For most people, organizing their living space may not necessarily sound fun, but it can make a big difference in your mental health and overall well-being. While organizing can be stress relieving (and for some people, even enjoyable), the idea of organizing our homes can be overwhelming. Here are a few steps to make this chore more manageable!
- Prioritize. There is no one coming over to inspect whether or not you organized and cleaned every corner of your house. Pick the areas or projects that are most important to you (or that bother you the most when they’re not organized or clean!).
- Spread it out. Instead of trying to organize your entire house in one weekend, break up the tasks over the course of the month. You can aim to tackle one big area of the house each weekend or do a little bit each day. For example, tackle the kitchen this weekend and your bedroom next weekend. It may feel more manageable when you don’t have to do it all at once.
- Make it a team effort. Get your whole family involved to make organizing more fun and spread the work among everyone. You can even make it a competition to see who finishes their room faster!
As you start to organize based on the steps above, consider the tips below.
Pare down. A major obstacle to organization is having too much stuff. By taking time to sort, donate or get rid of items that are no longer of use to you, you may find you can breathe a little easier.
Try the Kondo method! This popular technique focuses on keep only the things that “spark joy” in your life. It’s very easy to form a strong attachment to our things. From the shirt we wore to a special event years ago to knickknacks collected on vacations to our favorite frying pan for Sunday breakfasts, these are the items that somehow help define who we are—and may spark a lot of joy. These items tend to be “keepers.” However, we also tend to accumulate a lot of “stuff” that doesn’t hold as much value. Think about the box of junk that you’ve moved from house to house but still haven’t unpacked. Or the old, expired spices that somehow seem to multiply in the pack of the pantry. Unfortunately, these items tend to take up a lot of space in our homes, and they can lead to stress and anxiety.
Divide things into 3 piles: Keep, Donate, and Trash. Anything you’re sure you’ll need, keep it. Anything you don’t really have a need for but that is still usable can be donated. And anything unwanted and unusable should just go in the trash. Not sure what pile something should go in? Ask yourself these three questions: Do you love it? Do you use it? Could someone else use it?
Research donation options and pick one you can get behind. There are many national and local organizations that seek donations of many types of items. Look to see which operate in your community. Some will even pick up items at your home to make the process more convenient, and you can often request a receipt for tax purposes! Donating items to those in need and for worthy causes is also a well-being booster!
Find and use appealing storage solutions. Putting the items you want to keep in attractive bins and boxes can help your area look more tidy and organized. If you’re on a tight budget, you may even be able to find colorful boxes, bins and baskets at your local dollar store.
Create appropriate spaces for items. For example, don’t let magazines pile up on the couch or counter; purchase a magazine rack to hold them. Don’t just toss shoes in a corner of the room; get a shoe rack, or small shelves, so you can organize them better in your closet. When you run out of room in the rack or on the shelves, that’s a good indication that you should donate or toss some before buying any more.
Space issues? Get creative! There are plenty of ways you can make a little extra room to store items. If you don’t have enough room to store your beauty and personal care products in your bathroom, for example, hang an over-the-door organizer on the back of the door and store your smaller items there. Use tension rods inside cabinets to hang your spray bottles of cleaning products. If you don’t have enough space in your dresser, use boxes specially designed to fit under the bed to store sweaters and other out-of-season clothing.
Find the routine or plan that works best for you, and that will become the most manageable way to keep your home clean and organized.