It’s the New Year – time for an organized home (and life!). But where to even begin, how to organize, what to get rid of, how to store things properly, etc? Sharing all the tips & hacks on how to get started, declutter, deep clean, and organize everything.
The new year brings a fresh start and is a time when many of us feel the intense need to get organized.
After the chaos that is the holidays your home may be feeling a little worse for wear and overly cluttered. If you’re looking to get organized in the new year, this is the blog you’ve been waiting for!
Organization doesn’t come naturally to everyone and can be quite the feat to tackle if you’re unsure where to start. When getting started one of the most important points to remember is that you need to organize in a way that makes sense and is logical so you and your loved ones will stick with it!
The key is to not have to reinvent the wheel each time you want to get organized, set up a system that sets you up for success – in this case, stay as organized as possible throughout the year, a clutter-free home is a clutter-free mind.
Alright, let’s dive into HOW to declutter, sort, and organize your home.
Tips & Hacks To Declutter, Sort, and Organize your home
1. Purge first, store later!
Many people start organizing by placing items in storage that they no longer need or use on a regular basis (guilty! It’s more of an occupational hazard for me!) but that should actually be step #2. The first step that you need to take is to purge. Go through each room in your home and use a bin system to purge – one bin for donations, one bin for trash, one bin for recycle, one bin for items that you want to sell, and one bin for keeps. Leave no closet untouched, no current storage bins unopened. Purging can be one of the most satisfying parts of organizing your home. Once you’ve purged the whole house of the clutter, THEN get out or purchase storage containers for items you want to keep but don’t need on a daily basis.
2. Evaluate your current storage system
If you notice places in your home that tend to be more cluttered or get cluttered faster than others, focus on those areas. Take a good look and determine why that could be? Create an organization system that makes sense in these areas. Group together items that belong together and can be cleaned up in 15 minutes or less. Need some cleaning hacks to make the job a breeze? Check out my steps & checklist here.
3. Drawers are not catchalls
All drawers in your home should have a container organizer. There are a ton of options including wood, mesh, or clear plastic containers that can fit in drawers of any size. Drawer organizers help you to create specific spaces in each drawer that are dedicated for specific items. In your bedroom, store everyday essentials (ex. socks and underwear) and keep them separated to avoid a disorganized mess. They also work great in bathrooms for cotton swabs, chapstick, toothpaste, and other daily use items.
4. Strictly manage the hot spots
There are different spots in each home that are hot spots and attract clutter. Places with flat surfaces tend to be those spots – think kitchen tables, entryway tables, kitchen counters, etc. Tackle these easily cluttered zones once and for all. Get crafty with ideas to make it clear these spots are no longer dumping zones. Add a pretty flower arrangement, a decorative bowl, or a home decor item of some kind to fill the space.
5. Keep a discard bag in your closet
Letting go of clothing (and shoes) can be one of the hardest parts of decluttering for many people (I’d know, #thestruggleisreal). To make it simple, and part of your regular routine hang a reusable bag in your closet. Every time you take an item of clothing off because it doesn’t fit properly, is out of style, has holes in it, or for any other reason add it to the bag. By staying on top of your closet, you won’t have to deal with a massive cleanout periodically. When the bag is full, donate the clothes and chuck what’s damaged.
6. Be smart when sorting
When it’s time to organize, choose a designated spot to do so. Empty whatever you’re organizing in this common area so you can spot duplicates, giveaways and items you must save easily. Clear plastic organizers or baskets are great options because you can clearly see what is inside with minimal effort. Mark your bins and baskets with labels and descriptions as much as possible so you’ll always know where everything belongs (make the label maker your new best friend!)
7. Consider the frequency of use when arranging items
Keep your most used items in plain sight or at eye level so you’ll always know where they are. Anything you use frequently but not daily should be placed on a shelf or in a cupboard where you need to use a step stool to reach it. And items you use only a couple of times a year should be placed in an area where you need a ladder to reach them. Organizing in this manner is easy to maintain and ensures that you can find what you need when you need it.
8. Be intentional about what comes in
Maintaining an organized home starts at the front door. When you shop for new items or are offered freebies, consider if you actually need them. If not, politely decline or remove the item from your cart! When you avoid bringing items into your home, you can avoid having to declutter in the future.
9. Look at things with a fresh set of eyes
When clutter becomes part of your home decor you may not even notice it anymore. Walk through your home like you are a visitor and really pay attention to the little details. To refresh your home, eliminate what makes it look disorganized. If you’re struggling to see things with a fresh perspective, try snapping pictures of your home room by room. Sometimes those snapshots force you to look at things another way.
10. Set limits and stick to them
Craft supplies, collectibles, souvenirs, books, etc. are all things that clutter up a home quickly. Assign these types of items a certain location in your home and limit yourself to only that specific location. One shelf, one drawer, one bin- whatever works for you. Set your limit and stick to it!
11. Use a calendar and plan
If you have art or photos that are not hung, a DIY project in the corner of the basement or anything else that has been lying around for a long time needs to have a timeline. Mark dates in your calendar to take care of these items, and stick to it. If the date comes and goes and you don’t complete the project, commit to donating the items. Now that should do the trick, eh!?
12. Reuse old dresser drawers
Under the bed is another overlooked storage place to keep your stuff out of sight and the options tend to be limited. Repurpose old dresser drawers (add wheels for convenience too!) and slide them under your bed to store extra linens, photos, keepsakes and whatever else you need to keep!
13. Put garage ceiling space to good use
You know all that wasted space in your garage? By adding overhead racks or building high shelving, you can take advantage of the tall ceilings. Store your seasonal decor or items you don’t need regularly safely but way out of your way!
14. Make quick decisions
When tidying up your home, don’t overthink it. If you’ve used an item in the last year, keep it. If you don’t need it or love it, let it go. If you haven’t used an item in the last year, donate or toss it. Simple, and quick.
15. Focus on the freezer
If your freezer looks anything like ours it’s always packed. If you are always digging your freezer for something and can never find what you are looking for. Use small bins to freeze items vertically for easy sorting and you can also maximize on storage.
16. Manage the paper clutter
Paper clutter is one of the worst things to try and organize. If your junk drawer is overstuffed and your papers are getting lost or ruined, consider adding an envelope to the drawer to keep them in one place.
17. Use over the door racks everywhere
In the bedroom they’re great for extra pairs of shoes, in the kitchen they work well for extra cleaning supplies and in the bathroom they work well for additional towels and washcloths, soap, shampoo & conditioner.
18. Use many small organizers instead of one large one
Cutlery organizers never fit drawers properly so instead of using an all in one, opt for small individual ones instead to maximize space.
19. Commit to the now
It can be really tempting to sit items down and plan to put them away later. In the new year, commit to putting items away right away instead of later because later tends to never come.
20. Restrict the flow of items
For example, restrict the items in your office space to only those that are work-related. Don’t allow your office to become a dumping ground for anything more than some pens and paper, a computer, and other workplace essentials.
Whew – that’s a lot of information hey? You’re probably sitting there going uhhhh there’s nothing quick about any of that; how am I going to get that all done? Want to know my secret? 15 minutes of time – that’s it, that’s all. I swear! #PACT15 WILL change your life. More on that HERE.
Once you’ve gone through your home, you’ll likely have a pile of items to sort through that you no longer need. It can be hard to determine what kinds of items are best to donate and which you should toss, so this quick guide should help!
- Clothing. Donation centers accept clothing that is in good used condition and they are always looking for supply year-round to keep a stockpile.
- Bedding or other linens. If you have spare bedding that no longer fits or you no longer need, these items are also acceptable to donate.
- Books, movies, CD’s. These items clutter up a home quickly and make great donations too!
- Craft supplies. We all get overly ambitious in the craft department sometimes. We purchase supplies and then never get around to the project they were intended for. Any unused supplies can be donated.
- Home decor pieces. If home decor is your passion (like mine) and you like to change things around regularly (like me), chances are you have spare pieces no longer in use (I can probably decorate another home and a half with all the extra home decor lying around in my garage, yikes!). Second-hand stores and their shoppers will be glad to take them off your hands!
Clearing the clutter can feel amazing and the reward will be well worth the efforts! When you create an organizational system for your home, it can save you the hassle of having to do a massive once over in your home again in the future! Need more tips or a little extra inspiration to get the job done? Check out this post about decluttering & organizing too!
And remember, going full Marie Kondo isn’t for everyone so find a balance that works for you and your family.
Ideal organization systems are easy to manage (even for the youngest members of your family) and each home needs a system unique to their life and situation. Focus on the simplicity and enjoy your clutter-free life in 2021!
“If you don’t love it or use it it is clutter.”