When clients first reach out to me, they always start off by saying, “I’m overwhelmed by my home, and all I want is for it to feel clean, organized and clutter free.” What a great start! You’re ready for a change, and you have clear idea of what you want. But what we need to do is turn your visions into goals. If you just start organizing without making a plan, you’re likely to get burned out and not see the outcome you want. Here are some tips on setting your goals:
For example: I want an entrance way where it’s easy for my family to hang our coats, put away our shoes and store other items.
Repeat this for as many goals as you have. When you’re stuck on a decision, see if it will help bring you to your goal or not.
a) I will go through every item and decide if it still fits, is current season and if we need it.
b) I will create easy-to-access areas for all family members, keeping in mind their sizes and their time and activities they’re involved in. (For anyone with a busy schedule, the less stuff they have to maintain the better the chances of keeping it picked up.)
c) I will walk through with each family member and explain to them how I set up the area and what I expect of them.
d) I will take it upon myself that four times a year I will go through and do a mini-maintenance check.
Following through and staying on task can be the difficult part, especially when you want to work on your whole home and make positive changes. Don’t get discouraged. It can be hard to feel like you’re doing all this work but there are still areas to work on. Just remember your home didn’t become this way overnight, so it’s going to take some time and thought to get it to feel the way you want it. This is huge! I see people all too often giving up right when they’re about to turn a corner on getting their home organized. Find out what you need to do to hold yourself accountable as well as your family members. It’s okay to ask for help. I often work with clients helping them break down the home into doable goals and show them how to set it up in a way they can maintain it. It can be helpful to have someone holding you accountable by setting up bi-weekly or monthly meetings.
This time of year we often want to sit back and give thanks—for family, friends, and what we’ve accomplished in the past year. You never hear anyone say they’re thankful for a closet filled to the brim or cupboards full of excess stuff. Usually the clutter starts creeping out into your home if your storage areas are not set up right. So let’s take this time before the holidays to get rid of the excess clutter and design our home so we can welcome people over without stressing about what our house looks like. I truly believe every room should be able to be picked up in 15 minutes or less—if it’s designed right!
- First define all the areas you want to clear up. It can become overwhelming to think you need to organize your whole home at once. If you make a list of the areas you want to tackle and then break it down to small doable steps, it won’t seem overwhelming. Just as clutter collects clutter, I believe getting organized in just one area inspires you to keep going.
- Now that you’ve defined the areas you want to work on, let’s take a look at why they’re clogged? Does the space have too many purposes? Is it trying to hold too much? Once you’ve defined the problem, you can work your way to a solution. What do you want and need the space to be used for? Be realistic, otherwise you’ll find yourself in the same spot.
For example: If you have a closet that holds memories, clothes that don’t fit, home decor overflow, gifts and gift wrapping, that’s way too much! Look at the space and the size of the closet. Then decide what’s really needed of your clothes, gifts, etc. and how many purposes the closet can fill.
Another example: Mudrooms can easily become out of hand. If they’re feeling clogged, you may need to do seasonal switches more often. I know the weather can be fickle, but if you have another coat closet, keep the overflow nearby. Do you need easy access to all your hats and scarves or can you have current favorites available and the others nearby?
- Now we purge! Go through all the items you’ve pulled out of your closets, cupboards and storage areas and decide what to keep in that space, what to keep but store elsewhere, what to donate, and what to dump. Keep asking yourself if this item will add to the space feeling lighter or clogged?
- So we now have the goals and purposes for each space. Re-evaluate if it’s set up to suit your needs. Do you need some shelves, hooks, or bins? I love taking advantage of vertical space by adding shelves in closets or bins in cupboards, and hooks where they’re helpful.
- Now the maintenance part. Your space is set up and is neat and organized. You need to keep it that way!! If your room and storage areas are set up and designed to fit your needs, you should be able to pick it up in 15 minutes or less. I suggest picking one night a week to put the room back in tip-top shape. That way it doesn’t get out of hand.
Whew! You finally got the kids off to school and have some time on your hands. With them out of your hair, it may be the perfect time to work on their rooms and the house to make the change from summertime mayhem to back-to-school organization. Here are some great tips to restore order to your home and life:
Lorraine was extremely organized and efficient and helped us to…stay focused… She interacted with several family members…and she was positive and personable with everyone. She also had many great suggestions about how to divide up some of our family treasures. Her ideas worked well; everyone in the family felt like they had input and that it was a fair process. Lorraine was a blessing to our family…She is extremely professional and I would definitely hire her again! ~ Amy
Home Free is a professional organizing company specializing in home organization, downsizing, and moving support. Owner, Lorraine Bohonos, helps homeowners reduce clutter, create organizing systems, and be supported through downsizing and moving. Her ultimate goal is to provide her clients with more time, more energy, and less stress—as well as a beautiful space for them to thrive.
If you have any questions about these tips and would like to get my free assessment of your situation, please contact me: http://homefreeorganize.com/contact.
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