Organisation Throughout the Home: The Three-Step Approach
The longer you stay in your home, the more cluttered it tends to become. Over the years, gifts, souvenirs, favourite items, children’s first clothing and toys, and other keepsakes accumulate—plus all those things you’re not currently using, but swear you'll probably have a use for “someday.”
This clutter makes it easy for homes to become disorganized, especially if you live with people who have the frustrating habit of not tidying up after themselves. Don’t give in to the temptation to just go with it, however, because sooner or later it will overwhelm you. Plus, keeping your home organized is key to keeping it manageable, and good for the health of those in it; after all, an organized home is much more likely to be a clean home.
So, how do we beat the mess monster and keep it down?
- Declutter. Really, this is the first and biggest hurdle we face in trying to keep a clean, organized home. You’re going to have to get tough with yourself—and others in your household—about what you really need to keep. Limit sentimental items to what is truly special, and rely more on photographs (many of which are stored digitally today) to keep your precious memories intact… And take a long, hard look at all that stuff you think you might use “someday”; if the item is replaceable, get rid of it, and when someday comes, buy another. Pare down these items to just the most expensive and hard to obtain.
- Sort out what you DO use regularly. Once you have gotten rid of all that excess stuff, organize what you use regularly and start to categorize it: Bathroom items, kitchen items, etc. Then, think of a way to organize each room so that these needed items are always within easy reach (not just for ease of use; it will encourage people to put them back, too) whilst not being in the way or looking untidy. During this step, accrue enough baskets and crates to house what you don’t have built-in storage space for, and look at other creative extra storage options. For example, I once had a bench by the door with a seat that lifted up to reveal a storage space for mittens, scarves, etc. This made it very easy to keep those items tidy and out of sight while also keeping them easy to access when I went to leave the house during the winter.
- Label everything. Once you have your items stored in their new homes, label any lidded crates so people can see at a glance where everything now belongs. Nothing will discourage people from tidying up faster than having to root through a bunch of unlabelled boxes to see where an item goes. Making organization easy is key to making it last.
Once you have done all of the above, your freshly organized home will have everyone breathing a sigh of relief, and any children present will be set on the path to learning good habits for life.