It’s been my goal to get our household organized top to bottom, I made a New Years resolution to do it and finally stuck to it. What a difference it makes. I’ve noticed that it has helped calm down much of the chaos in the house not only for myself but for the kids and hubby as well. When everything is orderly and predictable it lends itself to schedules, routines, meal times, and other things being orderly and predictable. For a household with 6 people, this is a MUST.
I think there are a few important steps to tackling whole house organization. I’ll outline them in more detail below:
Step 1: Purge
- Take everything out of each space
- Sort into keep, toss, sell
Step 2: Organize
- Define the functionality of each space
- Put everything back in according to your new system of functionality
I think it’s impossible to get a handle on organization in your home until you get rid of the excess, the noise, the junk. So we started by going room to room purging. When I get rid of things I use the typical “keep, toss, sell” mentality and sort things accordingly.
The first obvious choice for purging is clothing. We went through everyone’s clothes one closet at a time and donated all of our clothing to a local task force that helps provide things to those in need. I liked this option much more than dumping everything at Goodwill.
Once the clothes were done I made a list of all of the areas of the house that need to be purged. This 30 Day Declutter Challenge printable is a great list whether you do one item per day or do a bunch of them in a weekend. Don’t forget to add things to your purge list that you typically forget about like the medicine cabinet, your kitchen spices, gift wrapping, junk in the car, your purse, etc.
Where to Toss?
Once you have purged all of the areas of your home it’s time to do something with the “toss/donate” pile. There are plenty of places to offload your things. If you have actual trash items you can have a junk company come and grab it for you, rent a small dumpster, or head off to your local trash dump with a trailer of things. You can also list things online as “free” you’d be surprised what someone may want and will gladly come and pick up.
Where to Donate?
For your donation items you can head to a donation center, call a company to come pick it up for you like Arc or the VA, donate to a shelter, etc. I had plenty of items I was able to donate to my kids school from craft supplies to books my kids no longer wanted. I found a local prom dress charity to take my outdated formal wear and bridesmaid dresses. A great list of alternative donation places is here.
The last step of the purge is to tackle the sell pile. This is my least favorite part because it requires a bit of effort, if it becomes too overwhelming I’ll just go donate things to save myself the headache. A few extra bucks is nice but so is my sanity. Obviously a garage sale is the most popular option for a sell pile, we do this once a year. Outside of that you can post things on Craigslist or the Facebook Marketplace or other sites like Varagesale.com or Ebay. These options require more effort but may get you a better price for your things. If you’re using any of these options be cautious! Don’t give out your address, meet buyers in a populated place, never alone. You know the deal.
Whether you’re creating a diagram or flow chart, a list, whatever you need to envision the best way for that particular space to function. Go to that space and think about how you use it, are there things you would change to make that run more smoothly. It sounds silly at first but it really helps! Think of the organization based on the functionality of that space.
For a kitchen you would keep items that you use daily on lower shelves and you’d put things you only pull out once a year in more obscure areas. In a closet maybe you sort clothes by season maybe you sort your clothes by use- work, active wear, casual. Or maybe your sort your clothes by type- pants, shirts, jackets. Find a way to sort things to increase the functionality of the space.
Once you’ve decided on a layout for best function, pull everything out of the space and then put it all back in according to your new layout. A great guide to decluttering room by room with functionality diagrams is over here.
Once you’ve purged, decluttered, and organized your mind will feel so much more at ease! I was surprised by how much of a difference it made for the entire family.
Enjoy the zen….