Getting your home organized can be very overwhelming. We don’t all have the time, patience or dexterity to fold our shirts origami style or put our books in rainbow order and we can’t all live in a stoic concrete box like Kim Kardashian (Seriously, not one tchotchke?!). Don’t get me wrong, I love a good pantry organizing TikTok as much as the next mom, but when it comes to organizing my home, I need a happy medium.
If you’re not ready to go full Marie Kondo minimalist, fear not, I’m with you. I like order and organization, but you know what else? I like my stuff. In this post, I’m sharing the tips and products that have helped me make our home more organized and, most importantly, more functional:
1. When in doubt, label it.
If I had a dollar for every time I got asked, “Where is the [ITEM]?” or “Is this the right [ITEM]?” A label maker can help everyone find what they need, especially if you’ve removed items from their original packaging after watching one too many TikToks.
2. Tackle the “junk drawer.”
We’ve all got one. That drawer in the kitchen or office that just seems to be a magnet for anything and everything. But taking the time to organize it with some small bins or containers will make it much easier to navigate going forward.
3. Invest in the right storage options.
Walking into one of those organizational stores, I’ll always run the risk of blacking out and buying everything. Do I need to decant all of our cereal? No. But choosing the right options to store valuables like china, holiday decor or keepsakes is worth it.
Measure your shelves and spaces before you go so you have an idea what will fit (I learned this the hard way).
4. Choose “functional” over “pretty.”
If you spend hours, days or weeks making your home look pretty but then you can’t find anything, you’ve defeated the purpose. I’ll go back to the rainbow books option — it looks amazing, but I can’t always remember the color of that cookbook I need.
5. Utilize dead spaces.
There are probably lots of dead spaces in your home just begging to be used. Hang a shelf above a bathroom door for linens or tuck a rolling shelf between the refrigerator and the wall. Every bit of space can be utilized, you just have to get a little creative.
6. Create zones.
With so many of us working from home now, the areas of our home may be blurring together. That’s why it’s important to create work, dining and hangout zones. Designate a zone for dropping bags and shoes and one for all of your home’s cleaning supplies. This year my goal is to tackle our “drop zone”. We have a hallway where I envisioned everyone neatly storing their shoes and backpacks, but it’s clearly not working because the mess is making its way into the kitchen.
7. Think “up.”
Get things off surfaces like countertops and the floor as much as you can. Hanging baskets, shelves and over-the-door organizers can help you lift the clutter away and to whomever created those sticky strips that don’t damage walls, I raise my glass to you.
8. Keep the important things together.
Essential items like keys, bills and other notices should always be easy for everyone to find. Choose a place you all pass by daily to keep the mail, hang a calendar for managing schedules and add a board for reminders and notes. I’ll admit that I’m the one that invented our paperwork system and it doesn’t make sense for Penn. It’s a priority to come up with one that works for our family moving forward.
9. Make your wardrobe seeable.
If you can’t see it, you probably won’t wear it. Spending the time to organize your closet will save you time and money down the road. Group like items together and think of a system that works for your lifestyle — if you pretty much always wear pants and a sweater during the week, put those items near each other. I did the thing where I organized everything by color, but it just doesn’t work in my closet. It looks great, but it’s not “shoppable”.
I also like to do a seasonal cleanout, especially of our clothing. Once a season has ended, if you haven’t worn something, it’s time for it to be donated or sold. One way to gauge what you’re actually wearing is to tie a ribbon around each hanger in your closet. Once you wear something, remove the ribbon. Any ribbons left at the end of the season will be easy to spot.
10. Hide those cords.
Exposed electric cords are like nails on a chalkboard for me. If I see one, I can’t stop staring at it. Cord hooks and management boxes can help you hide the clutter, and be sure to use power strips with surge protectors when you can for added safety.
Do you have any organizational tips that have changed your home for the better? Share your suggestions in the comments.
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