Welcome to winter! With cold weather driving many people indoors, it’s a good time to take a fresh look at all the “stuff” occupying your space. Is your home feeling cluttered or lacking the organization you crave?
Here are eight easy ways to tackle home organization and regain control of your environment without investing lots of time.
1. Toss the “just in case” items.
Take a page from TheMinimalists.com and get rid of any of those “I may need it someday” items, using the 20/20 rule: If you can purchase the item for less than $20 and spend less than 20 minutes replacing it, go ahead and toss it! Less stuff to handle means less time cleaning, organizing, and fussing with stuff.
2. Put like items together.
The best way to organize your house is to assign a designated spot for all similar things. For example, have one place for light bulbs, regardless of type. Designate one place for cleaning supplies, one place for board games, and one place for your household tools. This way, you can always find what you need and know when supplies are running low.
3. Toss any bad memories.
Don’t surround yourself with things that trigger negative feelings or sad memories. Just because something was “a gift” doesn’t mean it earns a permanent place in your home, regardless of whether it’s on display or stashed in storage. Surround yourself with things that help you reminisce with a smile. Make your home your “happy place.”
4. Eliminate unused plastic bottles.
You know which cleaning and personal care products rank among your favorites. So why do you have so many bottles of other products? Go through your cabinets and remove partially used shampoos, lotions, and moisturizers, plus forgotten cleaning supplies. If you feel guilty “wasting” these things, offer them to a friend. Or throw all your favorites into a box and force yourself to use up the dust-collecting items before returning to your favorites.
5. A garbage can for every room and a hamper for every bedroom.
It’s hard to keep things organized if trash bins and clothes hampers aren’t readily available. Don’t tuck these containers away where they’re difficult to access.
6. Never make an empty trip.
If you are going downstairs, take something with you that needs to go downstairs. If you’re heading for the kitchen, grab the empty coffee mug. If you’re going to the bathroom, carry that load of freshly-folded towels. Taking things with you as you move from room to room will save hours and keep your place looking neater with minimal extra effort.
7. Five minutes or less? Do it now!
If you notice a quick cleanup or pickup job that requires only a few minutes, do it when you see it. If it takes longer than that, add it to your to-do list for future attention. Allowing many small tasks to accumulate quickly becomes overwhelming and makes your home appear cluttered.
8. Make your bed every morning.
Admiral William H. McRaven gave this advice to the graduating class of the University of Texas at Austin in 2014. He held that making your bed first thing in the morning (and making it well) can set the stage for a day filled with achievements, by merely engaging in this small accomplishment as soon as you wake up.
Organizing is all about making your environment more enjoyable. The process should make your life easier, not more difficult!