How to Organize Successfully in 2021!
If you’ve been looking around your house while stuck at home these past several months, and are wanting to make some changes, here are some tips to help you organize your home in a way that lasts.
Before buying the baskets and bins, before pulling everything out of the closet, etc, the first step is to set goals for your space. Start with your pain points – what are your frustrations with your space? It may be that your stack of workout clothes is always a falling over, or the pans in the kitchen aren’t as accessible as you’d like them to be. Or maybe you have a spare bedroom you would like to make better use of as an office or a gym. Make a list of everything that is working well for you, as well as all of your frustrations. This will help you stay focused and give you direction during the rest of the process.
It’s still not time to get the baskets and labels yet! You don’t know what you have to organize until you know what you are keeping. It’s important to clear out the items you no longer need or use. This is most likely the reason your space isn’t working well for you now – you are storing too many things you don’t need. Whether you empty out the entire closet or just sections at a time depends on your time. If you only have a few hours, don’t take everything out of the closet or your cabinets, as you will be left with a big mess and no more time to deal with it.
Give Yourself Permission to Let Go
As you are clearing out your space, you will probably come across things you don’t need, use or love, but still feel some sense of obligation to keep. These are the “mental blocks” I have mentioned before. Whether you are keeping something because you think there is a slim chance you may need it in the future, or you feel guilty getting rid of something that belonged to your Great Aunt Sue, you need to negotiate with yourself what is more important – the item, or the new goals you have for your space. Remember, your home is meant for the things you need, use and love. It’s ok to give yourself permission to let go of the things that aren’t serving you and your family.
Once you have narrowed down what you are keeping, you need to categorize accordingly. Put things together in “like” categories, depending on how you and your family operate. In your pantry, if your family makes a lot of smoothies, you may choose to keep all the smoothie ingredients together in a “smoothie category”. You may have a “workout clothes” category in your closet, etc. Keep them kind of broad – a “first aid” category in your linen closet is better than separate “bandaid”, “ointment”, and “Advil” categories. REALLY think about your family and the categories that will make the most sense. This will make the system much more sustainable in the long run.
NOW is the time for the baskets and bins! You’ve made your categories, and you may even have them separated in piles on the bed or a counter. Now it’s time to find the right container to use. Look at the categories, and double check that they aren’t too narrow, or that some might be combined together. Then look at the physical space they take up. You want to match the size of bin to the size of the category. You don’t want a large bin with only a few small things rolling around in it. Measure your shelves, cabinets, drawers, etc to make sure you find the container that takes the most advantage of that space. Smaller items need smaller spaces to keep them from rolling and shifting around. Shop your house for unused boxes, bins and Tupperware containers before spending a lot of money. Also, keep in mind your typical buying habits – if you typically buy paper towels in bulk, but you are down to 2 rolls right now, allow enough space for the bulk pack.
It’s important to label your containers and spaces. The systems you created may make sense and be obvious to you, but they may not be for the rest of your family. To make your systems sustainable, everyone needs know where to find things and where to put them when they are finished. Labels make it clear and easy for everyone to use.
This is probably the MOST important step and the one most people overlook. Your home is not a museum, and you are using the things in it. Therefore things are going to get out of place once in a while. Set aside time once a day, a week, a month, etc to do a “reset” on your spaces. Put it on the calendar, and get the whole family involved. Keep in mind though, the less often you do your maintenance, the longer it’s going to take. So you can either maintain more often in shorter chunks of time, or less often in larger chunks. It’s whatever works for you, just as long as you commit to doing it!
That’s it! If you follow these steps and remember the maintenance step, you can’t help but be successful with your organization projects in 2021! If you would like to learn more about organizing your specific spaces, check out my online Master Class!
For more tips, don’t miss the recent Redfin article I was featured in: “12 Habits That Will Help You Get Organized” !!