It is interesting to look at how we organize our homes. As you can imagine, I see a lot of spaces…some are neat and tidy, and some are not. The homeowners that are neat and tidy have full-time jobs, kids, and pets, and yet, can keep their home clutter free. What is their secret?
Here, I reveal secrets to a well-organized home that will help you keep your home better organized resulting in a more tranquil environment. Try them all or start out slowly with a few that pique your interest. In either case, you will be on your way to an organized home that greets you with a renewed serenity.
Let. It. Go. This is singularly the most important “secret” in keeping the clutter at bay. We tend to collect items, whether by our own accord or from family and friends, and keep them around for a variety of reasons, “I may need this one day,” or, “My favorite aunt gave this to me.” Sound familiar?
The sooner you make the decision, the better when de-cluttering. Do not save items for a rainy day, get rid of it. I realize this is easier said than done but once you begin letting go, it will get easier and easier. Initially, it may help to hire a professional organizer to begin the de-cluttering process for you. They will help you make the quick decision needed to let it go. This process also includes letting go of sentimental pieces like your children’s artwork, awards, etc. One way is to create a photo book of the special pieces for each child. It is a great way to keep the memories and free up storage space.
Clothing, shoes, belts, and accessories can overload our closets fast. Remove the unworn, torn, saving to wear when I lose weight, and no longer in style items and some of your everyday casual clothes at least twice a year. Seasonally is preferred but a good spring and fall cleaning will help keep your closet refreshed and ready for new items.
There may be sentimental clothing that you are keeping such as t-shirts from college or concerts, sports uniforms, or a formal outfit that is rarely worn. Remove these items from the main clothes closet and store them in a box under a bed or in your deemed storage area such as a mud room. Too many t-shirts? Have a keepsake memory quilt made using your favorite t-shirts or sports uniforms. There are plenty of online companies that provide this service. They make a great gift!
Remove the Spoiled and Expired.
The refrigerator and pantry are used every day. Yet, these are two areas that tend to get the least organized and cleaning effort. The secrets to a well-organized home is sometimes in the timing. Set a regular time each week to purge the expired and spoiled items from your refrigerator. For example, set the time to do this prior to storing new grocery items. This way you are removing shriveled vegetables, rotten fruit, and stale leftovers. Make sure to wipe down the shelves, removing any dried spills or food particles. Do this every week…you will be surprised how fast a habit will form so that cleaning the refrigerator becomes second nature.
The pantry does not need a weekly cleaning, but you do need to go through it at least once every six months to remove stale or expired food. Remove and donate canned food or sealed packages that have lost their appeal to a local food bank or charity. Clear containers made specifically for pantry organization are everywhere now. Pick up your favorites and store items like cereal, flour, sugar, dried beans, or pasta in them. Now you can see when you are low on an item, plus they store more compactly giving you additional pantry space.
Put Things Away.
This is the best-kept secret. The most organized people put things away as they use them. It keeps the area clean and tidy for the next use. However, if you struggle with this element, then make it a point to put everything away either first thing in the morning or at the end of the day but do it. Again, form a habit that will eventually become second nature to do.
Be mindful of what you bring into your home. Do you have enough room to store the item? Do you really need it? If the answers are yes, then ask yourself, “What one item can I remove from my home?” Removing an item as you bring a new one in will help keep down the clutter.
It is also good to store items, like spices, so you can see the labels. This helps so there are no duplications. Lotions, makeup, or other smaller items that tend to pile up need to be purged on a regular basis. If these items are not open, consider donating them to an organization that helps families in need.
Remove the Donation Boxes or Trash Immediately.
It is important to remove items designated for trash or for donation as soon as possible. Otherwise, these items become clutter. It is best to do this the same day you purge because the longer you wait, the longer the boxes or bags get pushed into the back of the closet, or worse, the garage. The secret of getting rid of the items immediately is that it will give you a sense of accomplishment, pride, and actual joy at having a clean and uncluttered space.
Ask for Help.
This is a big one. Every day it seems there are new ways to streamline clearing the clutter. One of the secrets to a well-organized home involves asking for professional help. The professional organizer will show you and your family how to organize a space and put you on the right track to doing it yourself. In addition, some people use lawn or maid services to help keep things clean and tidy. Find what works best for you and your budget and stick with it.
There is not one catch-all solution to being organized. The secrets to a well-organized home work best when you form a habit of cleaning and decluttering and make sure to involve your family. It is not only up to you to clean and declutter. It can even be, dare I say it, fun to clean and declutter with your family.
They say that home is where the heart is…let your heart guide you to an organized place where you can relax, recharge, and find joy.