Most people spend all of their time on the quick fix and almost no time on the big picture. Sorting, labeling and moving things around might your space look great today, but if you don’t take the time to thoughtfully create a system and a solution that’s unique to your family’s goals and priorities, then the mess will all come back.
The system is what you need to create before you start the organizing process. Once you have your system, organizing is simple—and keeping it organized is easy.
1. Do a Detox
Start with the single space that most impacts your everyday (cabinet under the sink, junk drawer, laundry room, you choose!). Using a white trash bag for donations and a black trash bag for trash, first make a pass removing anything broken, expired or unused for more than six months.
Rehome anything that doesn’t belong (couch cushion in the laundry room, that’s you).
Go back for a second round, this time targeting things you don’t love or use (glasses no one reaches for, book club book you didn’t read, gift that gives you guilt, you see where this is going).
Taking on too many spaces will sabotage your success—start small and fully finish before moving on to the next project.
2. Create a Zoning Plan
Just because it’s how you’ve always done it, doesn’t mean it’s how it works best. Consider your space and the things you do in it and create a zoning plan to make your life easier.
Pulling together everything you need for an activity will save you time and effort. We love a lunch zone stocked with ziplocs, lunch boxes, water bottles and utensils—or a coffee station, including mugs, beans, pods and collagen powder, making your morning routine that much more efficient.
3. Invest in Organizational Product to Support Sustainability
When your system looks great and items are contained and categories are separate, it
makes it much easier to maintain.
4. Use Labels to Enlist Help
Labeling the system you’ve created will ensure everyone in your household is equipped to put things where they belong. Got littles? Use picture labels.
5. Stop Clutter at the Source
Be ruthless about what comes in your front door. Whether it’s a well-intentioned gift,
hand-me-downs from a neighbor or a Homegoods find you didn’t know you needed (you don’t)—ensure everything that crosses your threshold is wanted, useful and supports your family’s lifestyle and goals.
6. Make Memories (on Top Shelves)
Create a memory bin for every member of the household. Into these bins go only the things that truly tug at the heartstrings. Take photos and let go of the rest.
7. Become an Editor
Review your inventory on a regular basis. Whether it’s your pantry shelves or your master closet, you’ll notice the more you do it, the faster and easier it gets.
8. Make it Easy to Move Things On
Put a “Donate” bin in key areas of the home that tend to collect unwanted items (the laundry room, kids’ closets and garage are common hotspots). Make a calendar alert to weekly take donations to your local drop-off.
9. Practice Makes Permanent
The biggest key to success is setting up habits and routines that support your new system. Rather than browsing the sale rack, keep a Note on your phone with items you’re looking for—appreciate but resist temptation on that which you don’t need.
Designate one day a week for grocery shopping and Amazon orders and keep things in an online cart until then to ensure it’s a necessary purchase.
10. Finish the Job
Take your trash to the curb, drop off donations, order your labels and rally the troops. You’ve got this!
To help you along the way, we’ve created Gracefully Organized, a step-by-step program that demystifies the process and will equip you with the information and tools you need to achieve organizational success throughout your home. Your home should be a beautiful place that's lived in, not stressed in.