Follow these practical steps to simplify and organise any area of your home.
Step One: EDIT
You cannot get organised until you have edited and decluttered. Organised clutter is still clutter, so the first step in any home edit project is always to eliminate the unnecessary. Most people use a small fraction of their belongings and feel a huge weight lifted when they reduce clutter and excess.
In preparation, make sure to set up areas for categories such as rubbish/recycling, donate, relocate, keep and sell before you start decluttering. Read Before You Start: Decluttering Tips first for more preparation advice.
Choose a room or space that you are going to work on. Then decide on a smaller section of that area to start on - it can be a drawer, shelf, cupboard or part of a room. You can download a free printable checklist from the resources page.
Remove all of the contents of the area you are editing onto the floor, bed or another clear surface area. This will help you to see how much you have and start with a totally clean slate. Commit a precise amount of time to do this task. One to three hours is an ideal time for a sorting session. Clear your schedule, turn off your phone, set a time and get started.
Helpful questions for when you get stuck:
Would it make a difference to my daily life if I didn't have this item anymore?
Is this item worth the space it takes up in my home?
Is this item adding value to my life right now?
Would I buy this item for full price today?
Does this item energise or drain me?
Do I already own something similar?
If the item were lost would I notice?
Is keeping this item standing in the way of creating the home I want?
Keep working your way around that room or space, or category, until fully decluttered.
STEP TWO: ORGANISE
Now that you have edited and have kept only what you use and value, it's time to organise! Sort your 'keepers' into broad categories, grouping similar things together. For example, if you are organising an office, all office supplies should be grouped together, all electronics and cords, all stationary, all paperwork, etc. When you're done, label each category with a sharpie and a post-it to prepare for the storage stage.
STEP THREE: STORE + CONTAIN
Every Little Thing needs an intentional and specific home. That's right. Everything. If everything you own should have a home - and only one home. It is nearly impossible to lose track of your belongings - they are either in use or in their 'home". Make sure that the locations you choose are intuitive and convenient.
Organisation is just the practice of setting up each item that you own in a systematic way. A 'system' can be as simple as placing like items together in a box or a basket.
Storing groups of items together in some sort of container will make it much easier to allocate a home for them and to put them away after use.
Frequently used items should be stored at arm's reach, ideally in the room where you use them most. Occasionally used items, such as kitchen appliances, memorabilia and archive paperwork should be stored out of the way in 'deep storage' in a loft or garage, or on high shelves.
Try and make use of any existing storage you have in your home before buying more.
STEP FOUR: maintain
Life isn't static. You will continue to buy new things and receive gifts. To have a simple, organised home you must create habits, routines and rituals to keep it that way.
▫️Make sure everything has a home and consistently use it by putting things away after you have finished using them.
▫️Put things away as soon as you can.
▫️Buy less stuff, choose well and make it last.
▫️Edit your stuff regularly.
Don't be afraid to change your systems if they are not working for you. Sometimes things don't work out as well as we hoped. If it doesn't work for you or, or your family, you're not going to use it so don't be afraid to change things. It's not very often that things turn out perfectly the first time around so you may need to make some adjustments after you have lived with it for a while.
Don't expect everyone else in the home to know where things are once you have organised. Take some time to explain any new homes, systems or routines that you have put in place - and the reason for them.
Your turn! Think about something in your home that always gets lost, or ends up lying around the house and not put away. Try decluttering the excess and then creating a simple system to make it easy to find, use and put away.