Disorder in your home can make it seem like you’re living a mini nightmare. Not only can it be difficult to find things you need, whether it be when you’re cooking, cleaning, or otherwise, but it can also be a subtle source of anxiety that you might not even be aware of. With a little bit of mindfulness, some basic routines, and an ounce of effort you can make sure that your home is well organized on an ongoing basis. You’ll be able to find the things you need when you need them, enjoy the extra space that it brings to your home, and relish in the peace of mind that your home is sufficiently put together. Here are some top tips for getting started.
First, Focus On The Highly-Traveled Areas
For my family, without a doubt the room that sees the highest amount of use is the kitchen. We cook there, we eat there, and we often watch TV there when we’re relaxing throughout the day. I would estimate that aside from the 8 hours we spend sleeping in our bedrooms, the vast majority of our time is spent in the kitchen. It makes sense then that this should be the room that we focus on first, as our efforts will there will have the most impact. This very well may be different for your family. Just take a quick look around at your every day lives and see where you spend the most time. That is where you’ll want to get started. Once you see which techniques work and are worth your time, you can start focusing on the other less-travelled areas in your home.
Remove Items That Are Unnecessary
This is the step that everyone hates, and with good reason. We all love the items that we’ve brought into our lives, and getting rid of them can be painful for any number of reasons. Maybe an item is something that you though would be really cool, or maybe it’s something you spent a lot of money on. The hardest items to get rid of are those that were given to you by someone special. I get it, I’ve been there. Please try to keep those thoughts aside while I explain why this step is so important.
We live in a world full of things, and it’s so easy to accumulate them at a rapid rate. It’s what gets us into the habit of needing more space and needing to bring order to our homes in the first place. So often we think the answer is “more”. A bigger closet, a bigger kitchen, a bigger house. If we keep going down that path it will always spiral out of control. We can’t all afford a huge mansion for our family and all of our things. The simple answer is to cut down on the things that we bring into our home, and to cut down on the things that are already in our home that we simply don’t use or need.
Here’s what I do. I look at each and every item in the area I’m organizing and analyze two things. First, have I used it in the past year? If not, it’s time to remove that item from the area – with one exception. Does that item bring me joy? Perhaps it was given to you by your mother, or a close friend. If so, you can make a case that it’s worth keeping around. If you’re really getting stuck on this part it can be extremely helpful to work with a set of outside eyes. I once hired a team of professional organizers in northern VA, and the results were astounding. If you find yourself having trouble getting rid of your low-use items, I’d recommend that you do they same.
Put Items Where They Are Most Useful
With the unnecessary items removed from the area you’re working on, it’s time to think about where you’re going to put the items that remain. I’ll continue with the kitchen example. Pots and pans belong near the stove. Better yet, they should be within an arm’s reach of where you’ll be using them – the stove top. Similarly, spices and cooking implements should be nearby. Tableware such as glasses and plates should not be in the cooking area, they should be somewhere between the sink and the and the table.
Try to make flow paths with the items in your house. You want to make it easy to do any particular job that is done there. If you’re cooking while your spouse is cleaning, you want to make sure that your items are situated such that you’re not always bumping into each other while you’re working.
I’ve spoken mainly about the kitchen, but these simple steps translate to all areas of your home. With a little planning and effort you can really make your home a comfortable, organized, and functional place to live.