Organized Living: A How To

It’s been a while! The busyness of the holiday season definitely took over and the blog got neglected. But I’m back, and after some minor technical difficulties (I deleted all the ‘media’ from the blog and basically had to remake the entire thing…good thing it’s Christmas Break!) I’m looking forward to sharing some organization tips and tricks today!

With Christmas over and the New Year upon us, you’ll slowly be inundated with organization hacks, tricks, and tips to start your year FRESH! Newsflash: if you live organized all year long, you won’t have to start ‘fresh’ each new year! I can hear some of you already asking: how in the world do you live organized all year long?! Isn’t it torture to be constantly organized?! It’s sounds too much like work…

Friends, those thoughts couldn’t be further from the truth. Living organized all year creates a calm, easily controlled environment so that ‘organized living’ literally becomes second nature. It’s a lifestyle, not a chore. However, it is also a choice and that choice might not be for everyone. I get it. I thrive on structure and order and living organized makes my life predictable. If that’s not your thing- no worries- you might still be able to glean some ideas worth trying.

So where do you start!? I understand that if your lifestyle is FAR from organized, it can seem like a daunting task to begin. My number one tip: start small. Some will try to tackle a room at a time- I say start smaller- try one drawer or one cupboard first.

I created this monster for the sake of the blog and a picture…

Once you’ve narrowed down where to start, empty out everything. Lay it all out. This will seem overwhelming, but stick with it. Once you have everything emptied, you need to sort through the items. There are many ways to sort through things but what works best for me is sorting stuff into three categories: things I use daily/weekly, things I’d like to keep but am not attached to, things I haven’t used in 6 months. You will often find that there is quite a bit you can get rid of. It’s amazing how we ‘accumulate’ without realizing how rarely we use something.

Now that you’ve sorted, GET RID OF STUFF. This can be the hardest part for some folks. Why throw away something perfectly good? If throwing away is too ‘permanent’ for you- try donating instead. Sometimes knowing that you’re giving something a ‘second life’ is all you need to let it go. You might also find excuses for holding on to things at this part of the process: oh I bet so-and-so could use this, I’ll try to sell it, I’ll just put it in the attic…DON’T DO IT (you know it’ll end up sitting in a different part of your house). So-and-so does not want your 1950’s burnt orange pot holder, no one wants to buy your 1999 Walkman radio, and moving it to your attic is only going to delay the inevitable. Take away all the emotion from the item (Because does that item TRULY give you happiness or is it the memories?) and toss it. You’ll soon find it’s a rather freeing feeling.

Once you’ve eliminated the stuff you don’t need, the organization can begin. I LIVE by the philosophy that everything needs a place. If it doesn’t have a place, find one for it, or toss it. Because I believe everything needs a place, I also LIVE for baskets, tiny organizers, and dividers. Find some dividers that fit into your space. Think about how you can group certain things. Dividers/baskets help give order to chaos. During this process I often find myself going to the store two or three times OR buying a bunch of dividers/baskets and then returning what doesn’t ‘work’. Give yourself options. Make it fun. Find a home for all your contents.

Here comes the part where my ‘I’d-like-to-keep-but-I’m-not-attached-pile’ comes into play. Once I’ve organized/sorted/found a home for all the essentials, IF there is room left, I’ll keep some of my ‘non-attached-but-likeable’ items. I’ll make sure they have a home. And if there’s not room, I’m not attached and off to be donated they go. EVEN BETTER, if I have room left and I’ve decided I can part with my ‘non-attached-but-likeable’ items I will leave EMPTY space. Why leave empty space? As you organize other parts of your home, you may find something that fits better in the place you left open. You may get a present for your birthday or Christmas that now needs a home. It’s never a bad idea to leave SPACE.

Now that your space is organized, step back and admire your work. Then repeat after me, ‘THIS IS NOT THE END’. Remember, organized living is not one and done. Now that your space is organized and everything has a home, when you use something, PUT IT BACK IN IT’S HOME. It’s as simple as that! Give an item a home, use it, put it back home. If you live by this simple rule you will stay organized all year long.

One last question remains: what do I do when I get something new that needs a home? Well, remember, hopefully you left space somewhere where it can go, otherwise, whenever I get something new and I don’t have the space for it, something else has to go. One thing in, one thing out. Which thing do you NEED more. Which item is more of a necessity? Ask yourself the tough questions and then act on your answer.

Once you have one drawer or cupboard done, go to another. A few days later do another. Even if it takes until Summer, just think, 6 months of organizing can equal a lifetime of never having to do it again. The choice is yours!

**Stay tuned during the month of January as I share with you different rooms in our home and the organization hacks I use in each!**