Are you struggling to focus on anything in your life? Do you feel stressed and anxious? Are you finding it hard to motivate yourself to get anything done? The problem could lie in your cluttered mind.
Modern life is busier than ever before. Most of us feel rushed from morning to night. Dealing with family commitments, work obligations, a social life, and personal issues all take their toll. The sheer number of chores, tasks, and responsibilities that we have to fit into each day can seem overwhelming. It is precisely this that causes mental clutter.
The good news is that, even if you’re finding life hard to control at the moment, by putting some simple organizational techniques into practice you can make an enormous difference to your mental and physical well-being. You can take back your life, improve your focus, reduce your distractions, and eliminate your stress points.
When you banish the mental clutter and organize your mind, you’ll find that you’ll get more done and you’ll feel a lot happier overall. With greater organization comes greater control and clarity, so you can see more clearly the direction in which you’re heading and concentrate on the areas that are most important to you.
Are you ready to organize your home to reclaim your life but aren’t sure where to start? Then here is a complete guide to help you begin the task.
A Systematic Approach
To be successful in organizing your home, the key is to take a systematic approach. Decluttering your home is a major task, so tackling it in stages is a good idea. You may decide to begin with a single room and thoroughly sort it out before you move on to the next room. Or you may choose to tackle a single zone within one room, for example the cabinets, before moving on to other elements within the space. Either way, taking a systematic approach allows you to see results, albeit small ones, from every task you complete, and helps to increase your motivation to continue.
There’s no need for any fancy tools or equipment when it comes to decluttering your home. All you need is five bins or baskets. You should label them as follows:
Put away – the items you put in here will be those that have somehow strayed from their original storage space. They need to be put back in the correct location.
Recycle – this is for items that require recycling like paper, glass, and plastic.
Mend or fix – this container should be used for any items that need repairing, cleaning, or mending.
Trash – if the item is no longer needed by any household member, and it would be no good to donate or recycle, throw it in this bin to put into the household trash.
Donate – if you don’t want an item anymore but a charity or another person may want it, you can put it in this basket.
Tackling the Floors, Drawers and Closets
Once you’ve got your baskets prepared and your strategy laid out, you can begin tackling the floors, drawers, closets and cabinets. It makes sense to begin in a single room, work through it completely, and then move onto the next.
It may be a good idea to begin with your bathroom since the clutter here is likely to be relatively minimal. Begin with the medicine cabinet – discard any outdated products, makeup or medications and immediately put all items to keep back in the cabinet. Move onto the drawers. Take everything out, decide what needs to be kept and what needs to be thrown out then put the items you want to keep back in the drawers. Repeat with the tub and shower and any other items from under your sink. If any items remain that are not trash, sort them quickly into the five baskets so you can deal with them later.
The bedroom is a bigger task. It makes sense to begin with your nightstand. Remove anything that doesn’t belong and sort it into the appropriate basket. If there are any items you don’t use, like an empty tissue box, a broken charger or a pen that doesn’t work, get rid of them.
Next, move on to the chests, bureaus and dressers. If any clothing is strewn around, put it in the laundry basket if it needs washing, or into the put-away bin if it needs to be hung up or folded into a drawer. Empty your bureau, drawers and cabinets and put any items that are still in good condition but that you no longer wear into the donation basket. Put away all of the remaining clothing neatly.
No matter how tempted you may be to simply put items back into drawers or cabinets, avoid that temptation. Put them into the put-away basket and deal with them later. Throw away or recycle any items that haven’t been used for six months or more. The closet is the next big job. The easiest way to tackle it is to sort clothing items by type. Go through each category and sort your items into five piles.
One will be to keep and put back in the closet. One will be for any items that are in the incorrect place. One will be for dirty laundry. One will be for items to be dry cleaned or repaired, and one will be for items to be donated.
Moving on to the entryway, you’ll find that even the smallest space will have some clutter to be dealt with. If you have a side table, console or desk, tackle that first. Remove all items in the drawers and decide whether to toss or keep them. If you have a hall closet, declutter it in the same way as your bedroom closets.
The kitchen is a major space to address, and it can also be the most challenging to keep clutter-free in the long-term since so many activities take place there, from cooking and eating to socializing. You’ll therefore have lots of items in it. You can opt to either go through each zone one at a time or focus on a single category of an item before moving on to the next.
Completely empty your chosen space. Evaluate each item. Throw away anything that is unnecessary then put the other items back tidily. The upper cabinets and pantry are a good place to begin before moving on to the drawers, under-sink area and lower cabinets. Last of all, focus on the countertops and try to move as much as possible into storage spaces.
The final area to tackle is the living room. This is an especially difficult space to address since it sees a lot of use and may lack storage. To begin, decide on where you’re going to store all your commonly used items like your books, magazines and remote controls. Then begin decluttering your side tables, console, and bookcases before moving on to your entertainment center and coffee table. Put any books away. If there is any paperwork to deal with, put it to one side, and fold up any blankets.
Check your electronic items and get rid of any that don’t work. Store any gadgets, controllers, gaming equipment and chargers in a convenient but hidden location. Lastly, if there are any toys lying around, assess them for damage and check if they still work. If your kids don’t play with it anymore, recycle it. Put any remaining items away tidily.
Bringing in Help
When you’re trying to organize an entire house, it can be a major job, especially if you’re living in a large household. If this applies to you, it’s time to bring in some help in the form of your friends or family. Draft the kids in to help declutter their own rooms and to put away their own items. Make sure they know where key items will now be stored away so they know where to put them back after use. If you have no friends or family to help you, you may be able to find a cleaning service that will give you some assistance with the task.
Top Tips for Home Organization
Need a few more top tips to help you organize your home and your mind? Here are some of the best:
- Begin in one place. Decide which space is your top priority and start there. Focus on it until it’s completely finished before moving on.
- Allow enough time. Have realistic expectations of how long it’ll take you to thoroughly reorganize your home and schedule a few hours every day to the task in hand.
- Take an inventory. After any unwanted items are removed, inspect what remains and decide if it’s in the right or wrong place. Anything that would be better off somewhere else, move it there.
- Check for wasted space. Are there any additional areas that could be put to work for you? Spaces under beds, over doors or under sinks may be overlooked but may hold valuable storage room.
- Think vertically. This is especially important if you live in a small home. Maximize your storage by shelving right up to your ceiling.
- Divide up spaces. If you add more shelves to a single shelf or use stacking containers or baskets, you can divide up vertical spaces, maximize storage and keep everything looking neat.
- Consider wheeled storage units that can be moved around or stored in a closet when not being used.
- Remember the keywords – flexibility, accessibility and visibility. Choose transparent containers or ones that you can label easily to save you time. Ensure that you’ve put the most frequently used items in a space that is easy to access and choose an adaptable storage system that can be reused and reconfigured to suit your changing needs.