So – Today is the day!! You have made the conscious decision that you are going to get your house (and with it – your life) in order. You feel confident. You feel MOTIVATED!! You are ready to take on anything – including that pile of folded laundry that has been sitting in the basket for over a week (Oh – is that just me?!?!) You take a look around your house… you see the unopened mail piled up on the table by the door… the opened mail in a pile on the desk… shoes scattered around the front door… a pile of… god knows what sitting at the base of the stairs waiting to be picked up…. And boom – that motivation and confidence… it didn’t just slip out of your fingers – it jumped out of your hands and ran out the front door screaming.
Does any of this sound familiar?? Can you relate?? Guess what?? Most people can. I CAN!! I have been in that scenario plenty of times. Yes – I am an organizer, however, I was not always an organized person (before 9th grade I had THE messiest bedroom in the world!). Once I began 9th grade a flip switched in my head – I started making my bed each morning and somehow that evolved into everything being tidy and organized. So over the last 20+ years I have worked on perfecting my organizational skills – and it has become my own artform -It is what works best for me and I want to share it with you – the rules I live by to keep my house organized.
Pick a Space and stick to it.
First things first – If you are too busy focusing on the big picture (aka the whole house or the whole room) you could very well get easily overwhelmed. Don’t do this. Start by looking at the smaller picture. Pick one space and stick with it. Focus on it only. Not only will this help you not get too over your head – once you have completed this one small task it will help you feel more accomplished and possibly bring those feelings of Motivation and confidence back. Once you have selected the space you’re going to tackle, move on to the next step!
Look at what you have
This is where the fun begins!! You know the old saying “you gotta spend money to make money”…. Well I have a new one for ya.…. “You gotta make a mess to organize your mess”. This process is when you take everything out of the space you are organizing – for example: your bedroom closet. Pull everything out. Empty it out. You need to know what you have in order to organize it. This is the easiest of all the steps. You want to make the next step easier? Start putting things in piles now!! Separate items into their piles when you are emptying out the space. You’ll thank yourself later!
Your space is now empty, so before you go putting things back – CLEAN IT. Wipe it down, vacuum it, do what you have to do – but clean the space so it is ready to hold all your items.
Like with Like
Once you have emptied out the space you need to put “like with like” so you can see what you have. Again – we will go with using the closet as an example. You will divide up your piles. Categorize everything…..Piles of shirts – long sleeve, short sleeve, sleeveless… piles of pants…jeans, work pants, etc. Boots…Heels… flats…. You get the idea!!! Once you have all your different piles you will attack each pile one by one with the next step.
Marie Kondo tells people to ask themselves if an item brings you “joy”, and if so – then keep it. This is a great idea, but not always feasible – Start with – “do i really need this?” and be HONEST with yourself. Guilt is not a reason to keep something. Remember the pile of clothes I mentioned above? Now is the time to go through it.
You are going to start with one pile. We will use a pile of long sleeve shirts as our example. You are going to sort the pile into color coded piles – and WHILE you are doing that you will be reviewing each article of clothing. When was the last time you wore it? Does it fit you? Did you get rid of it? Good for you! Did it go in the designated color coded pile? That’s fine too-we’ll be coming back to it!!
So – now that you have individual piles of long sleeve tops – look at your biggest pile, for me – that would probably be black tops or white tops. How many black tops do I need? Not a big pile worth. NOW is the time to refer back to the art of tidying. Look at each top and narrow it down to just a few. Obviously I am not coming to your house and looking through your closet so if you decide to keep them all – there is no penalty by me lol.
Find a “home” for everything
Obviously for our example of a closet – that is the clothes “home” but for other items in other spaces – this is what they need. A home. A place to call their own. A place where you know it will always be and where it will always go. This is also where the idea of hierarchy comes into play (see my Theoretical Thursday blog post – https://www.architecturallyorganized.com/architecturally-organized/theoretical-thursday-architecture-and-organizing/ ). What do you use the most vs the least? The items that get the most use, more often than not, should be in the most accessible places. This will be different for each person as each person is unique as are their needs. One person will have their business attire front and center.
Contain your items
Sometimes your space needs some extra help. You have the perfect location for an item – but it needs something more. Sometimes a basket or box to contain the item is all it takes. Start by taking a look at DIY storage ideas or baskets/boxes you may already have in your own home. Reutilize them to save on cost. Organizing does not have to mean running around to The Container Store or TJ Maxx buying tons of containers. You can easily find things around your own house to hold items.
Maintain your space
Congrats!!! All the easy work is done!!! Now comes the hard work – You have to maintain your organized and tidy space! That is what takes the most time and effort – taking the time to put things away where they belong. You need to keep yourself invested in it and not let things fall to the wayside. Which of course is easier said than done sometime, especially when life decides to attack you!
That’s the gist of it. Those are the steps I follow when going through a room or space to get it clean and organized. Obviously some of these steps will take longer in different rooms but the end result is a space that houses things you use, need and love. Keep in mind when I am performing these tasks I am usually also cleaning while I am doing it. Wiping things down, dusting, vacuuming when needed – etc.
Take an afternoon and apply these to a space in your own house and let me know how it goes!!!