Your home is for living, not storing

“This is the year I am going to get my home organized!”

 I have been hearing these words from clients as we started the new year organizing together.

January is “Get Organized & Be Productive (GO) Month”, so it’s a great time to give you a few “professional” tips on getting organized.  The new year brings new energy.  This time of year, we are also spending more time indoors.  The combination of these things make this a perfect time to get a few spaces organized.

Clutter and disorganization can drain your energy and contribute to unwanted stress, frustration, and anxiety. I have said many times, I can actually see my client’s stress and weight lift as we begin the decluttering process.  I also find, that once we get started on the process, the motivation to continue builds and builds.  We go from space to space to space!


The following article gives some great information on the many benefits of having an organized home.


In this post, I have included 7 important tips as you begin to think about decluttering and organizing.


-Start with the area that bothers you the most.

If a stranger took a tour of your home, what would be the most embarrassing part?  What would you find yourself apologizing for? What irritates you the most? This is the area that  you should start with first.

If it all bothers you, start with the space you see when you open your eyes in the morning.

messy utensil drawer

This utensil drawer is likely to be a sore spot. The items are used frequently, and are difficult to find in this state.


-Go for a quick win.

Choose a small area that can be easily completed. By tackling a small, easy project first, you set yourself up for success and are further motivated to tackle the areas that you struggle with emotionally.

A junk drawer, a utensil drawer, a portion of a medicine cabinet.  These are all examples of spaces that can be completed relatively quickly to get the momentum going.


-Gather supplies before diving in.

Be sure to have trash bags or boxes on hand to sort items into. Suggested categories: Keep, Sell, Donate, Recycle, Trash. Use opaque black trash bags for trash, white bags for recycle, and clear trash bags for donate.(You don’t want to accidentally throw away donations OR donate trash!)  Use bags to donate soft items and cardboard boxes for heavy, hard or fragile items.

garbage bags

Having supplies ready to go will insure a smooth process.


-Set retention guidelines for specific categories of items.

Similar to keeping tax paperwork for 7 years, set guidelines for other items you own. For example, any magazines over 1 year old can be donated or recycled.

Clothing in need of repair has a 1 month expiration date. If they are not repaired in a month, the item can go. If a dish is chipped, it can be donated or tossed.

By deciding ahead of time, you relieve yourself of decision fatigue and/or emotional attachments.

stack of newspapers

Decide how many papers, magazines, etc,, that you will keep


-Create positive habits & routines to maintain organization.

Think through the areas that you organized and how often you should touch them up. Think about ways you can be proactive in life, like packing lunches and setting out clothes the night before. Every day before you leave your office (even if it’s at home), clear off your desk and stack notes/papers in an empty drawer.  Go through the papers and mail  that have piled up, pay bills and file items that need to be retained, at least weekly.


-Get family members involved.

Set a timer for 15 minutes before bedtime and play fun music while everyone tidies the house. Make a game of it – the person who finds the most items that are out of place and puts them back into their “homes” wins. You have heard the phrase: “Many hands make light work!” Even children as young as 2-3 years old can begin to learn how to match socks or put dirty clothing into the hamper. When the adults model good behavior and positive attitudes around organizing, the kids will pick up on it too.

When everything has a “home”, clean up is a snap for the whole family!

Check out my blog post on Organizing Toys,

Organizing Toys

    • child picking up

      My grandson did not want to clean up his toys, until I played “The Clean Up Song.” Then it was a race!

Remember, your home is living space, not storage space.

In reality, many homes are very expensive storage units.  Reevaluate what you are using the rooms in your home for.  Maybe, it’s even time to consider downsizing.  Or maybe you could incorporate a gym or home office, where there is just “stuff” now.

Step back, take a look, and imagine the possibilities of an organized home. You truly can “Unlock the door to a home you love!”