Thursday, January 9, 2014

5 Steps to an Organized Home for the New Year

Happy new year! As 2013 leaves and 2014 comes to take its place, there is an air of rebirth. It's a motivation for a new start and a time to start making improvements. What are your goals for this new year?

I know many people make goals to keep their house cleaner and more organized, and possibly get into a new housekeeping routine. What many people don't know is that it's much easier to keep the house clean and orderly if everything is organized. The first step to achieving this goal is to declutter and find a place for everything.

While growing up, my mom was the queen of organizing. She taught me many tips about how to do it, and always expected my room to be spotless. As a kid, that would get frustrating. But as an adult, I now have a lot of knowledge to share and have a clean home.

Step One: Declutter. 

    The biggest culprit to having a messy house is too much stuff. If you have more stuff than space, it will pile up and end up hanging around, not really having anywhere to go when it's time to put it away. It'll end up making its home wherever it's placed, and make the house look cluttered and uncomfortable.

So, it's time to declutter! Go room by room and go through everything. To do this, start with one room, and make three piles: Keep, Donate, and Trash. These are pretty self-explanatory. These three piles will make it go so much faster, and it will be easier to take care of the items once you know what you want to do with them.

I know sometimes it's really hard to toss or donate some things. I'm a very sentimental person and like to hold onto everything. I sometimes have to realize that I won't need the broken knick knack from my college freshman roommate, or won't even remember that I threw away the old (ugly) figurine from Great Aunt Ruth. It's okay to get rid of things you don't use. A great rule of thumb that I live by is, "Have I used this at least once within the last 12 months?" If the answer is no, it gets sorted into the donate or trash pile. This makes the process quick and easy. It also makes it easier for me to get rid of useless items that I always felt like I had to keep. Luckily, now I can take a digital picture of these sentimental items, upload them to my computer, and still have a memento to look at without it hanging around and taking up space.

Step Two: Sort

Once everything has been sorted, cart away the donate and trash piles. The room will look so much cleaner already! And with one pile of stuff sitting in the middle of the room, it's time to sort. It can be surprising how much stuff ends up in the wrong place. I once found my lost can opener in my bedroom closet.

Go through the pile and decide which items stay in the room, and which ones need to go elsewhere in the house. Hopefully, this one won't take long. Quickly remove items that don't belong there and put them in their room. For the remaining items, decide where you want them to be. For my bedroom, I make a small pile next to the nightstand of things I want to organize there, put things next to the dresser that need to go in it, and leave the rest of the stuff for the closet.

Step Three: Organize

With everything ready to be put away, this is the time to organize and decide a place for everything. For drawers holding small items, look into dividers. This will easily keep things neat and easy to find- especially in bathroom drawers filled with bobby pins and hair elastics. Utilize closet space with hanging dividers, boxes, shoe racks, and bar extenders. Cruise through the home section in stores and find some good tools to help make organization easier.

The important part of this step is to find a place for everything. Give every single item a home. Then, when it's time to clean up or pick up the house, things won't hang around or continue to get in the way.

Step Four: Upkeep 

With everything having its own place, upkeep is very easy. I have a trick that I learned that I just love, and it makes picking up very easy. I have a small white basket that I take around the house with me once a day before bed. As I go around, if something is out of place, I pick it up and put it in my basket. Once I have collected the offending items in my basket, I go room to room and put them in their place. It's much faster, more efficient, and easier to make one general sweep through the house rather than rush around the whole house without direction trying to put stuff away. Since using my basket, I find that picking up the house takes five to ten minutes a day.

Step Five: Repeat

Set a doable schedule to achieve the whole house decluttering. Depending on the size of your home, how much time you have, and the amount of clutter, it may take you a shorter or longer amount of time. A good schedule to start with is one room a week. For a busier schedule, try one room a month. Don't worry about not doing it fast enough. It needs to be a manageable schedule so you don't feel overwhelmed! Play some music in the background and soon, you won't even realize how the time flies and you'll be done in no time.

Good luck with getting everything done! It may take some time, but is definitely worth it in the end. Happy New Year from Home Products, Inc!


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