Are you spending more time in your home? Has your home become your office? Are you receiving more deliveries and having a hard time organizing your home? Home organization is a task that many of us know we need to do, but sometimes dread because we just do not know where to start. The process may not be easy and it will take time. They key is to understand that once you have completed your initial home organization tasks, you will have a sense of relief and more importantly be able to maintain the home organization more easily.
With our lives ever changing, we often find that even if we were organized before, sometimes we have to change things up to meet our current needs. If you never had a home office before and suddenly find yourself working from home more often or even full time, you may need to totally reorganize a whole room or section of currently used room. This could even be a non-traditional living area such as your master bedroom, living room, or dining room. If your home does not have an extra bedroom, a den, loft, or other predesignated area to use as your office, then maximizing the efficient use of another room in your home may be necessary.
Another challenge facing many today is the increase in home deliveries. More home deliveries are being made now than ever before, and the demand is only going to increase per current studies. Per this article from digitalcommerce360.com, 2020 saw an increase of over 30% in online sales among US retailers, compared to just 12.7% during the same period in 2019. Often we are buying in bulk or have deliveries of items to help us more efficiently use our home as we spend more time there. Making sure we are not over-buying or hoarding non-used items is one of the first steps to staying organized. For example, if you ordered a new chair for your home office to replace an older chair, donate, sell, or throw away your old chair.
As a professional organizer for over 25 years, finding a place for your belongings is one of the top priorities of home organization. I like to think of organizing as an emotion: Too much of it can make you overwhelmed and not knowing where to start can frustrate you. Here some tips that will help guide you to an end result that is satisfying to your style of living.
- The Sign Method: There is a place for everything, and everything has a place! Name the places you will be using for organizing, such as: Toss (garbage can); Recycle; Gift To Someone; Donate; Somewhere Else (for items which will need a new place to be stored); Return; and Keep. These signs will cover the basis for decluttering most rooms.
- Begin with your kitchen. This is the heart of your home and needs to have order so the rest of your home can function.
- Open the first drawer and dump the entire contents out in a safe area (if you have pets or small children, make sure to gate of the area if you dealing with any items that have sharp edges). Set a time for 5, 10, or 15 minutes (depending on the number of items and how quickly you can go through them) and begin the process of decluttering using the above sign method. Only place items back in the drawer from the ‘Keep’ bin which belong there.
- Continue opening drawers and cabinets and soon you will have conquered this space. By using a timer, you limit yourself on how much time to spend thinking about what is useful and what is not. A good rule of thumb is if you haven’t used something for over a year, you most likely do not need it. There are obvious exceptions, but unless your children use it for games or to call grandma, why keep that old phone in a drawer? Take it to a local recycle center in your neighborhood. You just ordered a new knife set, time to donate or toss the old one.
- Once the bins are full, disperse of them to their respective places with what I call ‘Drop and Go’. You will come back to that later.
- Once this process is complete in the kitchen, go back and evaluate what you placed back in the drawers and cabinets. Ask yourself the following questions: Does this place serve me well with the items located here? If you answered NO, move them to an area in your kitchen that allows for easier access. For example, if you have to walk across the kitchen to get cup when making coffee, move the coffee cups closer to the coffee maker or place the coffee maker closer to that cabinet. If you comb your daughters hair in the kitchen every morning, use a kitchen drawer to store her hairbrush and accessories. It’s your kitchen, you make up the rules and what belongs or not.
- The last step is the actual organizing step. Check your cabinets for adjustability and move the shelving so you can maximize your storage space. This is the perfect time to purchase home organizing kits, supplies, or equipment to help organize your space. Maybe you need a new flatware organizer or would like an additional shelf in your laundry room. By waiting until this step to purchase organizing helpers, you reduce the potential of adding items to your return bin!
- Once you have completed your organizing the space, walk your family through and show them where everything is. This will ensure your belongings will be put back to the proper place. For those members of the family that helped with organizing, it will give them a sense of pride and ownership. After all, home organization should be a family affair!
Remember that saying earlier: “If you have not used something for over a year, you probably do not need it!” When you buy new, give up the old. Are you really going to wear those old shoes again? Do you really want to watch that 1970’s TV show on a DVD set now that you can easily stream it on Netflix? How many phone chargers do you really need? Decluttering is like losing weight, and you will feel like a million bucks when you have reclaimed your home. Just like you would feel if you lost those last pesky 5-10 pounds. My challenge to you is this: Let something go that you have been thinking about donating or tossing the last few months. Just do it! Donate it, toss it, give it to friend, but just do it. If you need to replace it in the future, you can buy it new, but odds are you will not miss that item. If you have questions about my professional organizational services, please contact me.