Starting an organizational project in your home can be overwhelming if you have many rooms or areas on your list. You’ll need to start with a plan that will be effective in the long run.
Here are five tips for how to start organizing your home.
1. Start with a manageable project.
It helps to start with one area of the house, preferably a small space that can be completed in a short amount of time. Starting with a simple project and seeing it through to completion will give you the motivation you need to tackle the next space on the list. You might want to start with a small coat closet, a desk drawer, a dresser drawer, or any other space you could feasibly organize within an hour. When I’m short on time or if my project is a little more involved, I like to set a timer for 30 minutes and stop when the time is up. That way, I can tackle an entire decluttering project in short segments over a period of time.
2. Take a photo before you start.
The space you want to organize may feel cluttered and disorderly now, but snapping a photo before you start will help you see how much you’ve accomplished when you finish. Sometimes, that “before” photo, when compared to the finished project, will motivate you and encourage you on future projects. Taking a photo and posting it on your bathroom mirror will serve as a good reminder to keep on task until the project is complete.
3. Plan to give away more than what you keep.
If you have a lot of organizing to do and your goal is to really gain control of your clutter, prepare yourself to give many things away. Don’t cause more work for yourself or start new piles of clutter by setting things aside for garage sales or future DIY/craft projects. I think this is where many of us get tripped up, we want to be organized but we spend too much time contemplating what to do with our stuff or how to save it for some future purpose. We get sidetracked.
Garage sales are great for raising money, but if you are serious about organization, consider how much space, time and effort a garage sale will take away from your current project. Unless items are extremely valuable, put a value on your time instead. Sorting and stashing stuff for sales and future projects will delay your progress and likely cause new areas of clutter. And we don’t want that! Fill boxes or bags with things to give and throw away, and only keep what you really use right now. If you need to keep things but don’t have room for them in your home, a storage locker can be a great solution for items you need less often, such as Christmas decorations or other seasonal items.
4. Leave a substantial portion of the space empty.
As you start paring down, give yourself some breathing room. Leave shelves or cabinets somewhat empty—many experts recommend leaving up to half the space empty—so you’ll feel more in control of your space. You’ll be less tempted to keep random things when you are not able to fill every square inch with stuff. Maintaining your newly organized space is easier if you have less on your shelves and in drawers. As a bonus, this will give you a little extra room if you run across other important items that must go in that space.
5. Set a goal to keep your space organized.
Once you’ve organized your space, don’t let it fall back into disarray. Form new habits to keep it neat and tidy as you move on to new areas you want to declutter. Do a daily or weekly spruce-up on your completed projects to keep the space under control. It’s much easier to organize a little once in a while than it is to do a big overhaul.
Getting organized isn’t an overnight process. It’s going to take some time to declutter all the spaces in your home. Starting out with reasonable expectations and goals and taking it one step at a time will ensure your effort is effective for a long time!
Good luck with your decluttering and organizing projects! Let us know how it goes!