Do you have a crazy neat and organized friend? You know that one person who seems to always have it all together? Her home is tidy, polished even, and decorated to the nines. Her lawn is free of clutter and the grass is always mowed. You wish that you could have it all together like her. She must be some sort of wizard! She must have a book of secrets of getting organized that if you could only peek inside you are sure it would fix everything.
I may not have that book in my hands, but I do have the secrets. The inside organizing and decluttering tips that will help you keep a home that is less of a storage unit and more of a place you simply love to be in.
Secrets of Getting Organized
Secret #1. Start Small
No matter how much you have to declutter or organize your goal when you are first starting out is baby steps. Nothing will stop you in your tracks than a weekend-long organizing project especially when you have a family and a schedule and a life all going on at the same time. Instead, start out small. Your nightstand for example. Small wins are huge in the long game of decluttering.
Secret #2. Declutter First – Organize Last
Don’t be tempted to go on a shopping spree for bins, baskets, and totes for your room organization. Bringing in more, even organizing tools, before you have removed anything will only make matters worse. Instead, choose an area and remove all the excess items. Then make a list of what you want to keep in that space.
Once that is done, you are ready to take a trip to the store and buy the tools you need for that one space only. Small steps are your friend here, even if you are repeating many of them. The more you repeat the more you instill habits that will carry you throughout your entire home.
Secret #3. Look at Your Home as a Guest
This is one of my favorite tips because it is so powerful.
Ever wonder why it is so easy to keep a space neat in someone else’s home? Because you are the guest and not the resident. When you are the guest, you tend to put things away just as you found them. Instead of pulling 20 things out of a drawer to find one item leaving stuff out to sit until you have the energy to put it all back, carefully find what you are looking for without making a mess. A simple tip that can really help keep open surfaces tidy and neat.
Secret #4. Remove it Don’t Just Move it
So many times new declutterers will fill a box in one room and move it to another thinking they just decluttered. And, maybe they did to a point. Organized people, however, take this one step further and put that box of clutter directly into their car. This way the next time they are out running errands they can make a quick stop at the donation center and get that clutter gone for good.
Secret #5. Trash Belongs in the Trash Can
Yes, an obvious tip, but you may be surprised at just how much trash is out in your home right now. Take a look around. Do you see old newspapers lying out or magazines that have long since been read? How about empty food boxes, junk mail, or napkins? Get into the habit of always putting trash or recyclables into the trash can right away. This will really help you to keep your surfaces clutter-free.
Secret #6. Bins are Your Friends
Use them to contain smaller frequently used items so you can put things away quickly. Measuring spoons in the kitchen are easier to find if they are in a small bin tucked inside of your drawer.
Incoming mail stays put in a basket on your kitchen counter so you can easily go through things before they get piled up and forgotten.
The remote controls in the family room never get lost if they have a bin to hold them.
Secret #7. Make it Easy to Use so You Use it
Don’t get lured into using an organizing tool because it is pretty. Instead, look for its functionality and how easy it will be to use. If you have to take 4 steps just to get to the item you are looking for, chances are you will not continue to use that organizer for very long.
Keep it simple so it works.
Secret #8. Tidy Up When You are Done
I like to call this a room reset and if you begin implementing this one tip you will be surprised at how much time this will save in the long run. Before heading off to bed, put anything that is out into its home and reset the room to where you want it. This should only take a few minutes especially once you get things decluttered in that space.
A few minutes each day to keep a neat and room organized is an investment that is totally worth your time.
Secret #9. Keep the Front of Your Refrigerator Neat
You may be amazed at how a cluttered fridge can set the tone for the entire kitchen. Instead of menus, school papers, invitations, and photos all over your refrigerator door set up a command center that you can use to neatly organize these items.
Instead of clutter, you will now have a useful tool you can use to run your entire home.
Secret #10. Create a Cleaning Kit
Take the time to gather up all the cleaning supplies in your home and store them in a central location. You can keep them in your basement, linen closet or an upper cabinet in your kitchen. Find a large bin or tote to hold all the items that you need to clean with.
When you do this you may be surprised at all the cleaning supplies you have. By keeping your cleaning supplies spread out around your home, it can be hard to know what you have and overbuying can easily be done.
Keep all these items in one place and not only free up much-needed storage in other areas but make cleaning easier to do.
Secret #11. Keep a Trash Bin in Each Room
This little gem of a tip will really help you to keep that trash put away at all times and propel you towards your room organization goal. Remember, secret #5 was to remove the trash as you find it. Take this tip one step further and make it easy to do in every single room. Don’t worry about having an ugly trash bin in your room, there are so many options available even the most sophisticated rooms can hold a fancy trash bin.
Secret #12. Don’t Keep Broken Things
Maybe you are smirking at this tip just a little, but you may just be surprised at the items in your own home that are broken, cracked, torn, or stained. Sure, we keep these things telling ourselves we will fix them someday…the problem is, someday never comes, and these items instead become clutter.
If you are worried you will need the item, try this. Place it in a box to replace and add this item to your errand list. The next time you are out, purchase a replacement so you can then let go of the damaged item without worry.
Secret #13. Keep the Clutter Out of Your Car
When running errands bring with you a large tote bag to toss small purchases inside. You can also toss any trash (use a compact trash bag to keep things neat) in your tote along with your sunglasses, phone, even purse. This will allow you to contain those small items making it easy to remove everything in one trip without leaving any clutter behind.
D/M Pro Tip: Once inside your home be sure to unload your tote putting everything away. Keep your tote near your purse. As you find things you need for your next errand trip toss them into your tote. No more forgetting returns, library books, or other items that you need for your next errand day.
Secret #14. If it’s Expired Let it Go
This goes for food, medicine, makeup, or anything that has a date.
Secret #15. Use Baskets for Easy Cleanup
A large basket for blankets in the family room will go a long way to keep things neat. This tip also works well for toys, pillows, dog toys, and shoes.
Secret #16. Let Go of Duplicates
We have this ongoing battle in our home.
Hubby feels that we need to have at least 6 spatulas where I, on the other hand, feel 3 is absolutely plenty. If you need one and they are all dirty, simply take 5 seconds to wash it. I can not tell you how many times we have (kiddingly) argued over them but I intend to stand firm.
Just because I have room for 6 spatulas does not mean I SHOULD have that many. The point is to only keep the number you need so your drawers stay neater and are easier to maintain.
Secret #17. Everything Has a Home
I am sure you have heard the saying, “A place for everything and everything in its place”. When it comes to clutter, this is the golden rule. Make sure your things have a home, a drawer, cabinet, basket – assign a location where you intend to keep each item.
Not sure where to keep something? Ask yourself this question. If I was to look for __________, Where would I go first? More often than not, that is where you should keep it.
Secret #18. Put Things Away When You are Done Using Them
This is a biggie, huge even.
If you have done tip #17 then this tip should be nothing more than learning a new habit. Force yourself to take the time to put things away EVERY SINGLE TIME YOU ARE FINISHED USING THEM. This one tip will all but eliminate surface clutter and remove that annoying eyesore once and for all.
Secret #19. Give Away Rather Than Donate
If you have items in your home you no longer want yet donating them to a total stranger is just not where you are at yet, why not find a new home with someone you know?
A newly married couple may love to have your grandmother’s quilt. Or the elderly woman that lives alone from your church might be in need of new dishes. Maybe she would love to have your set from when you were first married. The one that is just sitting in a box collecting dust.
Find someone you know and care for and share your things with them.
D/M Pro Tip: Do not use this to pass clutter on to someone else. Always ask permission before you give and be ready for a “NO” in return. Give only what will be received with gratitude and share your things without making them a burden for someone else.
Secret #20. Decluttering Never Stops
This is a tip that will change everything for you.
Decluttering is one of those things that you don’t just do once and your home (and you) is cured of excess stuff. It is something that needs to be on your to-do list weekly or even daily. Learn to weave decluttering throughout your day just like you do laundry or cooking.
A little every day goes a long way to keeping our home neat and organized.
Keeping clutter under control so you can set up an organized home is all about your outlook. Try to see your things as just that, things. The tools you need to live in your home. This can make how you store, use, and view a large majority of your stuff much easier.
Save the memories for those things that truly deserve them. Remove the excess and bring those treasured items out where you can remember and enjoy the love they hold.
Now that you have some of the tried and true tips of organizers and my top secrets of getting organized you can move onto your first decluttering project? Jump over to our Declutter Section to get started.