How to Organize Your Home

The Organized Home

Organizing your home is a good way to make the lives of your entire family easier and less stressful.

When things are hard to find, tempers flare and everyone feels rushed.

Besides, no one wants to look at a disorganized mess – especially in the one place they look to for sanctuary from the hectic hustle and bustle of modern living.

There are enough hair-pulling events happening outside our front doors, right? What we all want is to escape that stuff when we spend time in our homes.

A composed, orderly home helps create a relaxed environment, which in turn helps us recharge our batteries as we prepare to go back out there and take on the world for another day.

Ways to Organize Your Home

Keep Things Simple

Home organization starts from one central theme: simplification. We humans are wired so that we look for patterns and we tend to group things that have similar or related uses together.

The best way to proceed as you begin to better organize your home is to think of logical places for everything.

There are two rooms in most homes that are usually already laid out with simplicity and efficiency in mind – bathrooms and kitchens. We tend to keep things like soap, toothbrushes and paste, hair care products, and the like within easy arms reach around the bathroom sink and mirror.

Even if you didn’t plan things that way, those items that get the most use often naturally find places nearby. The same holds true in most kitchens.

Organize for Efficiency

Take the logic behind where you keep most things in your bathroom and kitchen and expand it to the other rooms in your home.

Too many of us tend to follow convention instead of organizing things in a more efficient manner.

Throw out convention and shoot for useful. A good place to start is near whichever door you and your family uses the most.

Most families tend to favor either the front or back door for coming and going. There’s really no rhyme or reason to this preference in many instances – it just happens. Don’t fight it – work with it.

Keep a small table or wooden cabinet by that door and store things there that your family needs to take on their way out or store as they’re coming in. Things like umbrellas, car keys, briefcases, cell phones, etc.

Because you’ve chosen the most logical place for such things, your family will very quickly and naturally begin using that location. There will be fewer instances of rushing around at the last minute trying to find those items.

Do Not Allow Your Closets to Become Free-For-All Spaces

You know that “junk” drawer you have in your kitchen? Well, it’s OK when it’s a drawer, but not when it’s an entire closet. Again, follow the template of keeping commonly used items handy in the right locations in your home.

Closets near doors are often the culprits. We tend to toss things in them and forget about them. Those strategically located closets need to contain the things your family needs on their way out of or on their way into the house: coats, hats, gloves, umbrellas, etc.

Nothing you don’t use regularly – either as you enter or exit or for some purpose in that part of the house – should go into those closets. Long-term storage is for the attic, basement, garage, or an interior closet that isn’t in a high-traffic part of your home.

5 Simple Tricks to Keep Your Home Organized

These tips will help you get the rest of your home organized:

  1. Involve everyone. You can’t do it alone, so the first step is to call a family meeting and get them all on board. This means enlisting help with the physical work of organizing, plus getting promises to help ensure that the home you all share stays organized. Let them know you’re serious.
  2. One room at a time. Many people – even those with the best of intentions – never get organized because they try to do too much at once. That leads to burnout. Work on one room at a time and don’t move on until each one is done. Start with the easiest room so that you’ll have a good system down by the time you reach the harder ones.
  3. Reward good behavior. No matter how hard you try, you’re just one member of the family. If others are messing things up, all your hard work will go for naught. Head this off by offering little rewards for consistency in keeping things organized. A trip to McDonald’s or a movie from the rental store is often enough enticement to keep your kids on the right path.
  4. Audit once a month. Take one day per month, every month, and do a room-by-room audit. After a few months, the hardest rooms to keep organized will be pinpointed for extra attention. You can then target those rooms for more attention and emphasis with your family.
  5. Get input from family members. Someone else in your home might have a great idea that will help get or keep your home more organized. Encourage them to think of strategies and use some of their ideas. It will help them to feel more involved in the organizing process, and they will be more likely to help do the work.

The Organizer’s Enemy: “Packrat Syndrome”

Packrats tend to run in families. If your grandmother was one and your mother was one, you just might be one. Well, it’s not dangerous to want to keep everything you get your hands on, but giving in to those wants will wreak havoc on your home organization attempts (unless you live in a castle).

At least once a year, steel yourself and go through the piles of stuff you’ve accumulated. Be hard on yourself. If you have to question whether you really want something or not, you don’t really want it.

Have a yard sale or donate the excess items to charity. If you’ve planned on a yard sale for years and still haven’t had one, admit that you’re just not going to have one. You’ll find the sailing a lot smoother when it comes to staying organized if you get rid of things.

If you just can’t overcome the urge to hoard, do your best to keep the new things in one location – preferably out of the way in the attic, basement, or shed. But make the garage off limits. How many two-car garages have you seen that can barely accommodate one car after a few years?

Just Get Started

The most important thing of all is to ACT. Just get moving and start organizing, even if you don’t have a solid plan of action yet. You’ll probably find that ideas come by the dozens once you’re in there getting your hands dirty.

Concentrate on the two core concepts that should be behind all your organizing activities: efficiency and simplicity. You want things to go where they will be easiest to get to if they’re used a lot.