We all have the best intentions when it comes to organizing our homes, but intentions don't always make for a pristine space. If you're constantly wasting time looking for things without remembering where you put them, or finding the tray in your hallway overloaded with old receipts, business cards, jewelry, and loose change, it may be time for a tidying detox. Luckily, learning how to properly organize your space is easier than you might think.
You may just be a few mistakes away from achieving the Marie Kondo of organizational systems. Do you buy storage containers before discarding accumulated junk? Do you keep stacks of paperwork in a messy filing cabinet? We've got the solutions to help fix your organizational quirks. We're sharing our favorite tips learned from the holy grail of organization books. Get your notepads ready—your home is about to get a serious makeover, storage edition.
Tidying-up guru Marie Kondo says the biggest mistake people make when organizing is that "they attempt to store everything without getting rid of anything." Instead, she suggests decluttering entirely before starting to plan your organizational system. The less you have to put away, the less chances you have of a clutter spillover.
On its own, paper might seem innocent enough, but documents turn into folders, which turn into filing cabinets, which turn into organizing nightmares. Instead of collecting your life's worth of paperwork IRL, get into the habit of digitizing every important paper. An app like Scannable makes this insanely easy, and it's one less thing to organize.
It may look like your fridge or pantry is filled to the brim, but chances are they're filled with things past their expiration dates and other items you'll likely never use. Schedule a periodical cleanup of your fridge and pantry, and keep your kitchen under control.
While some items like screwdrivers and flashlights are handy to keep just in case, others are more cumbersome than anything else. When decluttering, really take the time to evaluate your need for the item. You may find that you don't need a beat-up frying pan, a collection of florist vases, and a stack of seldom-used recipe books. Only keeping the bare minimum will make home organization a breeze.
Marie Kondo swears by the right order of decluttering. If you're tackling your organizational system by room, you're doing it wrong. "This approach doesn't work because people think they have tidied up when in fact they have only shuffled things around from one location to another or scattered items in the same category around the house, making it impossible to get an accurate grasp of the volume of things they actually own," she says. Instead, she follows a strict order when tidying up, starting with clothes, then books, and finishing with the more emotional items, like photographs and souvenirs.
If you're folding clothes in your dresser horizontally instead of vertically, you're not only losing precious storage space, you're also making it hard for yourself to find what you're looking for. How many times have you looked for a specific T-shirt in a drawer and, in a frenzy, turned everything upside down without folding it all perfectly again? Kondo suggests a specific method of vertical folding that make it easy to find what you're looking for, and optimizes your storage space.
We all own items that are incredibly random and awkward to organize, but failing to find their place in your home will likely result them spilling over in other areas of your home. Once you've organized all your belongings, get into the habit of finding a place for each new item you bring into your home right away. If you've run out of shoe storage, discard an old pair. If you've just purchased a set of golf clubs, make space in your closet. If you've purchased cleaning products and your cupboards are now overflowing, discard near empty bottles. For clothes, adopt a "one in, one out" mentality, and never run out of closet space again.
Perhaps your home is pristine on the outside, but certainly don't open the drawers of your console table or nightstand! If that sounds like you, it's time to stop relying on your junk drawers. Sure, out of sight, out of mind, but when clutter accumulates in drawers, it makes finding things impossible. You're also more likely to keep things that you don't actually need, like old receipts, loose change, and pens that ran out of ink. Instead, line your drawers with organizers, and find a place for each item, the same way you would every other item in your home.