Decluttering and organizing is a popular subject. There is a lot of information out there about organizing small spaces and minimizing “stuff” in your home. It is such a popular subject for discussion that businesses have created a plethora of bins, shelves, containers, cabinets, and boxes specifically to help you declutter and organize. One of the things I have learned after building, decorating, and organizing multiple homes is that you can’t “organize” clutter. You have to downsize your belongings and clear out the excess before you can officially organize.
If you want tips on clearing out the junk, there are plenty of methods, but I want to focus on the organization tips today. There is a great article I recently read that has quick tips on how to eliminate junk in your home. You can read that here.
Once you’ve officially gotten rid of all the unnecessary items in your home that are cluttering up your space, the organization fun begins! To organize your house, you don’t need to stock up on expensive storage bins. If you are looking to redesign and decorate as you go, choose pieces that are functional and have multiple uses. If you don’t have a large budget, now is not the time to over-stock on bins! They don’t use space efficiently if they are left sitting in the corner collecting dust. Use things you already have like bowls and Tupperware; use shoeboxes or gift boxes to organize drawers – make the best out of what you have laying around the house first!
I don’t have the ‘perfect’ method to organizing, or a favorite brand of bins and boxes, but there are some tricks I’ve learned along the way to make the best out of the space you have.
The entryway to your home should be inviting and warm – and not cluttered with everything your family has come through the door with. My favorite place in my house is my mudroom. Putting the mudroom together was quite frustrating in the beginning trying to figure out everything I needed storage for, but it worked out beautifully in the end. When organizing your space, don’t “wing it” and shove things in random places! A thoughtfully crafted and organized space will work out better in the long run.
Because we do a lot of outdoor activity and want to have things readily available for when we leave, we planned for a lot of drawer and shelving space. We needed a place for hats, gloves, and umbrellas; a section for tennis rackets, bags, and balls; a drawer for dog leashes, dog treats, and fanny packs; and of course, an area to hang coats and jackets for the winter, hoodies and windbreakers for the summer. We also needed a place to sit down and put our shoes. Another thing I wanted added to this space is a nice spot to check myself out in the mirror before we walk out the door. If you don’t have space for mirrors, build mirrors into your door (or choose an organization closet that has them built-in).
This is the finished, organized mudroom in our Oakville, Toronto home:
This is the other angle of our mudroom I had them build A large, framed mirror on the far wall we also noticed there was space underneath for drawers because there was a crawlspace behind that wall, so those drawers are used for yoga mats yoga towels and other items.
If you don’t have space for a large cabinet, a simple place to keep everything organized will go a long way. Most of the time, family members will drop everything they have in their hands or on their back right in the middle of an entryway. If you make a space for everything to place their things, it will make it easier to grab and go when you’re on the way out the door again or pick them up and put them away later in the day. Here is a budget-friendly solution that can work for any space:
The kitchen is another room that can be very hard to organize. Once you’ve gone through your kitchen and got rid of the items you don’t use often (You know what I’m talking about, those gadgets you bought to make cooking easier and haven’t touched in a year? Yes, those!) you can organize what you do use on a regular basis.
One of the mistakes that I see a lot of people make when organizing their kitchen is clearing EVERYTHING off their counters. It may look nice, but it isn’t practical. If you use your blender every day for smoothies, then make a space for it on your counter. You only need to keep what is used frequently on the counters – everything else can be organized in drawers and cupboards.
Keep your refrigerator clear of multiple magnets, notes, and memorabilia. This is a focal point for a kitchen. Instead, make a “command station” with a peg board or message board to communicate with. Spaces for paper and notes are almost always necessary in a family, as well as a place to store mail pieces. You can even keep these places stored on the backside of a cupboard door if you don’t want it to be seen. This will keep things tidy and organized.
If you don’t have a pantry, make the most out of your drawers – and you can reuse file organizers and label them accordingly. Below is an amazing idea for organizing food items in drawers:
If you do have a pantry or extra shelf space, try using these inexpensive baskets to store canned goods:
Some of my shelving in my kitchen doesn’t accommodate those huge water bottles. I found this great idea to store them using magazine holders:
You can also store those pesky plastic bags in Kleenex boxes. You can keep them under the sink and pull them out one at a time instead of shoving them in another plastic bag and hanging them somewhere!
I know a lot of us are working from home and it is very hard to organize an office space spontaneously. Take your time, craft a plan, and organize your space! If you have a closet, it is very tempting to simply throw everything in the closet and close the door, but you are helpless when it’s time to find anything. What if you could organize those shelves in a hall closet and make it your supply room? This is a beautiful way to organize all those papers, files, and office supplies. You can even do this for your crafting hobby! Keep in mind that if you don’t have the budget to buy matching organizational items, you can certainly mix and max or use items from around your home:
If you are making do with the space you have and don’t want to work from the kitchen table anymore, there are options available to you! Space-saving desks are essential in crowded rooms or for make-shift offices. You can find these on Amazon. When you are done working for the day, you simply fold up your desk and it is a design piece for the room.
The next room that I think requires the most organization is the laundry room. Most laundry rooms are crowded into a space that is no bigger than a closet and leaves much to be desired. Trying to shove laundering clothes, ironing, etc. into a small space can be hard. You can use over the door shelving organizers to place your soap and other laundry essentials in, but what about those drying racks? I know I have a lot of clothing that needs to air dry, and with limited space, you can install these space-saving clothing racks in even the smallest of spaces:
I believe in organizing every step of the way, that includes sorting your laundry before you are ready to clean your clothes. I always have three laundry bins built in my closets: one for whites, one for darks, and one for bright colors. I could never emphasize enough the importance of sorting laundry when it’s dirty as opposed to mixing it all up into one laundry bin. I’ve had a pink top stain a white tennis skirt or a black pair of pants stain a beige color of sweatpants – it’s so frustrating! Let’s sort out our laundry before we put it into the hamper, and if you’re building your own closet why not have it done the right way from the beginning? Here is a peek into my laundry bins in my Oakville, Toronto closet:
There are so many tips and tricks I could share with you about designing and organizing. Some of the most important things I’ve learned for any room you are setting up is:
Don’t get used to clutter:
Things get dumped and ignored. Don’t let your clutter get invisible! You can actually get used to clutter if it sits there for too long – it becomes part of your home, just like the furniture. Devote just a few minutes a day to going through your piles one by one and put things away where they belong.
Don’t accumulate too much “stuff”:
Less is actually more. And if you have a small home, you really have to be realistic about how much you can have in your home without it becoming overwhelming. People love going to resorts, hotels, and spas because the space is open, uncluttered, and inviting. If you really cannot get rid of it, hide it! There are a ton of options for hidden storage, whether it be under the stairs, under the bed, or in a closet. Keep the things out in the open minimal. If you minimize the furniture and decorative items in your home, it will open up a space and make it feel more relaxed and peaceful.
Everything has a place:
Don’t be spontaneous when it comes to your home. Plan to have a specific place for every item, then put it in that place! This is something most of us learned in childhood – “a place for everything and everything in its place”. Don’t wait for tomorrow to put something away. Organization is continuous maintenance. If you spend just five minutes to put something away where it belongs, it will save you a massive amount of time in the long run.
How organized is your home? I would love to hear some of your tried-and-true methods of space organization and maintenance! Let me know in the comments below.