Having an organized home is very different from merely having a clean home. Yes, they’re both vital to maintaining a happy, comfortable living space, but it takes a bit of creativity and smarts to implement easy ways to keep all your (and your kids’!) belongings in their rightful place — and not all over the floor.
Ahead, we’ve gathered 34 genius ways to maximize every inch of your home, from your kitchen and living room to your bathroom and bedrooms (including your closets). You might even spot a few DIY projects you wished you thought of first.
In the living room…
A post shared by KeeleyTara (@keeleytara) on Jul 8, 2018 at 10:17pm PDT
1. Have a “household information center” — like a stackable file cart — to prevent papers, magazines and books from accumulating on flat surfaces of the living room.
2. Have a multifunctional coffee table, like one with extra drawers or shelves, or an ottoman with hidden storage to store remotes, books, blankets, etc.
3. Get your cords under control. Joto has a cable-management sleeve ($14.97 at Amazon) that’ll wrap up all those pesky cords and keep them out of sight.
A post shared by Janet M. Taylor (@organizerjanet) on Jun 27, 2018 at 3:55am PDT
4. Toss toys and games in an unused corner of the room so they don’t overcrowd bookshelves and the floor.
5. You may not see wastebaskets in living rooms, but if you notice trash tends to accumulate in that space, grab one that matches the decor and the aesthetic of your living room so it doesn’t look totally out of place.
6. Have too many small picture frames scattered throughout the room? Rethink how you display them so you can declutter. One idea is hanging them up on the wall instead.
A post shared by Janet M. Taylor (@organizerjanet) on Apr 13, 2018 at 6:47am PDT
7. Use a letter tray to organize your board games.
8. If you have a ridiculous number of DVDs, it might be time to finally buy a DVD tower or a DVD case. Use the freed-up bookshelf space to display other decor or slide in a storage cube to store toys and other nonessential items.
In the kitchen…
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9. If you don’t have a lazy Susan, get a lazy Susan already. You won’t find a better way to organize all those spices.
10. Sports bottles are the worst, right? They come in so many different sizes, and you never really know where to put them — not to mention they fall over all the time. One idea is to use a magazine holder and store the bottles on their sides or simply get a stackable water bottle storage rack ($19.99 at Amazon).
11. Use Mason jars to organize your spatulas, tongs and whisks for easy access.
Tackle one task per day and you’ll be more organized in no time.
Getting your home and space organized can help you feel more in control of your environment. That sense of order can reduce stress, help you focus on your own well-being and achieve your other goals. Follow these tips to organize your whole home quickly and easily.
Set up a no-fail garage system
Here’s an approach that’s simple, inexpensive, and quick to accomplish.I suggest starting out in the garage, because it can be one of the most overcrowded places in the house. Picture yourself driving into your garage and seeing at least one new system set up for easy use in the coming year.
- Hang some peg board
- Put some tool hooks in the holes on the board
- Using a thick marker, draw an outline around each tool to reserve its location.
Your new tool organizing system will keep you organized, and alert you when tools are missing. This garage system also helps other family members put things away because it’s easy to see where to place each item.
Cut laundry time in half
How can one of the smallest rooms in the house seem so chaotic? And why does doing laundry seem to take up so much time?
Here’s a laundry system that will save you time and restore your sanity. First, provide everyone with their own laundry basket. Put family members’ names on the sides of the baskets so there are no lost items or mix-ups.
Now here’s the sweet secret. When the wash is done, rather than placing the clean laundry on the dining room table or the stairs (and watching everyone walk by without picking up their clothes), have everyone come to the laundry room to pick up their personalized basket of clean clothing.
Work some kitchen magic
The kitchen is the activity hub of most homes. It’s a busy area because family members or roommates use the kitchen at least three to five times a day. We open our mail here, study, read, use our laptops and tablets here — not to mention, it’s where the food is.
Because we have so many varied activities happening in the kitchen, it’s wise to create separate stations for those activities. One way to accomplish this is to invest in a rolling cart — whatever style and size works best in your kitchen.
Use this cart to establish a dedicated space for one of your most common activities. For example, create a lunch-making station stocked with a cutting board and knife, salt and pepper, paper towels, and non-perishable food items (bread, oranges and apples) and snacks. Create the space for your family to assist in making your life easier while also keeping one station of like-items together.
Put it in writing
Whether you’re a one-person household or a family of five, one tool can save your life or home: a household manual. The beauty of this handy tool is it doesn’t have to be compiled all at one time, and it costs you nothing to create.
Grab a three-ring binder and a three-hole punch, and keep your essential information in the binder. To get started, collect your emergency contact info and other vital information such as the name of your vet, school rosters, alarm codes, medication doses for your kids, the name of your father’s caregiver, and where your home’s gas shut-off valve is located.
As you continue to organize your home and find more essential documents, you can add to the binder. For those who prefer a digital approach, store your manual on a highly secure cloud service.
Get a charge
Many people are frustrated by cell phones, iPad chargers, memory sticks and tangled cords sprinkled throughout the house. Relaxation and recreation activities often seem to need the power of a charging station that’s easily accessible — and it doesn’t hurt if it’s attractive too.
One simple solution is to consider a charging station that conceals the cords, keeps all the electronic items together, and looks good while doing it.
Tell a tidier toy story
Whether it’s grandparents or new moms and dads, one of the biggest complaints of people who share their home with children is about picking up toys.
The “putting away” task is a skill that can and should be taught to children, as it’s important for establishing personal responsibility in kids as they grow into teens and then adulthood. Besides, putting away toys can be fun.
Here’s one idea that will shift your play storage situation from frustration to elation. Use colorful bins to hold toys, designating each bin to hold one type of toy, such as musical instruments, cars, dolls, games or Legos.
To make it even easier, find pictures of the toys in magazines or online, and use them to label the bins.
If you have dolls or stuffed animals in one bin, attach the matching picture to the front of the bin. Keep the number of bins small, but make sure the bins are large and easy to access.
Declutter the grownups’ bedroom closet
Bulging closets and growing piles of clean and dirty laundry may nix the possibility of either rest or romance. Decluttering in the bedroom creates a sanctuary for both.
Starting with the closet is good move. Once the space is clear, it all boils down to finding what you need when you need it.
Here’s a quick process for getting your closet in order:
- Clear the floor so you can move around easily.
- Make sure you have proper lighting.
- Pull everything out.
- Only put back in what fits you right now, is stain-free, and requires no repairs.
Set kids’ closets straight
For organizing kids’ clothes, there’s no better tool than a hanging shelving unit. Designate one pocket for each day of the week, and label it. Each weekend, pick out clothes for the following week, and put them in the pockets for the day your child will wear them. Imagine a calm morning without clothing conflict.
Bundle toiletries and grooming tools
Some bathrooms are small, and everyone seems to have their own favorite shampoo, hairbrush and brand of toothpaste. Drawer, cabinet and counter space tends to run out quickly.
If this is your situation, try assigning everyone in the house a bathroom caddy, loaded up with all their cosmetics, toiletries and grooming tools, and labeled with their name.
Store the caddies on a shelf in the bathroom or carry them to and from the bedroom. The bathroom stays organized, and there’s an automatic clean-up built in after every visit.
Simplify — and go easy on yourself
Eliminating clutter is the best thing you can do to make your home feel more manageable. Less clutter means less stuff to clean and organize in the first place; take just 10 minutes today, and eliminate 10 items you no longer need.
Most importantly, don’t get too hung up on the details. Your home doesn’t have to be perfectly organized every day. Sometimes “good enough” is just fine.
Want more home inspiration?
Visit Porchlight, your source for DIY, decor, and a look inside quirky and creative unique homes.
Because you know it needs it.
If you’re tired of not being able to find anything in your closet or don’t have space to jam one more sweatshirt into your dresser, it’s time to get serious! Cleaning out your closet will make your life easier, plus, you’ll be giving away things that someone else can enjoy. Whether it’s clothing, linens, toiletries, or canned goods, sometimes you just need to pare down. But here’s the first rule of organizing: “Don’t be hard on yourself,” says professional organizer Ann Lightfoot, co-founder of Done & Done Home. “For example, we all have clothes in a range of sizes or a product that didn’t work for us. This is about letting go of things that don’t serve you, not feeling bad about what we’ve accumulated.”
Whether it’s in your bedroom, bathroom, or any other room in your home, here’s how to organize a closet with step-by-step instructions.
Empty it out.
If you’re tackling your bedroom or kid’s closet, cover the bed with a sheet to keep it clean as you stack items on it. Then take every single thing out of the closet. This non-negotiable step means you need to dedicate a few hours to a full day to the task, says Lightfoot. Sort similar items into piles: all the jeans into a pile, the sweaters in another pile, the tees, and so on. Then sort each pile into categories: crew neck sweaters, cardigan sweaters, V-neck sweaters, etc.
Start a donate pile.
Now that you can see what you actually own, start deciding what you love—and what you never, ever wear. “We tend to buy the same things over and over because we learn what works for us,” says Lightfoot. “But if you have 10 black V-neck sweaters and you only wear one or two, donate the others.” Same for the stack of jeans; if you always grab the same two pairs, the rest should go.
Other stuff to donate immediately: new bras that pinch, shoes you never wear because the heels are too high, the pants you keep promising to get hemmed but never do, the undies that have seen better days, ratty or lone socks, and any piece of clothing that makes you feel bad about yourself. “Never keep anything because you think you ‘should,’ ” says Lightfoot. “If you’re wavering, make a ‘maybe’ pile. Then go through it at the end of the day.”
Make it a judgment-free zone.
It’s fine to keep expensive items, such as a suit, even if it doesn’t fit if you’re within a size or two up or down, says Lightfoot. But get rid of the inexpensive items, such as tees or shorts; if need be, you can replace these things easily. The most important rule, however, is to skip the guilt trip. “Our bodies change. It’s just a fact of life and part of the organizing process,” says Lightfoot.
Put everything away again.
Wipe down shelves and vacuum the closet. Now put back only the keepers. Dividers give structure to a shelf so you can stack sweaters or tees neatly. Over-the-door bins or shoe bags provide additional storage areas for socks or scarves. To make getting dressed easier, group by style: Hang all the sleeveless shirts first, then the short-sleeved, then the long-sleeved, and so on. You can group from light to dark, if you like. But don’t feel you have to create an Insta-worthy rainbow-colored closet. “This is about function, not beauty,” says Lightfoot.
It’s also helpful to keep a step stool in your closet to reach high shelves. And store items that don’t fit currently (but you want to keep) in another place so they don’t hog space in your primary closet. Also, keep a donate bag handy so you can place items in it throughout the year.
Apply the same rules to any zone.
If you’re cleaning out a linen or hallway closet, follow the same steps. Ditto for all those beauty products that have piled up in the bathroom; load them into a laundry basket and start sorting, says Lightfoot. For almost-new toiletries, ask a friend if she wants to try a shampoo or lotion that just didn’t work for you, for whatever reason. For perishables that haven’t expired but that you know you won’t use (oh, quinoa! I tried to love you!), contact a local food pantry about what they accept. Pitch anything that’s expired.
Stay the course.
Based on what you’ve learned (say, you’re always buying black tees but what you really lack is boot socks), make a list of what you need or don’t need so you won’t keep buying the same things over and over. It’s also a good idea to do a total closet purge about twice a year. And if you need a nudge, enlist the help of a non-judgmental friend or hire a professional organizer. Most of all, “Watch the front door,” says Lightfoot. “Be conscious about what you buy and bring into home in the first place.”
When life gets overwhelming declutter it…
Decluttering your home seems simple enough until you dive in and create a bigger mess than when you started. There are a lot of ways to declutter your home but following an easy step-by-step guide will be the best way to see real results.
(This post contains affiliate links. If you purchase a product or service with the links that I provide I may receive a small commission. There is no additional charge to you!)
Without a real plan and some guidance, decluttering your home may feel like an overwhelming thing, and who can blame you?! You have your lifetimes worth of possessions stuffed within your home and then all of a sudden you need to make a decision about them all.
You’re not only determining what is going to get decluttered, but you also have to worry about the mess you’re making along the way.
That chaos needs to turn into organized chaos or else your decluttering efforts will go to waste.
The number one issue people who declutter their homes complain about is how quickly things turn back into a cluttered nightmare.
No wonder so many people give up! To spend hours decluttering and taking multiple trips to donate your stuff, just to see clutter start to build again the following month is the definition of insanity.
Doing the same thing over and over expecting a different result.
Sure you could try to keep doing what you’re doing or maybe you’re here because this may be your first time you’re really trying to declutter your home.
Either way, you need a simple, easy to follow, and very thorough step-by-step guide to help you get your home not only decluttered, but cleaned and organized!
I myself have read tons of books, listened to podcasts, and watched plenty of videos to find the best collection of decluttering advice to confidently declutter my home thoroughly.
Noticing how hard it was to find simple but detailed instructions on where to start decluttering, how to declutter, and how to organize in one compilation; I decided it was time that it was created.
That is how Decluttered was born!
Decluttered is truly a one of a kind step-by-step self-help book for the individual who finally wants to succeed at decluttering their home.
This book will help you tackle your home with a plan that will touch every drawer, every cabinet, every surface, and every single room of your home.
The guidance in this book is simple, yet detailed. Thorough, yet to the point. And provides a system that achieves permanent results in your home.
No more temporary organizing solutions and no more ramblings about the importance of decluttering.
Reading so many self-help books myself, sometimes I just want to get to the juicy stuff. Like what can I start doing to make things change? In Decluttered you will already be starting on your first decluttering segment within a few pages!
I am so excited to be able to finally have this book finished and ready to help people achieve the organized home of their dreams.
If you are ready to truly start your decluttering journey then it’s time you download Decluttered today!
Decluttered really does have it all, and below are just a few things you’ll have access to!
If you’re still not sure if Decluttered is for you then just take a sneak peek through Chapter One below!
Deciding to declutter your home is one of the most beneficial journeys you can take. A decluttered home is not just about the physical. It’s also a lot about the mental.
With a clutter-free home, you will have more time for the things you love.
With a clutter-free home, you will be able to slow down.
With a clutter-free home, you will also have a clutter-free mind.
Those are just a few of the many benefits you get as a side-effect of decluttering your home. So I promise you your efforts will always pay off when you choose to live clutter-free.
If you’re not ready to dive into Decluttered just yet don’t you fret! Pin the image below to save for when you are ready!
In the meantime here are some other articles for you to help you declutter your home & your life!
Try these 51 easy-to-implement tips to help you get rid of clutter, get your home organized and get on with your life.
You’re late for baseball practice — again! — because your kid can’t find his cleats. Though you’re tempted to scold your little slugger, you can admit you’re a bit clueless about how to organize your home.
According to Debbie Lillard, a home organizing expert and author of “A Mom’s Guide to Home Organization,” being organized is critical in moments like these. “With a busy family it’s important so that everyone can get where they need to be, on time, with all the things they need. Organization should give the family more free time in the long run and less stress.”
When the thought of organizing your home feels completely overwhelming, you have to start somewhere. Donna Smallin Kuper, an organizing expert and author of “Clear the Clutter, Find Happiness,” says to be intentional. “Focus on one area that has a daily impact on your life, so you can really feel it every day,” she explains.
Here are 51 ideas to teach you how to organize your home:
- Create a game plan. Walk through each room and write down what needs to be done.
- Find a printable checklist (like this one from House Mix) to organize your home.
- Declutter before you organize. Smallin Kuper recommends asking yourself, “Would I buy this again today?” If the answer is no, toss it.
- Include the kids by having them fill a bag with toys to sell or donate.
- Schedule a family organizing day. Tackle one space together.
- Check out Donation Town to find a charity that will haul away your unwanted stuff.
- Assign organizational chores for kids along with daily chores.
- Have a drop bowl or hook for keys in the entry way.
- Keep a shoe basket by the front and back doors.
- Keep a bag packed for each child’s activity. Hang it in the entryway so they can grab it and go, recommends Lillard.
- Add a row of low hooks so kids can hang their own coats.
- An over-the-door shoe bag can contain mittens, hats and pet items, says Smallin Kuper.
- Recycle junk mail as soon as it arrives.
- Move all your bills to digital to reduce paperwork build-up.
- Keep appliance manuals together in a binder.
- Prevent drawer organizers from sliding around with picture hanging strips, with directions from IHeart Organizing.
- Hi Sugarplum explains how to store CDs and DVDs in a cute basket.
- Keep one small bin of toys for children in each room.
- Keep memorable school and artwork in a binder or filing box.
- Place a basket at the foot of the stairs for items that need to be carried upstairs at the end of each day.
- Affix a sturdy envelope to the inside of the pantry door for takeout menus.
- Keep sticky labels and a pen next to the fridge to label leftovers with the contents and date.
- Use clear glass containers in the fridge so you don’t forget about items.
- Place plastic grocery bags in a wall mount dispenser, or hang reusable tote bags on a hook in the pantry.
- Short on kitchen drawer space? IHeart Organizing stashes dish towels in a pretty basket on the counter.
- Affix cork sheets to the inside of kitchen cabinets for the week’s recipes, like Young House Love does.
- Label pantry shelves so family members who help with putting the groceries away can keep it organized.
- Corral food storage lids in a basket to keep them from taking over.
- Use lazy Susans in the refrigerator for access to those back-of-shelf items.
- Keep a plastic basket under the sink for dirty dish rags.
- If your kids do homework in the kitchen, hang a wall pocket organizer to prevent papers from taking over the table, advises Lillard.
- Contain art supplies in a pretty rolling cart, like Suburble does.
- Keep cleaning products in a caddy that you can tote from room to room.
- Don’t stash toiletries or cleaning products you’re not using under the sink. If you don’t love it enough to use it now, you don’t need it.
- A two-tiered fruit basket can maximize space in a small bathroom, suggests Golden Boys and Me.
- Don’t hoard linens — two sets of sheets per bed and two towels per person is plenty.
- If you don’t have a linen closet, create one using an armoire, a la A Bowl Full of Lemons.
- The Inspired Room shows you how to use storage baskets throughout your house.
- Have a hamper with a removable bag in every bedroom.
- Similarly, keep a trash can in every room.
- Keep three small baskets in your laundry room: one each for items to hand wash, bleach and mend.
- Utilize the oft-forgotten storage space under beds for linens or Lego collections.
- Use pictures cut from a magazine to label toy bins for young children.
- Or print your own picture labels with help from Honey We’re Home.
- Use open-top container in toy rooms so kids don’t have to struggle with lids.
- Store puzzles in zippered storage bags, suggests The Real Thing with the Coake Family.
- IHeart Organizing separates kids’ outfits in the closet by the day of the week.
- Keep a storage bin in each child’s closet for items they grow out of. When it’s full, donate, recommends Lillard.
- Honey We’re Home keeps unruly jewelry contained with a tiered stand.
- Contain gift wrap neatly in a repurposed wire trash can, suggests Chez Larsson.
- A sock divider can double as tie storage for Dad.
Lastly, remember that organizing your home isn’t a one-time job. “You need to incorporate small organizing tasks into your daily routine so it doesn’t become an overwhelming job,” says Smallin Kuper.
A new home is a blank slate. Why not take advantage of it and declutter as you move? Here’s how to organize a new home as you unpack to create habits of organization and avoid clutter down the road.
Moving into a new home can be an exciting but stressful time. It’s also an opportune time to address a clutter problem head on and get organized.
As tempting as it may be to unpack quickly by shoving things in drawers and closets, taking the extra time to organize while you unpack will save you headaches in the long run! Here’s how to organize a new home as you unpack.
Pack a Moving Essentials Box
This is actually a tip for before you move, but having a box with your must-have items for the new house can make unpacking much easier. An essentials box could include anything from toiletries to important documents you may need right away (like if you’re moving during tax season), or just things that you don’t want getting lost in a sea of boxes–a child’s favorite toy, spare keys or a box cutter for example.
Set this box aside to be packed in your car, not the moving truck, so that you can make sure you have it with you as soon as you move in. Either unpack this box right away or be sure to keep it away from the other boxes. That way you don’t misplace it in a sea of moving boxes.
One of the biggest mistakes people make when they organize a new home is they try to rush and do it in a day or a weekend. If possible, plan ahead by adding an extra few days off to fully unpack and organize.
If you have small children, plan a few moving activities to keep them preoccupied, or make sure there’s an extra hand around like a babysitter or grandparent. You’ll be able to tackle your house organization with a clearer mind knowing the kids are staying out of trouble.
Unpack Room by Room
It’s easy to unpack as you go and get distracted by a box in the bedroom while you’re unpacking the kitchen. It’s best to focus on compartmentalizing your unpacking room by room.
A lot of moving experts agree to start with the kitchen first because the sooner you get the kitchen unpacked, the quicker you’re able to cook at home and save money on eating out or ordering pizza. The kitchen is also the foundational building block for your home, which is why it makes sense to unpack it first!
Pro-tip: When packing, be sure to label all of your boxes with their designated rooms or color coordinate them to be sure you can unpack one room at a time.
Before you start unpacking, make a quick plan for which rooms you’ll tackle first. Then be sure that all of the boxes for that area are accessible. This is especially important if you have a staging area for unpacking, like a garage or storage unit.
After the kitchen, you may want to tackle bedrooms, bathrooms or a living room next. Save rooms like guest bedrooms or offices until the essential, most lived in rooms are unpacked.
Declutter as You Unpack
While you’re unpacking, be sure to have a pile for donations or trash. If you packed in a rush, you might not have had time to declutter, but you certainly should before putting things away.
If, as you’re unpacking, you see an item you haven’t used in a while, just get rid of it. If you haven’t used it in your old house, you are very unlikely to use it in the new house.
Organize a New Home with Household Objects You Already Have
There are so many creative organizing hacks around the internet, and they often have one thing in common: they use average household objects to organize. A few examples are plastic magazine racks to organize hair accessories and tools, spice carousels to organize loose garage tools like screws, or a mason jar to organize cupcake liners.
Before you rush out to Target to buy a bunch of storage bins and totes, be sure to declutter and repurpose items you already have in your home first. You may be surprised by how much you can utilize without having to spend extra money!
In this video, we’ll show you four simple organization hacks using common household objects to organize small, pesky items. You know, those bobby pins, cupcake tins, electrical wires, and small office tools you can never seem to get in order:
Unpack First, Then Decorate
As you unpack, you’re likely to find decor items with the rest of your things. Set those aside and wait until you have unpacked a room before you start decorating it. This will help you see what you have to decorate around and will also save you from putting unnecessary holes in your walls.
Because every home is different, you may find you have more or less wall space than you did before. You might need to prioritize which items you hang up or display. You may also be able to decorate in clever ways that don’t require putting any holes in your walls at all, like putting a picture frame leaning against a wall instead of hanging it, or using adhesive hooks instead of nails.
With these tips, you’re ready to tackle organizing your brand new home! Soon you’ll be living in it, instead of in a sea of boxes.
What other tips do you have for organizing a new home? Share below in the comments!
Need to banish the clutter and simplify your life? Take a look at our simple solutions to make everything easy.
Is your house overrun with clutter? Are you ready to ditch the drama of daily life in favour of clever, time-saving solutions.
Whether you’ve got a passion for shoes, more duvet covers than you know what to do with or a penchant for plates, we could all use a little help when it comes to clearing the clutter. We’ve come up with some savvy solutions that mean you don’t have to get rid of the things you love, simply find smarter ways of storing them.
Here at Ideal Home we’ve found a few ways to simplify your life and give you more time to yourself.
1. Sort the fridge
Image credit: Andrew Woods
Add extra storage compartments in your fridge to keep things from becoming a muddled mess. It will make preparing dinner 100 times easier, trust us
2. Make a list
Image credit: Tim Young
Oh we do love a good list. – it’s a great way to prepare for the day/weekend/month ahead. But if, like us, your lists keep disappearing, think of some simple ways to keep them displayed. Hanging a chalkboard or list pad on an easily accessible spot in the kitchen is a good option.
3. Embrace car boot sales
Image credit: Darren Crush
Fed up with sorting through your unwanted posessions and taking various different bags to charity shops, recycling centres or the rubbish dump? Why not sell it and make some cash at a car boot sale? Yes, you normally have to get up early on a Sunday morning, but making a tidy profit (and being home in time for lunch) gets the thumbs up from us
4. Clear worktop clutter
Image credit: Jonathan Jones
Declutter your kitchen worktops and move all of your utensils over to the wall. Sounds easy, right? It is. Simply hang up an arrangement of hooks and shelves and hey presto! Clear worktops are the starting point for a clear kitchen.
5. Cleaning up
Image credit: Jon Day
Keep all the cleaning supplies you use most frequently in a transportable box or basket. It will make it easy to travel from room-to-room carrying out your daily cleaning routine.
6. Label everything
Image credit: Lizzie Orme
From storage baskets to shoe boxes, make sure everything in your home is labeled clearly. It will save hours of time and drama when looking for things. You may need to nag other people to put everything back in the correct box, but it will be worth it in the long run.
Want style rules for children’s rooms? READ: The 5 style lessons every child needs to learn
7. Make the most of what you have
Image credit: David Brittain
Who says kitchen storage has to be limited to built-in cupboards? Open shelving, freestanding furniture and wall-mounted storage will allow you to make a space work the way you want it to. Make the most of wall space by installing hooks or shelves and displaying attractive crockery or cookware – not only will it create an eye-catching feature but you’ll also have more cupboard space.
8. Box it, bag it, bin it
Image credit: Dominic Blackmore
We’re not all lucky enough to have a utility room but there are certainly a few lessons to be learnt here. Decant cleaning products into attractive jars or tins and display on shelves – they look much prettier and will free up much-needed cupboard space. Go through your cleaning products – chances are there are some duplicates and some products you haven’t used in months. Not even sure what it’s for? Bin it!
9. Create a fabulous and totally free feature
Image credit: Brett Symes
If you’re a huge film lover, an avid reader or an amateur photographer, show off your collections. Choose one wall of your living room and create a real focal point by displaying your much-loved items. Group pieces together according to colour or height and transform everyday items into a personality-filled feature.
Which decorating rules should you break? READ: 6 decorating commandments that were made to be broken
If you feel like you don’t have time to sort and organize your home bills (or any paper, for that matter) you are not alone. As hard as I try, my desk is always in disarray all because of the amount of paper I accumulate daily. I never seem to catch up.
We barely receive any bills in the mail anymore, since we are signed up for e-statements for the majority of them. However, the pile of paper keeps growing on my desk. I still get one bill here and there, I still print my payment confirmations and that means I still have to sort and file the records.
How to Sort Your Paperwork at home
You can sort paperwork into different categories, and those categories will depend on many variables. These could be your type of business or employment, size of your household or even your lifestyle.
One thing we all have in common: we all have home bills. We all have rent or a mortgage, or any kind of loan, utilities, tuition, credit cards, car payments, medical expenses, etc.
Here is an easy system that will help you organize your bills at home. Whether you have a designated home office or bill paying area or nook in your home, this is a no-fail system and it will take you only one day to put together.
1. Designate a Space for Your Home Bills
Whether you pay your bills by mail or online, a desk and some desk accessories will be absolutely necessary in order to be organized with your home bills.
Find a space in your home (it does not have to be too big) where you can set up the following supplies to work comfortably.
- Laptop, tablet or desktop computer
- A desktop organizer or mail tray
- Filing box or an accordion file folder
- Filing folders with tabs. You won’t need the folders if you choose to have an accordion file folder.
- Miscellaneous office supplies such as paper clips, stapler, post stamps, pens, highlighters, and my favorite: a PAID stamp!
- My free printables. See below!
2. Use These FREE Printables to organize your bills
Nothing like pen-to-paper and old-school notes. As much as I love using all my iPhone apps to keep me organized, I also like to write things down. Paper reminders are great! Here are a few printables from my very own archives that can help you with the home bills organization process.
- Finances Tracker: this free printable file contains 3 pages that can help you keep track of the payments that need to be posted and when they need to be posted.
- Automatic Payments Schedule: print one time, fill it out and keep by your bill pay center.
- Monthly Fixed Payments Tracker: print one time, fill it out and keep by your bill pay center.
- Monthly Variable Expenses Tracker: this is an extra page that can help you keep track of your miscellaneous monthly expenses.
- Matching Calendar: print monthly pages.
Find these, and more printables in my free printable library. Get instant access, and download every printable with one single click.
3. Set Up Your Mail Trays and Label Your Folders
Mail trays and file folders are probably the best investment you can do for your home bills organization. Every time a bill (or any correspondence) arrives, open it and set it down in a tray labeled: ‘to pay’ or ‘to do’.
After a bill has been paid, place it in a tray labeled ‘to file’. Better yet, if you have the time, file it immediately in your file organizer.
Last week, I had the opportunity to work with DYMO LabelWriter®. I can’t tell you how this label maker has made my office organization such an enjoyable process. As I prepare for tax season, I needed some organization done in the paperwork department. So, I labeled and neatly filed all my business-related papers last week, and this week I am working on our household bills.
4. Set a Bill Payment Day on Your Schedule
Nothing could be more disappointing than missing a credit card payment or a home bill payment and later, being charged with a steep late fee. Late fees can really add up, but the good news is, they can totally be avoided if you set up a schedule to pay your bills and stick to it.
Whenever possible, sign up for automatic payments. This is the best and easiest way to avoid missed payments and late fees. However, this is a system that will only work if you have good control of your money and your finances. So, before you sign up, make sure your bank account has a steady proper balance that can cover the transactions you have scheduled.
- Designate a day and a time each week to sit down and go through your bill payment schedule.
- Write checks, post instant payments, or schedule future payments.
- Stamp your bill as ‘paid’, and write down confirmation numbers (or check numbers) and file in its respective folder.
If your monthly income comes in on a weekly or bi-weekly basis, plan your bill payment day right around the time your check would come in. It’s always best to pay your bills as soon as the money hits the bank.
The Importance of a home bills system
Setting a home bills organization system is important for two reasons:
1. You will have peace of mind knowing your bills are paid on time, and it also gives you a perspective on how much money you have left for other non-fixed expenses.
2. The paper clutter in your home can be dramatically reduced when you get caught up sorting, paying, and filing those bills. If your bills have a ‘home’, you won’t find any more papers and envelopes scattered around your desk, kitchen counters, purse, and even in your car. I’ve seen it all!
Hope these tips help you get your home bills under control and paid on time, every time!
Embarrassed to invite people over? Scared to open the closet for fear of a shoe landslide? Feel like you can’t find anything? If the answer to these questions is a resounding “yes,” it may be time to take home organization matters into your own hands. If you’ve decided to forego hiring a professional organizer, you’ll need to figure out how to handle this overwhelming task by yourself. Fortunately, these 7 helpful books (listed below) will help you do just that. To learn how to declutter and organize your home like a pro, we recommend reading these how-to guides, below.
- The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizingby Marie Kondo
Written by Japanese cleaning consultant Marie Kondo, “The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up” is perhaps the most well-known guide for decluttering a home. This best-selling book, often considered to be the “bible” on home organization, offers readers a unique approach to tidying their house. Unlike most cleaning methods, the book’s KonMari Method advocates organizing a home by category – not by room – and keeping only the belongings that “spark joy.” The guide is sure to not only help readers simplify their homes, but their overall life as well.
- Real Life Organizing: Clean and Clutter-Free in 15 Minutes a Dayby Cassandra Aarssen
Organizational expert and YouTube cleaning guru Cassandra Aarson takes readers through her simple decluttering steps in “Real Life Organizing: Clean and Clutter-Free in 15 Minutes a Day.” Aarssen argues that it only takes 15 dedicated minutes a day to achieve an organized home and a simplified life. “Real Life Organizing” is filled with easy-to-follow organizational tips and tricks, as well as Pinterest-like photos. According to its description, readers will learn how to create a household management binder, “kids cupboard,” an “in/out” system, a gift closet and more.
- 365 Days of Decluttering and Organizing Your Homeby Jamie Stewart
In “365 Days of Decluttering and Organizing Your Home,” author Jamie Stewart reveals simple and time-saving life hacks for getting your closets and rooms in tip-top condition. The book focuses on breaking your house down into several different “zones” including: entryway, living room, kitchen, bathroom, dining room, bedroom, children’s room, pet area, laundry room and garage. In the book, each zone comes with multiple tips, tricks and step-by-step instructions for successfully organizing that specific room.
- Declutter: How to Organize your Life, Maximize your Productivity, and Enjoy a Clutter-Free Life (Life Simplified)by Jennifer S. Edwards
Written with hoarders and cleaning procrastinators in mind, “Declutter: How to Organize your Life, Maximize your Productivity, and Enjoy a Clutter-Free Life (Life Simplified) helps messy folks figure out how to tackle their home. Edwards focuses on clutter prevention, with tips on closet organization, cleaning the house, organizing collectibles and more. The book even includes a special section for those with serious, existing clutter in their home.
- One Year to an Organized Life: From Your Closets to Your Finances, the Week-by-Week Guide to Getting Completely Organized for Goodby Regina Leeds
Need more than just your home organized? This is the book for you. In “One Year to an Organized Life: From Your Closets to Your Finances, the Week-by-Week Guide to Getting Completely Organized for Good,” author and professional organizer Regina Leeds teaches readers how to turn their messy lives around. The book offers a week-by-week guide to organizing your household and your life, with tips on stopping the cycles of clutter, organizing closets, dealing with finances and more.
- The Complete Book of Home Organization: 200+ Tips and Projectsby Toni Hammersley
Organizational expert Toni Hammersley reveals her decluttering tips and tricks to readers in “The Complete Book of Home Organization: 200+ Tips and Projects.” The books includes easy-to-do storage solutions, cleaning tips, space-saving methods and expert strategies for decluttering, according to its description. This how-to guide also features ways to organize small spaces and apartments, with a special focus on design. With a 15-week home organization challenge included inside the book, readers should be able to successfully conquer clutter in no time.
- Simply Clean: The Proven Method for Keeping Your Home Organized, Clean, and Beautiful in Just 10 Minutes a Dayby Becky Rapinchuk
Enjoy reading housekeeping blogs? Then you’ll feel right at home with Becky Rapinchuk’s “Simply Clean: The Proven Method for Keeping Your Home Organized, Clean, and Beautiful in Just 10 Minutes a Day.” The author, a cleaning expert and creator of the popular blog “Clean Mama,” helps readers follow an easy step-by-step approach to cleaning a home. The best part? This book proves that it only takes 10 minutes a day to maintain a tidy home. According to its description, “Simply Clean” strives to help its readers develop neat habits in order to maintain a clutter-free home. The book features: a 7-day Simply Clean Kick Start, 28-Day Simply Clean Challenge, tutorials on “speed cleaning,” recipes for environmentally-friendly cleaning products, checklists, habit trackers and more.
Ready to start organizing?
As you begin the house purging process, you’ll be forced to deal with all of your unnecessary stuff. Here are two efficient ways of ditching those old futons, tight-fitting jeans, and other unwanted items.
While decluttering, you’ll most likely come across quite a few items that you could potentially sell. From gently-used clothing to unnecessary furniture, there are multiple ways to sell these items. A few secondhand marketplaces we recommend include: LetGo, eBay, Gone, Facebook Marketplace, Craigslist, local consignment stores, Trade-in programs, Nextdoor.com, and OfferUp. For more information on how to sell your stuff before a move, check here.
When donating your used items to a charity organization, be sure to save tax deduction receipts for the upcoming tax season. Several charities and non-profits to consider when donating clothes, books, household goods and baby items include: Goodwill, local libraries, Dress for Success, Habitat for Humanity ReStore, Baby2Baby, local food banks, eBay Giving Works, Salvation Army, and Pickup Please. For more information about these charities, check here.