Did you know that research shows that people with tidier homes are happier and healthier? Studies suggest that people who are more organized are less likely to be fatigued, depressed, unfocused, and obese. In one study, researchers discovered that house cleanliness and home organization was more of a predictor of physical health than neighborhood walkability! Let’s face it: Living in a clean and tidy environment is just all-around more enjoyable—as if you needed another item on your list of reasons to get organized.
If you’re like many Americans, you’ve probably looked at an item and asked yourself “Does this spark joy?” at the behest of organization authority Marie Kondo. Or perhaps you’ve considered whether your maximalist lifestyle has heightened your carbon footprint. Perhaps you’re preparing to put your home on the market and have heard that organization, like brand-new flooring or a black front door, can help your house sell for more. Whether you seek joy, peace, serenity, sustainability, or a higher return on investment, giving your space an organizational overhaul will be well worth your while.
But how? Well, first things first: Organize your organizing goals. One of the simplest ways to tackle large projects is to break things down into smaller parts. In this whole-home organization guide, we’ll go room by room to help you tidy your way to happiness.
The Foyer: The Home’s Dirt Filter
The entryway is the first room you see when you enter the house, helping to set the stage for what’s to come. It’s also a sort of dirt filter for the rest of the home. For a low-maintenance, durable flooring surface, , we recommend porcelain tiles or engineered hardwood in the entryway. With the right protective floor mats, your foyer can capture dust, mud, dirt, salt, snow, and moisture before it has the chance to permeate the rest of your home.. This room also tends to be the catch-all for all outdoors-related items, including coats, gloves, scarves, dog leashes, and umbrellas, making regular tidying necessary.
- Create a Space for Shoe Storage — Shoe cubbies! Gotta love them! Not only do they help reduce clutter and ensure tidiness, these special little storage nooks also prevent slips, trips, and falls by putting shoes up and away. We love the idea of creating a built-in unit with shoe cubbies and hooks, but you could also use a storage bench for this purpose.
- Conceal Coats, Jackets and Scarves — Closed storage units and closets make everything feel neater, even if things are less than pristine behind closed doors. Rather than storing your coats, scarves, jackets, and other outdoor items on messy hooks and coat racks, try to pare down so everything fits in the closet.
- Practice Good Habits — One of the best ways to reduce clutter in the entryway is to encourage yourself and your family members to practice good habits, beginning the second they walk in the door. Ask them to remove their shoes, coats, etc. as soon as they enter the home, without stepping off the entryway mat, and walk them to their bedrooms.
The Kitchen: Where Messes Are Made
If the entryway is the home’s dirt filter, then the kitchen is its mess center. There’s pretty much no other room that gets as messy as the kitchen. It’s perpetually faced with drops, spills, and grease galore, so constant cleaning is a requisite. All that cooking and baking requires a lot of cargo in the form of appliances and ingredients, which often means crammed-in cabinets and cluttered pantries. Tidying up these spaces is super rewarding, but maintenance can be hard. Focusing on realistic, long-term solutions is the recipe for kitchen organization success.
- Think Like a Minimalist — Ask yourself, do you really need that egg-poacher you only used once? Or the four different French presses you got for Christmas last year? What about the mismatched soup bowls you bought in college? Paring down and thinking like a minimalist will help you free up space and free yourself from the emotional attachment of goods. Don’t forget to donate what you don’t want!
- Purge All Out-of-Date Food — Try to get on a schedule where you go through the fridge and pantry with some regularity to get rid of old and expired food. Clean out leftovers and wilting veggies from the fridge once a week. Consider composting those old veggies to lessen your food waste, and purge the pantry once a month.
- Trust in Containers — There’s a special container for almost everything in the kitchen, from spices to dry grains to soup cans. When you have a designated container just for each item, you’re much more likely to put things back where they belong. Choose dishwasher-safe, air-tight options for the pantry, and remember to give them a good wipe-down on occasion.
- Upgrade the Pantry — Who are we kidding? Some kitchens are just made to challenge, especially if they were built a hundred years ago when blenders and microwaves didn’t exist and food was made with the same handful of ingredients. These days, we need the extra space, and a bigger, better pantry—like a butler pantry—will help.
The Bedroom: Staging a Closet Intervention
The bedroom is similar to the kitchen in that one of its fundamental functions is to store your possessions. Naturally, when you acquire more possessions and occasionally don’t put things back where they belong, chaos ensues. The bedroom also has some major pressures that the kitchen doesn’t have—namely, the fact that it’s a place that’s supposed to make you feel serene, rested, and relaxed rather than frazzled and stressed. If it fails at this purpose, your overall health and well-being can seriously suffer, so keeping things organized is crucial.
- Invest in Multifunction Furniture — Think of every piece of bedroom furniture as an opportunity for additional storage. The bed can serve as a bed and a dresser if it has under-bed storage, and the right nightstand can double as a bookshelf. If you need seating in the bedroom, consider an open-top storage bench that keeps things neat and serves as a receptacle for shoes, purses, hats, and other items.
- Reconsider Your Folding Methods — One of the most valuable lessons we can learn from the hugely popular KonMari method developed by Marie Kondo is how to fold our clothes for better organization. Kondo recommends folding clothes into small rectangles and storing them upright, rather than layered flat, in the drawer. This has two amazing benefits—it allows you to quickly scan your clothes to find what you’re after (no rifling), and it opens up room for more storage.
- Try the “Reverse Hanger” Tip — Have a tendency to buy clothes you never wear and then get too attached to them to throw them out? Try the reverse hanger tip to keep track of what should stay and what should go. Here’s how it works: When cleaning out your closet, put all clothes in backward with the open part of the hook facing you. Return to your regular routine and, each time you wear a piece of clothing, rehang it in your closet the right way. After a few months, you’ll be able to see what you wore and what you didn’t wear. Get rid of the stuff you passed up.
The Living Room: The Ultimate Clutter Magnet
The living room is a place for mindfulness and relaxation, and you want it to be the type of space where stressors melt away the minute you enter. Since it also happens to be the hub of the house, it’s a convenient place to store things you use every day, especially if you have kids. When giving your space an organizational overhaul, remember that the living room is no place for storage. It should be reserved for your best furniture, your favorite pieces of artwork, and decorations that exude relaxed vibes.
- Hang It Up — When bookshelves are full and surfaces are cluttered, our minds automatically compute disarray and chaos. Keep all flat surfaces relatively bare, especially side tables, coffee tables, and the mantle, besides a few choice decorations. To accomplish this, you can move some items onto wall shelves and storage units, including books.
- Pare Down the Electronics — Gadgets are ubiquitous in the modern home, and we appreciate them. Though we have more of them, new-age electronics are becoming smaller, simpler, and less likely to come with a dozen different cords. Consider paring down by trading up your bulky, out-of-date surround sound system to a sleek Bluetooth setup or by consolidating your many remotes to a single, universal option.
- Choose Closed Storage — Why is it that adding doors to cabinets, bookshelves, and storage units just makes everything feel so much neater? Ditch those clutter-catching open shelving units and cabinets for neat and tidy furniture with drawers and doors galore. You’ll be impressed by how quickly this trick neatens things up.
Tips for Every Room in Your Home
In addition to the tips above, there are a few things you should keep in mind while you’re giving your home the floor-to-ceiling organization treatment. Whether it’s the laundry room, playroom, home office, or living room, you should apply the following tips to the job to ensure that it comes out neat as can be:
- Address Your “Stuff Guilt” — Professional organizers often talk about something known as “stuff guilt,” or the guilt you feel when you get rid of things. This occurs for many reasons, including because you paid a lot for an item, because it was a gift, or because you feel bad about being wasteful. This may train the mind to associate paring down with negative feelings. Letting go of the guilt will help you whip your space back into shape and practice minimalism.
- Learn a Lesson from Kondo — The KonMari method is popular for a reason, and it can probably help you in the way that it has helped millions of others. At the core of this approach is the question: “Does it spark joy?” Ask yourself this every time you handle an item in your home. If the answer is yes, the item stays. If it’s no, it’s time to consider other arrangements like banishing it to the thrift store for someone else to enjoy.
- Create a Whole-Home Catch-All — The biggest contributors to a cluttered home are those things that tend to wind up in the junk drawer. They’re the items that have no particular home or only need to be stored temporarily. Create a family organizer as a catch-all for all of these items. Each week, when you’re doing your regular housework, purge the organizer and put everything away in a new permanent home.
- Get Everyone on Board — It’s not unusual—in fact, it’s quite common for one member of the family to be gung-ho about an organizational project, while the others are wholly resistant or apathetic. It is important that you work on getting everyone to participate and support your endeavors so that your efforts can be maintained in the future. Offer the kids rewards for helping keep things tidy, and explain to your spouse why it’s so important to you.
Living a More Organized Life
There’s no getting around it: When you keep your space organized, you’ll feel happier and healthier. Spending some time to go through your home room by room and focusing on cleanliness and organization will help you foster a positive, enjoyable environment. BuildDirect is always here to help you make the most out of your home, whether you’re renovating a fixer-upper or simply wanting to pump some fresh love into your old space.