A house is not a home until it is lived in. And we’ll be honest: a lived-in home sometimes doesn’t look very pretty. Things can get messy and if we’re not careful, clutter could become a major headache—an additional “to do” in our already busy lives.
Fortunately, there are easy ways to take care of clutter and free up highly valuable real estate in your home. Here are five easy ways to organize and increase your living space.
Wait until you’ve gotten rid of things before buying organizing supplies. “You won’t have any idea of what you really need in terms of containers or shelving until you’ve purged,” said professional organizer Julie Isaacs.
And when shopping for supplies, remember: although you don’t want to spend too much, you do want to buy things that are pleasing so that you are more likely to enjoy and actually use them, as advised by certified professional organizer Bonnie Joy Dewkett.
Set aside a few minutes each day to clean up. This way you don’t have to spend the weekend sorting your things out. Dewkett advises to spend 10 minutes for tidying up, while organizing expert Alejandra Costello recommends 30 minutes. Use a timer to help track the time you spend organizing—and a system of reminders so that you don’t forget.
Organizing doesn’t need to be hard. An organizing system with fewer steps is better than one that has too many steps or steps that are too complicated, said certified professional organizer Kate Brown.
For instance, skip lids on containers of often used items, as they can create a bottleneck and encourage clutter. And, place these frequently used containers in accessible spots so that they can be easily carried away when needed.
Interior decorator Christopher Lowell has a few other suggestions. “The things you use daily should be the easiest to get to, while the things you use once in a while should require a step stool. Things you use only once a year should require a ladder”.
If you have a junk drawer, it’s time to say goodbye. Go through its contents and determine what should be thrown away or given away versus what you will actually use.
After purging, group similar items together and place them back to the drawer using container organizers. “There isn’t a drawer in your house that should not have container organizers in them,” said Lowell. These containers will help you put items where they belong instead of just throwing them into the drawer.
Organizing experts advise that when you bring one item into the house, you should be throwing or giving away a similar item. For minimalists, this is known as the one in, one out rule. If you buy a new piece of furniture, you should also be setting one of the old ones out on the curb. Ditto for clothing, books, toys—everything.
“For every drip into the bucket, there must be one drip out; this ensures that your household won’t flood, and threaten the progress you’re making,” says Miss Minimalist Francine Jay.
These tips to organize and increase living space are easy but the key to their effectiveness is to use them right away—otherwise they won’t do anything for you. If it’s too difficult to implement all five of these ideas, choose one and build on that foundation. Your home will be neater in no time!
What’s your biggest organizing problem? How have you tried to solve it?