By Mira Lammers | Owner | Sustainable Organizers
SET LIMITS – Set a physical space limit for each category. If the items don’t fit in the space allotted, then it is time for a quick purge.
LABEL EVERYTHING – Labeling bins, baskets, and shelves will not only help you to know where to put things back but will also help your family or other household members know where things go.
KEEP A DONATE BIN EASILY ACCESSIBLE – We like putting a donate bin in each closet or one that is centrally located in the home. This will allow you and your family to put items in the donate bin immediately once you decide you no longer want them. Once the donate bin gets full, drop it off at your local shelter or thrift store.
IF THERE ISN’T ROOM, DON’T FORCE IT – If there isn’t room for an item then do a quick declutter of the area to make room. Don’t shove items if there isn’t space.
ORGANIZE AND DECLUTTER BY CATEGORY – Pick a category and gather all the items of that category. Sort through that category and decide what to keep, donate, and recycle/toss. Then organize all the keep items into one area of your home.
ORGANIZE INTO ZONES – When organizing, place all the times of one category together. If you are organizing your camping gear in your garage, then place all the camping next to each other.
ELIMINATE CLUTTER HOT SPOTS – If a particular area gathers clutter, give it some attention. Re-think your organizing system for that area to create a system that works.
MAKE SURE THAT EVERYTHING HAS A HOME – Every single item! If items don’t have a designated place where they live, then clutter accumulates.
DON'T GET DISTRACTED FROM AN AREA OR CATEGORY – When you start organizing an area or category, don’t get distracted by the things that need to be relocated. Set aside a pile to relocate and address it once you are done with your focus area or category.
ONE-IN-ONE-OUT – Applying the one-in-one-out rule can help keep clutter at bay. When you bring a new item into your home, let something go of a similar size.
SET DOLLAR AND TIME VALUE FOR SELL ITEMS – When getting rid of items, set a dollar value and time value for what it is worth to sell. If you’re going to make $3 and it takes an hour to sell, is it worth it? If not, then donate it.
MAKE A DESIGNATED SPOT FOR ITEMS YOU NEED TO RETURN – With one click purchasing, it can be common to have many items that were purchased, but aren't quite right and you need to return them. Create a designated spot in your home to stage the returns. Make sure to deal with them frequently so that you don’t miss the return window.
IF THEY DON'T LIVE WITH YOU, NEITHER SHOULD THEIR STUFF – We know that there are some scenarios where this cannot be the case, but if someone else stuff is in your home and causing you stress, then ask them if it can be moved.
DO IT NOW IF YOU HAVE TIME – If you have time to do it now, then don’t put it aside to do it later. Because realistically, will you?
GET RID OF THE JUNK DRAWER – Kitchen drawers (where you typically find a junk drawer) are “valuable real estate,” meaning that they are easy to access and should be filled with things you need easy access to. There is no need to have a junk drawer in your kitchen. If something is truly junk, then recycle it, donate it, or throw it out. Otherwise, it is a valued possession and needs to have a proper home where it can be easily found.
IF YOUR HOUSEHOLD MEMBERS ARE OLD ENOUGH, LET THEM DO THEIR LAUNDRY – Spouses and kids! Kids can typically start washing their laundry at ages 7-10. They can help fold when they are younger. If the laundry is a pain point for you, then consider teaching your kids to do their own laundry. You can even make a folding board out of cardboard to help get consistent folding sizes.
SPREAD OUT THE LAUNDRY LOADS – If you wash laundry for the whole family, then consider spreading out the loads across the days of the week. Doing one small load of laundry every day is quicker and less exhausting than having one full day of laundry. Assign a person or function to each day of the week. An example is Mom-Monday, Dad-Tuesday, Jimmy-Wednesday, Sarah-Thursday, pets-Friday, towels-Saturday, and sheets-Sunday. Find a schedule that works for your demand. Make sure to wash, fold, and put away on the designated day.
DON'T LET PERFECTION HOLD YOU BACK – Don’t wait to find the perfect organizing solution to get started. You can get started today and make adjustments along the way. Maybe all your socks aren’t perfectly folded and organized by color, but are they at least all in one designated drawer? That’s still organization!
RUN YOUR DISHWASHER EVERY NIGHT AND UNLOAD EVERY MORNING – Even if there are only a few dishes in it. Dishwashers use less water than hand washing. Running your dishwasher every night will not allow the food to solidify and will allow you to keep up on dishes. It will also allow family members to put dirty dishes in the dishwasher instead of in the sink.
SCHEDULE TIME IN YOUR CALENDAR TO ORGANIZE AND MAINTAIN – Making a weekly or monthly calendar event holds you accountable and eliminates the excuse of “I just don’t have time.” Yes, you do. You scheduled it!
DONATE OR QUICKLY SELL ITEMS WHERE THE RETURN WINDOW HAS CLOSED – If you were planning to return an item but the return window is no longer open, immediately sell or donate the item. You were planning to return it anyways, so you didn’t want it. Don’t let it make its way into your home.
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