How to Organize Your House

Organizing your House

Take a look around you. Do you see out-of-place stuff laying all over? Is there a pile of clean laundry waiting to be folded on your kitchen table? Are there newspapers covering the floor around your favorite easy chair in the living room?

You may momentarily feel defeated or disheartened – the clutter will not disappear by itself. But, be of good cheer. The key to organizing and un-cluttering your home is not as hard as it looks. Just tackle one job in one area at a time. Stay focused, make every move count. Before you know it, you’ll have it looking spiffy and you can go on to the next.

Plan your Strategy

Be realistic in your goal of organizing your home. Rome wasn’t built in a day and neither did it take a day for your house to become (in your eyes) a disaster area! Plan your strategy according to a time schedule. It’s a good idea to keep a diary of how long it takes you to go through a given area to pick up and dispose of clutter, to dust, to clean the floors, etc.

Keeping Track In Real-Time

By knowing how long it takes you to do specific jobs, when you have a deadline to meet (such as having guests for dinner at a certain time on a certain day), you’ll know how much time to allow for cleaning your house and bringing it up to an appearance that is attractive, and one that you feel comfortable with. You’ll be able to relax and enjoy your company without being over-tired, over-stressed and embarrassed about the kids’ socks peeking out from under the sofa!

Reduce Clutter

We accumulate more “stuff” as we age and you can just double that if you’ve lived in the same home for a number of years. Unfortunately, the first step in organizing your home and your life is to get rid of the extra stuff we don’t need! Try to view each room as it looks to a complete stranger. Ask yourself, what fits and what doesn’t? Take all the “do not” and put them in a box. If it winds up containing some valuable and some sentimental items, move it to a “holding area” in your garage so that you can come back to it later. The other stuff that doesn’t fit and has no special value needs to be either donated to a thrift shop or trashed.

After you’ve gone through each room in your house with the “stranger’s eye” and sorted the clutter into two categories, disposing of the things that are no value, then look at the “valuable and sentimental items” you put in the holding area. If some of the items are valuable or sentimental heirlooms, consider passing them on to family members who would be pleased to have them. If it’s valuable but you can live without it, have a garage sale or sell it on eBay.

The idea is to get rid of clutter that adds chaos to our living environment and stress to our lives … un-clutter your home and un-clutter your mind.

Home Organizing: Storage Areas

  • Walk through your house and evaluate each area: closets, shelving and drawers, pantries, and storage space. Take a post-it and write what you want in each space and stick it on the door, chest or cabinet. Note any empty spaces that are potential storage areas.
  • Determine if you need to add shelves in an area, or what size of plastic storage boxes will fit under beds for extra storage space.
  • Enter all important information in your day planner.
  • Shopping comes next and it’s your decision as to how creative or how frugal you want to make this project. Here is a basic list: approximately 20 hangers for each closet, plastic boxes for storage, labels, shelving, contact paper or paint, tie racks, baskets or containers for those little things, spice rack to hang on door, a file box, a safe or storage cabinet for valuable documents. Remember that you don’t have to get everything at once. You can always go back.
  • Start with one closet or room – go through it from top to bottom. The rule is that if you haven’t used it in 2 years – it goes. You can use the same 4 categories for separating all of your closets and actually the entire house. Here they are: 1) Trash, 2) Dirty, 3) Fixable or dry cleaners, 4) 2 year rule or donate. Hang everything. Wipe everything and get it off the floor unless it’s in a container. Put like items together (including clothes – shirts, pants). Return everything to its designated place. Kid shoes and toys can go in crates for convenience.
  • Now deal with what’s left. Take dirty clothes to the laundry room. Start a large garbage bag for everything under the “2-year rule”.
  • Move on to the next room or closet with the same method.
  • Last stop will be the garage – but don’t procrastinate. Organize it, too! Attach hooks, boxes, and hangers for bicycles and sports equipment to keep them out of the way.

Organizing Kids Stuff

As soon as children are old enough to walk and recognize the concept of “mine!”, they are big enough to take care of their beloved toys and clothes, and put them where they belong. Be sure, when training your children to take pride in their possessions, that you include their living environment. Lessons and good habits learned at an early age will benefit that child when he is older. Organization is a great skill in all walks of life.

Have a Yard Sale

If you are planning a yard sale, mark the dates in your day planner and on your calendar. Call the newspaper and see when you need to give them written notice for having your yard sale advertised. Put all the sale items together in a specific area. Be sure to allow enough time to mark prices on them before the day of the sale. This is kind of like having your cake and eating it too! You’ve enjoyed owing and using the items, and now you’ll be able to make a little spare change while organizing your house! What a novel idea!

Set a Time to Clean

A day planner, one you can keep with you, is your best friend. While it’s not exactly a diary where you keep your innermost thoughts, it is a constant reminder for important things, persons, places, and events that you don’t want to forget. Make a habit of using it.

Enter all appointments, school projects, sports, church meetings, etc., for everyone in the house. Set aside a specific time for organizing your schedule along with your home each week.

Most people like Saturdays for cleaning but any available time throughout the week is just as productive; enlist the help of other family members if only for short periods of time.

Agree upon the date and time, then be consistent. Keep the appointment with yourself to organize your home and un-clutter your life.

Now you have a viable plan. The first time through your house will be the hardest, but if you get the whole family involved they will develop good habits and keep the house in good shape!

Good luck on organizing your house!