Take a look in your closet. Go ahead, we’ll wait. Now take a look in your drawers, cupboards, and bookcases. If you’re like most people out there, you’re likely to find random detritus, piles of papers, heaps of clothing, and a mishmash of, for lack of a better word, stuff. So what can you do with it all? When it comes down to it, all you need is the right tools for the job.
Step One: Declutter
Before you even get into figuring out how to organize and store your things, you’ll first want to eliminate anything you don’t need to store. This is quite the process. You can start by taking everything out of the first place you plan to tackle. For example, if it’s your bedroom closet, take out everything, from the box on the top shelf full of costume jewelry to the holey hosiery stuffed behind your ugly Christmas sweater. Throw it in a pile outside the closet.
Next, separate it into piles: Stays, Goes Somewhere Else, and Get Rid Of. Before you can know how to organize your closet, you first have to know what you’ll be storing in it. After you’ve finished with the closet, you’ll want to continue with other areas of your house that tend to become cluttered. Decide for yourself whether each area needs to be completely emptied or whether you can go through it and pull out items you don’t want to store there or eliminate.
Step Two: Get Rid of It
When you’re done with step one, you’ll have a big pile of Get-Rid-Of stuff. Before you move on to the next step, you’ll want to remove this pile from your house. It will make it easier to continue with the organization process if these things are out of your house. Plus, it’s amazing how these items seem to find their way deeper into the house the longer they remain there.
As you work on this pile, separate it into the following areas:
- Throw away
Of course, if you’re in a hurry to get these items out, don’t be afraid to take all things in good condition to your local charity. You’ll feel good about helping others and you won’t have the stress of finding buyers that follow through. The rest of the stuff goes in the trash.
Step Three: Readjust the Location of Goes-Somewhere-Else Pile
Now that you’ve gotten rid of the unneeded items, work on the Goes Somewhere Else piles. Add these items to the Stays piles in other locations, so you know what needs to be stored where. This will help you formulate storage and organization plans for each area of the house.
Step Four: Attack the Closets
Now you’re ready to start putting things away. You’ll want to start with the closets, working your way from the back of the house to the front. In scanning over the pile of goodies, imagine the best possible situation for storing the items. Then take a look at what you currently have for storage. Most closets come with the barest of closet organizers, so more than likely, a new closet organizer is the ticket to closet bliss. You can find ones that have drawers, shelves, baskets, and more. For the most flexibility, choose modular ones that have easily adjustable shelves and multiple options for where clothes rods and shelves can be located. As your needs change, you’ll be able to adjust the closet organizer accordingly.
Once you’ve added the closet organizer to the closet, you get to move everything back into the closet. Remember that it’s important to have a place for everything and everything in its place. Knowing where something should be put away will help keep things organized in the future. If you don’t have a place for everything, it will lean towards chaos.
Step Five: Manage the Bathrooms
Bathrooms are a common place where you’ll find disorganized clutter. This is often caused by not having enough storage for towels and toiletries. One option is adding an over-the-toilet cupboard that is great for smaller items.
For towels, however, a linen cabinet can add to your bathroom’s decor while adding functionality. If you have the counter space, consider adding a storage tower that can be installed right on the counter and provide an area for your getting-ready-in-the-morning essentials.
Step Six: Clear Up Open Spaces
Once you’ve finished with the closets and bathrooms, the next step is to look at open spaces throughout the house. Where does detritus tend to collect? If mail is a problem, consider creating a system for dealing with correspondence. Have a mail center where new mail is kept. When you have time to go through it, throw away junk mail, have a slot for bills that need to be paid, and move paid bills and other items that need to be stored into a filing cabinet. Better yet, scan in bills and store them on your computer, and then shred the paper bill.
Kids’ toys are another pain point. Start by having a tub for like toys: one for cars, another for blocks, and so on. Teach your kids which toys go where. When it’s time for cleaning up toys, such as before dinner, supervise them getting put away until it’s second nature. Have a specific location for each tub, with labels that include pictures for younger children, so everything is put away and off the floors. Make sure you have a bookcase for keeping the kids’ books. You’ll find many options for sizes, so you can get just the right size for your room and number of books.
Though it’s a lot of work to get your house in order, there are many benefits — both physical and mental. If you’re able to find what you need when you need it, you’ll be less stressed and waste less time searching for essential items. A house free of clutter offers a mind free of worry.