We are in full Spring cleaning mode around here and I’m always looking for tips and tricks to make getting organized a little easier! My family always harasses me that I love throwing things away, and it’s true! I hate clutter and love feeling like my home is organized. I know there are a few times I may have gone overboard (like when I threw away my husband’s expired drivers license thinking we could board our flight with just a temporary paper license…. I was wrong and he was not thrilled about my organizing then haha). These tips might not work for everyone, but it’s what has worked for me and has kept clutter to a minimum!
Here are my top 10 tips to help you get organized and declutter your home:
1. Get rid of one item each day. As my kids have grown, I’m realizing how many old toys we don’t play with and clothes that no longer fit are lying around my house. Make a conscience effort to get rid of one item around your house each day that you don’t use anymore (toys, old tools, craft supplies you don’t use anymore, etc.). Give it to a friend, neighbor, donate it or throw it away.
2. Fill a trash bag. I am always shocked how much junk my family accumulates over the winter months! Every so often, I take a garbage bag and walk around my house and fill it with things to throw away (or fill a bag to donate).
3. Designate ONE spot for papers. If your house is like ours, there is a lot of paper that can easily turn into stacks and piles of papers around your house. Choose one place in your home (ours is a drawer in our kitchen) to keep all of the papers the kids bring home from school, etc. and I go through them every few days to get rid of the papers we no longer need.
4. Go digital. My kids are always drawing cute pictures or creating projects at school, but if I were to keep every single thing they ever made we would be on an episode of Hoarders! When my kids bring me artwork, I take a picture on my phone, which I’ll later upload onto a hard drive. We have hard drives for all our family pictures that we organize by year and keep in our office. One hard drive takes up a lot less space than totes and boxes of crafts that you’ll accumulate through the years. I think it is fine to keep a few of them that are really special, but don’t go overboard.
5. Use Online bill pay. Setting up automatic bill pay has cut down the amount of bills we receive in the mail drastically! We just keep track on a family calendar of when the bills will be coming out of our account. That way we don’t have to worry about going through stacks of bills making sure everything has been paid.
6. Clean out the closet. If you are holding onto clothes that you are hoping to fit into, they are taking up precious space in your closet. If you’re like me, chances are by the time you fit into them they will be out of style! Man, that’s not fair! Haha! I keep one small section of my closet for maternity clothes but the rest are all clothes that actually fit or that I wear regularly. Plus, if I actually lose weight, I can reward myself with some new clothes. 😉 Another rule I follow, is that if I haven’t worn certain clothes in the last 6-12 months, they will be donated to someone who could use them. Again, this is what works for me and I know people have different opinions on this, but I have limited closet real estate and want to use it the best I can!
7. Keep things off the floor. When you are thinking about organizing your garage, pantry, closet or any other area, plan on keeping everything off the floor. There have been countless studies that show when you keep things off the floor you are more likely to keep things organized and clutter free. Keeping things off the floor, when possible, makes them easier to find. This includes your pantry, closets, garage, etc. If you are just throwing something on the floor as a place to store it, it’s probably something you don’t need anyway!
8. Everything has a place. I try to have a place for everything in my home. Toys have certain bins they belong in, towels and sheets have particular spots in the linen closets, holiday decorations belong in dedicated bins, etc. One thing that helps my kids know where to put everything has been using labels. I’ve linked to my favorite label maker below and I love labeling everything. Also, baskets and small totes are your best friends when it comes to organizing and making sure everything has a place to call home!
9. Make a list. Create a list of each area in your home you want to organize. Each month, concentrate on decluttering that one area rather than getting overwhelmed and trying to organize your entire house at once and end up getting burned out. Spend a few minutes each day working on organizing that area and in a few months your entire house will be completely organized!
10. The $5 rule. My husband and I have been married for 7 years. During that 7 years we have moved 12 times. I know, I’m still tired from all the moves. Haha! If there is one thing I have learned from moving so many times, it is that you don’t need to hold onto EVERYTHING. Our first few moves we were moving totes of junk that we never used or items that “we might use someday.” I have finally realized I was spending more money on moving these things across the country repeatedly than just getting rid of them in the off chance that I MIGHT need them again someday. That is when I started following the $5 rule. If you are on the fence about keeping items you “might use again someday”, follow the $5 rule. If it is less than $5, get rid of it. Chances are you probably won’t need it again and you will free up a lot of valuable space in your home! If you do end up needing it down the road, you are only out $5. I have yet to need something I threw away following this rule!