There are certain times of year when you think about getting organized at home. One of these times is right after New Years because you've taken lots of things out of storage, and you've received gifts which now need to be stored somewhere when not being used. The question then is what's the best way to decide where to store things?
And before you start agonizing over too much stuff, and too little storage space, consider de-cluttering. Having just completed a cross country move where every pound of stuff we moved cost about $0.75, the task of sorting, prioritizing and letting go of things not used for years, became much more real.
Getting Organized at Home – The Benefits
Packing and moving is one of the best ways to remind yourself why getting and staying organized at home matters. Think about the time you spend searching for things, and how frustrated you get. If that isn't bad enough, consider how much money you waste buying duplicate items like my irons above. While I haven't bought an iron in more than 10 years, and probably inherited at least one of these irons, it was embarrassing to find them when packing to move to Arizona.
PS Even worse, my favorite iron, a Rowenta for quilting, wasn't among these three – my husband admitted he'd taken it to iron things in his garage workshop!
Steps to Getting Organized at Home
If you're an organizing fanatic (that's me), then you probably fall in love with new organizing gadgets all the time. Some of them might be perfect for your next organizing project. Many don't live up to expectations or the project isn't high enough on our list of projects, so the gadget gets forgotten like the cute green desk caddy I found at Crate and Barrel (given away).
So there really is an order to getting organized at home. That's because you want to feel like you've accomplished something and you want your new organizing scheme to keep you organized … forever.
- Pick an organizing project that fits the time you have available. If you have an hour, pick one kitchen drawer or shelf and not the entire pantry or linen closet.
- Pick a goal for your organizing project. This is one of my favorites as I like to give myself a budget like all my serving utensils need to fit in this drawer. To achieve my goal, a few utensils might need to find new home.
- Find the right storage space and organizing helpers to achieve your goal. If there are more utensils (canned goods, office supplies or bed linens) than fit in the drawer, it's time to rethink which drawer should hold utensils.
Savvy Homeowner Tip: For those who love organizing gadgets, buying items that can be reconfigured for a different drawer, shelves or closets, will save you money. You can even do this with furniture, as my 2-high file cabinets just moved to their third house. They're the perfect height for a desk, and with each move they get a new, melamine table top.
Staying Organized Means Keeping Things Where You Use Them
When you factor in what's needed to stay organized, you'll realize it's important to store things where you use them. If your kids do homework at the kitchen island, you'll want to keep school supplies in (or near) the kitchen. Giving up this space might be tough but you'll quickly see the wisdom when you're children are able to take out supplies, and put them back, without you having to get involved.
That's why coat closets near the front door make so much sense … unless family members use a side/rear door to your home, and then you'll want a mudroom to catch all the paraphernalia before it gets scattered around the house.
What's your biggest organizing success or challenge?
PS If you find yourself organizationally challenged, you can find help through the National Association of Professional Organizers (NAPO).