HAPPY NEW YEAR! Perhaps your resolution for 2014 is to get organized. Perhaps not. Either way, we’d encourage you to do so. It will not only make your life easier and more efficient and running smoothly, but it will also likely save you time and money. And who wouldn’t want more time and money!
To help get you started, here are five tips for organizing your home and your life:
1. Make a list. Move forward one task at a time. If you look at the big picture and think of organizing your entire home all at once, you will undoubtedly become overwhelmed and completely stressed out. Start with your junk drawer. Once you get all the “junk” trashed and everything else lined up neatly, you’ll feel a sense of accomplishment that will motivate you to move on to the next spot.
Try moving through your house room by room, organizing your kitchen cabinets, then your linen closet, then toys, books, video games, clothes closets, laundry room, etc. Again, make a list and take it one step at a time!
2. Get essential organizing tools. It will help tremendously if you have baskets, bins, drawers, hooks, and labels handy. After you make your list, research and ponder how you might better organize those spaces. We’ve gathered a plethora of ideas on our “Organize Your Home” Pinterest board. Check them out for inspiration! We also like websites like The Container Store, IKEA, and See Jane Work.
3. Seriously, get rid of the clutter. We’ve said it before (mostly referring to folks who are getting their homes ready to sell) and we’ll say it again: the clutter is taking over and you need to remove it from your house! As you make your way through your list, set aside things that can be donated or thrown away. If you haven’t used the item in the past 12 months, its probably time to get rid of it. If you simply can’t part with something, though, at least put it in storage to get it out of the way.
Isn’t this “before and after” of a play room photo inspiring?
4. Use the piles to your advantage. When you don’t know where to start in a certain area, just look at where things get piled up. Do shoes get left by the back door? Are coats dropped on bedroom floors? Where does the mail stack up? Come up with solutions for each area so that maintaining the piles will be easy to do. Get a shoe organizer and put it by the back door (IKEA has some great ones), install hooks in the bedrooms, and find a small basket for sorting mail. Starting with problem areas will make the whole organizing job much easier to accomplish.
5. Repurpose furniture and transform that blank wall into something wonderfully useful. Got an old dresser in the basement that you haven’t used in years? Why not spruce it up and use it as a buffet in the dining room? This gets dishes and silverware out of sight while also providing “counter space” for serving meals at your fancier gatherings. An armoire can be used as a media cabinet or a pantry. An old chalk board or window can be made into an art center for kids. Additionally, a blank wall can be transformed into a command center for your family.
Organizing can be a daunting task, but these tips should help guide you smoothly through the process. The most important thing, though, after taking the time to de-clutter and re-organize, is to do your best throughout the year to maintain it. If, after you’ve organized, you find that some area isn’t working well, make some changes. Letting one area get out of hand will likely lead to more disorganization throughout the house, and then you’ll be back where you started.