• Home Organizing - Messes

    If you're not a naturally organized person, you may find yourself one day surrounded by clutter with no idea how things got that way. It's time to organize your home, but you don't know where to start. Here's one way to go about it.

    Have a Master Plan

    Whether you're organizing one room or an entire home, it helps to have a clear idea of how the space is going to be used. What sorts of objects get stored in what places? Is that hall closet for linens or for board games? If it's for both, which shelves will be devoted to which items? Draw a diagram of the spaces you have and list for yourself the kinds of things you want to store in those spaces. This will help you not only to get organized but to keep organized. As you acquire new things, you'll have a clear idea where those things are supposed to go. A place for everything and everything in its place.

    Containers and Dividers

    To really make use of your space, you'll want to have everything contained. This will also help with spaces like closets where a pile of shoes would be messy but a stack of containers can be neat and each one still easily accessible. Decide whether you want your containers to have drawers that you can open and close or simple lids that you can take off and put back on. For existing drawers you can purchase drawer organizers that will divide up the space in various ways.

    Take it One Day at a Time

    Don't try to organize a larger area than can be done in a single day. You should limit yourself to a single room, a single closet, or even a single shelf or drawer if that's what it takes. Take everything from that area and pile it somewhere where you can sort everything out. A bed, the living room floor, or a large table may be the best place. This will give you the chance to sort through everything, grouping like items and putting them in containers as necessary. Put everything away before you go to bed. You don't want to end up with a bigger mess than you started out with.

    New Table

    Purge, Purge, Purge

    So far we've only talked about sorting your items. But let's face it. You don't need to keep it all. Some of it should be sorted into the pile that goes into the trash. Other items should be given away. With each item that you handle ask yourself several questions. Do I use this item regularly? If so, put it in the pile of things to be stored for easy access. Do I use this item only occasionally? If so, put it in the pile of things to be stored further back and gotten out from time to time. Will I ever really use this item? You may need to be stern with yourself on this one. Sometimes it's easy to pretend that we'll fit into those pants again or we'll really get around to using that coffee bean roaster someday. But if deep down you know that's not so, give the items away.

    Plan for the Future

    Whatever space you store things in, make sure there's extra space for items of the same type. If you allocate just enough space for what you already have, you'll end up with another mess in 3 months.

    Commit to Organization

    Now that you know where everything goes, commit yourself to putting things away in their proper place. And when you get new things, commit yourself to storing them near other items of their type. Hopefully, instead of having a big organizing project in another year, you'll find that you've been organizing all along.