It happens to everyone: we leave one dirty dish in the sink, and ten more seem to appear. That small pile of laundry in our closets quickly snowballs into a messy mountain. And before you know it, our homes are a crazy disarray of stacked mail and cluttered shelves.
A home should be an escape from the chaos of work and school, not an overwhelming reminder of all that you have going on in your busy life. After all, it will be impossible to relax if your life is strewn across your bedroom floor.
You don’t have to go all Danny Tanner on us, but everyone will admit that they’re happier when living in a more organized environment. Utilize these tips in your daily routine and take control of your home (and your life).
1. De-clutter a little bit every day. Barely anyone has a weekend that they can fully devote to sorting through the junk in their home, so tackle your clutter gradually by tossing out five things every day. Whether it’s old mail, empty perfume bottles, or worn out clothing, you’ll be surprised by how much space items like these will free up.
2. Keep everything in a logical place. It may sound easy, but bottles of nail polish easily turn up everywhere and more often than not, coats are draped over kitchen chairs — not hung up in closets like they’re supposed to be. Once a week, take a bin and do a quick run-through of every room in your house. If something is in the wrong place, throw it in the bin, then go back and put the items where they actually belong.
3. Speaking of keeping everything in a logical place, do not keep a junk drawer. It’s the key to staying organized. Things tend to disappear in these deep, dark places — things like pens, ribbons, tubes of lip gloss, post-its, decks of playing cards, take-out menus — you name it. Put these objects in their rightful places and keep them there. Organize take-out menus and recipes pulled from magazines in binders.
4. Maximize storage space in the kitchen. In cabinets, stack short glasses and store stemware so that every other glass is upside down. Keep items that you use most often on the first shelf. Organize cutlery in drawer organizers and keep frequently used cooking utensils in the same container. Also, everyone has at least one cupboard in their kitchen that, when opened spills its contents everywhere. To avoid cupboard clutter, invest in reusable plastic containers that have a stacking lid system.
5. When decorating your home, look for items that are multi-purpose. For example, a decorative bowl on a coffee table can be home to your remote controls; one in the kitchen will give keys and pens a place to stay. Deal with bulky packaging in the bathroom by using apothecary jars to store items like cotton balls, q-tips, soaps, and bath salts. These space savers add a homey feel to your living space while providing practicality at the same time.
6. Make your bed everyday. It’s the focal point of your room, so if it’s tucked and folded, it will inspire you to keep your dirty laundry off the floor and in the hamper. If you go to bed in an environment that’s messy and disorganized, you’ll wake up feeling overwhelmed.
7. In your closet, take inventory of what you own. Seeing that you have eighteen pairs of skinny jeans should motivate you to get rid of a few pairs. When you find something that’s ripped or torn, think realistically. Is it worth being repaired? If so, take it to a tailor or seamstress immediately. If not, donate it to the Salvation Army or a second-hand shop— it’s just going to linger in your closet for months and take up space anyway. And each time you go shopping, get rid of a few things first. This will prevent things from piling up, and maybe one day, you’ll actually be able to shut your closet doors.