Tidy Home, Tidy Mind: Organizing Tricks

how to organize a disorganized house

Living in a disorganized house can negatively impact your mental health, physical health, and productivity. It can also be embarrassing when you have guests over. To organize your house, start by setting realistic goals and understanding the root cause of the problem. Then, go through your house and throw away or donate items you no longer need. Designate a specific place for each item you decide to keep. Finally, ensure that everyone in your household understands and follows the new organizational system.

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Declutter and separate items into 'keep', 'donate' and 'throw away' piles

Decluttering is a great first step to organizing your house. It can be a difficult process, especially if you are a collector or have a hard time letting go of things. A good rule of thumb is that if you haven't used something in more than six months to a year, it's time to let it go. This includes clothes, electronics, toys, beauty products, and household items.

Start by taking everything out of the space you are organizing. This will likely make the space messier before it gets better, but it will help you see what you have and assess your storage needs. If you are organizing an entire room, it may not be practical to remove everything at once. In that case, break the room down into smaller parts and tackle one part at a time. For example, in the kitchen, you could start with the refrigerator, then move on to the pantry, and then the cabinets.

As you clear out your items, place them into three piles: keep, donate, and throw away. Be ruthless during the decluttering process. If you haven't used an item recently, that's a good indication that you can discard it. If it's broken, stained, or worn out, it's time to get rid of it.

Keep in mind that you may have some items that are still in good condition but that you no longer need. Consider donating these items to a thrift store or local nonprofit organization. Not only will you be helping someone else, but you'll also be reducing waste and giving your old belongings a new lease of life.

Once you've decluttered and separated your items into the three piles, it's time to focus on the items you are keeping. Put like items together and find a way to store each category in a neat and accessible way. You don't necessarily need to go out and buy new storage containers; you can start by using what you already have at home and getting creative. For example, you can use shoe boxes or diaper boxes wrapped in pretty paper to store things.

Remember, the goal is to create a system that is easy to maintain. Choose storage solutions that are easy to access and that make sense for the items you are storing. Label your storage containers clearly, so you know what goes where. This will help you and your family members put things back in their designated spots, keeping your space organized and tidy.

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Designate a place for everything

Once your home has been cleared of unnecessary clutter, it’s time to organise and create a designated place for everything.

Kitchen

  • Designate specific shelves or drawers for dishes, glassware, and silverware.
  • Face products in the pantry towards the outside so boxes are easy to read and cans are easy to find.
  • Store cleaning products in an out-of-reach location.
  • Designate individual drawers for serving utensils, placemats, cookbooks, and other miscellaneous items.
  • Throw away outdated bath and beauty products, and store new products in a plastic tub under the sink.
  • Assign drawers for each family member to store personal items such as toothbrushes, razors, and cosmetics.
  • Set shared items, such as lotions, tissues, and toothpaste, in one corner of the countertop near the sink.

Living Room

  • Create a "no-store zone" to discourage family members from dropping off school books, grocery bags, or other items that come into the house regularly.
  • If space permits, assign a basket for each family member to track their belongings during the day.
  • Make a house rule that the baskets must be cleaned out and items moved and put away by the end of each day.

Bedroom

  • Place all clothing on hangers in a closet, or fold items and put them in drawers.
  • Install shoe racks for use in closets or under beds.
  • Use bulletin boards to track papers, invitations, and to-do lists.
  • Use toy baskets or boxes for storing children’s toys.

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Invest in storage solutions

Once you've cleared out the clutter and given your home a deep clean, it's time to invest in some storage solutions to keep your space organized and tidy.

Storage containers are a must-have when keeping your home organized. Pull everything out of the cabinets and start from scratch, replacing your items carefully according to categories of your choosing. Use containers to keep like items together, and be sure to label them to find and replace items with ease.

Adding storage solutions wherever possible is key in every room. Consider installing shelves, over-the-door storage, or hooks on walls to maximize your space. If you're on a budget, look for cheap storage possibilities at thrift stores or online. Set a budget so you don't break the bank.

Some good storage ideas that can help include items like shoe racks, drawer organizers, plastic drawers, big plastic tubs (to store out-of-season clothing), hooks, a file cabinet with folders, and even shelves. Vacuum storage bags are also a great idea, as they can compress bulky items like blankets and sweaters, which can then be easily stored under your bed.

In the kitchen, invest in drawer organizers (or make your own) and group like items together. Keep your most-used items in easy-to-reach places, and put cookware or small appliances you rarely use in your uppermost cabinets. Oven mitts and cooling racks should be kept near the stove, and cups and glasses should be placed near the fridge.

In the bathroom, add drawer dividers or trays to keep items organized. Try assigning each drawer to a family member or product type. For the cabinet under the sink, add risers or drawers to separate products, and use an over-the-door caddy to keep hair tools in reach while freeing up vanity space.

For children's toys, use toy baskets or boxes to keep things tidy, and assign each child their own basket to track their belongings.

Remember, the key to successful organization is finding a system that works for you and your family and sticking to it!

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Clear out trash and recyclables

Clearing out trash and recyclables is the first step to organizing your home. Take a heavy-duty garbage bag and go through one room at a time, putting trash in one bag and recyclables in another. Be sure to include junk drawers, cabinets, closets, and refrigerators in your clean-out campaign.

When you come across items that seem important or worth saving, such as unopened bills or school/work papers, put them in a single large cardboard box to go through later.

When you have eliminated the trash, sit down with your box of documents. Use an accordion file system to sort bills and organize important documents by date. Use individual large plastic folders to store school work, photos, cards, or other paper goods you want to preserve. Shred all sensitive information, such as old credit card and bank statements, before throwing them away.

  • Be thorough when throwing away items you don't need. You don't need old magazines, half-empty bottles of toiletries, or stacks of rubber bands taking up space.
  • If you haven't used something in the last six months, consider getting rid of it. This includes clothes, electronics, toys, beauty products, and household items.
  • Donate unwanted items that are still in good condition.
  • Recycle or throw away items that cannot be donated.
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Get the whole family involved

Getting the whole family involved is a crucial part of keeping your house organized. Here are some tips to get everyone on board and maintain a tidy home:

Communicate the benefits of a tidy home

Explain to your family members how living in a disorganized home can impact their mental health, physical health, and overall well-being. Highlight the benefits of a clean and orderly space, such as improved mental clarity, reduced anxiety, and a more welcoming environment to invite friends over. Help them understand that a tidy home will make it easier to find things and create a more relaxing and enjoyable living space for everyone.

Set family goals and involve everyone in the process

Encourage open communication and collaboration by involving the entire family in setting organization goals. Discuss the current challenges and ask for everyone's input on potential solutions. By including their ideas and feedback, family members will feel more invested in the process and motivated to stick to the plan. This also helps develop a sense of ownership and responsibility among all family members.

Assign tasks and establish a routine

Divide tasks according to age and ability, ensuring that everyone has a role in maintaining the organization system. For example, younger children can be assigned tasks such as putting away their toys or helping to sort laundry, while older kids can take on more complex tasks like organizing the pantry or cleaning the bathroom. Establish a daily or weekly routine for completing these tasks, and provide positive reinforcement when family members follow through.

Lead by example and provide support

As a parent or guardian, it's important to lead by example. Show your commitment to the organization system by consistently following the established rules and routines. If family members struggle or need guidance, offer your support and work together to find solutions. Be patient and understanding, as forming new habits takes time and consistency.

Make it fun and celebrate achievements

Turn organization into a fun family activity by playing music, setting timers for friendly competitions, or offering small rewards for completed tasks. Celebrating achievements, no matter how big or small, will motivate family members to stay engaged and proud of their contributions. You can also incorporate organization into everyday conversations, normalizing it as a natural part of your family's routine.

Regularly assess and adapt the system

Organization is an ongoing process, and it's important to recognize that adjustments may be needed along the way. Regularly check in with your family to assess how the system is working for everyone. Be open to feedback and be willing to make changes to ensure the system remains effective and manageable for all family members.

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Frequently asked questions

Start by setting aside time to tackle a small, manageable project, like a bathroom cupboard or a small closet. Take everything out, and sort items into three piles: keep, donate, and throw away. Once you've cleared the clutter, give the space a deep clean.

Be ruthless. If you haven't used an item in the last six months, consider getting rid of it. Put like items together, and separate what you're keeping, donating, or tossing.

Designate a place for everything. Invest in inexpensive storage containers or shelving systems. Create a central area for storing items like backpacks, sports gear, and briefcases. Use drawer organizers and group like items together.

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