Best Tips for Organizing Your Home
For some, the prospect of spending a day fastidiously organizing the home feels like a treat — a welcomed chance to focus on the oh-so-satisfying art of living in an orderly, uncluttered, and highly functional dwelling. For others, the very notion of getting organized feels daunting — like fighting an uphill battle, with no obvious place to start, and tons of feelings involved.
No matter which category you fit into, you’ll find brilliant organizing tips in this expert-backed guide to tackling your entire home. Starting with the emotional hang ups and stressors that lead to clutter, this primer walks you through everything you need to get — and stay — mess-free at home.
As a first step? Think like Marie Kondo and do away with clutter that doesn’t spark joy. “Decluttering [is] the act of picking what you like, picking out what you [don’t] like, [and] choosing what you wanna keep,” Michele Vig, Marie Kondo-certified master organizer, founder of Neat Little Nest, and author of The Holistic Guide to Decluttering, tells Woman’s Day. “Declutter first, organize second.”
From there, you’ll have less stuff around to hinder the process of creating lasting solutions for a chaos-free home. Organize using tools you already have at home, and supplement with affordable organizing products that will take your strategy to the next level.
Whether you’re daunted by the idea or raring to get going, start now and get to enjoying your streamlined life stat with these easy home organization hacks from the pros that will save you time, money, and stress.
Place like things with like things.
One of the things that can make a huge difference in how you organize your space is putting similar things together. “Make sure you pull everything of the category you are working on together from anywhere it lives in your house,” Kate Pawlowski, founding partner of Done & Done Home, tells Woman’s Day. “This doesn’t mean taking your coats from the mudroom to your bedroom because it’s more ‘clothing,’ just that you should do all coats at the same time.” Seeing everything you sorted by categories — jeans in one corner, coffee mugs in another — it gives you a chance to see how much of something you have, making it easier to get rid of extras.
Professional organizers have an industry-standard word for taking inventory: editing.
“Editing is a step in the decluttering process that helps you determine which items to keep, toss, or donate,” Jaime Hord, founder of Horderly Professional Organizing, tells Woman’s Day. “After editing, you’re left with only the items you need and love in your home!”
The Aesthetic Organizer Wendy Silberstein says there are a few key ways to “edit” your possessions. “Do not keep any garments that you have not worn 12 months or older, any kitchen or bathroom products that have expired, or any inventory that has not served you well in the last 12 months,” she tells Woman’s Day.
Assess your space when you finish organizing.
When you feel like you’ve done all the organizing that you can for whatever space in the house you were working on, “assess if you are in need of organizing solutions that will maintain the system you created,” Silberstein says. Whether your solution is to add a command center where you have everything you’d need to find organized on a list, or a shelf riser to help you see things easier, make sure to take the space’s measurements. “Measure once, measure twice, and choose an aesthetic that matches your inventory and home.”
Once you’ve sorted through that day’s organization project, and you’re ready to put the finishing touch on your masterpiece, start labeling. “Labels are like the cherry on top,” Marissa Hagmeyer. co-founder of Neat Method, tells Woman’s Day. “They complete the look of a space and make your system sustainable by reminding your household exactly where everything goes.”
Tackle one space at a time.
There’s no denying that organization can be a stressful activity for a lot of people. Experts suggest starting small and tackling one space of your house at a time to make it less of a daunting task. “Walk around your home and assess the space that is the most unproductive,” Silberstein says. “Make a commitment to organize, and schedule it.”
Ashley Murphy, co-founder of Neat Method, finds it’s best to choose a place that you use a lot in your house. “This will make a huge impact on your day-to-day life and give you the confidence needed to move on to other areas on your list,” she tells Woman’s Day. Once you’ve decided on a space, pull everything out of it and start sifting through it to see what you keep and what you get rid of.
Block out the time you need for each project.
It may be tempting to try to get some organizing done in between calls, which is helpful, but when it comes to a big project, you’ll probably need more time than that. “Don’t try to quickly get a project done that you know takes time,” Pawlowski says. “If you dismantle your closet to do a big declutter and run out of time because you have to pick up your kids, you just have to come back to it the next day.”
Apply the one in, one out rule.
Shopping can be a really fun and relaxing activity for a lot of people, but if you want to avoid overfilling your closet with the new clothes you buy each week, you may want to consider this rule. “If you get a really amazing new dress from the store, make sure you donate one item in your closet to make room for your new purchase,” Hord says. “This ensures that no space in your home will overflow because of new items.”
Store things where you use them.
“If something gets used in the living room but gets stored in the bedroom, you’re never going to put it away,” Lowenheim says. “You’re going to keep it hanging around in the living room on a surface or on the floor, creating a cluttered look.”
So, while you may not think you have the space to store said item where you use it, finding a more convenient home can help reduce the clutter in your house because “you increase the likelihood that it gets put away,” she adds.
Make a prioritized to-do list.
If you have a free day you want to spend organizing, but you don’t know where to start, consider making a to-do list with the top five things you need to do that day. “Prioritize them so that you know which one you are going to do first,” Lowenheim says. “As you get interrupted during the day by other activities, keep returning to the list and go in order of priority.”
At the end of the day, add whatever you didn’t get done to tomorrow’s list.
Stop buying dressers with massive and deep drawers.
Deep drawers are not your friends — not now, not ever — unless you’re storying hoodies and sweaters, but even then, they’re unnecessary, Losonci explains. The smaller, the easier they are to organize and categorize, so you may want to seriously consider shallower drawers the next time you go furniture shopping. “Give up the searching through depths of doom life,” she jokes.
Tidy up a little every day.
Though it may seem near impossible on your really busy days, tidying up a little each day can do wonders. “If you do a little here and there, things will stay nicely organized and the upkeep will feel effortless,” Hagmeyer says. Keeping things around the house in containers and bins on shelves can also help maintain tidiness around the house and make it easier to locate things when you need them.
Consider where your clutter is coming from.
Clutter doesn’t only happen in the physical sense, Vig explains. “Think about clutter in a more holistic way,” she says. “Your clutter might be showing up in your home, but it might be there because maybe you have clutter in your calendar.” Maybe you’ve got too much going on with work or school, and you’re not giving yourself enough mental space to process it all.
“There might be clutter in your head, and you’re not really focusing on the tasks that you have at hand,” VIg adds. If that’s the case, you may want to give yourself a little break — mental, physical, spiritual, etc.
Look for signs your system isn’t working.
If a room still somehow looks messy after you’ve cleaned, it’s time to improve your organizational system, which, according to Brown, should allow you to tidy up in 15 minutes or less. Once you’ve pulled out what you don’t need — to either throw away or donate — the next step is to group things together based on use or occasion and store them in open containers.
Set limits for everything.
Assign things like memorabilia and craft supplies to a single shelf or bin, then let the designated area’s size dictate how much you keep.
Use your calendar.
“39 Best Tips for Organizing Your Home, According to Professional Organizers” │ https://www.womansday.com/home/organizing-cleaning/g2801/life-changing-organization-tips/
Give yourself real motivation to finally hang those family photos by planning to host a dinner party. Or try creating a deadline for the DIY project sitting in your basement. If the date comes and goes, donate the piece and any materials and move on.