We are two weeks into the new year, and we already have a “National ________ Day!” on the horizon. January 14th is “National Organize-Your-Home Day,” and I am here to help you get in the festive mood! We mentioned the mental health benefits of having a clean living space in our last blog, but I would like to take it a step further and give some tips and tricks to help you declutter! Living in clutter makes your mind feel cluttered. So, it is time to start taking those steps you have been putting off! The beginning of a new year is the perfect time to get into the organizing mood. Sometimes it is hard to know where to start, so let this be your guide! We are going to help you get and STAY organized!
- STEP 1: Walk Through Your Home With Fresh Eyes:
Have you ever looked in the mirror one day and thought suddenly, “Oh my gosh, I need a haircut! When did my hair get this long?” This phenomenon happens when something you encounter or look at everyday goes through small changes. Because the changes are so small, they do not alert you the same way that you would be alerted by someone dying your hair in your sleep. This can happen with the clutter in your home too. It may start with just a coat getting thrown over the banister instead of being put in a closet after a hard day, or letting your shoes pile up by the door instead of putting them away. These small instances of clutter can add up quick, and soon, you will feel like you are drowning in disorder. A great way to see just how cluttered your home may, or may not be, is to look at your home through a fresh set of eyes. Start at your front door, and walk through the home as if you were a guest visiting your home for the first time. What are some things that stick out to you? Maybe even keep a list on a pad of paper. This will allow you to tailor your tidying, not just to your own personal preferences, but to what your guests see as well! You may even find a project or two that you didn’t even realize you needed to do. To maintain your organization and cleanliness, try to do this process once a month and after holiday décor cleanup!
- STEP 2: Gut the Place!
It is hard to think about tidying up without thinking about Marie Kondo. In her best-selling book “The Life-Changing Art of Tidying Up,” Marie coins her world-famous line “Sparks Joy.” The sentiment described in the book is the way that you decide what needs to be kept, and what needs to go. This is an excellent method to use at the start of your cleaning. What things in your home are taking up useful space? Go through your home with a trashbag, or 5, and determine what your home does, and doesn’t, need. Clear out the clutter! This is the best place to start, since you don’t want to waste time moving around things that don’t need to take up space. To keep up with your tidying, I recommend doing this every 6months, to a year!
- STEP 3: Everything in Its Place
Everything must have a place. If it is going to stay, you should have a designated space for it to stay when you are not in use. The “Junk Drawer” mindset is easy to fall into, but organization at its core, requires knowing where items are at any given time. According to a study that IKEA reported on, 48% of all humans lose an item once a week. Those hours add up! The same study showed that the average amount of time we spend in a lifetime looking for missing items is almost 5,000 hours—that’s 6.5 months of our lives! It’s time to differentiate yourself from the “Average” human. Something that may be missing, are containers. Drawer organizers, clothing shelves, kitchen cabinets organizers, containers for your dry goods or vanity items may help you allocate places for all of your belongings. Taking the guess work out of locating items will save you stress, energy, and the most important currency that you own—TIME. Evaluate areas that may need some extra TLC. Come up with a gameplan—this should highlight organization AND functionality. You may need to get some containers, dividers, or organizers to get the job done! To stay organized, use this in tandem with step 4!
- Step 4: Create and USE Systems
The BIGGEST key to staying organized is using systems. You want to make all of your organization functional and easy, so that you are more likely to use the new systems. A system is a designated action, or set of actions, that you will use to ensure that you waste no time on looking for your things, or creating unnecessary clutter. This can be as something as simple as putting a key bowl next to your door, that everyone puts their keys in when they come home. They can also be more involved, like having a space designated for coffee items—such as coffee pods, creamers, and syrups, so you can restock stock them easily and have them all located near eachother for a quicker coffee-making experience in the morning. My favorite system that I have personally implemented in my own everyday life is holding myself to a “closing shift” at the end of each day. I get into the same mindset I had when I was working in a restaurant—reset the entire area, and make sure that you set yourself up to have an easy morning. Put the blankets away, run the dishwasher, wipe the countertops, put the coats on the rack; reset everything as if someone else will come behind you in the morning for an opening shift. Having systems will make your life so much easier, and can even have other effects such as boosting your mood, improvement in your punctuality, and more ease in your ability to relax! To stay organized, make sure to use your systems daily.
Don’t limit your organization to one day a year—make it a lifestyle! It will take practice and discipline, but it will most assuredly be worth it. I challenge you to add a new resolution to your list this year if you have not already—rid yourself of the burden of clutter!