9 Tips To Start Organizing Your Home

Things like reducing stress, saving money, an increase in your productivity at work and home and generally increasing your quality of life are all things that you gain from being better organized.   Use these 9 tips to organize your home and begin a few simple habits that can be a foundation for building the year on.  


1. Have Less Stuff   

It all gets so much easier when you finally accept that organizing your home is all about the stuff you own.  The most direct way to less organizing headaches is obviously less stuff and the less natural your organizational skills come to you the more important this principle.

The term Minimalism may sound like an approach to life that doesn't have much to do with the way you imagine your own but if you ask someone what living as a minimalist means, you get answers that are more interesting than you might think. Here are a couple of  definitions of Minimalism ;

I am intentionally trying to live with only the things I really need.”  and  "Minimalism brings freedom from the all-consuming passion to possess. It steps off the treadmill of consumerism and dares to seek happiness elsewhere. It values relationships, experiences, and soul-care. And in doing so, it finds life."

Minimalism in its purest form isn't for everyone but if you add a bit to your organizational decisions it will make a difference in your happiness factor.  If you want to have more room in your life to live out what is most important to you, try getting rid of and avoiding the collection of stuff.  Less stuff simply gives you less to clean, organize, fret over and care for. Choosing to intentionally live with less takes you out of the race to live up to the culture's standards, lose the stress that comes with it and have more time to live out of your values.


2. What to Buy, What to Keep and What to Trash   

The place for things you never use or do not love, is in the trash, at the local Good Will or with someone you know would love it. Be intentional when evaluating whether or not a new purchase will add any value to your life. Do you really love it? Do you already have one or something similar? Will it be used regularly?  Do you have room for it?  And always keep this #1 rule for keeping the clutter under control in your home: if you buy one new thing, something you already own must go.  If you buy a shirt, donate one from your closet.  No one really needs 30 shirts anyway, right?  And it is actually much more fun to dress when you only have favorites hanging there. 


3. Make Your Bed Every Day  

This one took me years to get the hang of but now that I am used to a made bed, I can hardly force myself out of the room until that job is completed.  The reward for making your bed is felt throughout the next 18 hours as it sets the tone for the whole day. When you leave the bedroom and move into your day, you have already successfully buckled up and set yourself into the saddle of ticking off the planned tasks for the day that hold your life steady and peaceful.  When you walk back into the room that evening there is your made bed inviting you to rest. If I had a pick I would say the most important habit to form would be making your bed.  I wish I had learned it earlier.  If you are raising little ones consider making this one of the earliest habits you help them to form.


4. Keep Your Counters Clear   

I call this mindful organizing. I try to make every surface I have feel good to me when I look at it. For me, that means I officially decorate my surfaces while always applying the rule of only owning things I love. Even my often used kitchen counters may have things on them besides needed appliances just because I love the way they look or to nicely balance the look of the space. For someone else, it may mean you completely clear off counters and surfaces and that's good too. If you take the time to arrange your surfaces so you know what does or doesn't belong there and it feels good to you then you are less likely to toss other stuff on them and take the time to reorganize it back into shape more often when it gets out of sorts.   


5. Leave Nothing for Later   

The simplest and most efficient thing I have ever learned about staying organized was to assign everything to its own place and put away each thing I use immediately it's been used.  When I'm in a hurry I still have to manage the urge I get to put away the blow dryer, straightener, brush, moisturizer, towels, makeup and toothpaste at the end of the dressing rather than as each step is completed but if I don't follow my commitment to return each thing to it's station as I go time inevitably runs out and I have to return home to the mess.  One second spent to place each thing back in its place as I move through my morning routine makes all the difference in the bathroom that greets me later.


6. Keep a Short List and  a Long List   

I keep a list on my Evernote software of every idea that drops out of my head.  This is where I keep the Long List of the things I would like to accomplish around my home.  Working off that long list every day can by overwhelming and confusing so I cherry pick a few of these items depending on the time I know I will have at the beginning of each week and place them on the Short List that I keep on a pad on my desk.  Focusing on completing a few jobs every week like cleaning out a cabinet, the car or front closet can give you a  sense of accomplishment and the inspiration to keep moving through that Long List.

When I moved into my new place over the last few months and wasn't able to get through all the boxes before I had to get back to work, I arranged the  leftover boxes by number according to the importance to me that they get put into their assigned place. Then I chose boxes according to a number for the Short List until I had completed all of them.  When I walked by an unpacked box I didn't have any stress over it because I knew it was on my short list or would be soon.

7. Say "NO"   
Your life and your time are your own.  You are responsible for how they are spent and successfully managing your everyday tasks is more important to your quality of life than we sometimes acknowledge.  If you think that saying yes when you really want or need to say no is an expression of kindness,  it may not be. Planning your day just to give it up to someone else's priorities is typical behavior for the unorganized among us but if you are motivated by kindness to do this often in your life remember you will have more to freely give in both time and energy if you commit to your personal life running smoothly.


8.  Have Patience With the Pace 

It's tempting to start off a new year of improvements with a big goal but it's best to accomplish one measurable task at a time. If you focus on the one goal of making your bed every morning it's easy to measure your success each day.  The days you accomplish making your bed and walking in at night to see it waiting for you are the moments that you begin to build inspiration to do it again and again and leave room to move on to the next task on your Long List.   

If you are trying to change four or five things at once, it's harder to remember to even notice what got accomplished and the effort you gave loses a chance at any real result. You will be surprised how quickly you can string together new habits when you mindfully work on one change at a time. 


9. Go With What Comes Natural   

Every family has a natural way of moving through life that suits them. Sometimes we need to adjust for a better way but sometimes it works to go with the flow and use our common sense. Make it easy on yourself and notice how you already use the spaces around your home  and then organize around habits that have already developed  

Does your family like to drop jackets and hats at the front door? Hang hooks right there and invite them to use them instead of trying to organize these things into a closet on the far side of the entryway.  Do you have a set of stairs that seems to accumulate items from the wrong level of the house? Purchase a Stair Basket and at the end of each day make it your habit to carry it up as you go to bed and place each thing in its place. Do you find clothes on the floor that could have been placed into the dirty clothes hamper?  Drag the hamper out of the deep dark closet it has been condemned to and place it exactly where it is easiest and most likely to be used even if it isn't as pretty there.  


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