The benefits of living as a highly organized person includes improved stress relief, sleep quality, time management, health, professional productivity, and overall quality of personal lifestyle. I have prioritized organization as a daily habit of my life for over two decades, and the results have radically enhanced my efficiencies, accomplishments, and peace of mind. I wanted to write a blog to share many of the tips and habits I’ve learned throughout my life. However, as a began researching the topic I came across an amazing article featured on Parade.com called “Best Organizing Tips” by Stephanie Osmanski.
I recommend reviewing this list and select a handful of tips to apply and improve your life!
HOME ORGANIZING TIPS
1. Start with the “one in/one out” rule.
According to Cathryn Linn, Owner and Organizer at The Organizing Organization, the “one in/one out” rule will keep you in the right frame of mind throughout the organizing process. “A good idea to remember is the one in/one out rule,” says Linn. “If something new comes into your house, it’s time to get rid of something old or something that you don’t use anymore. This helps keep you from having too much stuff.”
2. Carefully consider every new item.
Bringing new items in the house can feel counterintuitive. How can you organize and manage your mess if you keep bringing in new stuff? According to Linn, every new item that crosses the threshold of your home should be thought about with great care: “Carefully consider every new item that you bring into your home. It’s so easy to impulse shop but resist the urge if you possibly can.”
3. Turn down items that don’t have a place in your home.
Linn continues, “Weigh the options carefully when someone offers you something. If you don’t have a home for it in your house, it’s best to turn the item down and not bring it into your space where it could be a clutter.”
4. Purge items regularly by taking inventory.
According to Jodie and Julie of The Design Twins, regularly going through your item is a great way to take inventory of what you have. “Regularly purge,” encourages Jodie. “Things are always coming into our homes. If you don’t take the time to sort through what is no longer necessary or needed, you will find yourself overwhelmed with belongings.”
5. Every item in your home should have a home—AKA a place where it belongs.
“Everything needs a place,” Julie says. “This may seem basic and obvious, but really this is the key to an organized home.” Finding a place for everything may seem daunting, but in order to do this, you can start by always putting your keys in the same spot every time you’re done with them. Whether you hang them up or put them in a basket once you walk through the door, starting with your keys is an excellent way to get into the habit of putting everything where it “belongs.”
6. Create centers or stations for specific items.
Jodie and Julie suggest creating stations that house specific themes of items. “Create mini destinations in your home,” explains Jodie. “Coffee station, command center, work or homework stations, etc. This technique will encourage you to have everything you need, where you need it.”
In short, you’ll never lose the remote again.
“Find a home for every single thing in your home,” agrees Linn. “Qatar happens when you don’t have a home for everything. You delay on making a decision about where something lives for one thing and then another thing and then another thing and then before you know, you have a pile of items without a home.”
7. Set aside specific time to organize.
Now, if you’re just starting your organizational journey, you may be looking at your current schedule and thinking: When the heck do I have time to tidy up my whole house? That’s why Linn suggests putting aside a specific organizing time.
“Designate a scheduled maintenance time,” Linn encourages. “Organizing is a practice, not a project, so staying organized requires maintenance. Have one night of the week or perhaps during the weekend where are you and the whole family put items back into their homes. This helps keep the whole house tidy and straight on a regularly scheduled basis.”
8. Change your daily habits to include frequent organizing and tidying.
The Design Twins also recommend changing your daily habits, a step-by-step process. “An organized home is the result of daily habits,” explains Jodie. “Don’t wait for a special occasion to organize. Maintain a daily commitment to following these tips and you’ll be rewarded with an organized, clutter-free home.”
9. Don’t keep anythingout of obligation.
Another point of stress for organizers might be a pressure to keep something you really don’t want. Like, say, something that was gifted to you. “Don’t keep something out of obligation,” Linn advises. “You are not required to keep gifts or things that have people have given to you out of obligation. Especially if they caused you stress or anxiety because they create clutter. Thank the person who gifted you the item or gave you the item and then send it on its way.”
10. Create a designated area for “mess.”
The Design Twins also recommend creating a “drop zone.” Ever heard of one before? It’s basically a glorified “mess” area. “Create a drop zone to gather and organize the clutter that comes in and out of the house,” says Julie.
11. Know what you need to organize before you buy any containers.
Containers can be a godsend for some organizers, but Linn doesn’t recommend springing for containers first. “Whatever you do, don’t buy containers first,” Linn says. “This is a common problem when people set out to organize their homes. They buy containers before they know exactly what they need to contain. This often ends in a waste of time and money, because the items don’t work for what they need or don’t fit the space. Always short then edit and then organize and contain.”
12. Edit frequently.
Realize that you’re paying per square foot for each item you own. Ask yourself: How much are you willing to “spend” on clutter? “Edit ruthlessly,” says Linn. Her final organizational tip is to look at your home with an editor’s keen eye. “The space in your home is prime real estate. Carefully consider how much you wanna pay per square foot for every item that you own. This will put some of your ‘junk’ into perspective.”
TIPS FOR ORGANIZING YOUR CLOSETS, LINEN CLOSETS, AND OTHER SMALL SPACES
Clothing is obviously a huge part of what most people want to organize. If your closet is a mess, your drawers are full of unfolded clothes, you’ll want to live by The Design Twins’ next tip.
13. Get rid of a piece of clothing for each new piece you buy.
“Create a habit of getting rid of a piece of clothing you no longer wear every time you purchase a piece of clothing,” says Julie. “This helps keep your closet in check.”
14. Use the same rule for toys. Have children choose a toy to purge whenever they get a new toy.
The practice of getting rid of something every time you introduce something new doesn’t have to be just for your closet. “Have the kids do the same with their toys,” adds Jodie. “You can apply this practice to all your possessions.”
15. Use labels whenever possible.
Labels go on literally anything and everything, as they are a holy grail tool for professional organizers and amateurs alike. “Use labeled bins, baskets, and containers to manage closets and pantries that tend to get cluttered and disorganized,” advises Julie.
“Label, label, label,” Linn agrees. “Labels help everyone in the family know where things go so they have no excuse for putting it back in the wrong place. Especially once you re-organize and people don’t know where items live it’s best to label them so there’s no misunderstanding.”
16. Make it pretty.
Of course, organizing your whole house won’t be “fun” unless the end result is aesthetically pleasing. So, The Design Twins say, “Make it pretty!” Jodie continues, “This will help motivate you to maintain your organized spaces.”
17. Create a specific system for each closet.
“Maximize your storage spaces AND help keep them organized by creating systems,” says Julie. “Remember: Everything needs a place.”
18. Use draw organizers to keep drawers from getting messy.
Draw organizers are another big tip that professional organizers swear by. No, they’re not just for your forks, knives, and spoons. Draw organizers can be helpful in organizing just about anything.
19. Label everything—even the compartments of each draw organizer.
“Invest in draw organizers,” says Jodie. “Label each compartment.” So, whether you’re labeling a desk drawer—pencils, highlighters, thumb tacks—or a drawer full of important paperwork—taxes, receipts, invoices—labeling even inside of the drawers is your best friend. (And it makes things really easy come tax season!)
20. Rely on uniform hangers.
Don’t underestimate the power of hangers—but not just any kind of hangers. “We strongly recommend uniform hangers in every closet that we work on,” Linn adds. “It just reduces visual clutter so much and allows you to see what is actually in your closet instead of being distracted by the visual clutter.”
To keep your hangers in check, try to keep them with the same style hanger. If you have multiple styles of hangers, categorize them by style: so all the black plastic hangers together, all the bamboo hangers together. Make sure all your hangers are facing the same direction.
21. Pick a designated space for storing surplus hangers.
22. Or, alternatively, if you don’t want to store hangers, donate them.
23. Or, yet another alternative for hangers: recycle them.
That being said, if you have a lot of excess hangers, what the heck do you do with them? If you can, try to find a designated place to sort excess hangers. If you don’t want to hang onto the extras, you can recycle or donate them.
24. Address clothes clutter immediately.
Commit to “doing something” with clothes immediately. Instead of throwing clothes on the floor, decide immediately what’s to be done with it. Is it going in the laundry? Back in a drawer? Back in the closet?
25. Create a designated spot for donations.
26. When the donation box is full, commit to taking it to the donation site.
A big part of organizing is getting rid of unwanted items, which often means donating. Because donating is a crucial part of organizing, Linn recommends creating a designated spot for donations in your home. “Whenever you come across something in your home that you no longer need, place the item in this area and when it is full, take it to donation.”
27. Take advantage of Lazy Susans in every room—not just the kitchen.
If you have a Lazy Susan in your cabinets, then you know how convenient they can be for storing and organizing items. According to professional organizer Christine Stone of @neatlydesigned, Lazy Susans aren’t just for the kitchen.
“I use them under sinks in bathrooms to keep hair care products, lotions, and skincare accessible and organized,” Stone says.
28. Always opt for donating in place of trashing items.
Another organizational rule that Stone lives by is the in one/out one rule. But what are you supposed to do with old items? Just throw them in the trash? Your home getting organized shouldn’t come at the expense of the environment, so instead of trashing old stuff, Stone recommends donating them or selling items to a consignment shop.
29. Keep like-minded items together.
Stone also recommends sorting and keeping like items together. “When beginning any organizing project, start by purging, sorting, and keeping like items together,” Stone explains. “It saves time and money.”
30. Ask yourself: Do you need it?
31. Ask yourself: Do you use it?
32. Ask yourself: Do you love it?
33. Ask yourself: Do you have room to store it?
Not sure if it’s worth keeping something? Stone has another awesome tip for that. Ask yourself: Do you need it? Use it? Love it? Or have room to store it? “Ask yourself these four questions when deciding what to keep and what to let go,” says Stone.
Celebrity stylist and co-founder of Millie & Main, Wendy Pilch, also has a few professional tips for organizing nearly everything in your home, especially your closet. Like most professional organizers, Pilch likes being organized about her, well, organization methods.
34. Dedicate a day to one specific area or item.
Create a calendar for how you’re going to tackle organizing. “Home organization can seem overwhelming and time-consuming,” Pilch says. “I recommend creating an organizing calendar and breaking the tasks into smaller, more manageable bits to capture specific areas of your home that need organizing. For example, work on your coat closet on one day and then your kitchen junk drawer on another day.”
35. Organize over a period of a few days to minimize stress, frustration, and exhaustion.
To avoid burnout, remember that Rome wasn’t built in a day. Your Instagram-worthy closet won’t be either. “Take a few days in between each zone and space it out over the course of six weeks,” Pilch advises.
36. Organize certain items or spaces daily.
37. Choose a designated area or type of item that will be organized weekly.
38. Choose a designated area or type of item that will be organized monthly.
39. Commit to organizing by season as well—four times a year.
Of course, while organizing is definitely something that needs to be done daily, weekly, and monthly, Pilch also recommends compartmentalizing organization into a seasonal effort. “This is a process that I recommend doing seasonally,” Pilch adds.
40. Don’t just store items in a container.
Also label the container, especially storage containers. Make sure the label is visible, even if they’re stored away in a basement or attic.
Most organizing professionals will encourage using containers, but sometimes containers aren’t enough. Labeling your containers, though, can bring your organizing to another level.
“Keeping containers labeled allows you to see what is inside, which prevents overbuying,” explains Stone.
41. Try slimline hangers.
Here’s another pro-tip for your closet: Not all hangers are created equal. And while different organizers may have different opinions on which hangers are the best for organizations, Stone recommends making the switch to slimline. “Slimline hangers not only save space, but are inexpensive and give you immediate results,” she adds.
42. Don’t underestimate your vertical space.
Speaking of saving space, it’s not just your horizontal space you have to think about. “Use the vertical space in your home to add storage in a closet, under a sink, or on a shelf,” says Stone. “Vertical space is often overlooked but can really add the extra storage you may need.”
43. Try STAC’D—a closet organization process that breaks down each step.
If you need help tackling your closet, Pilch is a closet expert. “Most of my clients want closet help. They have things in their closets that they haven’t worn for years and they want an opinion on what to keep and what to get rid of.” That makes total sense, as closets can be real problem areas for people who love shopping and buying new items, especially items they get to wear.
“I recommend using our STAC’D process each season to narrow down your closet items to have only the current season’s workable clothes and accessories in your closet,” Pilch explains. So, if it’s summer, your summery and swimwear would be the most accessible items in your closet; the parkas, however, would be packed away and out of sight.
“STAC’D is an easy way for you to remember the steps to work in your closet,” explains Pilch. “Focus only on items that can be worn in the current season.”
The process of STAC’D goes like this: Store, Toss, Alter, and Consign.
44. Store: Store all off-season pieces that cannot be used in this season.
45. Toss: Pieces that are worn out, pilled, or have holes.
46. Alter: Price the cost of hemming, tucking, and modifying pieces.
47. Consign: Identify potential items that could be consigned.
48. Donate: Donate anything that doesn’t fit or feels outdated and can’t be consigned.
49. Repeat STAC’D process. It’s more than just a one-time thing.
Of course, don’t think you can complete the STAC’D process one time and have your closet be hunky-dory forever. “Don’t just do it once and not use the process again for a year,” advises Pilch. “In between each season, go through these steps. It will take less time and you will know that everything in your closet is something you are wearing.”
According to Pilch, you can easily organize your closet with eight easy steps. It’ll even mean you can get dressed faster in the long run.
50. Organize tops from casual to dressy, then by color.
51. Organize bottoms from pants to skirts then casual to most dressy.
52. Dressy jeans? Skip the drawer. Hang those baby blues up.
53. Organize dresses from casual to dressy, then by color.
54. Organize outer layers—such as cardigans, blazers, and light jackets—from casual to dressy and then by color.
55. Organize shoes either on a door rack or put them away in clear shoe boxes.
You’ll want your shoes visible and accessible, otherwise, you’ll end up wearing the same few pairs over and over again. Which means you’re neglecting other pairs.
56. Organize jewelry by type in a hanging jewelry organizer with clear pockets, suggests Pilch.
Again, it’s really important that you can see and access your jewelry or else you may end up forgetting what you even own. That’s not functional or fun!
57. If you have the space for it, store coats in a separate closet.
58. Organize coats by rain, light-weight, heavy-weight, and then by color, Pilch advises.
59. Organize handbags by type of bag and then by color.
60. Got a shelf? Line up purses by shoulder bags, crossbody bags, clutches, etc.
61. Make a list of the items you have most of.
62. Make a list of the items you have the least of.
Now that you’ve gone through nearly every item in your closet, take inventory. Is there any specific area in which you do have not a lot? Maybe you’re good on jeans but realized that you only have one jacket. Make a list of inventory you could need for the future and in the meantime, keep your ear to the ground for coat sales.
63. Try folding clothes with the KonMari Method.
When folding clothes, there are many different options. You can roll your clothes up or try the KonMari Method, which encourages people to fold every item of clothing into a rectangle shape, then stand it up vertically. It’s up to you, really, which folding method you choose.
64. No matter which folding method you use, make sure every clothing item is visible andaccessible.
65. Hang up belts on hooks inside your closet.
66. Hang hats up inside your closet on hooks.
67. Alternatively, stack hats on a shelf inside the closet.
68. Keep a shopping bag in your closet for potential donations or giveaways.
Keeping a shopping bag nearby can come in handy when you have an item you want to donate. “When you put something on and don’t like how it fits or the way you feel in it, drop it in the bag for donation or consignment,” advises Stone.
69. Use drawer organizers for bigger armoire drawers, too.
According to Stone, drawer organizers can even be used for bigger drawers. Drawer organizers can organize your clothes, socks, underwear, and other items of clothing. “Use drawer organizers to help you stay organized and ensure everything has a home. It just makes daily life easier,” she adds.
70. Use clear storage bins.
But even more necessary than shopping bags or drawer organizers is an overall system. “Every home needs clear storage bins and a system for storing things away that they aren’t using at that time,” advises Pilch. “If you store everything from clothing to home goods away in clearly labeled bins, you will feel organized and decluttered.”
71. Seasonal stuff? It can go into storage so it’s not visible and taking up active space in your closet.
And if something is seasonal, then realize that you don’t need it out in the open. By storing away off-season items, you’ll be maximizing your space upfront. “Rotate your seasonal items in and out as you need them. This can go for clothing, accessories, and even pillows and blankets for your living areas,” Pilch adds.
72. Sort your closet one category at a time.
So, what’s the key to transforming your closet into a pro-organizer-approved oasis? “My advice for a major closet clean-out is to begin by taking everything out of the closet—one category at a time,” says Pilch. That’s seasonal clothes, shoes, socks, underwear, outerwear, swimwear, accessories, and whichever other categories you may have.
Pilch recommends asking yourself the following questions when it comes to sorting through clothes:
73. Ask yourself: Does this item make me feel good when I wear it?
74. Ask yourself: Does this item fit me? If it was hemmed or taken in, could it fit me?
75. Ask yourself: Is this item out of style?
76. Ask yourself: Have I worn this item in the past year?
77. Ask yourself: Is this item stained or too faded to continue wearing?
78. Ask yourself: Is this an item that I could wear during another season but not now?
79. Don’t ignore what’s hiding in the depths and corners of your closet.
Don’t forget to look closely at items in the far end of your closet, warns Pilch. “These are typically pieces that haven’t been worn in a while.
80. Remember to start small.
Did you just read all that and nearly have an anxiety attack? It’s OK—just start somewhere with a feasible goal.
“Start small, but start somewhere,” she says. “Start with a small space to organize, like a linen closet or medicine cabinet and once you start to enjoy the benefits, it will motivate you to tackle another space.”
TIPS FOR ORGANIZING WHAT YOU HAVE AND AVOID OVERBUYING
81. Think of purging items as a habit, not a chore.
According to Gilat Tunit, owner and founder of The Project Neat, purging items is a habit that you can essentially train yourself into doing. “Turn the art of purging into a habit,” says Tunit. “Doesn’t have to be daily, weekly, or even monthly, but letting go of your unused and unloved items will go a long way.”
82. Avoid overbuying items that you really do not need or have space for.
“Avoid overbuying products you know you don’t need,” Tunit advises. This can help keep your purchases to a minimum. You might want to keep track of the items you need by making a list. If the item you’re temporarily coveting isn’t on your “need” list, then don’t buy it. “Keeping your purchases to only what you absolutely need and absolutely love will drastically reduce your clutter.”
83. Create different zones within your home.
Need another great organizing tip? Tunit recommends splitting your home into zones. “Create as many zones as possible of specific categories of items and/or activities,” she explains. “Keeping all of your children’s school supplies in one strategic area is an example of a zone.”
Leane of Raw Homemade agrees with divvying up the home into zones. “Initially, creating an organized home can seem overwhelming. The key to success is to focus on small zones. For example, focus on a drawer at a time or set a time for 15 minutes each day to tackle your zone.”
84. Use checklists to manage areas that require organizing.
“Make a checklist of all the spaces in your home that need to be organized,” advises Tunit. “Without overwhelming yourself, try to tackle one space per week, or at any pace that suits you.” If you hyper-focus on one area—say, the bedroom—over the course of a week, you’re more likely to get it done. Sprinting through each room at the speed of light will only cause organizational burnout and you’ll find yourself getting less of the home organized than you planned to.
85. Don’t procrastinate; just get it done.
Here’s another pro tip: When it comes to organizing, don’t procrastinate. “Set your goals for the day, or for the next 10 minutes, and get them done,” says Tunit. “Maintaining a day of smooth to-dos helps in staying organized.”
86. Write down your organizing goals.
Writing things down can also keep you more organized. “Being organized starts with altering your mindset,” explains Tunit. “Clear your mind of the chaos by getting your thoughts onto paper.”
87. Check off each organizational to-do as you accomplish it.
Writing lists may bring you clarity, but once it’s done, go over the list. You may just find that your goals are more realistic than you thought, and that’s crucial to helping you feel like they are attainable. “Once you see your goals and your wants in front of you, they are much more achievable,” Tunit advises.
88. Enlist the help of a dump all bin in each room.
If you’re going room by room, Tunit also advises implementing a “dump-all bin” in each individual room. “Every room should have a small dump-all bin,” she explains. “If you don’t know where something goes, keep a small bin that you can be ‘messy’ in. Then, once you have the time, put all the items back where they belong. This will help A LOT [with] maintaining order.”
89. Take it all in stride.
But Tunit’s number one tip to organizing your home and ultimately, your life? Breathe. “Being organized and staying organized is a process,” Tunit says. “It won’t happen overnight. Take it slow and most importantly, don’t overwork or overwhelm yourself. Success is achieved at a steady pace.”
TIPS FOR ORGANIZING ROOM TO ROOM
Amanda, professional organizer at Order and Bliss, is also a fan of the dump all bin in each room. In addition to adding a dump-all or catch-all bin to each room, Amanda also recommends setting a timer.
90. Set timers to help you achieve a lot in a small window of time.
“A catch-all bin and a 10-minute timer can get your home looking tidy. Just be sure to empty it by the end of the day,” Amanda adds.
91. Tackle each room for 10-minute intervals each and throw everything you don’t need or want into the catch-all bin.
Once you set the timer, commit to at least 10 minutes in each room. You have 10 minutes to fill the catch-all bin with unwanted items or trash. It’s amazing how much you’ll accomplish when you’re being timed. Even if it’s arbitrary.
92. Use small organizational achievements to build momentum for bigger ones.
Amanda also recommends starting small. “Complete a few smaller tasks to build momentum for the bigger ones,” she advises.
93. Start in each room by focusing on trash.
What’s one great way to start small? Trash. “Start by eliminating visual and physical trash,” Amanda explains. Once the obvious stuff is out of the way, you might be able to see more clearly what other clutter is present in your home that you don’t actually want or need.
94. Limit sentimental items if possible.
When organizing or purging items from a home, things can get emotional—fast. After all, some items have sentimental meaning, making them hard to part with. Amanda recommends limiting these sentimental items. The less sentimental items you have, the less you have to say goodbye to.
95. Enlist the help of someone to help you deal with sentimental items.
“Lean on someone to help you,” Amanda advises. A voice of reason can really come in handy when you come across items that are difficult to part with. Not only can having someone else there be emotionally helpful, but it can also help you feel strong enough to make the right choice about the item.
96. Condense sentimental items by converting the object into a photo of the item instead.
“A photo is a great alternative for recalling a memory,” Amanda says. Maybe you don’t need to keep your grandfather‘s sweater; maybe a photo of him in the sweater is enough. At the end of the day, it’s up to you.
97. Keep sentimental cards to a minimum by limiting your stash to one manageable box.
Finding nearly all your belongings sentimental?
98. Emotionally (and physically) detach from what you don’t use.
“Detach from what you no longer use,” suggests professional organizer Anabely Lopes of Professional Organizer Miami. “We always have objects that we don’t use in our home. The first step you must take is to select the one that is no longer useful. Throw it away, make donations. The important thing is that you only get the things that will really be helpful.”
99. Clear out old stuff to make room for the new.
Detaching from old stuff that’s no longer functional? Look at it this way: By clearing out the old stuff, you’re making room for new things in your home, says Lopes.
100. Start with your bed and end with your sink.
This may seem more related to tidying than organizing, but according to Amanda, your bed and sink should not be ignored throughout the organizing process. “Make your bed in the morning and shine your sink at night,” Amanda advises. These small moments of organization or cleaning will keep you in the habit of keeping things in order.
101. Don’t leave dishes in the sink (or dishwasher) unwashed overnight.
You know the phrase, “Always kiss me goodnight?” Well, in the organizational world, we’ve adapted into, “Always wash the dishes goodnight.”
“Clean those dishes before you rest,” Amanda advises. After all, you’ll fall asleep easier, faster, and with more peace of mind knowing that you don’t have something as annoying as dishes immediately waiting for you in the AM.
102. Don’t put off today what could be done today.
Don’t only just clean the dishes though. Lopes recommends doing what you can today and not leaving the problem for Future You. “Do what you can do today,” Lopes explains. “No leaving for the next day. You spend a few minutes organizing now and don’t waste any more minutes in the future!”
103. Shelves giving you grief? Don’t fill them up so much.
“Give your shelves room to breathe,” Amanda advises.
104. Use the white space rule to add dimension and avoid clutter on shelves.
If that seems like a difficult thing to do, go by the white space rule. “Adding white space between items and containers is magic,” Amanda adds.
105. Realize that everything in your home has a price.
At the end of your day, everything has a cost. “Put virtual ‘prices’ on cheaper, trouble items,” explains Amanda. “It may cost more to store them, both physically and mentally, than they’re actually worth.”
106. Use temporary labels while learning to memorize new organizational systems.
If labeling is new to you, try temporarily labeling items until you get into the habit of understanding your new systems. “Use temporary labels or stickies to help learn new systems and habits,” Amanda encourages.
107. Get rid of broken items.
Broken item? Remember back to that “price” tip. Broken items aren’t worth your time, effort, or the space in your home. “If it’s broken,” says Amanda, “it has spoken. Say goodbye.”
108. Don’t feel burdened by gifted items.
Gifted item? Amanda says it’s not your burden to carry. Gifted items that don’t fit into your home, life, or aesthetic can be donated, sold to consignment shops, returned to the store, or given to someone else who might enjoy them more than you.
109. Make to-do lists by zone.
Remember that to-do list tip? Take it one further by organizing each list by each zone of your house. Leane advises creating a to-do list either daily or weekly. That way, you always have an itemized list of what needs to be taken care of.
110. Invest in a bin under the sink for cleaning supplies.
Cleaning supplies are another source of clutter in rooms like bathrooms and kitchens. To keep your cleaning supply under control, get and label a bin for under your sink. If you don’t have room for additional cleaning supplies in the container, then it’s not time to buy more cleaning supplies.
111. When tackling the kitchen, start with the pantry.
112. To start your pantry organization, go through your inventory to eliminate anything expired.
113. Toss out (or compost!) any food items that have expired.
114. Organize the pantry by type of food or by container.
Now that you’ve gotten rid of all the expired stuff, think about the most functional way to utilize the space in your pantry. What do you and your family eat most often? Try organizing the pantry by type of food or by type of container. If you organize by type of food and container, chances are, items will fit better on the shelves.
115. Alternatively, try sorting the pantry by category.
Lopes suggests categorizing the pantry by category. “Separating products by categories will make it easier and faster to access the items you use more often,” Lopes explains.
116. Use transparent jars in the pantry.
“Use transparent jars are great for storing groceries that are being used,” says Lopes. “The transparency of the bottles allows us to see what is inside, so we take out only what will be used from the cabinet. Another advantage is that the lid pots make a good seal, so your food is protected from insects.”
What about the fridge?
117. Store meat on the bottom shelf of the refrigerator.
It’s just a general rule of thumb. After all, you don’t want any blood to drip all over your fridge and onto the apples, now do you?
118. Tallest containers go on the top shelf.
This is generally your milk, juices, water container if you have something like a Brita, etc.
119. Dedicate one crisper drawer in the fridge to low-humidity items: most fruits like apples, avocados, melons, pears, and stone fruits.
120. Dedicate one crisper drawer in the fridge to high-humidity items: anything that wilts quickly such as leafy veggies or herbs.
Strawberries should also go in this drawer, even if you designate it the “veggie drawer,” because they are ethylene gas-sensitive.
121. Ask yourself: Which foods does my family eat most often?
If your kids are constantly reaching for yogurts, then there’s no way you’re going to want to store the yogurt in the very back. Whatever you reach for most often, make sure it’s the most accessible.
122. Utilize clear bins in the fridge so everything is accessible and visible.
123. Organize fridge items by expiration date.
Things that go sour quickly can get lost if they’re shoved in the back. Anything that may go bad within a week or two, you’ll want to keep up at the front.
124. Use mason jars to store bulk or loose items in the fridge.
Anything loose—like herbs, nuts, or certain fruits and vegetables can be stored in a glass jar or container.
125. Commit to a certain number of daily tasks that you do each day, no matter what.
“Maintenance is the key,” says Leane, which is why she advises sticking to five daily tasks. “I have five daily tasks that I complete every day: Vacuum and sweep the kitchen floor and one other room, do some kind of washing (hang, fold, put away a load of washing), wipe down the kitchen bench and another hard surface (ie. bathroom vanity), make the bed, turn on the dishwasher at night and unpack in the morning.”
126. Install or use shelves whenever possible to make functional use of that vertical space.
Most often when people want to focus on organizing their bedroom, the problem is a lot of missed opportunities. By utilizing more vertical space in your closet with shelving, you’ll practically be doubling your possibilities for storage.
“My #1 tip for decluttering and organizing the bedroom is using vertical space,” says Pilch. “Most closets (no matter how small) have shelving that goes above the hanging racks. I highly recommend storing items that are not for the current season on those vertical shelves.”
127. Purchase a folding step ladder to access items in storage.
Labeling out-of-season clothes is important so that when the time comes, you don’t open the Winter Box and see a bunch of bathing suits staring back at you. But it’s also important, if you’ll be storing these items away, that you can access them.
“Label clear bins so that you know what is in each box. Purchase a folding step ladder so that you can easily access the shelf when you need to,” Pilch says.
128. Tidy and organize the car after each trip, no matter how short.
You should try to stay organized when getting in and out of the car, too. “When getting out of the car, remove everything that you put in the car for your trip—shoes, rubbish, clothes, bags, etc. Our car can quickly become a storage room,” Leane says.
129. Use things like cup holders and console organizers in the car.
Speaking of the car, that’s prime real estate for a mess waiting to happen. But if you put a ton of effort and time into organizing your entire home, why should your car be a messy wreck? One way to keep your car organized is to invest in things like cup holders and car consoles organizers. That way, drinks have a spot, games and activity books have a spot. It all goes back to that—everything has a spot.
130. Include your children in the organizing fun.
If you have children, organizing doesn’t have to be a one-person show. “Get the family involved,” Leane advises. “I think it’s important to include your kids in home organization. Choose age-appropriate tasks for your children to be responsible for. For example, my children are six and 10 and are responsible for making their beds, keeping their rooms tidy, some laundry, and unpacking the dishwasher in the morning.”
131. Keep bags or boxes for donation items in every room, not just the bedroom.
In some rooms, you’ll keep a bag for unwanted items to bring to donation. But in your room, you can start a ‘donate’ box. “Have a donate box for unwanted or outgrown clothes in your wardrobe,” says Leane. “Once it is full, place it in a donation bin.”
ORGANIZATION TIPS FOR MISCELLANEOUS ITEMS
132. Keep surfaces clean by avoiding piles.
Avoiding clutter means keeping tables, floors, and benches clean. Avoid piles at all costs, unless it’s a specific pile that you will be tackling that day.
Not sure how to keep clutter off of surfaces? Drawers, shelves, and bins are your BFF when it comes to avoiding clutter on surfaces.
133. Anything that you would normally make into a pile on a surface, store away in a drawer or shelf instead.
“Use drawers and shelves to take things off counters, dressers and other surface areas,” says Pilch. “By having clear countertops and dressers, your spaces will feel clean and more organized.
134. Store small items in a cup.
Even things like hairbrushes, toothbrushes, and skincare items should have a place—a mug or a glass should do the trick.
135. Store makeup in either a cosmetics bag or tray.
136. Store makeup brushes in a mug or glass, too.
137. If you don’t want to store smaller items like jewelry or hair accessories in a cup, try clear, labeled bins again.
After all, clear, labeled bins are fool-proof. Pilch suggests organizing miscellaneous bedroom items like jewelry into designated storage bins that are clear and labeled. “For the bedroom, we recommend categorizing small items like hair accessories and jewelry into clear, storage bins that can either go into drawers or be hung in the closet,” Pilch confirms.
138. Alternative, break hair accessories into smaller categories.
Put hair ties in one container, bobby pins in another, hair clips in another, scrunchies in another, headbands in another.
139. Store hair products like hairspray, dry shampoo, shine spray, or other kinds of gel and product for styling hair in its own container.
140. Remember not every item has to be in a container to be “put away” or organized.
Now, not every item has to be in a container to be considered “put away.” It just needs a home, right?
141. Hooks are your friend!
Another aesthetically pleasing way to keep things in order and organized is to hang up hooks. Towels, hand towels, robes, or other bathroom items don’t have to be in a drawer. They can simply be hung up and your bathroom will still look organized and tidied.
142. Avoid making piles out of snail mail.
Even though most of our communication happens via email or on social media, junk mail via snail mail can really pile up. Got a pile of junk mail on your kitchen table? Make it a habit of going through it daily. What you don’t need, throw away.
143. Organize how you charge your technology.
Even tech can benefit from being organized. If it’s in your budget, consider investing in a wireless charging dock. Some of these docks nowadays can charge multiple pieces of tech—phone, smartwatch, Mophie—all while cutting back on the number of wires hanging everywhere.
144. If you’re going wireless, label your wires.
If you don’t have a wireless charger, that’s okay. Wires work just as well, but you’ll want to label each individual wire so that you know which is which. To do this, just take a piece of washi tape and fold it over each wire. Label each one: Phone, Smart Watch, USB Charger, Computer, Mophie. You’ll save yourself a lot of heartache if every wire in your home is labeled.
145. Utilize cord tacosor wrappers.
Alternatively, check out cord tacos or cord wrappers that keep wires, such as earphones, tidied up and neat while in your bag or a drawer. Nobody likes digging into their handbag to see that headphones have unwrapped and tangled up everything.
146. The last 15 minutes of every day before you go to bed should be spent returning items to their home base.
“At the end of the day, spend 15 minutes returning all items to their correct home,” advises Leane. After dinner, or maybe before if you’d prefer to get all the clutter gone before the family sits down to a meal together, go room by room sorting everything where it needs to go. Remote wedged in the couch? Put it back in its designated spot. Phone off the hook? Back in the receiver. You can even set a timer for this method to make sure it doesn’t eat up too much of your time.
147. Enlist the help of apps.
If you need help with organization, there are a few handy apps you could check out. Apps like Snooze, Snippets, Todoist, and FileThis all specialize in helping you declutter, organize, and allowing you to manage potential tasks.
148. Keep a Note in your phone with tasks and to-do lists.
Of course, if third-party apps aren’t your thing you could always rely on the Note app in your phone to keep track of tasks, to do lists, and other things you need to remember. Believe it or not, moving things like to do lists and other paper work digitally can cut back on a lot of paper clutter.
149. Enroll bills in auto-payment.
Enrolling in auto-payment and email billing cuts back on even more paper clutter. You can get your credit card statements and bank statements all via email. You can even pay off your student loans, your car, phone, and health insurance online. Less mail sent to your house means less paper clutter for you to deal with later.
150. When sorting paper clutter, actually make piles: Keep, Trash, Handle Immediately/Then Discard.
If you do have a lot of paper clutter, it probably won’t benefit you to just trash it all. Start by sorting out your paperwork into (the dreaded) piles. What needs to be kept? What can be trashed? What can be used immediately and then discarded? Anything that you need to keep, file it away. You can buy pretty inexpensive filing systems at Target, Wal-Mart, or Staples.
151. Utilize vertical space when organizing a desk area or office space.
Keep things as categorized as possible in and around your desk and don’t forget about utilizing vertical space whenever possible. “Away” doesn’t have to only mean “in a drawer.” One way to do this is by investing in a magnetic board; you can “store” certain necessary papers on the magnetic board or you can even attach your scissors to it magnetically so that they hang.
If you are doing a lot of traveling, it’s important to also keep organized while on the go. There’s a lot of different ways to keep organized while traveling.
152. Set aside a mesh bag for wires and electronics and another mesh bag specifically for undergarments.
153. Travel toiletries should go in a clear plastic bag—to make TSA’s life easier.
154. Organize clothes by folding them into packing cubes.
OTHER HELPFUL ORGANIZATION TIPS
155. Don’t put too much pressure on yourself to be perfect at organizing.
“Most importantly, it is important not to put too much pressure on yourself,” says Leane. “Focus on small steps you can take today to achieve your goal long-term. Also, consider if your house is cluttered, you might own too much stuff and not that your house is too small or doesn’t have enough storage.”
Focus on what you need and use.
Focusing on what’s needed and functional can go a long way, whereas focusing on what you want is the fast lane to clutter. In fact, focusing on these necessary items might also help you eliminate some duplicate items. Maybe you’ve accumulated three hairbrushes over the past few years. Do you really need all three? Or what about winter outerwear? Ain’t nobody has the space to store 50 scarves in the summertime; it’s just not feasible. By focusing on what you need and use regularly, you’ll eliminate a lot of unnecessary, duplicate items.
“Focus on the things that you need and use,” concludes Leane. “Is the clutter bringing joy into your life?” That’s the ultimate question you need to ask yourself. Are you happy with the home you’ve created? If the answer is finally “yes,” then you’ve successfully organized your home and your life.
View the original article online: https://parade.com/976214/stephanieosmanski/best-organizing-tips/
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