10 Tips for Organizing Your Whole House

Getting your home and space organized can help you feel more in control of your environment. That sense of order can reduce stress, help you focus on your own well-being and achieve your other goals. Follow these tips to organize your whole home quickly and easily.

Set up a no-fail garage system

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A place for everything, and everything in its place (or at least you’ll be able to tell if it’s not).

I suggest starting out in the garage, because it can be one of the most overcrowded places in the house. Picture yourself driving into your garage and seeing at least one new system set up for easy use in the coming year.

Here’s an approach that’s simple, inexpensive, and quick to accomplish.

  1. Hang some peg board
  2. Put some tool hooks in the holes on the board
  3. Using a thick marker, draw an outline around each tool to reserve its location.

Your new tool organizing system will keep you organized, and alert you when tools are missing. This garage system also helps other family members put things away because it’s easy to see where to place each item.

Cut laundry time in half

How can one of the smallest rooms in the house seem so chaotic? And why does doing laundry seem to take up so much time?

Here’s a laundry system that will save you time and restore your sanity. First, provide everyone with their own laundry basket. Put family members’ names on the sides of the baskets so there are no lost items or mix-ups.

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Photo from Zillow listing

Now here’s the sweet secret. When the wash is done, rather than placing the clean laundry on the dining room table or the stairs (and watching everyone walk by without picking up their clothes), have everyone come to the laundry room to pick up their personalized basket of clean clothing.

Work some kitchen magic

The kitchen is the activity hub of most homes. It’s a busy area because family members or roommates use the kitchen at least three to five times a day. We open our mail here, study, read, use our laptops and tablets here – not to mention, it’s where the food is.

Because we have so many varied activities happening in the kitchen, it’s wise to create separate stations for those activities. One way to accomplish this is to invest in a rolling cart – whatever style and size works best in your kitchen.

Use this cart to establish a dedicated space for one of your most common activities. For example, create a lunch-making station stocked with a cutting board and knife, salt and pepper, paper towels, and non-perishable food items (bread, oranges and apples) and snacks. Create the space for your family to assist in making your life easier while also keeping one station of like-items together.

Put it in writing

Whether you’re a one-person household or a family of five, one tool can save your life or home: a household manual. The beauty of this handy tool is it doesn’t have to be compiled all at one time, and it costs you nothing to create.

Grab a three-ring binder and a three-hole punch, and keep your essential information in the binder. To get started, collect your emergency contact info and other vital information such as the name of your vet, school rosters, alarm codes, medication doses for your kids, the name of your father’s caregiver, and where your home’s gas shut-off valve is located.

As you continue to organize your home and find more essential documents, you can add to the binder. For those who prefer a digital approach, store your manual on a highly secure cloud service.

Get a charge

Many people are frustrated by cell phones, iPad chargers, memory sticks and tangled cords sprinkled throughout the house. Relaxation and recreation activities often seem to need the power of a charging station that’s easily accessible – and it doesn’t hurt if it’s attractive too.

One simple solution is to consider a charging station that conceals the cords, keeps all the electronic items together, and looks good while doing it.

Tell a tidier toy story

Whether it’s grandparents or new moms and dads, one of the biggest complaints of people who share their home with children is about picking up toys.

The “putting away” task is a skill that can and should be taught to children, as it’s important for establishing personal responsibility in kids as they grow into teens and then adulthood. Besides, putting away toys can be fun.

Here’s one idea that will shift your play storage situation from frustration to elation. Use colorful bins to hold toys, designating each bin to hold one type of toy, such as musical instruments, cars, dolls, games or Legos.

To make it even easier, find pictures of the toys in magazines or online, and use them to label the bins.

If you have dolls or stuffed animals in one bin, attach the matching picture to the front of the bin. Keep the number of bins small, but make sure the bins are large and easy to access.

Declutter the grownups’ bedroom closet

Bulging closets and growing piles of clean and dirty laundry may nix the possibility of either rest or romance. Decluttering in the bedroom creates a sanctuary for both.

Starting with the closet is good move. Once the space is clear, it all boils down to finding what you need when you need it.

Here’s a quick process for getting your closet in order:

  1. Clear the floor so you can move around easily.
  2. Make sure you have proper lighting.
  3. Pull everything out.
  4. Only put back in what fits you right now, is stain-free, and requires no repairs.

Set kids’ closets straight

For organizing kids’ clothes, there’s no better tool than a hanging shelving unit. Designate one pocket for each day of the week, and label it. Each weekend, pick out clothes for the following week, and put them in the pockets for the day your child will wear them. Imagine a calm morning without clothing conflict.

Bundle toiletries and grooming tools

Some bathrooms are small, and everyone seems to have their own favorite shampoo, hairbrush and brand of toothpaste. Drawer, cabinet and counter space tends to run out quickly.

If this is your situation, try assigning everyone in the house a bathroom caddy, loaded up with all their cosmetics, toiletries and grooming tools, and labeled with their name.

Store the caddies on a shelf in the bathroom or carry them to and from the bedroom. The bathroom stays organized, and there’s an automatic clean-up built in after every visit.

Simplify – and go easy on yourself

Eliminating clutter is the best thing you can do to make your home feel more manageable. Less clutter means less stuff to clean and organize in the first place; take just 10 minutes today, and eliminate 10 items you no longer need.

Most importantly, don’t get too hung up on the details. Your home doesn’t have to be perfectly organized every day. Sometimes “good enough” is just fine.

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Originally published January 2016