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Self-organization

How to Be Organized at Home

4 Easy Steps to Reclaim Your Home from Clutter and Disorganization

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How to Be Organized at Home

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Amid the endless piles of laundry, dishes, forgotten bills, and overdue library books, you have a house. A house you would desperately love to show off with pride. It makes you depressed even to think about how to get this mess organized. Fortunately, there are some simple steps you can take to help you make your home into a place that allows cleaning and organization to be easily achievable.

Identify the Messiest Areas of Your Home

Take a few minutes and mentally survey each room. In a notebook, jot down the problem areas in the room, putting one problem on each page. The items on the paper should be parts of the room that bug you, or that your family finds it impossible to keep neat. Some examples of typical problem areas include:

  • Shoes in piles next to your front door
  • Tables in the entryway piled with mail
  • Magazine racks overflowing with books, magazines, and pamphlets
  • Outerwear piled in a heap next to the entryway closet
  • Junk drawers
  • Medicine cabinets
  • Garages
  • Closets
  • Storage, including attic, basements, crawlspace

Carefully (but quickly) analyze each room in the house in this way, making a list of the areas that need improvement.

Analyze the Reasons for Clutter

For each of the problem areas you’ve identified, determine the reasons for disorganization and mess. It’s best to do this when you are actually in the room you are surveying. Usually, there is more than one reason why an area of your home is continually unorganized.

  • Why are there shoes piled up next to your doorway? You like people to take off their shoes when they come in. No one in your family wants to take their shoes to their rooms, and there is not enough room in the closet for all the shoes to fit.
  • Why are magazines overflowing? You may realize that you have saved entire magazines when all you want is a single recipe. Or you may discover that your partner saved a series of old magazines for a long-completed project.
  • Why are there so many coats and mittens stacked in the closet? Often, when parents buy their children new coats they forget to give away the older, outgrown coats. It’s not unusual to save single mittens assume the second part of the pair will turn up sooner or later. And it’s hard to give away gift scarves, even if you’ll never wear them.

Continue this process for each of the problems in the room. Write down the reasons for each problem in your notebook, then move to the next room. When you’re done analyzing all your problem areas go on to Step 3.

Brainstorm Solutions

In some cases, there are easy fixes to clutter problems. For example, an over-the-door shoe organizer in the entryway closet could solve the problem of piled-up shoes. A few extra coat hooks might eliminate piles of jackets. Try to brainstorm ideas for each problem.

While one family member can initiate this process, it’s important to enlist your family’s help to find out what would enable them to organize more effectively. If you hold a family meeting where everyone has a voice, you may find that those slovenly family members have good ideas. Make decisions about what you are going to try in your own home. Write down the solutions you’ve decided on.

Select Solutions

Typically, decluttering will require both organizational tools and behavioral changes. Keep in mind that the best organizing system of shelves, hooks, and labels does no good if it is not utilized. Your job, therefore, will be to identify a solution or set of solutions that are appropriate for your family, your home, and your daily life. For example, if the junk mail is piling up on your table you can select from a wide range of possible solutions.

  • A mail sorter may be a good solution if you receive a fair amount of mail through the post office which should be saved and attended to (bills, invoices, personal letters). If, on the other hand, you receive many junk mail, there’s a good chance that a sorter will be ignored or stuffed full of useless offers for products you don’t need.
  • A basket for mail is useful if you know the members of your family will check the basket, grab their mail, and deal with it appropriately. If your family members are likely to ignore the basket, however, important bills may quickly be lost under piles of magazines.
  • A new process for managing mail may be in order if organizational tools are unlikely to help the situation. Consider making it a habit to immediately sort and separate mail when it comes in, tossing junk in the recycling bin within minutes of its arrival. Be sure to institute a process for setting aside and quickly coping with bills or other important mail.

The solutions you choose should reflect the realities of your lifestyle and space limitations. Even the most attractive “organizer” can become yet more junk if it’s not used or is used incorrectly.

Implement and Maintain Solutions

Begin by making a list of the tools needed from your lists of solutions. Buy the tools that you need and set them up in their new home. You must also start to implement the behavior changes associated with keeping the mess clean. You may need to figure out a way to motivate your family to clean (prizes or gold stars are often effective for young children; more substantial motivators may be necessary for teens or adults).

You may find that initially, some family members find it annoying that their routine of keeping their things wherever they happen to throw them down is being interrupted. Be patient. The relief of always knowing where these items are will win them over in the end.

Keep yourself and your family honest by reviewing the room with your list in hand once a day. It may be best to do this at the same time each day. Discuss problems or successes: have you kept up with the changes needed? Have others? Evaluate yourself daily until new behaviors become routine.

If you have multiple problem areas, it may be necessary for you to pick one room at a time to overhaul. For example, you may have to set aside a Saturday to go through and remove junk, put together and install shelves, and organize items on the shelves. Try to involve your family as much as possible.

Add other rooms and areas of your home as you see how you and your family maintain the ones that you’ve begun. If you are diligent there may be a day when someone says, “Have you seen my…?” and you’ll be able to answer, “Yes!”

Tried-and-true organization tricks don’t work for you. Why? You need a system designed for your ADHD mind. Efficiency is our battle cry in this room-by-room plan that nips common clutter magnets — like the kids’ room or the hall closet — in the bud.

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The Organization Equation

Organization is an equation that factors in time, space, money, and effort. When we’re organizing with ADHD, we give the greatest value to time and effort. Efficiency is our battle cry. We want the fewest number of steps and the least amount of effort. Otherwise, even if we clear the clutter once, we won’t keep it up. Follow this guide on how to organize your home (for good!), room by room.

1. Remember the 3 Rs

To get and keep things in order, use these guiding principals in each room of your home:

  • Reduce what you have. It’s the most direct path to efficient organizing.
  • Be resourceful. When you have less, you find more creative ways to use your belongings.
  • Be resilient. If you find you don’t have something you need, don’t get bent out of shape or rush out to buy more.

2. Inventory Your Kitchen

Eliminate excess Tupperware. It’s better to let a drumstick roll around in a too-big container than it is to have 50 plastic boxes with no matching lids clogging your cabinet and refrigerator. Use plastic wrap, zip close bags, or tin foil if you run out. Or eat your leftovers to free up more.

Get rid of different sized plates and bowls, and buy a uniform set. When all of the dishes are the same, it’s easy to load and empty the dishwasher or draining rack. You never have to move a dish to get to another dish.

3. You Don’t Need So Many Shoes

How do you keep shoes organized without making the system so overwhelming it’s ignored? For people without ADHD, stacks of clear shoe boxes might work. For us, we take one at the bottom of the pile, don’t put it back and soon the whole room is littered with shoes again. Instead, reduce the shoes you own to a number that will fit in the back of the closet in one row. Then, when you open the door, kick the ones you’re wearing inside. Simple and easy to maintain.

4. Expose Your Garbage Cans

If your family is leaving trash around the kitchen or living room, make it more convenient to throw away. Some families have cans under a cabinet, with a child lock, with a top that only opens halfway. Take the trash can out, put it in a central location and remove the lid. It’s not as pretty, but is litter on the counters any better? The goal is to reduce the effort needed for finishing steps — like cleaning up after cooking — so they are a short and workable sprint. It’s easy to remember to toss something out when the bin is right in front of you.

5. Streamline Your Socks

Just thinking about laundry is enough to make you groan. First you sort it, then you wash it, then you sort it again only to fold it and put it away. To avoid towering laundry piles, save yourself some steps. Start by getting rid of all of your socks, and buying new ones in only the two colors you wear most often. You’ll never have to match and roll socks again.

6. Don’t Shred It All

Instead of shredding anything with an account number on it, only eliminate papers with a Social Security number.

Put a bin in your office and your child’s homework space that you’ll empty just once a year. Unload any paid bills or just-in-case receipts in a stack. Have kids put finished homework there as well. Since the papers lay flat, they won’t take up too much space. Then, if you need to go back and look something up, it’s there waiting, and filed chronologically.

7. Prioritize the Playroom

Put toys like LEGOs in bins that are shallow and wide, so kids don’t have to dump them all out to find the one they want. Get rid of excess toys. When your kid has fewer, he’ll play with certain ones more. When they break you can purchase new ones. Cutting back keeps them interested, and your house uncluttered. Then, set a timer for three minutes, and have kids race to see how much they can pick up in that time. You’ll be surprised!

8. Heed the Golden Rule

The golden rule of organizing is that inventory must conform to storage. Your goal should be empty shelf and drawer space. Schedule a time on your calendar, go through each room in your home, and reduce. Start with the floors, then move to surfaces, then empty out drawers and interiors. A bedroom will take two days, kitchens take three. If you need help the first time, hire a professional organizer for one project. The skills you learn may be enough to get you through the house.

9. Take 3 Minutes Each Day

There is no organizational system in the world that will work if it’s not maintained. Aim for a system, or level of belongings, that will let you pick up any room in three minutes. Then, after dinner, have the family pitch in with clean up. Before sitting down for TV or relaxation time, walk around and put everything away so you’re not leaving it until just before bed when you’re too tired to move.

10. Less Is More

If you’re going to reduce the items in your home so you can clean up in three minutes, don’t bring excess into the house. Make it a rule that nothing is purchased that is not on the shopping list. If you’re at the store and think you might need milk, don’t buy it if it’s not on the list. It saves having excess products, and it encourages your family to be resilient by eating toast instead of cereal. If you are at the store and see a buy one, get one half off deal, don’t do it unless you have two on your list. Get out of the habit of tying up your money, space, and effort in a bunch of items you don’t need or can’t use before their expiration date.

11. Set a Routine

It’s too much to reinvent the wheel every day. Instead, create systems that support your newly organized life. Make Wednesday bill-paying day. It will avoid paper pile-up on your desk, and make it easier to remember. If you forget one week, when the next Wednesday rolls around, you’ll have a sense of urgency to do it. And then, you can relax the rest of the week because you’ll know you have a set time to pay bills.

12. Use Supports

Use a timer to help your child clean his room. Hire a neighborhood kid to help you clean the garage. At work, team up with someone who can dot the i’s and cross the t’s on all of your creative ideas. When you are looking for systems to streamline your home, ask yourself, “Is it efficient? How much work does it take? Can I do it in one step?” Use this guide as a template, and adjust it and customize it to fit your life.

How to Be Organized at Home

The Easy Way to Get Organized

31 Easy Ways to Get Organized in the New Year is an eBook that will teach you how to build solid organization, time management, and productivity habits….all in as little as 15 minutes per day.

Filled with 31 step-by-step and easy-to-follow organization, planning, and decluttering exercises for the home and office, you’ll learn how to create and keep order on a daily basis.

With 31 Easy Ways to Get Organized in the New Year, you’ll get:

  • Crystal clear step-by-step instructions to keep clutter at bay, prioritize your to-dos, and work smarter everyday
  • 31 smart and practical exercises to calm the chaos in your living and work spaces
  • The deceptively simple ways you can use items you already own to create organized spaces
  • The barebones, oh-so basic, yet incredibly powerful organization rules no one ever tells you about
  • A hands-on organization resource you can turn to again and again, day after day, month after month, year after year

When it comes to getting more organized, you can’t beat these simple, straightforward, and downright effective solutions!

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Have Fifteen Minutes? You Can Be More Organized!

Who says you have to toil away for hours on end in order to be more organized? All of the step-by-step exercises in 31 Easy Ways to Get Organized in the New Year were designed to be completed within a fifteen minute time period.

All you have to do is select an exercise, read the how-to instructions, and get to work. You can spare fifteen minutes in your schedule, right? Plus, you can use 31 Easy Ways to Get Organized in the New Year again and again, week after week and month after month, whenever you feel like you need an organization or decluttering tune-up.

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You’ll get 31 easy-to-follow organization, planning, and decluttering exercises in eBook PDF format.

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It takes a lot of effort to keep your house clean. But what takes less effort? Making it appear clean.

These tricks are designed to make your home look instantly cleaner and more organized, without putting in all that much work. Some call it lazy, we call it clever.

1. Use Toilet Paper Tubes To Organize Cords

Tangled cords from all of our electronics are a pain, and frankly, they don’t look very good. Reuse your toilet paper rolls to give your cords some organization in the easiest way.

How to Be Organized at Home

2. Keep Pants Hangers in Your Pantry

Pants hangers are useful for more than just your jeans. Keep some handy for the bags in your pantry because they’ll keep your snacks from going stale and they’ll free up some shelf space. Win, meet win.

How to Be Organized at Home

3. Put A Shoe Organizer Under Your Sink

From hair spray to toothpaste, chances are, there’s a lot being stored in your bathroom. Free up some shelf space and sort your items with a shoe organizer under the sink.

How to Be Organized at Home

4. …Or in Your Pantry

Shoe organizers can organize way more than just shoes. Throw one on your pantry door and you just gained way more storage space. Make sure it’s transparent so you can see where everything is.

How to Be Organized at Home

5. Use An Old Pill Bottle To Store Mini Novelties

If you’ve got an old pill bottle lying around taking up space, spruce it up with some paint for an upgraded way to store bobby pins, earrings, rings, etc.

How to Be Organized at Home

6. Put A Tablecloth Over Your Shelves

A quick way to hide cluttered shelves? A classy skirted tablecloth. Put one over your nightstand, book shelf, or wherever there’s some clutter in your home.

How to Be Organized at Home

7. Hide Your Wifi Router With An Old Book

This one is easier than it looks. All you have to do is take an old book and cut out its pages, then just slide the router in. Done and done.

How to Be Organized at Home

8. Put Hooks in Your Garage

For optimal storage space in your garage and a cleaner appearance, just put a line of hooks across the wall and hang everything up.

How to Be Organized at Home

9. Use Wrapping Paper to Hide The Mess

If there’s a glass door in your house and you don’t want people to see through it, just put some patterned wrapping paper over the other side of the door.

How to Be Organized at Home

10. Use Shower Rings To Hang Up Scarfs

A creative way to store your scarfs and keep them in one space is using shower rings. Put some on a hanger and not only will they be more organized, but you’ll also be able to neatly see all of them.

How to Be Organized at Home

11. Use Baskets in Your Laundry Room

From detergent to those single socks without a match, there’s a lot of stuff that gets stored in the laundry room. Keep it in an orderly fashion with baskets. And lots of them.

How to Be Organized at Home

12. Store Bracelets on A Glass Bottle

This is a cute way to keep your bracelets organized for you to see that is so simple and clever. Wood frame optional.

There are 100 tips and tricks that’ll make life a whole lot easier.

How to Be Organized at Home

Between the kids, the housework, and the job, it’s easy to let clutter pile up as you tackle the tasks of your daily routine. But with the new year right around the corner, now’s the perfect time to hit refresh and get organized in 2019. No matter which room you want to tackle, here are 100 easy ways to tidy up your home.

How to Be Organized at Home

Uncross wires and gain back precious workspace by turning a simple picture ledge into a charging dock. Use a drill fitted with a 3/4″ bit to make holes in the bottom of the shelf, then hang it on the wall above your desk. Thread your charging cords through the holes so you can plug in devices quickly.

What you’ll need: Floating shelf ($45, wayfair.com)

How to Be Organized at Home

Hang canvas bins from sturdy hooks, either in a row or grid pattern, to free up space the floor. You can use them to corral board games, books, magazines, and other items inside. Select a style with a soft color or patterns, and these catchalls become wall decor, too.

What you’ll need: Canvas bins ($25, amazon.com)

How to Be Organized at Home

Turn the inside of a cabinet door into an undercover organization station that stores important info like the WiFi password, memos, and coupons. Create your own memo board by trimming chalkboard vinyl to size and position at eye level.

What you’ll need: Chalkboard vinyl ($10, amazon.com)

How to Be Organized at Home

Assign specific living quarters to everything you own, and enlist baskets, trays, crates, and hooks to help. If it doesn’t have a home, it doesn’t stay in the house.

What you’ll need: Hooks ($12, amazon.com)

How to Be Organized at Home

Create a designated spot for outgoing items (packages, store returns, and more) to prevent them for crowding the tabletop and floor.

How to Be Organized at HomeBeing organized offers a slew of benefits. It gives you peace of mind and saves you money, since “you can find and use what you own instead of buying more,” said Jamie Novak, author of several books on organizing, including The Get Organized Answer Book, 1000 Best Quick and Easy Time-Saving Strategies and 1000 Best Quick and Easy Organizing Secrets.

It also helps you stay connected to others. “When you’re disorganized you miss events and stop inviting people over your home.”

It helps you feel more confident and capable. And it saves you time, she said. A lot of it. In fact, “the average person wastes almost an hour a day searching for misplaced items like house keys, reading glasses and important pieces of paper.”

But you might already know that. What you might be less familiar with is how to actually stay organized, especially if you’re pressed for time (like most of us are).

Below you’ll find nine expert tips to help you start organizing your space and keep it organized.

1. Define what organization means for you.

There’s no one size fits all when it comes to organization. That’s why professional organizer Emily Wilska encourages clients to create their own definition of being organized, instead of adopting what they see in magazines, on TV or in other homes.

For instance, maybe your primary focus isn’t aesthetics but function, she said. Maybe you need a system that helps you get out the door quicker. Or you need an organized kitchen because you love to cook. Or you need organizational systems that are easy enough for your kids and spouse to maintain.

2. Start with what motivates you.

Starting is often the hardest part, so go with what’s motivating to you. For instance, some people are motivated by tackling the toughest task first, said Wilska, owner of The Organized Life and author of the book Organizing Your Home: Decluttering Solutions and Storage Ideas.

If that’s you, start with something that annoys you daily, such as the messy table in the hallway you pass on your way outside.

“Others might want an easy win to ease into a larger or more difficult project.” If that’s you, pick something that’s going to be meaningful but won’t take much time, she said. This might be cleaning out a junk drawer or organizing your mantle.

3. Create an organizing playlist.

“Music can get you moving,” so listening to a playlist can be motivating, Novak said. If you’re picking up for 10 minutes, that’s just two or three of your favorite songs, she said.

4. Create deadlines.

Deadlines are great motivators for filling at least one bag, Novak said. She suggested creating a deadline by calling a charity to pick up your donations or scheduling an appointment to drop them off.

5. Get it out of your house.

A critical part of the organizing process is dispersing whatever you don’t want, Wilska said. When you’re sorting and decide to get rid of something, get it out of the house, whether it’s into the recycling bin or to Goodwill, she said.

That’s because when you put it in the hall closet, you just watch “it get reabsorbed into that space [and] it can start to feel like why did I even bother?” Try dedicating 15 minutes a month for dropping things off, she said.

6. Avoid being a “weekend warrior.”

On TV we often see people devoting an entire weekend to organizing a room or years’ worth of clutter, Wilska said. The problem is that this “quickly becomes overwhelming and exhausting.”

And, if you don’t finish, you feel like you’ve wasted the whole weekend and the last thing you want to do is start cleaning again, she said. Instead, clean small areas in small chunks of 30 minutes to 3 hours tops.

7. Be mindful of new things.

“Every item we have in our space we have to give some time, attention, effort and energy to,” Wilska said. It’s easier to control what things come into our homes than to have to go through them, clean them, store them, make decisions on whether to keep them, and then eventually find another home for them, she said.

“A really crucial part of being organized over the long term is to develop a consciousness over what we continue to acquire.”

So the next time you’re getting ready to buy something, Wilska suggested asking yourself: “What’s the actual use I have for this item? Where is it going to go? Do I have something else that does the same thing?” Some people find it helpful to wait 24 hours before buying.

8. Have help.

It’s easier to start organizing and stick with it when you have someone keeping you accountable. Novak suggested seeking someone who’s also trying to get organized, such as a friend, colleague or neighbor.

“Set up a weekly time to connect by phone to tell each other what you’re going to work on … Check back with each other to confirm the project has been completed.”

9. Reward yourself.

A good way to maintain momentum when you’re organizing is to reward yourself, according to both experts.

Instead of rewarding yourself with things, such as a new gadget or pair of shoes, “do something nice and out of the ordinary,” Wilska said. This might mean going to lunch with a friend, hosting others at your home, buying fresh flowers or seeing a movie, she said.

Novak suggested other rewards such as getting coffee out or watching your favorite show.

If you do need new organizing gadgets, avoid getting them right away. Do the tough stuff of organizing first. Then use the gadgets as a reward after you’re done, Wilska said.

Mired in mess, fuss, and disarray? These quick hints for home organization can help you de-clutter fast.

Countless families are bedeviled by household clutter; the most common clutter hot spots are children’s bedrooms, home offices, attics, and garages, professional organizers say. What does it take to create a clutter-free space? Here are 10 key home organization strategies from three top organizers.

10 Tips for Organizing Your Home

Find a place for every item. One reason things pile up on counters, tables, and floors is that they have no “home.” “Make sure everything lives somewhere,” says Sharon Lowenheim, a professional organizer in New York City. Storing items in the room where they’re used helps ensure they get put away when you’re done, and usually it’s best to store similar items together. If it’s something you use frequently, make sure the storage place is easy to access. “If you need to reach to a high shelf and take down a turkey platter just so you can return a bowl to its ‘home,’ odds are it’s not going to get put away very often,” says Standolyn Robertson, a professional organizer in Waltham, Mass.

Play clutter cop. The better you are about keeping things out of your home, the less likely things will pile up inside. Take freebies. It’s nice to get a T-shirt or coffee mug, but will you really use it? Enjoy it? If not, decline it. Or let’s say you’re a voracious reader. You could buy books — but why not borrow (and return!) them from your public library? And take a minute to opt out of mailings from credit card companies and other direct marketers. Bottom line? Always look for ways to block unneeded items before they cross your threshold.

Do some detective work. Periodically scan your home for clutter hot spots, and spend some time figuring out why stuff accumulates there. Often, it’s not what you think. Take that pile of dishes in your kitchen sink. “People often assume that dishes pile up because it’s too much work to load the dishwasher,” says Robertson. “But lots of times it’s that family members hate unloading the dishwasher, and they hate that because it means having to open the cabinet to put away plastic containers — and those plastic containers always rain down on them.” Once you understand the problem, you’ll find it easy to devise a solution.

Continued

Hold off on container shopping. Clutter victims often think the solution is to stock up on organizing products, so they head to the nearest superstore and stock up on bins and boxes. Big mistake. “People love to go out and buy containers, but getting organized does not start out with a shopping trip,” says Robertson. She recommends shopping for storage items only after you’ve done some de-cluttering — to understand the scope of the problem, the specific cause, and an appropriate solution.

Dump duplicates. Why have two nonstick spatulas when one is enough? Why have six hairbrushes or 17 coffee mugs? Lowenheim says that throwing out duplicates is one of the easiest ways to quell clutter. Her simple rule: One in, one out. “Anytime you get something new, get rid of something like it that is old,” she says. Or, as Robertson puts it, “Before you bring home that big new flat-screen TV, figure out what you’re going to do with the TV you already have.”

Beware nostalgia. If you’re a doting parent, it’s not easy to discard a child’s creation, whether it’s pastel drawings from the second grade or that cooler-sized medieval castle. But if you’re serious about minimizing clutter, you must. Robertson recommends taking a picture of your child with the creation, and letting that be your keepsake. “After all,” she says, “what would you rather have in 30 years — a photo of that castle, or the mouse-infested castle itself?” Of course, if your child creates something truly special, you’ll want to keep it, maybe even display it in your home.

Weed out your wardrobe. Odds are your clothes closet is chockablock with clothes that are rarely worn. Lowenheim says it’s a case of the familiar 80:20 rule: we wear 20% of our clothes 80% of the time. She recommends sorting through your clothes, and your children’s, at the end of each season. Does a particular garment no longer fit, or maybe it’s uncomfortable? Toss it into a box. Then take the box to a favorite charity or a consignment store. And don’t hold onto things because you think you might need them someday. One key to de-cluttering is getting rid of things, not simply rearranging them. Tidying up is not the same as organizing.

Continued

Look for simple clutter control solutions. Often, there’s an easy solution to even stubborn clutter problems. “One of my clients could never remember where she put her keys,” says Laura Leist, a professional organizer in Seattle, and president of the National Association of Professional Organizers. “I suggested that she put a hook by the front door, so she could hang her keys up every time she walked in the door. And it worked.” Leist is also a fan of lazy Susan turntables for organizing pantries or laundry rooms, can risers, drawer dividers, and bins and baskets to group items in bathrooms and linen closets. To add storage space in a crowded room, consider adding a shelf just below the ceiling. Overrun with CDs? Take them out of their jewel boxes and store them in a CD binder.

Think home organization “kits.” Buy some clear plastic shoebox-sized containers, and use them to create kits where you store all the items you need for a particular task. For instance, you could create a shoeshine kit, a bill-paying kit, a manicure kit, and so on. That way, you can easily find everything you need to accomplish everyday tasks.

Stick to a schedule. Some spaces, like kitchen counters, need daily de-cluttering. Others can be tackled weekly or monthly. When that time comes, be systematic. Take all the items in a defined area (a cabinet, a desk drawer), and spread them out so you can see what you’re facing. If you’re de-cluttering the drawer where you keep kitchen utensils, for example, spread them on the counter, and then sort into two piles: utensils you use regularly and those you don’t use. Be patient — effective de-cluttering takes time. “People tend to underestimate how much time it will take,” says Leist. If it looks like a two-hour job, budget four. And don’t get discouraged if de-cluttering takes longer than you think it should.

Whatever happens, try not to feel embarrassed about clutter. It’s important to remember that organizing need not be perfect, and that “good enough” really is. “When you’re on your deathbed, you’re not going to wish that you had found the perfect organizing container,” says Robertson. “The important thing is being able to spend more time with family and friends.” De-cluttering helps make that happen.

Sources

Sharon Lowenheim, professional organizer, New York City

Standolyn Robertson, professional organizer, Waltham, Mass.

Laura Leist, professional organizer, Seattle; president, National Association of Professional Organizers.

Everybody can benefit by learning how to get organized. You know how it feels; the sense of satisfaction, even smugness that comes from knowing you’re on top of things.

The benefits affect every area of your life; even if you improve your organization skills a little, the ripple effect will have a positive impact throughout your day.

Organized living is all about habits. Getting and staying organized (easier said than done), makes life so much simpler.

Whether you want to learn how to get organized at work, home or both, try out the following 7 organizing tips for wherever you are and whatever you’re doing.

1. Designate places

If you want to know how to get organized, doing this is crucial. For everything that you own, designate a place for it.

Something doesn’t have a place? Make one. Then simply put things back where they belong when you’ve finished using them.

It’s simple and effective, but hard to do at first until you consistently form the habit.

2. Designate times

One of the best ways to keep your life organized is to create routines.

You probably have a morning routine on working days. What about lunchtimes, evenings and weekends?

Routines mean you don’t have to constantly make decisions about what to do and when to do it. For example, you could routinely check your personal emails at lunchtime.

You can have too much of a good thing though; use enough routine to make a difference, but not so much that you get bored.

3. Start small

If you want to know how to organize your desk , home or office, you don’t have to conquer everything at once. Choose a small chunk (maybe the top of your desk, or a drawer?) and organize that.

Use the tip after this one to keep it organized, and practice that system until it becomes habit.

Once you’ve got on top of that you can expand your ’empire’.

4. Put it away promptly and properly

Done using something? Most people will put it down somewhere nearby, with the intention of putting it away later. But disorganized places are full of these intentions.

Instead of letting things pile up, put them away immediately.

This principle applies for pretty much anything, from phones to food.

5. Capture it

Information and requests come at you verbally, digitally or on paper.

Use the simplest, fewest and most accessible capture tools you can to act as your inboxes.

Have an in tray and dump everything on that, then choose a regular time to go through it. This works particularly well if you really want to organize paperwork .

6. Keep filing simple

If your filing system is too complicated or inaccessible, chances are you won’t use it.

Try using a tickler file – create a filing system of 31 sections, one for each day of the month – then file the paperwork in the appropriate section for the day you want to deal with it. See this quick tickler file explanation for more.

7. Make sure it’s usable

If you’re still not sure how to get organized, ask yourself two questions:

Have I formed the habits I need to get and stay organized, and are my systems simple and accessible enough?

Improving both or either is probably all you need to do.

Learning how to get organized at home and work allows you to focus more when you’re working and relax more when you’re not.

Are those benefits worth the cost of learning a few simple organization skills?

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This is a request I’m asked all the time, help me get organized at home. While it seems simple, in truth it is just a starting place, a call for help and not knowing where to turn or what to do. Organizing is more than just buying a few storage bins and a planner, you actually have to work towards getting organized, it won’t happen overnight. There are systems that you need to decide and work, it takes time, patience and a desire to change to succeed in being organized at home.

How to Be Organized at Home

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Get Organized At Home

It sounds complicated and difficult, but that isn’t true; it is just the act of changing the way you do things and fighting that desire to let things slip backward. Yes, there are days when things aren’t as easy as you might hope but change takes time and there are good days and bad days. It is about moving forward and forgetting mistakes that have happened in your past, a new day and a new start.

Understanding what you want is the most important step you can take, some people organize everything to the last detail, this might be too much and you might just want to organize your time better.

When you have the idea of what you want the final picture to look like, only then you can take the steps to put actions into place to accomplish your ideal. If you don’t know what you are looking for then it is very difficult to put steps into place, because you might be looking in the wrong direction for you.

Write down your answers to these questions:

  • What do you want your day to look like?
  • What do you think an organized home should look like?
  • How do you think organizing your home will help?

It is about understanding what you want that will help you decide what is right for you and your family at this time. This picture will probably change in the future, but that is OK, you then just adjust how you organize your home and family life with the changes.

Thinking About Your Future

I think it is important to think about what you want in your future, it gives you time to take action, plan things into your day that will help you reach your goals and your dreams.

Often organizing will take time, it is not something that will happen overnight, you and your family have to adjust to new systems slowly and this means not overwhelming them with too many changes at once.

Doing too much and expecting everyone to change then it is likely to fail, it takes about 3 weeks for an activity to become a habit and the more you try to fit into that 3 weeks the likelihood of habits not forming and you dropping a few, increases.

Therefore, the longer you take to organize your home the better chances you have for the habits to stick and you to have a more organized home.

Planning Is Your Best Friend

If you are wanting to get organized at home then the best thing to start with is planning, it doesn’t matter if you work, or stay at home, the more you can plan the easier your day will be.

You can do so much more if you can plan, it doesn’t matter your age or your lifestyle, and your only restrictions on what you can achieve are you.

I am a firm believer in setting goals and living and taking steps towards my goals, it doesn’t matter how old I am if I want something, the only person who is going to make that happen is me; it might take some hard work but I know that I have taken the right steps towards my goals and dreams.

If you want to have a more organized home, the first step you need to take is to plan what you need to do. Make sure you make realistic plans, ones that will actually work. You want to succeed and to repeat those actions that make you feel proud of success.

Learning to plan your day successfully isn’t always easy, it takes time to learn how to plan your time, to ensure that you are giving yourself time to do the tasks and to get to appointments on time.

If you spend a month or more on learning to plan you will naturally become more organized in the tasks that you do and the way you head towards your dreams.

Focus On The Now

While it seems odd to mention that you must learn to plan and to live your dreams, it is also important to focus more on the now. You can dream big and then not take action, so your dreams will fail.

You need to focus on the now, but use this to work towards your future. There are times when it seems counterproductive, with doing some things if, in the future, they mightn’t be part of your dreams. However, you have to work hard, nothing happens by chance and the things you do now will have an impact on how you shape your future.

Therefore, if you want to get organized at home it is going to take time, there is not a quick fix that will suddenly make your home and life organized. It takes commitment to continue to work your systems until they form part of your everyday life. There is frustration in your future too when something doesn’t happen or something stops working. It is though becoming organized is testing your desires that this is truly what you want; however, if you put in the work, the time and the effort it is all worth the end results in having a more organized home and life.

What is your best tip to help others to get organized at home?

If you are looking for more articles on this topic head over to the landing page where you will find links to other posts on organizing your home.

I wrote another article I think you will like, How To Break 5 Habits Of Unorganized People.

How to Be Organized at Home

Sharon

I’m a qualified organizer and I’ve kept a clean home for over 25 years. I worked in a bank for a few years and saw first-hand the importance of budgeting. Join me as I write about organizing and cleaning your home and life.

How to organize your home. Real examples of organization solutions for different areas of your house. Tried and true ideas that work from a mom of twins.

How to Be Organized at Home

How to Organize Your Home

Looking for ideas for how to organize your home?

Want to see how actual people (not professional organizers or stylists) organize their stuff?

You’ve come to the right place!

When we moved into our current house a few years ago, I was determined to figure out how to organize our whole home.

On this page, I’m going to show you what I did to make our home more organized.

As we settled into our new space, I took lots of pictures of the organizing solutions we put together.

Most of the ideas I used are pretty simple. We rent our home, so we can’t make a lot of changes. And, because we’re renting, I didn’t want to invest a lot of time and money into storage solutions we wouldn’t be able to take with us.

The biggest improvements came when I started decluttering. After things were semi-decluttered, I started to focus on organizing the stuff we had left.

So, on this page, you’ll be able to see links to all of the projects I’ve done on Organizing Moms over the years.

How to Be Organized at Home

As our family has changed (gotten older!), some of our organizing methods have changed too.

Even though we may have moved on from some of our previous organizing solutions, I’m putting them up on this page in hopes that they may help someone else who’s looking for ideas.

How to Be Organized at Home

When you decided to become a work from home mom, you imagined how productive you would be. Not only would you be able to throw a load of dishes into the dishwasher, but you’d be able to fold clothes while on a telephone conference call, too.

Now that you’re actually working from home, not only are the dishes piling up in the sink, but you haven’t done laundry in two weeks, either. And the clean clothes? Forget it. They’re in an ever-shrinking pile in the corner of your bedroom.

So what happened to being organized? Ironically, it’s harder to be organized when you work at home than when you’re in a traditional office job. But there are ways to stay organized and be productive when you work from home. Read on to see how—and to see when you should really be washing your delicates.

Create your workspace. If you don’t already have an office space or an extra bedroom that you can convert into an office, you should take a walk around your house. Pick a spot that is not smack dab in the center of the action—like the kitchen counter—and where you won’t be fighting with mops, brooms or other household items. Choose a location that can be yours indefinitely, and make that your dedicated space.

Set your hours. If you don’t already have a schedule set by your boss, it’s a good idea to come up with one. Having regular hours ensures that you can get your work done in a timely manner without working over your allotted hours. It also keeps you on track—and focused—by giving you a deadline by which to complete your work each day. If you work a little here, and a little there, you might end of stretching an 8 hour day into a 10 or 12-hour workday—and your mind will be scattered.

Make a list. In order to stay organized, a list (or four) is essential. When you make the list is up to you—you can carve 15 minutes at the end of your day to assess what needs to be done for the next workday, or you can write it all down the next morning while your computer is loading. A list is extremely helpful because it is a tangible reminder of what you need to get done during your day, before daily distractions interfere.

Be semi-formal. When you worked in a traditional office, you had to wear a suit every day…even during summer Fridays. By far, one of the major perks of a work at home job is that you can show up to work (i.e. your desk) wearing whatever you want. But that doesn’t mean you should work in your jammies all day, either. Showering, changing out of your PJs and putting on something professional (yet comfortable) is a key step in helping you to mentally transition into work mode. After all, if you look and feel sloppy, it can cause you to be disorganized in your thoughts—and your work as well.

Find your peak hours. Everyone has a time of day when they feel their best. Perhaps you’re a morning person, capable of getting most of your to-dos done by noon. But you might be a night owl, coming up with your best ideas—and increased productivity—while the rest of the world slumbers. Figure out when you have the most energy, and then adjust your schedule accordingly, giving yourself tougher tasks to perform when you’re at your peak and feel the freshest.

Avoid doing housework. You innocently slip downstairs to put your bedspread into the washer when you notice that the kids have left their breakfast dishes in the family room. As you put the dirty dishes in the sink, you replace the paper towel roll and wipe down the counter. Without realizing it, 20 minutes have passed—and so has your deadline. While it makes sense to do some housework when you work at home, it can be one of the biggest distractions. It may not be the most exciting way to spend your lunch hour, but organize your household activities for your break times instead.

Clear your desk…daily. At the end of each workday, clear the clutter from your desk. File important papers in folders and shred the rest. Wipe down your desk (including your keyboard, mouse and screen) and remove any lingering coffee cups. The idea is to leave your desk as you would like to see it the next morning, clean, neat and organized. That way, you will feel energized—and not deflated—when you sit down at your desk tomorrow.

Screen your calls. Your family and friends all know that you work from home. So why does your Aunt Linda constantly call you at 10:30 AM, right when you’re in a mid-morning work groove? People who don’t work from home have a hard time understanding that while you are home, you are actually working. So it’s a good idea to clarify to your callers that you can’t be interrupted during certain hours. But if your bestie keeps ringing your number, it’s best not to pick up the phone. That way, your clamoring callers will get the hint, and you won’t have to worry about hurting anyone’s feelings.

Take breaks. It may seem counterintuitive to take breaks when you’re trying to stay organized and maximize productivity, but you’ll be far more successful if you take mini breaks throughout the day. To help add order to your day, try to take your break at the same times throughout the day.

Focus on one task at a time. Sure, everyone wants to consider themselves master multitaskers, but the reality is that humans can really only do one thing at a time effectively. So shine some of that laser-like focus only on one project, and do it really well. After all, if you have 10 windows open on your two computer screens, are on a conference call while you write that press release that was due an hour ago, you’re going to do a bad job at all of it. Like everything else, it’s about quality, not quantity.

Be flexible. You may have done everything possible to ensure a distraction-free day. But then your child became ill and had to come home early from day camp. The thing is, when you are a work at home mom, things happen. And since you’re most likely the manager of your home, it’s up to you to handle it all. So don’t beat yourself up if your day isn’t as productive as you might have liked it to be. One of the beauties of having a flexible schedule is that you can—and must—be adaptable. When your sick camper hits the hay, you can always jump back on the computer to complete your work—and get it all done.

While working from home has so many benefits, it can be an ocean of distractions if you don’t know how to navigate it properly. Stay focused to keep a clear, organized workflow, and watch your productivity soar.