If you know me at all you know that it is hilarious that I am writing about home organization. I am chronically disorganized. If there is a gene for being organized, I do not have it. But, I really, really want to be organized. I don’t have to be “perfectly color coded, cute containers for everything” organized. All I’m asking of my limited organizational abilities is that if I need something, I can find it in my house in less than 5 minutes. I need simple home organization ideas.
As a mother of two children and a wife to someone who is so far worse off than even me when it comes to organization, I have actually had to find a few ways of organizing things so that the children don’t get thrown out of school and the husband can locate his keys and/or wallet and/or shoes and/or belt every day for work. Just purely as a means for survival.
If that describes your level of disorganization at all, then this is for you. These are the small things that I’ve picked up along the way that keep this family functioning without having to buy a label maker.
Not that there’s anything wrong with a label maker.
Why Do I Even Care About Being Organized at Home?
I’m supposed to be all about Cozy Chaos, right? Well, more the cozy side than the chaos, but I am still totally fine with a little bit of chaos.
PSST – That is not my house. That is not me. That’s a stock photo. I find it hilarious that this is someone’s idea of a “messy room”. Just being transparent :-).
What I really don’t like is when I spend 35 minutes looking for the remote control for the television. Or when I don’t have two socks that match each other at least a little (I gave up on pairs a long time ago. As long as they are both the same color, I’m good).
When I’m in my house, I want it to be like this:
“I feel like doing some watercolor painting” Opens kitchen drawer that has craft things, rummages for watercolors, paper and brushes. Finds them. Starts painting.
Do you see what I mean? I don’t have to have a special craft room with perfectly divided cubby holes for everything. I just need to know where things are when I want to use them.
It’s not a big ask, is it?
But, it’s also not easy to get to. Not for me. Because while I do have a drawer in the kitchen with craft stuff, I also have one in my office. And there are things in my daughter’s room, too. Oh and sometimes I just take things out and leave them on the dining room table because what else are dining room tables for?
So what actually ends up happening is I might want to use those watercolors, spend 30 minutes looking for them only to find that I didn’t clean my favorite brush properly the last time I used it so now I have to drive to Michael’s for a a new one, but it’s time to pick the kids up from school so what’s the point? I stink at painting anyway!
Then I’m annoyed. And I’m not fun when I’m annoyed.
I’m not asking for a lot. I’m asking for my paint brushes to be in the right place when I need them, ok?
Home Organization Tips to Keep You out of the Chaos
Throw Stuff Away
This is simple and is actually the key to being organized. If the places where you keep things are too full, you will never be able to find the things that you want AND it will be hard to put stuff away in them. So you’ll now have two problems.
- You can’t find the things you put away because they are buried under other crappy things that you should have thrown away.
- You will stop putting things away because you don’t have room in your drawers/bins/closets.
You can’t find anything. You have stuff all over the place. Cozy? I think not.
But how do you throw perfectly good things away?
Easy. You don’t. Technically. You donate anything that is in good enough condition to be donated.
But how do you just donate all of the things?? You ask yourself one simple question.
Would I buy this again if it were in a store?
You have permission to say yes or no to this question as you see fit. This is usually how I tackle it.
“Would I buy this quesadilla maker again if it were in the store?” Nope. Bye! Donated.
“Would I buy these jeans that I forgot I owned (and happen to fit me perfectly, they were just shoved in the bottom of the closet) if they were in the store?” YES! Yes, I would. Jeans stay.
“Would I buy this adorable navy blue dress (that I wore to my son’s baptism but that will never ever fit me again) if it were in the store?” YES! Because it has serious sentimental value even if I never wear it again. **
**Disclaimer! If you have more than, like, 2 dresses or whatever, that you are keeping for “sentimental value” this may not work for you. I am not a sentimental person and there are very, very few things in my house that are no longer useful that I would keep.**
Basically, if it’s not important enough or useful enough for me to consider spending money on it again, then it can go and I don’t have to feel bad about it.
Give Your Things A Home
Once you’ve cleared some things out of all of your hidey-holes, you should have plenty of room to store the things that you love and that are useful.
This part takes a little bit of thinking and discipline. Think about which rooms you do which things in. If I go back to my watercolor painting example, once I’ve located everything, it’s time to find a place for the paint, paper, brushes, etc to live. For me, those things should live in the room that I use them in. I use them usually on top of my desk, so they ought to have a space in my office.
Is on top of my desk in a pile a good place to keep these things? No. There are certain things that I use everyday that I’m okay with having out on top of my desk, but watercolors aren’t one of them. The watercolors belong in a drawer in the office. They are tucked away and neat and easily accessible when I want to paint.
For the things I decide to leave out on the desk, like notepads, pens, books, etc, I’m a big fan of things like baskets and bowls for containing things. They keep things tidy and contained.
For example, if I put a bowl on the table in my living room, I am very likely to put my keys in that bowl when I walk in the house. Why? Because it’s cute. The keys in their cute little bowl. All cozy. I should get the keys a blanket and a pillow.
Basically, the point is sometimes I need to trick myself into doing things.
I use Mrs. Meyers products because they clean things and all that, BUT, I really use them because they smell like I’m a good housekeeper.
Because the Mrs. Meyers smells so good, I am far more likely to actually want to use it which means, I will be far more likely to clean. See? Tricky. Because the little bowl that I got for my keys is so adorable, I will be far more likely to put my keys in it.
Make It Part of Your Routine
If you are like me, and I assume you are a little like me if you have made it this far into this post, then you’ve probably had amazing bursts of organizational energy where you chucked a bunch of junk out of the house, gave everything a home and your life was PERFECT!
And then, suddenly, without your permission, everything went back to the way it was.
What happened? Well, one thing that might have happened is you may have come up with an organization system that was just too complicated and not easy to maintain. That’s a problem, which is why I like to keep things as simple as possible.
But if overcomplicating things wasn’t the problem, then more than likely you didn’t have a routine for keeping organized.
This is probably the hardest part. Organizing is kind of fun. I actually LOVE purging things. But, once the fun of “organizing” is over, the boring, “maintaining” starts.
If you have little kids or have ever had little kids, you might remember the clean up song. Should we sing it right now? No? You don’t want that song stuck in your head for the rest of your natural years? Ok fine. (Too late though, isn’t it??)
That song works wonders. I’m not saying be a crazy loon and sing that song while you put stuff away. But I am saying you need a trigger to get you to remember to tidy things up every day.
For some people, that’s having a to do list. For other people, they might do 15 minutes of organizing while drinking their evening glass of wine.
For me, I make maintaining part of my normal cleaning routine. Some people, when they are cleaning, carry around a laundry basket where they collect the things that are in the wrong room to redistribute to their appropriate spots. I don’t do this.
If I find something in the kitchen that belongs in the living room, I immediately take it there. Why?
Because if I start filling up laundry baskets with things that are in the wrong room, I will have a house full of laundry baskets filled with things that will never, ever be put away.
So for me, I need to put that putting away portion of the organizing in my daily routine when I’m cleaning the house. That’s how I’ve made organizing a habit.
If you can start with these three simple home organization ideas, then you and I are on the way to an organized home. Just organized enough, at least. So that we never waste precious couch time looking for the remote control again!
Now I want to hear from you! What are your organizing secrets that you’ve been keeping from the world? Don’t hold out on us! Share in the comments!
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