Whether you’re preparing to move or planning to stay put for the foreseeable future, any time is the right time to get your home in order. Streamlining your spaces not only saves you time, but it can also make you feel happier and more relaxed in your environment.
That said, organizing and decluttering can seem overwhelming initially. Rather than give up before you’ve even begun, consider breaking it down room by room to help you maintain your momentum. While each space presents a different set of challenges, there are some common strategies you can employ as you approach these areas.
For example, in each room you’ll likely find items that you want to keep, donate, or toss. With that in mind, before you start, have clearly-marked bags or boxes at the ready so you aren’t tempted to leave the room (and not return to the task at hand). Separate your things by category and keep only what you truly need or want.
The following is a room-by-room guide that’ll help you get your house in order.
If you face a daily struggle with finding your belt or that one shoe that always goes missing, straightening up your bedroom (including that cluttered closet and those overflowing drawers) can help you save precious minutes in the morning and look your best at the same time.
Start by going through your clothing and accessories and decide what you want to keep, donate, or ditch. This is easier than it sounds. Keep it simple and straight-forward—get rid of anything you haven’t worn in the past year or two. If you haven’t worn it in that long, what’s the chances you’re going to in the next year or two?
If you have your heart set on saving something you haven’t worn in a while, make sure it still fits. Once you’ve thinned out your wardrobe, buying new hangers in one solid color and style diminishes the visual clutter and presents a pleasing, tidy look.
Next, put things in order… Arrange your clothing from light to dark colors, so it’s easy to find that white blouse without having to dig through the contents of your closet.
Then, get things like your purses, hats, tote bags, and belts off the floor by installing hooks, which also makes it easy to find what you need at first glance.
If you have an under-the-sink vanity or medicine cabinet, these are great places to begin. Take everything out and you’ll be able to quickly determine which items you still use and which are well-beyond their expiration dates. If you have old medications, dispose of them properly. Discard old cosmetics and skincare products you no longer use.
Next, take stock of the shower and tub. It’s not uncommon for people, especially kids, to leave empty shampoo bottles lining the rim of the tub. But, don’t just get rid of the empty bottles—try and keep only the products used on a daily (or at least regular basis) in the tub or shower.
If you have kids, and it looks more like a playroom than a bathroom, gather the toys into a storage basket that offers proper drainage, and try and find some room in a linen closet to stow it away.
Keeping the kitchen organized is a high priority since it’s probably the busiest room in your home. If you’re short on space, you may want to remove items like breakfast and granola bars from their cardboard boxes and stack them or place them in clear tubs where hungry snackers on the go can find them in a hurry. You’ll be amazed at how much space boxes were taking up. (This also eliminates the issue of people putting empty boxes back in the cupboard.)
While you’re going through your pantry, this is another great opportunity to check expiration dates, and remove items that are outdated or have gone stale, or simply never get eaten by anyone.
If you have space, install a turntable that grants easy access to an array of items in a single spin. A spice rack can also help you save space and make cooking a bit more efficient.
Take a look at the pots and pans you have. Are there any that you never use? How about all of the cooking utensils crammed in the hard-to-open drawer? There’s bound to be some things in the drawers and cabinets that you can get rid of if you just take a little inventory.
The kitchen, particularly an island or countertop, is a notorious depository for junk mail. Keep a recycling bin nearby so you can eliminate all that paper immediately, rather than just keeping an ever-growing pile of it out in the open. Just doing this will make your kitchen look tidier!
The Living Room
Whether you’re entertaining or hanging out alone, you still want this room to look its best. Baskets are a great way to “hide” the clutter in plain sight. From storing magazines and books, to kids’ toys and games, baskets come in all shapes, sizes, and styles, making them as decorative as they are functional. And, they make the stuff you have just laying around look like it should be there.
But, just as you did with your other spaces, sort through your items before you stash them in a basket or end table drawer. There’s no sense in holding on to pieces that you don’t use or need. Is anyone really going to read the magazines that’ve been piling up on the end table for months (or years!)?
Unless you’re Marie Kondo, decluttering may not “spark joy” at first. But even if this isn’t your favorite way to spend a day, once everything is in order, you’ll be glad you did it.