Quick Tips on How to Organize Your Home and Life

by KayLaura

From home and closets to family and life...a more organized way is easy with these simple tips!

10 Easy Ways to a Cleaner, More Organized Home and Life

I am a self-diagnosed organizing addict.  It's what I think about while trying to fall asleep at night.  It's what I see when I walk into someone's house.  It's what I'd rather do than almost anything else.  Organizing and planning.  My sister, Michelle, has laughed when she has heard my 2 year old say,

"Mom, look at how well I organized my toys!" 

"Only YOUR kids would ever say something like that!"  Michelle said.

Is Organizing Really Necessary?

Why not just clean it up?

Most people want to live in clean surroundings, even those with dirt floors and bare walls sweep their humble surroundings and try their best to make their living space welcoming and comfortable. 

Organized isn't just clean
Organized isn't just clean

Having an organized home helps you have a clean home quicker.  And it helps you maintain your clean home.

 

I have been asked to help out in the homes of dozens of people who have needed some organizing help and there are a few things that all of these people have in common.

 

This post will give you several quick and easy organizing ideas and tools to use in your home, garage, closet and life so you can be more organized and be able to maintain a cleaner, free-er living space and life!

1. Everything has it's place...

or it's place is the garbage can!

My kids know how much I love to throw things away!

If you are at the beginning stages of trying to organize your home, I have one word for you...

PURGE!!!

The Golden Rule: If you haven't used it in 2 year's time, then you don't need it!  I've helped dozens of people organize their homes and lives and one things I've noticed is that people buy a lot of stuff.  There does come a point when you've got too much and it's OK to go through and clean up your life.

Too Messy!
Too Messy!

2. Commit to Wanting and Buying Less

You really DON'T need 10 fancy, white cake plates (unless you are a professional caterer) and your child really doesn't need 10 pairs of shoes. 

Every time you are tempted to buy something at the store ask yourself, "Is this a REAL need?  Or will it just add to my clutter?  Am I replacing something that broke that I have used a lot or am I just adding another gadget to my drawer?"

Save money and cleaning time by not buying excessively. 

 

Take this poll to honestly assess how much excess you are in the habit of buying:

Do you regularly buy "impulse" items at the store?

Items that you didn't intend on buying when you set out for that store?
We all need SOME stuff and organizing helps keep it looking good

Life does take living and that requires food, essentials, and fun stuff too.  Let me teach you how to keep your stuff up off the floor and organized so your life doesn't get too messy.  And so that when it does get messy, as it always does, you can clean it up quick and get onto something more fun than cleaning!

3. Use Lots of Baskets and Bins

You wouldn't walk into my home and think, "Wow, she's got a lot of baskets and bins!"  So that's a good thing. 

You would notice that everything has it's place and baskets and bins help out with that a lot!

We have a basket for books in every room of the house because we read a lot and we read in just about every room of the house.  So when we need to grab a book or clean up a book mess, we just go to the book basket.

Baskets are also great for:

Keeping medicine in on top of the fridge

Diaper and baby necessities

Shoes

Toys

Hair essentials

Miscellaneous paper, school pages and mail

Cleaning supplies

Laundry

A book basket for every room
A book basket for every room
Underneath bed bins save space
Underneath bed bins save space

We have a lot of beds in our home since we are a 7 person family.  There is a lot of good, usable, floor space underneath those beds!  Bins are a great way of using that space.  We love to store toys, purses, dress up clothes, wrapping supplies and extra bedding and blankets under our beds.

 

But don't go out and buy a lot of baskets and bins in order to start getting organized.  Look around and see what you have that you can use. If you need them, buy them when they are on sale or pick them up for free when someone you know is giving them away.

Avoid spending a lot of money on organizing your home by using what you already have and making it work!

For More on Baskets and Bins

See my other article if you want more in-depth ideas and lots of pictures on how using baskets and bins take things from messy, to clean in a matter of seconds!

Messy...
Messy...
...to clean!
...to clean!

If you do need to add a few bins or baskets these are good options:

Household Essentials Canvas Storage Bin, Natural

Whether your closets are small and cramped or large and cluttered, our closet organizers help you create a space for everything. Go with a classic that always suits with this ...

Only $48.99
Winsome Capri Set of 6 Foldable Fabric Baskets, Beige

Set of 6 Foldable beige fabric containers. Use the large size as a magazine holder, file holder, art project holder. The next 3 sizes are great for decorative storage and ...

$30.00  $20.73
Lambs & Ivy Basket White

White wood woven basket which coordinates with bedding set.

Only $9.99
Medium Wicker Basket

IMAGINE THIS-Hullabaloo Wicker Basket. This sturdy wicker basket is great for storage at home; school and the office. Organize your craft room; sewing room; closets; cabinets ...

Only $12.99
Sterilite 29308001 3-Drawer Wide Cart with See-Through Drawers and Black Casters, White

Sterilite 29308001 3 Drawer White Wide Storage Drawer Cart Sterilite 29308001 3 Drawer White Wide Storage Drawer Cart Features: Durable storage cart Features clear drawer ...

$51.79  $17.50
Sterilite Corp. 17918004 ClearView 3-Drawer Organizer

Storage drawers feature a large viewing window for easy identification of contents, and a generous handle for easy gripping. Ideal for a variety of uses. White. 13 1/2'' L. x ...

$18.89  $10.99

4. Hooks keep things off the floor!

Besides having baskets and bins in every room, I also have hooks of all different sorts in every room and on practically every door.  It's much easier--especially for children--to keep things hung up and put away if they can quickly hang it on a hook.

A hook rack for backpacks and bags
A hook rack for backpacks and bags
Coat hooks
Coat hooks
Over the door hooks for just about anything
Over the door hooks for just about an...

Some ideas about how hooks can help you get organized include:

A hook rack for backpacks and bags-it's a lifesaver if you have kids in school!

Hooks for coats; I found a great antique hook rack that holds all our coats.

Over-the-door-hooks that hold anything from towels to robes

Hooks for hanging towels--I like the plastic kind that attach with a strong adhesive

Kitchen hooks for towels and oven mitts

Hooks for baseball hats, scarfs, umbrellas, belts, etc.

 

A hook in every closet and on every door will really help keep things picked up!

 

Amazon.com offers some really cool and inexpensive hooks:

Command 17003-VP-3PK Large Plastic Hooks Value Pack

Utility hook with Command™ adhesive is quick and easy to put-up and take-down. The separate backing strip adheres firmly to flat surfaces--but will not damage wall when ...

$6.16  $1.10
Liberty Hardware 133072 Curlique Hook, Flat Black

Flat Black Finish, Curlique Hook.

$9.99  $4.99
Stanley Home Designs V8007 3-Inch Basic Double Robe Hook, Oil Rub Bronze

Stanley Tools 806539 Double Robe Hook, Oil Rubbed Bronze Stanley Tools 806539 Double Robe Hook, Oil Rubbed Bronze Features: Double robe hook Basic design suits every decor Use ...

$2.49  $1.89
OVER THE DOOR HOOK- CHROME FINISH WITH 6 HOOKS

These over door hangers are great for any room in your home. Now you can save space without compromising on style.

$9.75  $9.74
Spectrum 60000 Multi-Hook Rack

Wall mount rack with 6 hooks. 5 1/4'' H. x 20'' W. x 2 1/4'' D. White.

$7.99  $6.99
InterDesign Bruschia Wall mount Rack, 4 Hooks, Brushed Nickel/Chrome

Give yourself and your guests an elegant place to hang their coats and hats when they enter your home. Durable brushed nickel and chrome offers four hooks and eight places to ...

$16.99  $9.99
Amerock H55662-MORB 27-Inch Beveled Hook Rack, Mahogany with Oil-Rubbed Bronze Hooks

Amerock H55662MORB Decorative 27" Mahogany Beveled Hook Rack, Oil Rubbed Bronze Amerock H55662MORB Decorative 27" Mahogany Beveled Hook Rack, Oil Rubbed Bronze Features: 27" ...

$29.93  $21.31
Spectrum 82200 Seven-Peg Wood Rack, White

Hang it up! Our wooden Seven peg coat rack is great for hats, coats, knapsacks, bags and more. Wood pegs are long and can hold a lot! All natural wood construction and finish ...

$14.31  $13.32

For more ideas and pictures on how easy it is to use hooks to organize your closet and home, see my other article:

How to use hooks to stay organized.

5. Charts

Even if it takes you a day or two to make out the charts, they will be very helpful in keeping you organized and on task with keeping your home and life clean and clear.

I have charts for:

1. Our Dinner Menu--it's a 2 month chart that tells me what I'm cooking each night of the week.  That way I know in advance and save money by not eating out a lot.  And I save time by having to think about what to make for dinner.

2. What housekeeping items to do each day--It's a 2 week chart that repeats itself all year.  I have assigned the regular housekeeping and cleaning jobs to different days of the week over a two week span.  That way the cleaning doesn't get put off for other things.  And I don't end up needing 8 hours one day just to get my home looking clean again.  You can assign Mondays as your de-clutter day, Tuesdays as your vacuum floors day, Wednesdays as your clean bathrooms day and so on.

3. What tasks my children need to do each day--This chart helps the kids stay organized and know what they need to do before they can play with friends or watch TV or play games.  It always includes their homework, housework and instrument practice and any other major project they have coming due.

4. Housework assignments for my children--This chart tells the children what their housework assignment is for each day of the week.

6. Every Space Can Be Organized!

Tell yourself, Yes, this mess can be organized!

Start in one room and just go room by room.  That's not hard, is it?  Just do it one room at a time. Have a friend or two come over and give you their opinion about things you could de-clutter or ways you could arrange or organize your room better.   A fresh pair of eyes always helps.  We get so attached to our "stuff."  But a lot of it is excess and only creates clutter.

I had quite a messy vanity area in our new home and it took me about a month to stare at it each day until I finally realized how I could clean up and organize the mess.  It went from:

Messy, tangled cords and burshes...
Messy, tangled cords and burshes...
...to nice and tidy!
...to nice and tidy!

It just took a few days of me staring at the mess and then a quick browse on the internet to figure out what I needed to clean up my space. 

It's good to browse the internet and visit the organizing sections of the stores you visit like Target, Walmart, Bed, Bath and Beyond to get organizing tools and ideas for how to organize the space that is bugging you.

 

I got the great organizing caddies on Amazon.com for a really great price:

Creative Bath Blow Away Hair Care Storage

This ideal hair care storage center neatly organizes all your hair care accessories . It holds any hair dryer, brush , comb, curling iron and more.

$8.00  $7.68
Polder Style Station, Black

Polder has been offering everyday products with extraordinary design since its launch. The company was established in 1976, delivering better quality European-styled ...

$24.99  $18.12
Hair Dryer and Curling Iron Holder

Give your hair styling tools a home with this Hair Dryer and Curling Iron Holder. Made from epoxy-coated wire, this high quality organizer fits on a vanity or mounts to a ...

STYLEAWAY - BLACK; Curling Iron, Flat Iron, Blow Dryer, Hair Styling Products Holder

Getting pretty can be pretty messy. Cans, bottles, brushes, combs, hot tools and all those cords. The StyleAway can neatly organize all your hair styling needs into one ...

Only $16.95

7. Sock bag in each child's drawer

All my children have a "sock bag" in their drawer.  It is a small, Ziploc baggie that holds their mismatched socks.   That way, eventually, all their socks find a match or else get thrown away.  When socks come out of the wash without a match they go in the sock bag and at the end of the week I go through the sock bag and match up the socks in it.  If a sock stays in the bag for a month or two then it gets thrown away because obviously the match is lost.

8. Cork Board for "Must-Keeps"

One thing that creates a lot of clutter in my home is all the papers that come home from school.  My children will paint something or cut out a snowflake or write their name and think that paper has to be saved forever.  You can't keep things forever.  So I bought a large cork/pin board and put it up on the wall in our toy room:

Art work here please.
Art work here please.

They each get a space and when it's filled and they come home with a "must keep" they have to remove something of theirs and make room for the new thing.  The things that are milestones or are really, really special I keep and save in their memory bag after they've removed it from the cork board.

Get your cork board here:
Universal - Cork Bulletin Board, 48 x 36, Natural, Oak Frame

Universal - Cork Bulletin Board, 48 x 36, Natural, Oak Frame - Sold As 1 EachClassic design, durability and style in one. Board features 1/32" thick, resilient all-natural ...

$87.45  $36.41
Umbra Magnetic Pushpin Bulletin Board

Modern and industrial in design, the Bulletin board bulletin board from Umbra features perforated metal construction that cleverly accommodates both pushpins and magnets. This ...

$35.00  $33.61
Melannco, Cork Board Frame with 3 Openings

Melannco, Cork Board Frame, with 3 Openings, 3M

Only $19.99

9. Use Space Saver Bags

I love these bags!  They really do save so much space and help you use all that floor space under beds.  They keep blankets, pillows, clothes, stuffed animals, towels and linens of all sorts clean and ready to use, but organized and out of the way until you need to use them.  They are really easy to fill and after closing them you attach your vacuum and remove the air and they shrink to half or more of their usual size! 

Also great for storing things in the garage or for using when traveling.  Fill, vacuum the air out, put in suitcase and get three times the space you had!

 

An organizers dream!

To buy them on Amazon.com click here:

Space Bag 14 Bag Space Saver Set

Triple your storage space with these airtight, waterproof and reusable Space Bags! Protects against bugs, moths, dirt, mildew and odors. Durable, multi-layer construction. NEW ...

$49.99  $45.21
Space Bag WBRS5402T Stackable Vacuum-Seal Space-Saver Tote, Jumbo

Increase your storage space by vacuuming the air from your bulky or seasonal items

Only $24.99
ITW Compressible Vacuum-Seal Travel Roll Bags, Set of 5

ITW Space Bags travel bags are made of the same durable material that our regular space bags are made of so you can use them over and over again. Because of the clear see ...

Space Bag BRS-5803-6 Dual-Use Vacuum-Seal and Roll Storage Bags, Set of 3, Large

Increase your storage space by vacuuming the air from your bulky or seasonal items

Only $13.40

10. Junk Basket

Sometimes, life is just too busy to keep things clean and organized and put away. 

That's why I have one catch-all basket called our junk basket.  It's mostly full of mail I need to sort, old homework I need to go through, coupons I need to file, receipts I need to file, and miscellaneous toys that get left out.  It makes for a really quick clean up when I need to clear the table quickly.  I just scoop up all the crayons, markers, papers, tape, etc. and dump it in the basket.

Later, about once a week, when I have more time, I go through it.  But at least my room doesn't look messy all over--it's a clean room with a full "junk basket."

I actually have two.  My second one is called my "junk toy basket." 

It's a large Tupperware bin that sits on my counter in the corner and whenever toys get left out I scoop them up and put them in the bin.  Every Saturday I have my kids go through it and tell them that whatever they don't take and put away in it's place is going in the garbage.  So all the Lego pieces, Barbie accessories, Polly Pockets and board game pieces don't clutter my house.  They have a place to go until they can be returned to their real place, or else they go in the garbage can.

Remember my favorite mottos!

Everything has a place...or it's place is the garbage can!

Don't buy excessively and you won't have clutter!

Every space can be organized!

 

Happiness is a clean and orderly home.  Happy homemaking!

Updated: 03/06/2012, KayLaura
 
Thank you! Would you like to post a comment now?
1

Comments: Do you have any great organizational ideas or do you like any of mine?


   Login
katiem2 on 02/23/2012

Very nice page, I love you thoughts and ideas as to how we can better organize. I feel its vital to organize and you touch on buying to much stuff, a big part of the problem no doubt. Great insights!

You might also like

Pantry Moths and How to Get Rid of Them

If you have those little brown pantry moths flying about your kitchen and bre...

Does Anyone Spring Clean Anymore?

Spring Cleaning is the act of doing a thorough job of cleaning your house fro...


Disclosure: This page generates income for authors based on affiliate relationships with our partners, including Amazon, Google and others.
Loading ...
Error!