Whether you’re a stay at home mom, work at home mom, or homeschooling mom, you need an organized home. But for many moms, this inevitably begs the question:
“Where do I start with organizing my home? Where do I start with decluttering when I have so much stuff?”
It can seem like a giant, overwhelming task, especially when every drawer and cabinet you open is untidy and closets are piled high with stuff!
Personally, I’ve always leaned toward being organized, but being a work at home/homeschooling mom has challenged my ability to get and keep our home that way. There have been times when I’ve literally felt tightness in my chest just thinking about how much needed to be organized!
I’ve learned over time how to create and implement a strategy that not only allows me to get our home organized, but put forth consistent effort (and train my kids) to keep it that way. Today, I’m here to share with you some of my best tips for how to start organizing your home, and everything you’ll need to do so.
Think about why you want to organize
I think it’s important to start by taking a minute to think about why you want to start organizing.
This may sound silly to you, but I guarantee you, it will provide fuel and motivation for the organizing projects you’ll do over time.
When I think about why I want an organized home, here are some things that come to my mind:
- So I (and my kids and my husband) know where everything is
- So I know what we have and what we need to purchase
- So my kids get used to being in an organized environment, and they absorb organizational habits
- To cut down on the stresses of not being able to find something in a time crunch
- To prevent mental and emotional clutter that seems to be inevitably connected to the organization of the home environment
- It’s easy to clean up for parties/gatherings
- It’s easy to clean up for last-minute unexpected company
- To help me easily and efficiently show up consistently for homeschooling/work at home life
- To save money on re-purchasing things I’ve lost or misplaced
- To feel like I’m on top of things (so important!)
- Overall, to help our home run smoothly
Also, think about what will happen if you don’t get your home organized:
- It will be difficult to find things when you need them
- You’ll waste time and energy looking for things
- You’ll be a lot less productive
- You may experience mental and emotional clutter
Where to start organizing?
Now it’s time to start organizing!
When you think about where to start organizing your home, there are a few different approaches you can take. I’ll list a couple that I’ve come across, and then I’ll list my personal organizing approach.
The first organizing approach comes from The Spruce. In this article, they recommend to start organizing your home in this order: storage spaces, shared spaces, personal spaces, small spaces. This is definitely a helpful strategy, and it can work nicely for you.
Another strategy is to just go room by room. You can choose a room to start with and start decluttering, keeping track of needs, and staging (more on this later).
My personal strategy, which is the one I’ve used for years, starts with prioritizing the areas of your home that desperately need to be organized, followed by a strategic room by room home organization approach.
Here’s how I organize a space:
Visualize how you want to use the space.
The first and most important step I take when I’m organizing a space is to establish a vision for that space. This means taking a minute to think about the area I’m wanting to work on. What purpose do I want this area to serve? Do I want it to be a functional workspace? A cozy area where guests can sit and chat, or maybe a coffee bar?
Determining the vision for the space is essential because you’ll know exactly what needs to be in that space and what needs to be taken out.
2. Declutter/purge the space.
The next step is the obvious one: purge your space. Everything there that does not line up with the vision for the space needs to go.
At this point, I always end up separating things into three piles: throw away, give away, or put away. I would suggest giving away as much as you can because you never know who could use what you’re getting rid of! “Putting away” would be finding another place in your home for the item, or the item can be put back into the space you’re organizing.
You’re going to want to be very honest with yourself during this step. What do you really need and what can you get rid of? Are there items that are broken or torn? Can you afford to replace them right now, or at least patch them up? Do you have several of something that you can give away to people who may be able to use them?
I have to continually remind myself to be generous when I’m doing this step. Often, I’ll come across things I forgot I had and will want to keep them…”just in case.” And that’s fine, for a few things. But I try to stick to the “bare is beautiful” idea when purging so I’m not tempted to keep too many things.
Purging your area will most likely take the longest time out of any of these steps, but once it’s done, you will be able to move on to the next step. At this point, you’re halfway there!
3. Clean the area
Now it’s time to bust out your favorite cleaning supplies and make the area shine!
If you’re cleaning out drawers, I highly recommend using a quality drawer liner after cleaning to keep things clean and in place.
4. Keep a list of needs
Keep a running list of what you want or need to replace as you’re purging. For example, in the case of my washroom, I knew I needed to get book holders and clear plastic bins to accomplish my vision, so onto my list it went.
I recommend keeping this list (or lists) on your phone or somewhere on your computer so you don’t have more paper lying around. This also comes in handy when you take a trip to the store and have some room in your budget.
5. Stage your area.
The next part of organizing would be to stage your area. This means to nicely arrange the things you currently have in a tasteful, visually appealing way.
If you want to get inspired, check out organizing videos on YouTube, organizing pages on Instagram, and pictures on websites like The Container Store.
6. Keep it tidy.
Now that your space is organized, you’ll want to maintain it by filtering everything that comes in. You don’t want to end up where you started, so if new things come into your home that belong in that space, I suggest immediately finding a place for them (giving away, throwing away, or putting them in another place).
For example, if you just organized your kitchen, and somebody bought you a set of coffee mugs, then I suggest giving away some of your old ones. Keep it minimal and you’ll maintain an organized space!
If you’d like a set of printables to streamline this process, you’ll want to check out my organizing and decluttering printables in The Stay at Home Shop. It’s a 20+ page printable pack that will give you a much needed boost to get your home organized and keep it that way, one easy step at a time.
Create an organizing budget
There’s a small chance that organizing can cost you absolutely nothing but time. If you’re mainly decluttering your home and you already have plenty of boxes/bins on hand you can use, then you may be good to go!
However, I’ve found that I always need (or want) a particular item when I organize a space. To really make your space something special, you’ll probably want to invest in items like bins, containers with lids, racks, baskets, etc. that you like and that match the space you’re organizing.
The good news is that it doesn’t have to cost you an arm and a leg to organize your home. How much you want to spend is entirely up to you. You can find a lot of steals at dollar stores and even on Amazon.
Labels are not always necessary, especially if it’s obvious what’s in a space. But when you’re storing things that you may not see for a while, or a bunch of items in one area, you may find it helpful to use a label maker.
This easy to use label maker creates professional looking labels very quickly. It even has colored labels if you want to color coordinate things!
If you want labels to be a bit larger, like for children’s bins, you can use index cards and packaging tape like I have below:
Make it as easy as possible
You want to make organizing as easy as possible. In my organizing and decluttering printables, I help you break areas of the home into bite-sized chunks so you can easily knock out the tasks that are most important to you.
For instance, if you need to organize your kitchen, you don’t want to attempt to do the whole kitchen in one day-that’s too overwhelming for your brain. Instead, you want to do one thing at a time, like a drawer, and then another drawer, and then a cabinet.
One small organizing victory encourages another one, and before you know it, you’ll be finished with an entire room!
Make it a habit
Lastly, I would encourage you to make organizing a habit. Personally, during the home management part of our day, I commit 3 days out of the week to organize and purge different spaces in our home.
If you do this, over time, organizing just becomes a habit, and will transfer to other areas of your life!
I hope this helps bring some order to your home. Do you have an organizing method that you use? Comment below-I would love to know!