As I was taking down my Christmas decorations last weekend (thankful that my husband was willing to climb up into the attic in 10-degree temps), I thought about how I could re-organize my living areas so that I could create more usable space in my home.
As a professional home stager and interior decorator, the first recommendation that I have for home owners and home sellers is to declutter as much as possible. However, we still have items that we use regularly and therefore, we need to find space system to make them accessible without creating clutter. Here are 5 EASY tips on how to become better organized in 2017:
1. Work in One Room at a Time
My friend, who is a professional organizer, recommended a great organizational book called, ‘Organizing from the Inside Out’ by Julie Morgenstern. In this book, she recommends tackling one room at a time instead of trying to reorganize multiple rooms on the same day. Otherwise, we become distracted. For instance, you might decide to organize your main office and while sorting the built-in shelving unit, you see a book that belongs in another room. You then take the book to the bookshelf in the other room and notice that it is completely disorganized and begin organizing the bookshelf. After hours of organizing, you realize that the room you set out to organize is in even more disarray than when you began. It is best to put that ‘misplaced book’ in a pile to be moved later into the correct spot and finish the room you started. When I took down my Christmas decorations, I practiced this technique by stowing items from one room at a time. Next year, when I open my boxes, every item in each box will go back into the same room and it will make it much easier for me to redecorate in December.
If you are a parent, I’m sure you can relate to an over-abundance of toys and clothing in your house after the holidays. It is time to decide as a family which items are ready to be donated to those who can use these unused items in your home. Charities like Purple Heart and the The Salvation Army are easy to contact online and they will gladly pick up your donated items. If you aren’t sure, ask yourself, “Have I worn this item of clothing in the past year?” This year, I gave my kids a couple of bags and asked them to make choices on which toys they still play with each week. I was surprised at how many of them they were willing to part with and they felt good about giving to charity too. This is a great way to empower kids to make decisions and in turn, become more charitable and organized adults.
3. Divide Each Room by ‘Zones’
Another tip that I learned from Julie Morgenstern’s book is to divide each space by zones. For instance, in a living area, you may have an entertainment zone where you need remote controls, blankets, pillows, space to set food. You may also have a reading zone where you need storage for books or magazines. Another zone might be for toys or display. Each zone should have storage for your necessary items and these storage boxes or baskets, etc. should be nearby so that it is easy to clean up after you are finished using these areas. If storage is not accessible, it becomes easy to leave things out, creating a cluttered room.
4. Keep a Schedule
Keep a weekly cleaning schedule for you and your family. It helps us stay on task. Even if you have outside cleaning help, they will not help if your house is cluttered and disorganized. To make the job easier, first have a schedule of when you do what: For example, laundry is Monday nights; bathrooms are Saturday morning; trash is Sunday nights, etc.
5. Limit your Organizing Time and Take Care of Yourself
When you have an organized home, you have more time to eat right, exercise, socialize and take care of yourself and your family. When you decide to begin organizing, limit your project to 2-4 hours and set a timer. Otherwise you might burn out and decide to quit too early. These first steps of organizing are the building blocks that create a happier and healthier life.
For more information on improving your home, visit www.firstimpressioninterior.com.
Do you have any organizing tips? Leave your comments here.