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You might see stunning, clutter-free spaces in magazines or on the internet, and you might think that my home will never look that way. But it’s possible! It doesn’t take superhuman effort to free your home and your life from overwhelmingly huge amounts of stuff. A little commitment to some basic principles is all you need. Here are my ten commandments of home organization to help you.
1 Remember to Live By Your Means, At Home at Least
This isn’t a new idea, but if you’re looking for a simpler, less cluttered existence, I think this is a wonderful place to start. For your home, what “live within your means” means is this: let your home’s size determine how much stuff you have, and not the other way around. Instead of dreaming of a larger closet, if your closet is bursting at the seams, why not start paring down your clothes to suit the space you have?
2 Make Purging a Habit
Even if you get to a point where you only have as many items as fit comfortably into your space, there is a way for things to accumulate. So set aside a day, a few times a year, to go through your stuff and get rid of the things you no longer need. You’ll feel so much lighter, and your home will look – and function – so much better.
3 Have a Place for Everything
A place for everything, and everything in its place. Almost a cliche, but also some of the best advice out there for organizing. A little suggestion: If you have a lot of stuff on tables or countertops or the floor in limbo and are struggling to find places for them, you may need more places. This is where it might be helpful to have clear plastic shoe boxes or a file cabinet, or decorative storage baskets if that makes more sense.
4 Allow Yourself an ORGANIZED Junk Drawer
This is the other side of the coin to the commandment above. Every household has those little things — pens, tape, twist ties, whatnot — that get used a lot but don’t really have any logical place to go. Instead of agonizing over finding a home for every little thing, keep a junk drawer. Just make it an organized junk drawer that only houses stuff you need and is arranged in an orderly fashion.
5 Make Putting Stuff Away a Life Habit
Putting away things as soon as you are done with them is something you have probably been told to do since you were a child. And it may even be something you now tell your own children. But doing it yourself, every time? That’s a hard habit to form.
However, it is a habit well worth working on. Do whatever it takes, set cellphone reminders, add checklists to the fridge or bathroom mirror, seriously whatever it takes. Because the easiest way to make sure you put things away is just to do it, and then keep on doing it until it’s so habitual that you wouldn’t ever think of not doing it. When you see how much better your home looks when you keep up with decluttering and home organization, you’ll be that much more motivated to keep going.
6 Store Things Where They are Used
Be smart about where you store things. Not having to walk halfway across your home to put things away will make ‘obeying’ that fifth commandment of home organization I just covered so much easier.
7 Think Before You Shop
The less you have the less there will be to declutter and find homes for. I’ve covered this already in number two on this list, but this is an especially important concept to consider before you shop, especially online. It’s easy to get carried away, and while I am not suggesting that you give up all your possessions, don’t buy what you really don’t need.
8 Get Rid of Paper Records
Scanning all the documents you’ve been hanging onto may seem like a daunting task, but once you’re done, they’ll be easily searchable and you’ll have that much less stuff to manage. Plenty of apps, like Evernote, allow you to search scanned documents for certain keywords, and if you don’t have a scanner that’s OK, there are apps for that too.
9 Remember Life is About Experiences, Not Stuff
If the pandemic has taught us anything it should be just how precious life, and every day we live it, is. We are constantly being bombarded with commercials that aim to persuade us that getting the latest things is what makes for a happier life: a new car, an outdoor kitchen, an ice cream machine. But research has shown over and over again that it’s not the things that make us happy in our lives, it’s our experiences that we treasure the most.
So ask yourself the next time you’re tempted to buy more things, if the money wouldn’t be better spent on a weekend break, a premium movie rental, or a decent takeout dinner. Bonus: You won’t have to find room in your cabinets for these things.
10 Forgive Yourself and Try Again
Nobody is perfect, and nobody’s home is perfect. The homes you see in the magazines aren’t perfect — it took a whole team of stylists to make them look that way. So if you have an off week, or two weeks, or month, and suddenly your house is a disaster, don’t panic.
When it comes to home organization, it’s never too late to forgive yourself and try again. And there’s no shame in getting help to get you started. At Just Organized by Taya we do more than come in and declutter and organize your home. We leave you with a personalized blueprint, one we will create with you, for staying organized, and what’s more will only be an email away if you get overwhelmed again!
Book your first home organizing appointment here, I look forward to working with you!