8 Secrets of People With Highly Organized Homes
We all have that friend or family member who lives in a tidy, well-kept home despite having a full, busy life. Here are a few strategies they employ.
Note: If you’re not naturally inclined to organization, don’t fret. Simply pick the strategies that work for you. Just by implementing one or two, you’ll still be closer to your goal of living in a tranquil, clutter-free environment.
1. They Make Decisions Quickly
While sentimental items and gifts are the hardest things to part with, highly-organized people are good about getting rid of items they no longer use — or items they might use someday. They do not wallow in the guilt that may be associated with getting rid of these items. They choose to only hold onto items they truly love.
Clothes that no longer fit or are excessively worn are purged right away. They also let go of expensive clothes that might come back in style someday, because they know that even if it comes back it will most likely be slightly different.
They also do not hold onto every piece of paper their child writes on. Instead, they take pictures of their children’s art and schoolwork, and condense them into a photo book.
2. They Take Care of Donation and Disposal Items Quickly
Highly organized people do not let donation or disposal bags sit in their closet, hallway or garage for weeks. They get those items out of the house right away! Whether dropping them off at a donation location, scheduling a pickup for large items, or contacting their local waste management company or hauling service for excess trash, they do not put things off or worry about finding the perfect home for their donations. By acting quickly, they gain a sense of accomplishment that fuels further progress.
3. They Store Music, Movies, Books and Recipes Electronically
A big part of keeping your home from becoming cluttered is owning less stuff. Instead of purchasing physical DVDs, CDs and books, highly organized people choose to rent or buy music, movies and books from a cloud-based service and store them on electronic devices. The same is true for recipes — they either save recipes to their hard drives instead of owning cookbooks, or take photos of their favorite recipes.
Obviously, electronic storage isn’t for everyone. Some of us find pleasure in turning actual pages of a book instead of reading a novel on a cold electronic device. Others simply cannot live without their vinyl record collections. If that is the case, choose your battles. If you truly love your music, movie or book collection, keep it and act on other suggestions.
4. They Cull Clothing and Accessories Frequently
Organized people edit their wardrobe regularly, getting rid of anything they don’t love, as well as stained or torn items. Try to follow their lead by going through your closet at the end of each season and purging anything you haven’t worn, stained or torn items, or clothes that are not your favorites.
Avoid falling into the habit of demoting pieces of clothing to “house clothes” because you do not want to make a real decision. You’ll only end up with a large quantity of clothes you don’t like that you’ll only wear when relaxing at home. Instead, limit your house-only outfits to three and donate the rest.
For sentimental clothing like college sweatshirts, concert T-shirts or old sports uniforms that you don’t wear, consider removing them from your primary clothing spaces and storing them in an attic basement or at the back of your closet. You can also consider taking photos of the items and letting them go completely.
5. They Declutter the Pantry and Refrigerator Regularly
Organized people throw away old food regularly. If you’d like to adopt this habit, designate a time (perhaps once a week) when you clean out your fridge and purge the old leftovers, spoiled food and wilted vegetables. Take note of what you toss so that you don’t continue to purchase foods you find yourself throwing away.
In addition, consider going through your pantry every six months to discard stale or expired food. Donate any unopened package or cans of food that you know you won’t eat.
6. They are Mindful of Purchases and Free Samples
Thoughtful about what they bring into their homes, highly organized people think about their storage situation before making purchases. To be more like them, try doing the same thing, or consider getting rid of something for every item you buy. Also, if you don’t have enough space to store large-quantity items from warehouse stores, do not buy them.
Another good tip is to know what you already own before you go shopping so that you don’t purchase duplicates. This is a common problem with items like spices and condiments. In addition, avoid bringing home free makeup or laundry samples, and complimentary notepads and pens, as these tend to clutter up drawers. Before purchasing new small appliances, think about whether you have the countertop space to spare. Try to avoid any single-purpose small appliances or gadgets, and instead go for items that can be used for multiple purposes.
7. They Put Things Away After Each Use
The best secret for keeping a tidy home is putting things away after you use them — something organized people do habitually. This is something that can be hard for people at first, so if you’re someone who can’t seem to keep up with it throughout the day or in the evenings after work, consider designating a time at night before bed where you put everything away at once. That way you’ll wake up to a tidy house and the clutter won’t build up and become overwhelming.
8. They Aren’t Afraid to Outsource Tasks
Jobs like yard work or housecleaning are often outsourced so organized people can stay focused on keeping their home decluttered and organized. They also are not afraid to hire a professional home organizer to help them get on the right track when it comes to decluttering and disposing of unwanted items in the first place.
Of course, not everyone has the budget to hire outside help, but for those who do have the financial resources, do not feel guilty about outsourcing housework or yard work. When you consider the stress reduction it can provide versus the cost of a therapy session, the money spent may be well worth it.
Remember, no one is perfect! Everyone has some part of their home that is not organized. Do not compare yourself to others when it comes to organizing — everyone is unique and has different limitations and circumstances to deal with. Simply do your best to make your home comfortable, and take time to enjoy it when you achieve a reasonable level of organization.