If you can’t see past the piles of laundry, papers, and toys in your home, it’s time to address the clutter. All of the excess stuff that takes up space in your closets, garages, and office only adds to your stress. But the good news is there’s a way out—you just have to let go of some of your possessions and put a system in place for keeping the clutter under control. Think about it: a home with less mess and a life without chaos. What will it take for you to achieve this? Read on!
“Most people have an emotional attachment to their things,” says Shanti Gordon, owner of Austin Home Organizers.
“The process of reviewing your inventory and storage needs gives you an opportunity to decide if you’re using the things you have and if the amount of space it is taking makes it worth keeping. If a material object is not being used, but it is adding to your daily stress by taking up valuable space, it is time to let it go.”
If you’re feeling overwhelmed at the thought of organizing your home, just remember that you don’t have to organize your entire house all at once. Start one room at a time to make it more manageable, and don’t hesitate to call on a professional if you need help.
Organizing Home Office
To organize your home office, the first step is knowing what office equipment will occupy the room, how many people will use the space at one time, and how all of the equipment will route to the appropriate outlets and data ports. Once the main layout is determined, you can focus more on how to organize the smaller items such as paperwork, writing utensils, staplers, and other office essentials.
“The equipment you will be using and how often you use it is a major consideration,” says Shanti Gordon with Closet Designs Austin. “For example, if you use your printer more than a scanner, then place this item closer to where you will be sitting for more efficient time management.” She adds, “It is important to get an office set up the right way, right from the start. People have a lot of work to get done in a set amount of time, and the right organization changes everything.”
One of the most efficient uses of space—and a good way to keep costs down—is to employ a double-hanging system for clothes storage, Gordon says. This means two rows of hanging storage, one over the other. Gordon also advises, “Have a space allocated for shoes so they don’t end up all over the floor.
A few drawers are always nice (if space allows) for undergarments, especially if your closet is off of the bathroom. This way you don’t have to go back through the bedroom to complete your wardrobe. Also, it is always useful to have at least a little long-hanging space for dresses, robes, long jackets, or other long items.”
Organizing the Garage
Garages seem to acquire all of the “overflow items” that you don’t want cluttering up your home. “America’s young families are becoming increasingly busy,” says Renee Campbell with Texas Custom Garages. “Kids’ activities, two working parents, and packed schedules lend to a build-up of ‘stuff.’ Sports equipment, lawn equipment, hobby materials, storage boxes … who has room for the car anymore?”
To control the clutter, Campbell recommends installing garage cabinets, which keeps the items behind doors and off of the floor, protected from damage. “A typical garage is often exposed to tough situations,” she explains. “Extreme temperatures, moisture, and dings and dents are all common to the garage environment.”
Finding what works for you
Whether you are tackling the garage or the kitchen, be sure to choose a product that works with your method of organization. For example, if you like to see where everything is, don’t create storage behind a lot of doors and drawers. But if you prefer to hide your clutter, create some “hidden storage” in your home. “If you have efficient storage and you create the home-within-a-home structure (placing items back into their ‘home’ when you’re finished using them), you have just turned yourself into an organization guru,” Persinger says. “It’s that easy.”
Conquering the clutter, once and for all
You may need to set aside a weekend to purge your home, and you might even need a professional organizer to help you. But once you have the mess under control, establish some good habits—such as the following—and stick to them:
- Discard all junk mail as soon as it enters the house.
- Place your keys in the same spot every time you come home.
- Purge the clothing your children have outgrown once a year.
If you can remember to do these simple things on a regular basis, you’ll be on your way to a well-organized home.