By Mira Lammers | Owner | Sustainable Organizers
Have you recently decluttered and organized your home? You went through all of your belongings, donated the items you no longer had a use for, and organized the rest. What an accomplishment! But now what?
How do you keep your home organized? And how do you get your family to help? These are some of the questions we will answer as we go through seven ways to maintain an organized home.
1. Make sure that everyone in the household knows the systems
Did you work with a friend or professional organizer to organize and declutter your house? Maybe your family helped, but chances are that every member of the household didn’t help organize every area of the home. The most important element to keeping your home organized is that everyone in the household knows the systems. They need to know where things are located and where to put them back.
Try taking 30 minutes to an hour to take the family on a “tour” of your newly organized home or spaces. This can be a fun activity for the whole family to do together. Some members of the family may exclaim, “Wow, I didn’t even know we had this!” They are excited to use the newly found kitchen gadget.
Encourage everyone to open all the drawers and cabinets and notice where things are located. Having each member of the household familiarize themselves with the organized spaces will be key in maintaining organization throughout your home.
2. If a system isn’t working for you or your family, then change it
Did you know that people actually have different organizing styles? Just like people have different learning styles, some people may find one organizing system works better than another. Hopefully, most of your organizing systems are functioning great, but if something isn’t working, then change it!
Don’t be afraid to move something around or organize it differently so that it functions better for your household. Systems may require a little trial and error to figure out what works best for your family.
3. Donate as you go
We encourage our clients to have at least one donate bin in their home. Some clients even opt to have more. Easy access to the donate bin is key so that you can put items in there when they are on the top of your mind. If you must walk outside in the cold to put something in the donate bin which is in the shed or garage, then let’s be real. It’s not going to happen.
One of our favorite locations for a donate bin is in each family member’s closet. You tried on that shirt, said “yuck”, and then took it back off. You didn’t even wear it for 30 seconds, so it is not dirty. Having a donate bin in your closet allows you to toss that shirt in the donate bin when it is on the top of your mind and you’re sure it’s time to let it go. The closet is also an easily accessible location for kids to put toys or books in their donate bin once they are ready to part them.
If you only want one donate bin, then the laundry room or a centrally located area is the right spot. Just make sure that every member of the household knows where it is and can easily access it. Once it starts to get full, take a field trip to your local shelter or thrift store to drop off the donations!
4. Fill spaces to 80% full
When organizing, make sure that bins and shelves are only 80% full so that that new shirt you bought doesn’t throw off the organization of your entire closet.
Once a bin or shelf becomes full, then it is time to do another declutter of that area. Never shove items into a space to make them fit. If there isn’t room, it’s time for a declutter or to relocate some items. A little decluttering, maintenance, and reorganizing along the way will save you time in the long run.
5. Full-cycle when you’re done with an activity
Full-cycle just means putting away and cleaning up. This method can be especially helpful for kids. Kids tend to take out a toy, play for a little, and then decide they are ready to play with a different toy. Once they are done playing with the Legos, encourage them to full-cycle the Legos before they start playing with the train set. Let your kids and their friends know that in your home, you full-cycle once you’re done playing with a toy. This makes pick-up easy along the way and doesn’t save it all for the end.
This method can be helpful for adults too, especially if you have many hobbies. If you just finished a painting project, make sure that the painting supplies are full-cycled before you bring out the next craft or activity. Full-cycling is a helpful method that everyone in the family can do and makes pick-up quick and easy along the way.
6. Set aside a little time each week to pick-up
If you start to notice some small piles of items accumulating on surfaces or on the floor, don’t freak out. This is common, especially for busy families. It just means that you may need to set aside a little time every few days or each week to tackle the piles. Below are our two favorite tactics.
Try making pick-up time a game or competition! Set a timer for 15 minutes and see how many things each member of the family can pick up and put away. Have everyone keep count and after the timer goes off, each member of the family can share their number. If Sally put away 30 things last time, challenge her to pick up 31 things this time!
Another tactic we love is “pick up for the maid.” Even if you don’t have someone who cleans your house, you can still have a designated pick-up day. This one is best if it is a consistent day each week. The cleaner (or mom/dad/kids) comes every Friday morning. So, Thursday evening becomes pick-up for the maid day. This just means that things are off the floors and surfaces so there is room to vacuum floors and wipe counters. Family members can pick up on their own time, but before they go to bed on Thursday night, all floors and surfaces need to be clear of clutter. An added bonus is this tactic separates the pick-up and cleaning tasks, which makes cleaning the home a lot faster!
7. Your home doesn’t have to be perfectly clean or organized 100% of the time
We know, life gets busy. You’re running out the door, trying to get the kids to soccer on time and you're already late. You pulled all the clothes out of the dryer trying to find the soccer socks and now the whole load of laundry is sprawled all over the floor. You just don’t have time to put the laundry away right now. And you know what, IT IS OKAY! As long as you have systems for where the clothes go once you are able to put them away later in the evening, you can still say your home is organized.
Be realistic with yourself and give yourself a little slack. Life gets hectic, your home gets hectic, and then things slow down, and you find that time to pick up. Your home doesn’t have to be spotless 100% of the time. Create the organizing systems so you can enjoy your home and your life. Your home is there to support the lifestyle you want and if it does that, then you’re doing it right!
Do you have any more questions about how to keep your home organized? Don’t hesitate to reach out! We would love to talk!
If you're interested in some help organizing and decluttering then schedule your free discovery call to chat with us and learn more!
Serving Broomfield, Colorado, and the surrounding areas!