How to Organize My House & Where to Start


Navigating clutter in your home can be stressful. Busy personal and work schedules can make it nearly impossible to plan ample time to bring order to the mess. Take control of your schedule and household management system. Create a plan for organization to help you quickly and effectively eliminate unwanted junk and items you no longer use. Start by determining your organizational style to help you decide which place in your home you should focus on first.

  • Write a list of your organizational strengths. "Ask yourself these questions: How do you work best?; What makes you feel committed to a task?; and what helps you follow through to the end?" recommends Nancy McGraw, author of "Organized for Success." Knowing your organizational style will help you develop a system to organize items. For example, if knowing how much money is wasted with an unorganized office space or the amount of time wasted getting ready in the morning for work motivates you, then start with either your home office or bedroom to organize. The key is to gain the momentum to start and finish your organization plan.

  • Avoid burning out by planning your organization activities little by little. Start in the area where organizing will have the most impact. Remove and rearrange large items that cover large surface areas, such as floors and counter tops. Clearing surfaces helps you avoid placing items out of place because there is no room for the item in its designated space.

  • Pair items together that match. If you have notepads and pens in the dining room, remove them and place them in your office. When you need the item, you will know where to look and return the object. This practice can also work in closets, where clutter can easily sneak up because it is not visible. Keep one closet for coats and a separate closet for linens. Avoid mixing linens, household cleaners, tools and clothing in the same closet. If you have limited space, purchase a stand-alone organizer to house the different items.

  • Bring all components for larger projects to one space when you have extra time. This is ideal for weekends, when you can dump all the clutter from a coat closet onto the living room floor and sort the items into groups. Put all the publications you promise to read "when you get around to it" in a basket or crate in your bathroom so that you remember they exist. Give away old coats to charity or coat drives during the winter.

  • Throw away new items before they accumulate. If you receive a funny greeting card, it may be tempting to keep it, but if you have no area designated for greeting cards, toss it or put it in a scrapbook. Keeping one item with no place designated to "live" means it will sit out of place indefinitely. Throw items away on a continuous basis to help you maximize surface areas, storage bins and closets for occasions when you genuinely need room to store your materials.

Tips & Warnings

  • Delegate organizational tasks to other family members to keep yourself from getting burned out.

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