaning your closet, the winning strategy is to think about the feeling of walking past a neat and tidy closet. That will help put things into perspective and hopefully motivate you to get into action.
- Just start: sometimes the answer to procrastination is to simply take the bull by its horns and just get to work. Put on some music and just vacuum the house. Remove all items from the closet and begin sorting them. You’d be surprised how energetic you’ll become a few minutes into it.
- Set small targets: the thought of spending the whole afternoon cleaning and organizing can seem frustrating. However, if you set a smaller deadline say, organize the kid’s bedroom for one hour, you’ll be in a good mental state to get the job done.
- Bye-bye technology: to create a perfect environment for productivity, you might want to keep the phone and laptop away. Shut down the TV. If possible, turn down your internet connection to keep the temptation at bay. Tell yourself that you will get to your emails, calls, and social media once you are done with the task at hand.
There it is- practical tips for staying organized at home. I have personally used the tips and seen a difference in my home. I still struggle with a few but I don’t beat myself about it. I have come too far to do that. So as you work on being better, don’t forget to be kind to yourself.