“For every minute spent in organizing, an hour is earned.”
Let’s get into one of the bigger headaches when it comes to the upkeep of a home—organization. For many, it is just as hard to get organized as it is to stay organized. However, for your home to be functional and not cumbersome, organization is vital. You want cleanliness for purity and you want organization to add fluidity and function.
… putting everything in order.
Pantry overhaul and cupboard clear out.
Over time, our pantry and cupboards collect so many things, it’s impossible to know what’s actually in them. One would think we would use everything in them, but we don’t. Usually, this is because we don’t have time, overbuy, or impulse buy. Who eats that many Oreos anyway? It never surprises what I find in them during spring cleaning.
Go through your pantry and cupboards to discard expired items or other items you no longer want. If they are still good, I suggest donating them. After this, you are left with the food items that you extensively use—or a lot of space. Decide how you want to keep your goods. You may want to put everything into clear containers or keep them in their original packaging. However you do it, make sure there’s a place for each item and a structure.
Organize the pantry and cupboard for convenience and function. For example, I am barely above five feet, so items that I frequently use are at eye level in the pantry and up front on the shelves in the cupboards. I also bake a lot, so all my baking essentials are grouped on a shelf in my pantry.
To help keep these areas organized, constantly face your shelves. Bring old and open items to the front then move new ones to the back and rotate them in this manner.
No more miscellaneous
Okay. Maybe one. We all have that one drawer that is reserved for items that don’t exactly fit elsewhere or are frequently used. But that should be it! Only one free-for-all drawer. All of your other storage spaces ought to be organized. Create a system so items can be easily grouped and found. For example, all measuring dishes in one drawer.
Out with the old
Make space for new things (literally and figuratively). Just as we don’t like it when our minds are overburdened, our spaces shouldn’t be either. Old things pile up easily. It’s time to sort through clothes, shoes, accessories, books, linen… everything. While I don’t have enough time to go through every household item, here are some things to keep in mind when clearing the old and creating space for the new…
Discard broken, torn, and non-functional items. If you haven’t fixed it in the last year, you probably don’t need it. Yes, this includes clothes. If you are not a seamstress, it’s time to get rid of that blouse with a hole in the elbow.
Discard items whose function is also encompassed by another item. There’s no point in having two of basically the same things unless it is an item you use frequently or simultaneously with another item.
Have you gone through your closet yet? This is an easy place for things to be lost and forgotten about. Pull out shoe boxes and garment bags. Collect old clothes, shoes, and accessories that are still in good condition, but you haven’t touched in more than a year. It’s time to part ways with these items and send them off to Goodwill or resell on apps like Poshmark. Give your closet a functional system, separating bottoms, tops, footwear, and intimates. You may even want to go a step further by categorizing by season and colors. Further considerations may include seasonal capsule closets and wardrobes.
Recycle or resell old books. Particularly for academia due to the fast pace of technology, it is not recommended to hold on to publications more than a decade old. The only exceptions are for niche topics and classical works and materials.
Apply these ideas to whatever is in your home and taking up space. Things you have been meaning to go through and the like.
Get the idea?
Some items to not forget… old pillows, mattresses, rugs, mats, bathroom curtains, shades, valences, and so on. When planning to replace these items, it is important to ask the following questions: Is it necessary? Does it spark joy in my life? Is it helpful?
File and fill
Create a filing system for all your old important documents. It does not have to be an overly complicated system. It can be as easy as sorting through your papers, strapping a rubber band around them, placing a sticky with a date on them, and using a cubby space in the closet or under the bed. I’m a firm believer in reusing; so, if you’re up for it, you can use large boxes that were heading for recycling as under-bed or closet storage. Creative? Spruce up those boxes with paint and dividers.
Perhaps you don’t want to go all out and, in fact, want to completely clear your space of loose or collected papers. This is where a little bit of tech-savviness comes in. Create a folder that you can easily get to on your desktop. Scan all your documents and input them into this folder. For those that are critical or sensitive, I suggest enabling a passcode entry. After your documents are now digitally secured, recycle and shred important documents.
This concept of file and fill also applies to things that we use in our home, but on occasions. This would include seasonal decorations, cookware, linen, and the like. Securely store items that are used intermittently throughout the year. I recommend clear storage bins for easy identification and wheels for heavy items. You can also scan old photos, childhood artwork, and similar.
Tips and tricks
Organization is all about maintenance and efficiency. When you get organized, you want to stay organized. For this reason, it is important to implement systems that ensure just that. Check on your large appliances and additional purchases. There are recommendations for when to update these items.
Organization helps simplify your life. At the end of the day, you want to be able to find things easily, know their function, and that they work. You don’t want to be overwhelmed by your space or struggle to find needed items.
It’s time to get started organizing.