#1. Don’t organize a single thing until you Declutter.
This one I am really good at following. I enjoy decluttering. I enjoy getting stuff I don’t use out of the house.
If you try to move on to the next steps of organization before you are fully decluttered, you’ll feel overwhelmed. It will feel like too big of a job to take on.
If you are able to get past the feeling of overwhelm and get everything organized, you won’t feel the real benefit of organization.
An organized area feels calm and peaceful. You know where everything is. The area is pleasant to look at.
When you try to organize stuff that should have been decluttered, you will probably find that the area looks stuffed to the brim and about to burst.
You will probably not have that peaceful feeling of knowing where everything is.
#2. One In, One Out (ish)
I’m not here to tell you that everytime you go shopping you have to go purge stuff from your house to make room for what you bought.
That’s silly and unrealistic.
I am, however, here to tell you that if you are an avid shopper and like to upgrade and have multiples of things, then you should be constantly culling what you have.
If you buy a new pair of jeans that you absolutely love and you already have 5 pairs of jeans, then whichever pair of jeans was low man on the totem pole should get donated when you buy the new pair.
And don’t feel like you have to wait til you bring something new in before you send something out.
If the low man on the totem pole jeans are the low man on the totem pole because they are too tight and not flattering, just get rid of them.
We don’t need five pairs of jeans if not all of them are being worn. If you five pairs of jeans that you are wearing all the time, then keep your five jeans.
I’m not taking the jeans you love and wear away, ok?
#3. Everything Needs a Home
Anybody want to guess what the operative word in that sentence is?
As in, everything needs one home. This is also known as “Keep like with like.” Let me explain.
I have tools. Like, hammers, screwdrivers, duct tape (yes, it’s a tool in my book), and whatever the rest of the stuff is called.
They do not have “a place”. My tools are under the kitchen sink. In my bedroom closet, in my drawers in my office and also in closet in the bathroom.
Guess how much fun it is to find tools in my house?
ZERO! Zero fun finding tools in my house.
Just think about this scenario. In fact this is a real life example that happened this past weekend.
I’m redecorating my bedroom. So excited about it.
I bought a bunch of new furniture which of course needs to be put together. I had to find a screwdriver.
I found one under the kitchen sink. Sweet. That didn’t take a lot of time or heartache, did it? I walk back upstairs to the bedroom.
Shoot. This screwdriver doesn’t fit. Back downstairs to the kitchen sink.
Nope no more screwdrivers there. Check the bathroom closet. Nada.
Finally dig through the pile of tools in the Home Depot bucket that is in my closet in my bedroom (why? I don’t know). And found it!
Yes, in the same room I started in.
Life is so much more pleasant when you have to go to one place to get the thing that you need. I’m not quite there yet with all of my stuff, but I’m getting there!
#4. Look Up and Under
If you are blaming your disorganization on your teeny tiny space, then it’s time to take an assessment of what you have available to you.
Do you have wall space? How about the back of a door?
Go up. With hooks or shelves. Anything you can get off of your visible flat surfaces and onto a shelf or a hook, do that.
You could even find a slim but tall armoire with doors.
Then look under. Can you get some storage boxes under the bed?
How about under the sofa? Under your desk? Under the sink? Under the other sink?
#5. Containerize, Containerize, Containerize
You know why your junk drawer (and yes, my junk drawer, too) is a junk drawer?
First of all it’s because you haven’t decluttered it in a month. Or several months. Or ever. (I’m guilty of this).
But also, if you are a good declutterer and it is still a junk drawer, then it is due to not putting things in containers. Or compartments. Something to just hold a spot for everything.
If you sifted through your junk drawer, you would probably find that a lot of what you have in yours is exactly what is in this one.
Except this one has been compartmentalized. Not so junky, right?
This is true for pretty much anything that is going to be put down somewhere.
Shoes on a shoe rack is way more organized than shoes on the floor. Blankets in a basket is way more organized than left in a crumpled ball on the couch. Books on a bookshelf. You get the idea.
Oh, jewelry, hanging on a little jewelry holder? So much better than left on your dresser.
#6. Know What You Will Follow Through With
This is possibly the second most important rule of organizing. Right after decluttering.
If you declutter and then set up a system for staying organized, you want to make sure it is a system that you will be able to maintain.
Here’s an example. My husband is a piler. He puts stuff on top of stuff whenever he can and then he says he “cleaned”.
Really all he did was move stuff into precarious piles which, yes, clears some space so at first glance it looks nicer, but in reality the piles are ready to collapse on top of him and there’s no way he’s finding anything at the bottom of the pile.
So I am thinking about ways to redo his closet that will work for him.
He is very good at hanging things on hooks. So I’m really considering removing the rod from his closet and installing a bunch of hooks or him to just hang things on.
And because he loves piles, a few baskets at the bottom of the closet so that he can toss his gym clothes in one, socks in another, underwear in another.
I really think that is probably the best closet organization system for him.
Because if I get him some fancy amazing closet system that is going to require him to fold and use hangers, forget it.
It’s going to end up in piles everywhere. I know this. So I’m going to work with his strengths and find something that works for him. And gets the piles behind a closed door so I don’t have to look at them 🙂 .