Organizing 101: 10 Easy Steps to a More Organized House

Organizing 101 Title


We all have it.  Despite our best efforts, there is one area of our home, the giant eyesore, that just won’t go away. The room who’s door you always make sure is shut when company comes over.  The closet who’s contents you always have to kick back inside to get the door to close.  The place where all of the miscellaneous items in your home go to disappear, the junk drawer that has now escalated into a junk cabinet, closet, room… AHHHHH!!!  I get it, these things get out of control very quickly.  In my house, it is my husband’s closet.  Every couple of months, I tackle the arduous job of reorganizing his closet.  And as we all know, the longer we put it off, the worse it inevitably gets.  So before we all lose our minds or get buried under the growing pile of craziness, help is here!


Closet disaster
The closet disaster (before)


Fuel up on some coffee, grab your favorite music, and let’s dive in for some Organizing 101!
To keep things simple and not get overwhelmed, lets just start with one project.  Pick the number one area in your home that needs the most love.  And once it’s completed and you’re feeling good about life again, then you can decide where you want to go next.


1.  PREP

Probably the most important step in the process.  You can’t go into these things blind… make a list of what you want to accomplish in this space.  For example, I took our family room closet, which was set up as a normal closet for hanging clothes, coats, etc. and turned it into a toy storage closet.  What supplies will you need that you may not already have?  Hangers, bins, shelves, plastic totes, etc.

Organizing 101


And don’t forget the garbage bags!  Pick up anything on your list that you need, and BUY EXTRA!  I cannot stress this enough, there is nothing more frustrating than getting yourself motivated to tackle that big project you’ve been putting off, digging in, getting in “the zone” and then realizing you don’t have everything you need.


I don’t know about you, but when I’m in the middle of something and have to stop what I’m doing, it’s really hard to pick back up where I left off with the same gusto!  And bonus negative points if you have a toddler to get in and out of the store like I do, because we all know your “quick trip” to the store now takes twice as long, you’ll probably need a couple potty breaks during that time, lunch, and then the next thing you know it’s tomorrow and that giant closet project is sitting in a pile on the floor… so you close the door and wait until motivation returns two weeks later.


I realize this whole scenario is a bit dramatic, but you get the point, BUY EXTRA!  You can always return what you don’t need when you are done.

3.  GUT IT 

Literally, gut everything, whether it’s a cabinet, closet, or entire room, it has all got to go!  The famous words, “You have to make a mess to clean a mess” are so true!  It is so much easier working with a blank slate.

Time to make a mess!



Organize your work space into three separate areas for keep, toss and donate.  This is the moment of truth when we need to get honest with ourselves.  Sometimes we need a little outside perspective on this one…


For example, my absolute favorite, perfectly broken in, super soft and cozy sweatpants.  They were probably four years old, I wore them as often as I could wash them, and they had holes everywhere!  And not the trendy, cool holes you see in the stores now, I’m talking holes in the butt, crotch, knees, and starting to get see through in certain areas.  This was a particular item I was having a hard time letting go of, so outside perspective (AKA my husband) finally convinced me it was time to toss them (by shredding them with one hand as he tugged at them while I ran away).


In any case, try to be realistic with yourself.  If anything you is no longer functional and beyond the point of repair, it needs to go in the TOSS pile.  This is where the garbage bags come in handy.

Donation pile
Donation pile


As far as DONATE, again, be realistic with yourself.  Most people have a six month rule, if you haven’t used/needed/wanted it in the past six months, it’s safe to say you can donate it to a better home.  Personally, I stick with more of a three month rule, but that’s just me.


As far as clothing, I go with one season; if you make it a season without wearing it, you’re probably not going to miss it when it’s gone.  The same can be said for anything you have multiples of… who really needs six travel coffee mugs???


Plus when you donate to a worthy cause, think of all the people you are helping!  Garbage bags are also great to use to put your donations in too; this way you don’t need to buy additional storage containers and you don’t have to wait around to get your container back, just drop it and go.



And finally, the KEEP pile (my FAVORITE!).  I think this is pretty self explanatory.  Keep what you actually need and use on a regular basis.



Remove the bags and items that aren’t staying.  Trash goes to the trash… I find something so satisfying about purging big bags of trash!  And take the donations right to your car.  I used to take them down to the basement where they would stay for the better part of a year and collect dust, but now you have added clutter to your basement too.  Just take them straight to your nearest donation drop off next time you are out running errands, and if they are already in your car it will serve as a great reminder!


*TIP* If you itemize your donations, you can use it as a tax write off, just be sure to get a receipt when you drop your items off.


Ok, it’s getting exciting… we are almost ready to put your space back together!  Before we dive in, it’s time to clean/wipe down our area.  Vacuum, dust any surfaces so you can start with a nice blank slate.

7.  RECONFIGURATION (if necessary)

If you need to alter your space at all, now is the time to do it.  Add in shelves, remove hanging fixtures, add hooks, whatever you need to make your space as functional as possible.  Refer to your original list and supplies from the store.  Add a little flair if you like with shelf paper, pictures or anything else that puts a smile on your face!


It’s time to start organizing!  Some of my favorite ways to organize are:

*By category: IE short sleeves, then long sleeves, sweaters, etc.  Hair products, body products, face products, etc.  Eye make up, face make up, brushes, etc.  Whatever area you are organizing, categorically is always a great route to take
*By color:  IE Clothing, I always organize my closets by color, it makes finding what you need so much easier and is visually pleasing too!
*Alphabetically:  IE Books, movies, music. We own probably between 200 and 300 DVD’s, alphabetically is hands down the best method for easy retrieval!


Sorting by color
Sorting by color


Ok you are officially organized, so now it’s the easy part, putting everything in its place!  Personally, I like to place my most used items in the most accessible places, so start with that and you can work from there.
CONGRATULATIONS!  You officially have an organized space!  Now it’s time for one more step…. the most important one…


I cannot stress maintenance enough!  And while it is the most important step, it can also be the easiest.  You have a beautiful, super organized space that you put a lot of work into, so let’s keep it that way!  It’s simple, just be very conscious to put everything back in its space, as soon as you are done using it.  This takes a matter of seconds, versus the hours you probably just spent reorganizing your space.  I follow this in my home, and rarely have to tackle the same project twice.  And my son (who is three) also embraces this and has become more independent because of it.  He always knows exactly where to find something without my help, and has learned to always put things back exactly where they go.  Great life lesson, now we just need to get my husband on board!



Closet after
The closet disaster (after)


So there you have it, Organizing 101 in 10 Easy Steps.  Now you have the tools and motivation needed to tackle all of the organizing in your home that you have been putting off… ENJOY!  Feel free to share what home organization projects you are working on or what you have been putting off in your house!



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