I am assuming that you recently faced a situation where you looked hours and hours for that thing you’ve been urgently wanting, yet ended up not finding it among the mess that is your home.
Well, its never too late to start organizing your stuff. It is not the easiest thing you will be doing, Martha Stewart has even written a book on this topic. As you see, organizing can be hard work, but it does pay off.
Some of you possibly landed on this page owing to your love for organizing. Either way, I suggest that you continue reading.
Assess the mess. Determine how much organizing is needed. Write down the things you need to sort urgently. If you have kids, ask them to join you. You can turn decluttering into a fun activity, plus the extra hands help immensely. So, lets begin.
1. Find the important objects. Lets start with the main door. This is where the keys and other similar articles are often thrown around. Find a box or a bowl that you can place on a level surface. Put all your keys in it. Over the time, develop the habit of placing your keys in this bowl, ONLY in this bowl. You can also place your bills in this bowl, that way you won’t forget about any pending payments.
2. Locate the mess. Walk through your home. Observe where the stuff accumulates. Most homes have this one spot where everyone dumps all their things, Locate this part and place a shelf or at least a wicker basket there. You can label it as “Dump not-so-important stuff here”. This is not a very endearing method, but for those of you who are extremely lazy, this will help in keeping the mess contained to one single basket.
3. Sort it all out. Get three large baskets. Or boxes, whatever you have. Start with one room and begin sorting through you things. Put all the things that you intend to keep into one basket, put all the things that you don’t need in the second basket and put all the things that you wish to donate into the third basket. Repeat this step in all the rooms except the kitchen. Yes, that includes the bathroom too. Once this is done set the boxes aside.
If your kids are helping you, tell your kids to put away the “Donate” and “Dispose” baskets/ boxes. Make sure that they don’t use that chance to run away so that they could skip helping you with the remaining sorting tasks ( Mind you, my helper disappeared halfway through finding a box for the keys).
4. Do some further sorting. Sort through the “Things you need” basket. This will take some time. You could turn on some music and make it a fun chore. Separate the objects based on function and priority. Or you could simply separate them based on their nature. Papers together, solid articles together, not-sure-what-category-they-fall-into together. Then proceed with sorting through individual categories. Eg, sort through your papers and separate them into bills, random stuff, notices, letters etc. Apply the same strategy to the solid and not-sure-what-category materials too (Told you it wasn’t easy). Once you have finished this Herculean task, proceed to step 5.
5. Don’t litter. Place waste bins in each room. This will immensely help in keeping your home clean. Kids have a tendency to throw candy wrappers and other waste material, under their beds because they are too lazy to walk till the kitchen where a big waste bin is kept. If there is sufficient space, you can also keep a laundry basket in each room.
6. Clean your wardrobes. This is yet another difficult task which I am sure you are dreading by now. Everyone has a messy wardrobe phase, its best to get over that quickly. Once you start a busy career, having to swim through your pile of clothes will not help you in reaching meetings on time (trust me on this one, my wardrobe was once a chair with all my clothes piled on it). Fold your clothes neatly or hang them if you have the provision for it. Separate your clothes based on their function, coats together, stoles and shawls together and so on. Sorting shoes may be easy, all you have to do is arrange them in a row in pairs. Well, if you are a shoe-maniac, Lord help you then.
7. Let’s go to the kitchen now. No, we’re not going there for a snack to make you feel good after all the hard work. We’re are going to do some more work. So begin with your shelves, throw away all the expired/ rotting/ unidentified objects.
You may think that its a good idea to spray some insecticides inside your cabinets, please DON’T do any such thing. Insecticides are lethal, if they touch any part of your food, you might get poisoned. Once you’ve thrown out all the bad goods, place all the remaining stuff on your counter, sort through them and put them back in the cabinets. Close the cabinets tightly.
8. Good storage means less mess. Find effective storage solutions. Remember all the stuff you sorted with the music on? It’s only going to return to its former messy state unless you put them away neatly. If you don’t have enough shelves and cupboards, get some, even second hand ones would do. Place them in common areas and arrange all your stuff on them. Arranging your jewelry can be difficult.
You can buy objects designed specifically for that purpose or you can simply hang them on an old wire rack. If you have little kids who throw their toys around, get a large basket and place them in a suitable location. Teach your kid to put all the toys back in it once he is done playing ( Yeah right ! As if this would work, you are going to have to put the toys back in yourself).
9. Use empty spaces. Be it a large one or a small one that hardly fits a book, don’t let any space go wasted. If there is a space that can fit a shelf or a cupboard, use it well. It will help a lot in the long run.
10. Avoid buying things you don’t need. Last but not the least, try not to go crazy when you are on a shopping spree. Think twice when you see something nice. If you are not certain whether you need it, don’t buy it. It will help you save tons of money and it will also keep your home clean.
Once you are done organizing your home, take a moment and recall how hard that was to do. I’m sure that it will serve you as a reminder next time you fling you coat somewhere. Feng shui says that your state of mind and health will always be better if you live in clean and organized surroundings. You know that’s true. The American culture is very avid about organizing, so you are sure to find some trendy and useful organizing stuff if you look for it. Well, enough reading, go on and organize your home. Good luck!