As New Year’s resolutions go, the resolve to organize your home is one of the easiest ones to adopt … and abandon. After all, it’s vague. It doesn’t have promise of lasting health benefits. You won’t become financially sound for the effort. And it’s hard to imagine that a little de-cluttering could really make a difference.Peter Walsh, organization expert and author, says getting organized will lead to a happier, simpler life with less stress. Your plan can be as extreme as you like but the key is to make a plan, because Walsh says the toughest part is just getting started.
The most common areas of the home to attack are closets, kitchen cabinets, home offices, bookshelves and kids’ playrooms. Don’t envision the task ahead but rather what the space can look like and how it can function with the myriad of products available today. Shopping for storage solutions, totes and organization tools might be a motivator to get the task done, and it may also provide fresh ideas for how spaces can be used in the future.
Walsh suggests starting slow. You can tackle one space, one drawer, one room or type of product to sort through such as toys. Each day, commit to filling one bag for trash, donation or future yard sale. Label the bags so they are organized for their final destination. Walsh says doing this for one month will make a dramatic difference in your home and motivate you to be more methodical with your remaining items.
Home offices generally contain paperwork that needs to be retained. Once you’ve de-cluttered the office, focus on designing a space for important papers utilizing stacking boxes or filing systems from an office or hobby store. These products are not only functional but come in sophisticated designs and colors that will give your office a fresh, new look.
Kitchen organization might require a reshuffling of items to help make the space more functional. Think about the flow of your kitchen. If your most used dishes, flatware and glasses are stored in cupboards furthest away from the dishwasher, it’s time to rework the space. Store like items together and discard gadgets that never get used. And finally, rid your kitchen of spices and specialty foods that have expired. This alone can create valuable space.
Walsh recommends the Reverse Clothes Hanger technique for your closet and suggests you engage other family members to do the same. At the beginning of a season organize your closet with your clothes hanging in the opposite direction from what is normal. As you wear something, replace it the correct way. At the end of the season, you will be able to see the clothes you didn’t wear and can purge from your wardrobe.
Toy organization can start by donating those that are no longer age appropriate. If you still have too many toys, group them in baskets and store. Put a fresh basket out every few weeks to keep playtime interesting.
There are organization solutions for just about everything. You can find additional help through books and blogs. There’s even an app for that.