You’ve probably spent a lot of time at home this year — and it’s showing. Whether you’ve been working from home or helping your kids with virtual learning, spending more time at home might have your house looking cluttered or messy. Clean up and get organized with these 11 organization tips you can use to make life a little easier.
1. Clean One Room at a Time
Have you ever started cleaning one room and then found yourself cleaning a different room before you finish the first? You might start cleaning your bedroom, but get distracted by reorganizing the hall closet when you go to grab the vacuum.
Getting distracted while cleaning can make the process feel overwhelming and extend the time it takes to get organized. Focus on cleaning and organizing only one room at a time. This breaks down the chore of cleaning the whole house. You’ll also feel more accomplished each time you finish a room.
2. Label Your Storage Containers
Labels are an organizer’s best friend. Whether you invest in a label maker, permanent marker, or decorative signs, labeling various boxes, bins, and totes makes it easy to find what you’re looking for. Be sure to stick to your labeling system when filling boxes or bins. You don’t want to open a bin a few months from now only to find you put the wrong items in the wrong box.
3. Declutter With a Blanket Rack
Cozy blankets make chilly weather more bearable, but can quickly clutter your living room or bedroom. Remove the messy look of loose blankets on your couch by hanging them on a blanket rack. Blanket racks take up little space and give you lots of extra room to store blankets. For an affordable option, you can repurpose a clothes-drying rack for blankets.
4. Map Out Your Organizational Plan
When tackling a small space, like the fridge, pantry or a closet, it helps to create a map or outline on paper before you start clearing boxes. Grab a notebook and draw out exactly how you plan to organize your space. Mapping out your plan first allows you to see if your plan will work before you start. A few minutes of prep time can save you a lot of hassle.
5. Host a Yard Sale
Cleaning and organizing often leaves you with a pile of old belongings you don’t need anymore. Rather than packing up unwanted items and shoving them in a closet, host a yard sale or donate the items to a local thrift shop.
Contact your neighbors and see if they have anything to get rid of as well. A neighborhood-wide yard sale should bring in more people than hosting one on your own. Donate or dispose of anything you don’t sell.
6. Put Things Away — Right Away
The easiest way to avoid clearing piles of belongings is to not let them pile up in the first place. From clean laundry that’s left on a chair to children’s toys, putting things away when you’re finished with them clears messes before they start.
A good example of cleaning up right after using an item is in the kitchen. Wash dishes and wipe down counters right after eating. You’ll thank yourself the next time you go to cook and have a clean kitchen and dishes ready to go.
7. Keep Items Where You Use Them
Putting things away right after using them is easier if you store them near where you use them. Coffee mugs, for example, should be stored near your coffee pot. Warm jackets, on the other hand, should have a place near the exterior door you use most often.
8. Store Food by Expiration Date
Have you ever cleaned out your refrigerator and found unopened food that’s well past its expiration date? Wasted food could cost you a lot of extra money, not to mention fridge space. Use up your perishable food before it goes bad by organizing your fridge and pantry by expiration date.
Foods that go bad quickly — like raw meat or fresh vegetables — should be stored in the front of the fridge. Foods with longer shelf lives should go to the back of the refrigerator. As you use your food, move the next closest expiration date to the front so you’re ready to use it for your next meal.
9. Set Up a Mail Station
Sorting through your mail doesn’t seem like a big chore, until you wait a few days and are facing a big pile. Now you need to separate bills and letters from junk mail. You can help cut down on mail clutter by creating a mail station near the entrance to your home. Grab a few decorative boxes or filing folder racks to separate mail into categories. Be sure to recycle junk mail or unnecessary advertisements right away.
10. Organize by One Category
Organizing your belongings by categories can speed up the process and make it easier to find what you’re looking for in the future. When choosing a category, pick one and stick to it. For example, organize the clothes in your closet by color, but not by color and type of clothing. Adding too many categories could slow you down and make searching for a particular item confusing when you need it.
11. Color-Code Kid’s Belongings
Does your family have multiple children? Make life easier by letting each child pick a color for their belongings. You can coordinate their luggage, dishes, toy chests, and more by their color. This allows each child to know which items belong to them and are their responsibility to clean up when they’re done.
Organizing your home might feel like a big challenge — especially if you’ve been putting it off. Get started today using these organization tips and you’ll have an organized home in no time.