Getting Organized at Home

Getting Organized at Home

Just thinking about getting organized at home can wear you out; but with these handy tips that help you tackle different areas of your house one at a time, you will definitely be able to manage what you think is a colossal task.
We are so used to hanging on to the smallest things that they all end up in a mountain of clutter in the house. Apart from that, somehow we're always in a hurry. This means our things are never in the right place, and can never be easily found at the right time. Organization is not a difficult task if you do your bit everyday. Initially it may seem difficult, given you're not used to it. However, you are going to have to accustom yourself to it as a way of life, so that you can see the difference it makes. The feeling of being able to locate something immediately when you need it is something you should experience at least once in your lifetime! Not only that, getting organized has a therapeutic effect on the mind. Try it out and see for yourself.

Helpful Tips

Start your housekeeping process by tackling different areas in your house one at a time. Taking on the entire task and hoping to complete it over a weekend is unrealistic, and is definitely going to demoralize you. Do a little everyday. This will even give you time to get into the habit. Presented here are tips that will help you to conveniently organize different areas of your home.

Entrance Foyer
  1. Accommodate a wall mounted key stand where you hang your keys, everyday, after you return form work. This makes it easier to find them when you leave. If you have the space to keep a foyer table, you can keep a tray where you toss all your keys so that they are easily accessible. These can also be placed on an enclosed shoe rack.
  2. Keep a well-ventilated shoe cabinet with louvered shutters, or an open shoe rack in the foyer. Next to it, place a basket where you can keep all the socks. If possible, place a small cushion on the enclosed shoe rack, so you can comfortably sit and wear your shoes. If not, keep a small stool or chair for this purpose.
  3. If possible, at the entrance of your house or apartment, have a place where you can toss the mail. That doesn't mean just let it messily lie atop a counter. Have a drawer where you can place the mail. Also, make it a point to open the mail either daily or weekly. Initially, you will have to remind yourself to do this regularly, else you are going to face a huge mountain of mail which you are bound to dodge all the time.
  4. As far as possible, try to sign up for an e-billing service where bills are sent right to your e-mail inbox. This minimizes a little bit of the clutter, and you're even doing your bit for the environment by saving paper!
Living Room
  1. Use minimal cushions on your couch. The more you use, the more likely you are to lose things, such as the remote or a pen or any other thing, under them. Get a center table with a shelf underneath, where you can keep the remote and the newspaper of the particular day.
  2. You may have newspapers and magazines lying everywhere. Get a rack or designate an area where you keep them all after reading.
  3. Some of you may have kept a study desk in the living room. Keep your desktop clear by keeping everything in your drawers, so that it is clear for you to open mail, write checks, and perform other necessary activities. Your drawers may become cluttered because it is easy to hide what you don't need in a drawer. But you need to make it a point to ensure that even your drawers are organized to a certain extent. It may take a while, but you will get used to it.
  4. It is ideal to have drawers with partitions in them, so that you can easily organize things as per their type and your requirement. If you don't have a drawer with a partition, create one yourself by using some cardboard, or just visual partition by dividing things according to their size/color or any other parameter.
Dining Area
  1. At the center of the dining table, keep a small tray with condiments that you may require while dining. This includes salt and pepper, a few herbs, perhaps some olive oil or some hot sauce, and some paper napkins.
  2. If possible, accommodate a cabinet for your fancy crockery that can be placed in the dining area. This need not be a full height cabinet. It can be a lower one too, with the top being used as a sideboard to place elaborately prepared dishes, in case you have a large gathering.
  3. If you use the dining table for things other than eating, such as sorting bills/mail, doing homework, or working, ensure you clear up once you are done. Don't leave the mess around to accumulate.
Kitchen
  1. In your kitchen, create an area where you keep your phone, your cell phone charger and a notepad with a pen at hand. Use a tray to keep all these things so that you don't keep misplacing them. Have a drawer or a wall bracket where you can store take out menus.
  2. Keep items that you use on a daily basis together. For instance, the chopping board and knives should be easily accessible from one area. On a shelf, place cooking oil and regularly used herbs and spices. Keep vegetables such as onions, garlic and potatoes at hand, in a basket. Ensure that the countertops are kept clear for the purpose of preparation. A small storage unit specifically used for the utensils you use regularly is a great way to get organized in the kitchen.
  3. Use the kitchen cabinets to store dry goods according to type. For instance, coffee beans/ground coffee, breakfast cereal, oats, crackers, should be stored in one area. Use another cabinet to store rice, beans, sugar, flour, etc. Ideally, these should be stored in plastic see-through containers so that they may be spotted quickly and accessed easily. Place canned goods, jams and sauces in another cabinet. Further, canned beans should be kept separate from canned goods. The whole purpose of organizing your kitchen in this manner is not only good organization and easy accessibility, but also a great way to plan your next shopping trip.
  4. For spices, use a tiered spice jar holder, or a spice carousel that can be placed in an empty but easily accessible space on your countertop. These occupy unnecessary space in the cabinet, especially when you require them on a daily basis.
  5. Keep a cabinet for dishes. Place dishes used regularly on a lower level, and ones used less often at a higher level. Keep mugs and glasses in a row on an easily accessible shelf. Ideally, this cabinet should be close to the dining area within the kitchen.
  6. Keep pots and pans within one another so that you can save on space. Keep the lids in another tray, so that you can reach them easily. Again, the ones that you use more often should be kept closer at hand.
  7. Use wall mounted shelves to keep recipe books, and if the space permits, a few decorative items. This provides a good focal point along with accommodating the necessary storage requirements.
Bedroom
  1. Get a nightstand that can accommodate a lamp, a book, an alarm clock, your reading glasses, and has a drawer where you can keep medicines, if necessary. Also ensure that it has a shelf where you can keep magazines and the like. Other things that are not used when you are in bed should not be kept on the nightstand.
  2. Use the space under your bed wisely. First measure the space you have between the underside of your bed and the floor. Then, use it keep all the extra linen, comforters, and other items which you don't use on a daily basis. Ideally, you can place them in a basket with wheels and a cover so that it doesn't get dirty. Use a skirt to conceal the space under the bed. With this method you are likely to go overboard, and again, clutter up the area under your bed simply because it is concealed. You are going to have to make a conscious effort to avoid this and keep the clutter minimal.
  3. Keep cosmetics and perfumes neatly on the dresser top. Cosmetics are best placed in a decorative tray so that they don't wander here and there. In your dresser, use the drawers to keep small accessories you use daily, such as your jewelry and watches. You can also use these drawers to keep your wallet after you return from work instead of tossing it here and there and frantically looking for it when in a hurry.
  4. If you have extra drawers, use them to place your undergarments, by creating compartments for men and women's underwear separately. You can use small, long plastic containers to divide spaces. When folded neatly, these occupy minimal space so you can accommodate your undergarments easily in these drawers.
Kids' Bedroom
  1. Whether your child is an infant, a toddler, or a teenager, organizing her/his bedroom can be a herculean task. For your infant, keep a bag where you can store all his/her toys. It is easy to carry this bag wherever you go, without having to separately transport each and every toy all the time.
  2. For toddlers, keep the toys in a basket, or in a bench toy box, or in drawers in her/his room. These should preferably be without lids, so your toddler can easily remove and place back toys without your help.
  3. For your school-going kid's closet, create compartments that serve the purpose of organizers. These can be used to keep the clothes for the next day, assignments, stuffed toys, bags, and other such necessary items. Have sufficient hanging space in the closet with a hanger rod, as well as hooks for scarves, caps, etc.
  4. As soon as your child becomes a teenager, her/his room is going to transform magically. This means you can finally give away all those toys and actually let her/him renovate the room. A space for music and musical instruments, such as a hook for a guitar, works well to keep these items safe. A gaming console should have a unit where it is stored, with all the batteries, CD's, cords, etc.
Bathrooms
  1. Keep shampoos and soaps together near the bathing area by using specialized racks for this purpose. You can install corner shelves or simply use a rack that hangs from the shower head, to place all your necessary essentials. Remember to install these storage items as per your requirements. For instance, if you use a loofah, there should be a hook to hang it from. If you use a bar soap, there should be a holder for the same. Ensure these items are sturdy and don't topple over when you are trying to reach out for any particular item.
  2. If your bathroom has the space, place a laundry basket in a dry area, where all clothes to be washed can be collected. If possible, keep two separate baskets; one for dark clothes and the other for light clothes, so that it is easier to just quickly toss them in the washing machine. Also, for the little ones, accommodate a toy basket with holes so that the toys can dry up there after they have been used. These baskets also help in preventing the formation of any kind of odor that may emanate due to the toys being wet.
  3. All ointments, lotions, oils, mouthwash, antiseptics, shaving cream, razors, and other pills should find their place in a medicine cabinet. This is particularly useful for those of you who do not have a basin countertop in the bathroom.
  4. Many of you may be in the habit of taking something to read while in the bathroom. Keep a rack there (preferably at a height so it doesn't get wet), so you can easily access and store reading material, and keep a clutter-free bathroom.
Finally, you must get rid of or organize all the clutter in your house. Things that you haven't used in 5 years, you will definitely not use now. Keep a basket where you toss all the things you haven't used in while. If you find yourself using them in the next 6 months, you can keep them. If you don't, you must get rid of them. You already have a lot to deal with and unnecessary clutter is definitely not going to help your purpose of getting organized at home. Keep it simple, keep it clean, and stay organized. Good luck!
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