How to Overcome Chaos in the Mornings

There is nothing worse than running late in the morning!

It never fails! Something is always missing when it’s time to walk out the door.

folded clothesIt could be your keys (this was my biggest struggle), your purse, the kid’s backpack or whatever you may need when leaving the house.

It doesn’t have to be this way.

You can solve this problem by making items accessible and easy to grab and go!

We’ve all heard this many times before, but it definitely bears repeating!

Setting up a system doesn’t take a lot of effort – and it works so well once it gets started!

Create your system

Start by asking family members to begin dropping off their items as they enter the door so they will always be able to find them!

Designate an area near the door (usually in the entryway) to install hooks, add baskets or an entry table.

If you currently have other things there that really don’t belong you will need to first find a place for those items so you can start with a clean slate.

pexels-photo-116249.jpegAssign each family member their own hook (if using hooks) or drawer or whatever. There are tons of options.

We live in Florida so coats are never an issue. If you live in a cold climate I would definitely suggest using hooks for the coats.

I have also seen a large basket work very well for kids to toss their coats and backpacks.

Ideally, each family member should have their own landing spot.

Use colors (colored hooks, colored bins, colored baskets) to help the little one’s easily find their landing-place or use colored labels with their names on them.

By allowing everyone be a part of the set up of this space, they will be more inclined to want to use it correctly! You know, the old buy-in!

How to Keep it Working

Now that everyone has a place to call their own at the entryway, the key to making it work is to always put items in the exact same place every time!

Seriously, if you choose to hang your purse and jacket on the red hook assigned to you, always leave your purse and jacket on that red hook. You can do this!

Additionally, always check bags the night before to make sure you (or family members) have everything needed for the next day. The few minutes you spend the night before could save you from a lot of stress in the morning. Being prepared means no fussing around looking for that one piece of paper. You can just grab the bags and go!

After you set up your landing spot let me know how it goes!

Thanks for visiting!

Debbie

Take a quick survey to let me know what you are interested in for future posts and giveaways!

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10 Important questions to ask when cleaning out clothes

When cleaning out the bedroom closet, deciding what to keep and what to let go of can be difficult. It doesn’t have to be if you ask yourself these 10 important questions

This post contains affiliate links. 

When cleaning out the bedroom closet, deciding what to keep and what to let go of can be difficult. It doesn’t have to be if you ask yourself these 10 important questions when cleaning out clothes. pexels-photo-165831Most people can come up with all kinds of reasons why they should hang on to something and as a result, very few items leave the closet. Clothing that is not worn is clutter. Clutter is anything that is not needed or wanted and is taking up valuable space.

As you evaluate your clothing, be honest with yourself and stick to your initial reaction. By the way, don’t hold each item when evaluating it. Research shows that the longer you touch an item, the more attached you become to it. I always suggest working with a friend or professional organizer to take away this attachment issue.

Question 1 – Does it fit?

The fit is everything! If it doesn’t fit properly it will never be worn! If you’re not sure – Go ahead – Try the item on. Is it too tight or too loose? If a shirt or dress, does it fit under the arms when you move? too bigWhen I wear something that is too small, even just a little bit, I spend the entire day asking myself why I kept this item in my closet and wish I could change into something else. Somehow that same item seems to make its way back into the closet. If you have items like this, make the decision today to let them go. Make room in the closet for the other pieces you really love – and perhaps some new ones? If you just can’t let some go, store them in a container under the bed or somewhere out of the way.

Question 2 – Does it look good on me?

This is where a friend really comes in handy! Ask for an honest opinion and also be honest with yourself. backsideGo take a look in the mirror. Have you been given compliments in the past about this item?

Question 3 – When was the last time I wore this?

The quickest way to know if you really like a clothing item is to ask yourself how long it has been since you last wore it. A standard rule of thumb is: let it go if you haven’t worn it in six months. I believe a better rule is: make it two months. Unless it is a sweater or very seasonal item, if you haven’t worn it in the last two months it is probably not something that needs to be taking up space. Think about it – that’s a minimum of 60 opportunities to wear an item!

Question 4 – How many do I need?

We all have something we really love and subsequently purchase more often than we should. For me it is black t-shirts. I love when they look fresh and new and I am just drawn to them. For a long time I just kept adding them to my closet until I eventually had more black t-shirts than I could ever wear. The best way to avoid problems like this is to live by the rule: one in, one out. Evaluate your multiples and decide how many you really, actually need. Then choose your favorites to keep.

Question 5 – Do I really want it?

When I cleaned out my closet a few years ago I was amazed by the number of items I let go. The most powerful question for me was – Do I really want it? Would I even miss it if it was gone? As I sorted through I realized that I had kept items simply because they had been there so long. They were just part of the closet. But more importantly, many of the items held memories – some good, some bad. They told a story. Some held me back.

Do you have clothing in your closet that tells stories from years ago? scarvesI didn’t keep these items because I still liked to wear them, but because they held emotions. I am happy to say I did let them all go. It wasn’t easy but it was necessary. I had to be honest with myself about why I was holding onto items that hadn’t been worn in months or even years. As I pulled each of these items out of the closet, I thought about the memories they held and then said “I am letting this go so I can live in the  present.” It was one of the best things I ever did for myself.

Question 6 – What is the condition?

This is a no-brainer, yet sometimes we still struggle with it. We have all had that favorite shirt or sweater or whatever that we love. folded clothesIt’s those items that you can’t bear to let go of even though they are now worn and may be damaged with stains or tears. Clothing in poor condition does nothing for self-esteem or improving our look. When clothing is damaged it is always best to let it go and find something similar to replace it. Who doesn’t like an excuse to buy something new! If you can’t let it go, keep it for wearing around the house.

Question 7 – Would I buy this item again at full price?

This question often brings most people to a screeching stop. It is a very straightforward question that doesn’t have anything to do with emotions or memories or condition. It’s simple. Have you enjoyed this item enough that you would purchase it again at full price? If answering this question requires a lot of thought, the answer is likely “no.” Go with your gut. img_5940Really pay attention to items that were purchased on clearance. Did you purchase because it was a good deal or because you loved the item? I have found that very few items pass the test if they were purchased at a 50% or greater discount. To help maintain your closet in the future, ask yourself this question when considering an on sale purchase at the store.

Question 8 – Does it make me feel confident?

overalls

 

As you evaluate your items, think about how your feel when you wear them. Do you feel good in the item or does it make you feel fat or uncomfortable? There is no reason to keep clothes that don’t make you feel good!

 

Question 9 – Is the color good on me?

We each have undertones to our skin which affect our ability to wear (and look good in) certain colors. colorsIf you are unsure of which colors are best for you, ask family and friends which colors they love on you. Another resource I have used since it was published in 1980 is a book by Carole Jackson called Color Me Beautiful. Carole provides excellent information to help you discover the right colors for you. Armed with this information, take color into consideration when evaluating your items. Wearing a color that is not in your color wheel can make even the best looking outfit look awful. When you are done with your closet, you should see a spectrum of colors that work well with each other and also look great on you!

Question 10 – Do I have room for it?

Unfortunately we only have so much room in the closet, which is why it is important to keep only the items you really like and will wear. If you are struggling with whether to keep an item or let it go, think about the space you have to work with. I see my closet as my own private boutique. I want items I am proud to wear, that are arranged neatly and hung with care. I love using slim, velvet suit hangers to maximize my space and to keep my clothes wrinkle-free. I will not add items that create clutter in my boutique – that wouldn’t make for a good shopping experience. Think about your favorite boutique and then recreate the ambiance in your own closet.closet-photo-for-site

Decluttering the clothes in your closet will take time and energy but will be well worth the effort! If you are like many others, once you start you may just want to continue through the whole house!

 

 

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Want to maximize the space in your home? Think Tiny!

Nearly everyone wants to maximize the space in their home. Perhaps the best way is to think tiny! If you have ever watched the shows: Tiny House Hunters or Tiny House, Big Living on HGTV, the first time you watched, you were probably amazed and equally horrified that people could live in such small spaces!

I am always amazed by how people on these shows make these incredibly small spaces work. They have tapped into a new and growing philosophy that less is more.

They are committed to enjoying the experiences life has to offer and  have let go of the possessions that were holding them back.

Living tiny has become popular for people who want to live simply, embrace minimalism to the fullest, and be able to move their houses around the country. They willingly change their living space from 1000+ square feet to just 400 square feet or less!

Why would someone choose to live in a home less than 400 square feet? It seems a little crazy to most people who are constantly wishing they had more space. I mean, more space means more room for storing things, right?

A Better Lifestyle?

But what if these tiny house folks are actually on to something? They claim a more peaceful, centered, in the moment lifestyle with the freedom to move at anytime. Tiny HouseThey have already let go of many of the trivial items they used to believe were so important and have pared down to just the things they need and love.

Isn’t that the mantra of organizing!

I often wonder what it would be like to live in such a small space. I admit that I feel a bit crammed in 1100 square feet, which I have always considered fairly small.

Making the most of small spaces is what I love to do most! My home is organized but is definitely to home of a minimalist. I know there are still many items in my home that are duplicates or not used often enough to warrant the space.

The Thinking Tiny Mindset

I challenge you to Think Tiny.

If you have ever wished you could become a more of a minimalist and reduce your clutter,

If you have watched the Tiny House shows and tried to imagine yourself living that lifestyle,

If you are currently living with too much clutter,

THIS CHALLENGE IS FOR YOU!

Use this challenge to take another look at the “stuff” in your home. Though most of us won’t go truly tiny, we can experience how it feels to trim back and see our “stuff” from an entirely new point of view – the tiny perspective. Minimalism

If your home is mostly organized and you have already removed clutter, this is the perfect opportunity for you are try experimenting with the tiny mindset.

If you your home is not yet organized and going tiny sounds completely overwhelming and unrealistic, approach this challenge as a way to get started on the road to organization. You have to start somewhere. Why not start now?

Ready, Set, Go!

Since linens are big, bulky and take up a great deal of space, I decided they would be a great place to start. Linens include any and all linens that would be used in the Bedroom, Bathroom, Kitchen/Dining Room, or other.

towels

Before you get started, have a number in mind of how many of each type of linens you realistically need and use. The typical mindset says “I need most of this.” A tiny mindset says “I need only what is absolutely needed and nothing more.”

The Magic Number

Because most of us are not moving into a tiny house, I suggest finding a middle ground by determining what is typically used over the course of a week and then add a couple.

For example, if there are 22 dish towels in your kitchen drawer but you only use four or five per week, keep just eight.

If you are planning to go tiny, you will need to think about the storage space you will have and the minimum number you will need.

As you sort, remove linens with tears or stains as well as any that you just don’t love anymore. This challenge should take between 2 – 4 hours.

Thinking Tiny – My Experience

I have found that many people have trouble organizing and maintaining the linen closet. As new items are added, older items are rarely removed. Additionally, the whole family typically utilizes this space and it can be hard to keep in order. I happen to have an obsession for bed linens and have made use of every spare inch of my linen closet! So, this is where I decided to start.

I knew this would be the most difficult area for me to evaluate and be willing to freely let go of items. So I started by pulling everything out and setting it all onto a table. There were a few items that I knew I definitely wanted to keep so I started by setting them aside.

The typical mindset says “I need most of this.” A tiny mindset says “I need only what is absolutely needed and nothing more.”

Next, each item was separated by type: flat sheets, fitted sheets, pillow cases, blankets, comforters, duvet covers, old window coverings, and so on. Whew! There were a lot of the same items!

I found it easiest to first pull out the items that were older, had a stain or flaw, or that I just didn’t care that much for. Right away I was able to cut my stash in half. Then I dove in and ruthlessly evaluated and purged the rest.

beddingI will admit, it was hard to let some of it go, especially the down comforters and duvet covers. But when you live in Florida where sleeping with a down comforter is practical only a few months of the year, letting go of all but two just made good sense. And then, wow! Instantly lots more space! I liked how it felt and decided to move along to the sheets.

I love white sheets with high thread count and a soft hand. Over the years I have collected many, many sets. When it comes to bedding, I have always had the mindset, “You can never have too many!” But really, you can. I admit that they were taking up a ton of space and many weren’t being used.

So I did it. I chose just three sets to keep and donated the rest. Once I let them go I realized what a burden they had become to me. They were bulky and took up so much space. Now when I see the small stack of sheets that I know will be used and loved, I feel almost a sense of relief.

I was able to pare down my fully stuffed linen closet to just two shelves! Two shelves with some extra space! Amazing!

Bathroom Linens

Feeling very inspired, I moved to the bathroom and pulled all of the bath towels, hand towels, and wash cloths. Since we never use the hand towels, it was easy to eliminate them immediately. IMG_6336I keep my towels stacked on two open shelves in the bathroom so they are easy to get to.

These shelves hold up to eight towels total and the rest sit in a stack in the bedroom – definitely not ideal. We usually use six bath towels per week. Using the formula above (2 -3 more than typically used), I pulled out eight of our favorites and removed the rest for donation.

With the overflow removed, the towels are contained in one space and I no longer have to look at the overflow stack in the bedroom. I should have done this sooner!

Since my bathroom is small, I had to find a unique way to create extra storage. So I started looking for something that might work in the space. I found this tall dresser at a garage sale for $10. I originally planned to store the towels inside of the drawers but they just weren’t big enough.

So I simply removed the two center drawers and the towels fit perfectly, with four towels per shelf. Bathroom Storage 1

The remaining drawers are roomy and are great for storing wash cloths, soaps, lotions, razors and anything else we may need. It was a perfect fix that allowed us to maximize our limited space.

Kitchen/Dining Room Linens

I love collecting dish towels, especially vintage linen towels to use in my kitchen. I feel like they add a bit of vintage flair and warmth. Unfortunately, over time, they do wear out with holes, stains, tears, and so on. Our kitchen is very, very small so making the most of the space is important. Dish towels can take up a lot of space so purging the ones in poor condition can make a big difference.

To get started, I moved all of the dish towels to the counter for examination. Most of them were in good condition but a few were not, and were removed. We typically use 6 – 10 dish towels and a few dish rags per week so the magic number for us was thirteen towels and five dish rags.

After choosing the towels I wouldKitchen Towel Drawer keep, each was folded and placed into the drawer. I like to fold kitchen towels in a way that looks organized and will maximize the space. After experimenting with a variety of folding and stacking ideas, I have found this method to work the best.

How to Fold Dish Towels

When folding dish towels, the idea is to make each towel as small and thin as possible. As you can see in the photo, all of my towels are the thin, cotton or linen, flour sack type which are able to fold down and stack nicely. This method will work with the towel-type dish towels but they won’t fold down as small.

For a basic dish towel:

Step One: Lay the towel on a flat surface with the pattern facing down (the towel in the picture is facing up). Step Two: Fold the towel into thirds. Step Three: Fold in half. Step Four: Fold into thirds. Step Five: Stack into the drawer upright.

Folding is a little trickier if you use cotton flour sack type towels. Here is how I fold mine:

Step One: Start with the towel laying flat. Step Two: Fold in half. Step Three: Fold into thirds. Step Four: Fold in half. Step Five: Fold into thirds. Step Six: Stack into the drawer upright.

Dining Room Linens

I let go of all of my tablecloths, table runners, and cloth napkins a long time ago. If you have these items you will need to pull them out to determine how often they are used, their condition, and do they still match your decor. I chose to let go of all of mine because I rarely used them and they were really just taking up valuable space. I can honestly say that I do not miss them.

Take the Challenge

After completing this week’s challenge to think with a tiny mindset I was able to reduce the linens in my home and free up quite a bit of space.

Extra space or open spaces are important for creating a clutter-free environment and creating that peaceful, centered, in the moment lifestyle that tiny homeowners boast of.

I also enjoyed being able to provide some nice donations for someone else to love and enjoy. And on top of all of that, I have reduced my linens down to only the ones I really need and love. And I like it!

Though I cleared out a lot of linens, I know I would still have too much to fit into a tiny home. Tiny home living is a true commitment to minimalism and living with just enough. I guess I’m just not ready to take that plunge yet but this first week’s challenge did make me look at my belonging from a different perspective.

I really like the idea of minimalism but to get there, it is a process of letting go of things pexels-photo-311398that have held onto tightly for so long. I am excited to work through my house as we take on new challenges, change our spaces, and embrace tiny-ism thinking.

I hope you will give it a try! Let me know how you do!

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Getting Organized

How many times have you thought  “I want to live clutter free!” What is holding you back? Does it feel too overwhelming to get started? You can do it if you remember that getting organized is a process. It doesn’t happen overnight.

When I finally reached the point that had enough of losing things and feeling stressed out, I committed myself to living a clutter free, semi-minimalistic lifestyle.

Society that tells us that the more we have the better off and more successful we are.

It is not hard to embrace this lifestyle of excess. I mean really, who can pass up a great sale? Why not have enough clothes and shoes to wear a different outfit every day of the year? Why not have all the latest kitchen gadgets and three or four sets of dishes? With this mindset we accumulate more and more and before we know it we are knee-deep in stuff, trying to dig our way out of it all. Peter Walsh says in his book It’s All Too Much, “for many of us, the stuff we own ends up owning us.” This statement was definitely true for me.

So Much Clutter

The most common response to getting organized is to purchase a variety of containers to hide all of our stuff. img_5695Of course, just containing clutter does not remove the clutter. And then there is the issue of where to contain the containers! They end up becoming another form of clutter and we are once again overwhelmed by our stuff. What we often don’t recognize when we start to get organized is that we have too much and need to let some (or a lot) go.

Clutter and messy spaces often leads to stress. upsetHow often do you find yourself running late looking for keys, a clothing item, or a piece of paper that you absolutely needed that day. Has all of this searching and rushing around become the norm in your house?  Have you reached the point that you are ready for a change?

Surrender yourself to a life of organization. I used to think that the more stuff I had, the happier I would be. As I began to get organized I realized that all of my stuff was like a weight on my soul.

Letting Go

As I let items go, I began to relax and really breathe again. It was a process of learning to live in today and not the past! Knowing why we hold onto  our items is they key to being able to let them go. We have all acquired items over time and will have more items entering our lives in the future. The secret to organization is:  Knowing how to release items when they no longer have usefulness in our lives.

Usefulness

So where do you start and how do you know what to keep?

Simple. Start in the area that is bothering you the most.

Start small. It is easy to be overambitious and plan to tackle an entire room at once but you run the risk of becoming overwhelmed and not finishing.

Start with a drawer, a part of the counter, or a shelf in the closet.

Begin sorting through every item to measure its usefulness. To measure usefulness you will need to be honest with yourself and ask what the item really means to you.

Here are a few guidelines:

If it is a memory item:

  • Do you have other items with the same memory?
  • Do you really need the item to hold the memory?
  • Do you even like the item?

If it is a family item:

  • Do you value it enough to display it?
  • Is it something you want?
  • Can it be passed to someone else who really wants it?

thoughtful

If it cost a lot of money:

  • Why hold on to it if it is not used?
  • Are you willing to give up space for it?
  • Can you call it a mistake and let it go? (why keep reminding yourself!)

Letting go of clutter is an amazing feeling!

When you make the decision to move forward, don’t expect immediate results. It may be a slow process and it may dig up old feelings. But don’t give up! If it is too difficult to sort through items on your own, ask a friend or family member to help you. A professional organizer can be a great impartial party to help with decisions and organization of the items you love and keep.

The best way to maintain spaces after organizing is to regularly do a sweep to gather up items that have become no longer useful. This continued maintenance is essential to keeping your home clutter-free and livable. Click here for more maintenance tips.

Life really is better when the clutter is gone!

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Organize your refrigerator like pro

An organized kitchen is incredibly satisfying! But what about the most overlooked item in the kitchen – the refrigerator? How does yours stack up? Does the inside of your refrigerator look like it has been through a tornado? Can you find items right away? Do you often find rotting items that were forgotten? It may be time for a refrigerator makeover! Keep reading for some easy to implement, simple solutions anyone can do.

Clean it up

Set aside a 2-3 hours to complete this project. Get started by clearing a good amount of space on a counter near the refrigerator. Starting with the top shelf, pull every item out one by one and evaluate each by asking:

  • Is the item within the expiration date?
  • Does it look and smell right?
  • Is anyone actually going to consume this item?
  • Do you need the item?
  • For leftovers, was it made within the last day or two?

If you answer No to any of these questions, go ahead and toss it. Place items you want to keep on the counter and sort them as you go into categories such as: deli meat, cheeses, condiments, dairy, and so on. Continue to clear all shelves and crisper drawers until everything is on the counter sorted by category.

When you finish, your refrigerator should be empty and ready for a deep cleaning. Pull out the shelves and crispers to wash with soap and water. While these dry, wipe down all surfaces inside the refrigerator until it shines, then put the shelves and crispers back in. I prefer to keep my crisper drawers open, without the shelf that usually covers them for a more flexible space. Evaluate the distance between shelves if they are adjustable so that you make the most of the space.

Sort it out

Gather several plastic containers and a Lazy Susan to use inside your refrigerator. You can find them for cheap at The Dollar Store or if you prefer higher quality containers (at a higher price point) try: The Container Store, Marshals or Target. I got mine at The Dollar Store and they have done just fine.

Get started by gathering all cooked meat such as: deli meats, hot dogs, baked chicken for salads, and so on. Place them in a container with a handle so they can easily be pulled out. All cheeses including slices, tubs, cubes, and more can be stored in the same type of container used for the meats. Keep both of these containers together on the top shelf. When I am low on space, like after adding a lot of new groceries, I will stack these two containers together.

img_5006

Tuck in egg cartons to the left of the meat and cheese containers to keep eggs protected. Store any leftovers on the other side so that they don’t get lost and are more likely to be eaten. Try to limit the number of leftovers so they don’t end up overtaking all of the space. Tip: only keep a total of 8-10 Tupperware containers in your kitchen. I know it is not a lot but it is enough. If you want to reduce clutter in the kitchen, start with the Tupperware!

Use the second shelf to hold a Lazy Susan and fill it up with condiments, pickles, dips, or whatever you use the most. We use the left half of the shelf for the Lazy Susan and the right for drinks.

In my refrigerator, I use the crispers like containers on the bottom shelf. The left side is stacked with additional containers to keep fruit and veggies separated and fresh. The right crisper is for dairy which includes: milk, yoghurt, sour cream and so on. In our house, we all drink different milk so one of the milk cartons was placed above with the drinks. Everything else such as salad dressings, two liter soda bottles, ice cream syrups and other less used items are kept on the door.

That’s  it! Once you finish you’ve done all the hard work. Now all you need to do is maintain. I suggest a basic maintenance once per week to evaluate expiration dates and toss things. It will also help you with knowing what you need from the grocery store! Then once per month wipe down the shelves and containers.

No matter what style or age your refrigerator is, you can customize this system to work for you! If you have a larger refrigerator you may want to use additional containers or even another Lazy Susan. The important thing is that it works for you and your family.  I hope you will give it a try!

6 Tips for Organizing Success

As we go about our busy lives, clutter finds its way into our homes and offices and we in turn, find creative ways to manage it. In time, clutter can take over our lives and our spaces, causing us to become unproductive and stressed. Many people claim they feel like a weight was lifted and have a new sense of calm, peace, and clear-thinking after removing the clutter and organizing. Try the 6 tips for organizing success below when you are ready to let go of clutter once and for all and find organizing success:

  1. Create a plan and find a system that works for YOU

There are millions of articles, videos and books we can turn to for organizing ideas but not all organizing solutions will work for you. Knowing how you want your home to flow will help you know what will and will not work. Before you start your next organizing project take the time to think about what you hope to accomplish. pexels-photo-234790What will the end result look like? How will it feel? Think about how you want your spaces to function and how they are currently used. If living in a small apartment or home, do you have the space for everything? Keep in mind that trying to cram too many items into a space can make it look cluttered and disorganized. Is there too much furniture in the space? How much “stuff” do you really need? Decide if you thrive in a space where items are contained or one where items are visible. Many believe that being organized means that everything is lined up perfectly and is labeled, but it is really about removing unnecessary items and being able to find exactly what you need, when you need it. Think about your goals and then get started in one area. Complete the one area before you move on to the next one.

  1. Don’t rely on staged photos to guide your efforts

Pintrest is a great place to find amazing photos of organized homes and organizing ideas. We pin, we dream, we try, we sometimes have success, and we often wonder why we don’t get the same results. Sound familiar? Or what about the home makeover shows? It’s so quick and easy and amazing! So why can’t we get our homes whipped into shape with a few changes? One reason: it’s staged. Staged spaces are not functional spaces. Take a look through photos of pantry organization for example and you will find the most beautifully arranged space with containers and baskets and coordinated colors. It looks perfect and we want it! But in many of them, if you look closely, they do not contain the usual items an average household would have on hand in their pantry. You may be able to copy some of the elements but it will never look just like the picture. The point is, don’t go for perfection! Make it your own and most importantly make sure it will work for you!

  1. Purge, purge, and purge again!

Organizing is not a one-day event but an ongoing process of acquiring and letting go. As you evaluate items, ask yourself what the item really means to you and what would happen if you never saw it again. Would you miss it? Sometimes we think something means a lot to us but often, we are just used to having it there or it holds a memory of some kind. Think about why you have kept an item and what it really means to you. If it is a memory item, do you love it enough to display it? If it only sits in a box, is it really that important to you? Have you considered taking a digital photo of the item as a way to keep it?

We all struggle with letting go of items. We think about how we may need the item one day or that we spent a lot of money for the item. With clothing, we argue that the item will fit again after losing weight or that the style will come back around eventually. pexels-photo-165831The best way to evaluate clothing is to ask “Would I buy this in the store today for full price?” If thought or hesitation is required to answer the question, the item should most likely be removed. The clothes that remain should fit great, be the right colors, and be in excellent condition. If you have organized your home and removed all of the unwanted items and it still feels cluttered, you may need to do more purging. A good rule of thumb is: three times is a charm! Typically, it will take three times of purging to get down to what is really wanted and/or needed.

  1. Give items a home and make time for upkeep

Does everything in your house have a home? Every item should have a place where it lives when it is not in use. By following this rule it is simple to return items to their place and maintain organization. In our house, we do a ten-minute clean-up where we gather items and quickly to return them to their homes. Read more about ten-minute clean-ups and hidden clutter here. When we finish, the house looks picked up and comfortable. As items enter your home, decide right away where they will live to avoid clutter build-up. It is also a good idea to create a routine for entering the house with items such as: your purse, jacket, shopping bags, groceries, mail, and so on. Decide where these things should be placed so that they are not creating clutter.

  1. Think before you buy

A steadfast way to maintain a clutter-free home is to stop clutter at the door! Evaluate your purchases and think about where the item(s) will live. Do you have the space? Will you remove something else? Do you already have something similar? Why are you buying it? img_5940

These are hard questions, especially when you really want something. Try to step away from your emotions to answer the questions honestly. Think of the money you will save over time! Do this with all purchases and learn to shop with purpose by keeping a list of items you need to buy and then stick to the list.

6. Get inspired! Now is the time to get organized! Good luck!

Visit Harmony Organizing Services at www.HarmonyOrganizing.com