Now that spring is almost here, are you feeling that urge to get organized? I know I am! If you’re ready for a fresh start, follow along as I share the step-by-step plan I use when I want to organize and simplify my home and my life.
“Have nothing in your houses that you do not know to be useful, or believe to be beautiful.” –William Morris.
I love this quote and agree with it 100%–in theory. (If you love it, too, scroll down for a free printable!) In practice, though, I have trouble sticking to it. Lately I’ve allowed a lot of non-useful and non-beautiful things to make their way into our home, making me feel a bit overwhelmed by all of our “stuff!”
I think it’s important to clear out the excess now and then, especially since the amount of clutter in our homes has such an impact on our wellbeing.
Our senses can only process a certain amount of information at any given time, and a cluttered space can result in sensory overload, causing anxiety, grumpiness, and even health problems.
We all have different sensory thresholds, though, which explains why one person can thrive surrounded by clutter, while another needs order and tidiness to feel happy. (That’s me!) It’s no wonder that family members run into problems when it comes to getting rid of their stuff!
The important thing to remember when you set out to de-clutter and get organized is to try to reach a healthy balance so everyone in the family is happy.
If you’re ready for a spring refresh, here’s the step-by-step plan I use to organize anything, whether it’s my home, paperwork, or time.
Let’s Get Organized! An Easy Step-by-Step Plan
1.To get yourself going, start with an out-and-out purge. Go through the cluttered spaces in your home with garbage bags and boxes, select everything you haven’t used, enjoyed, or noticed for the last two years and sort them to recycle, throw away, or donate to a good cause.
This may sound corny, but sometimes when I can’t decide whether to keep or discard an item, I touch it to see whether or not it still brings me joy. If not, it’s time to let it go. This is one of the many great tips I learned from Marie Kondo’s The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up.
Another thing that helps me let things go is to think about the people who will benefit from my donated items. It makes me feel good to think that someone else will receive joy from the things I’m not currently using.
2. Next, find creative storage solutions for what remains after your purge. Things like seasonal décor and clothing, tax records, unused art work, toys, photos, and keepsakes all need to be stored for future use.
Furniture and decorative accessories can often double as storage space and provide clutter control. Do you have a large armoire or cabinet with some empty space in it? You could use it to store extra pillows and blankets or even clothing. In my office, a pretty dresser not only displays family photos but doubles as storage space for paper, envelopes, note cards, and office supplies.
At this point, you might want to visit someplace like The Container Store to get some creative storage inspiration. Target also has aisles and aisles dedicated to simple and beautiful storage solutions for your kitchen, bath, closets, office, and garage. Think storage ottomans, baskets, shelves, cubbies, bins, drawer organizers, and under-the-bed boxes.
Something I use throughout our home are clear stacking plastic boxes with lids which I use to corral and organize random things. I have boxes for batteries, my glue gun and glue sticks, batteries, party supplies, art supplies, tape, small tools, light bulbs, old photos, etc. I simply label the front of each box and stack them in closets for easy access.
3. Rethink how you use your spaces. I’ve found that by using the spaces in our home wisely I can increase our storage space and decrease clutter. Thinking “outside the box” can result in solutions that are both creative and beautiful.
One such idea is to turn a rarely used dining room into a multipurpose room with shelves, cabinets, and a comfy chair or two. This solution allows you to store books and other items, gain space to read and study, and still maintain a space for dining.
Another solution that’s currently popular is to replace upper kitchen cabinets with open shelving. Since everyone can see what you display, this is a great way to ensure that what you have is both useful and beautiful.
4. Start using a household journal. You all know I love my journals. I keep a food journal, a prayer journal, a gratitude journal, and a garden journal. Another journal I recently added to my collection is a household journal.
Similar to a garden journal, a household journal keeps information you want to remember from year-to-year: paint colors, product sources, maintenance records, renovation expenses, and a place to record what you’re storing and where it’s located.
For example, I plan to start recording the holiday decorations I buy after Christmas so I don’t buy the same thing the following fall! (Which seems to happen a lot!)
5. Organize your day-to-day life. Once you get organized around the house, you’ll probably feel the urge to start organizing your days more efficiently, too. I hate to admit it, but lately I’ve been really inconsistent when it comes to time management. Instead of writing out daily to-do lists, I’ve just been winging it, which means I haven’t been getting as much done as I’d like to.
Just this week, though, I’ve resumed the habit of making daily to-do lists and reminders. Not only that, I’m using time blocking to help me better manage my days. This involves setting out specific times during the day to do specific tasks. After just a few days of time blocking, I’m feeling less stressed, more focused, and more productive.
If you’d like to read more on this subject, check out my posts on The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up, Organizing Your Kitchen, Organizing Your Office, Positive Habits for a Happy Life and the Pomodoro Method for more ideas and tips to help you get organized.
P.S. Click here if you’d like to download my free printable, shown below. As you start on your journey to get organized, use it as a reminder to keep only those things that you find useful or beautiful!