10 Great Ways to Get Organized

Whether it's time for a spring cleaning, or you're just sick of the clutter taking over your home, getting organized can help create efficiency and peace of mind. However, tackling a messy house can seem like a daunting task, and keeping it up is even harder. If you don't know where to start, we've got a list of 10 great (and easy) ways to tackle organization.

  1. Use lists - making lists can help you organize the areas of your home that need to be organized. This way, you can prioritize certain areas, plan times for when you can begin the process, and plan out what materials or supplies you need to procure to do so. Create one master to-do list that encompasses every task you hope to get accomplished. {relatedarticles}Then create daily to-do lists that break your master plan down into more manageable and achievable chunks. Take no more than 3-6 items at a time from your master list for your daily list. Do not add any more tasks until the others have been completed. Make sure to go back and cross your accomplishments off of the master list. Seeing things checked off bit by bit can keep you motivated to follow through.
  1. Get prepped - how many times have you started a project on a whim and realized halfway through that you don't have the right supplies, storage, or some other necessary thing to continue the task? Make it easy on yourself and prepare for the process of organizing.

Having these items on hand as you tackle a room, or even a drawer, can help:

  • pens and permanent markers;
  • labels;
  • rubber bands;
  • reroute box (a box for everything that doesn't belong in the area but needs to be kept);{relatedarticles}
  • trash can and fresh trash bags;
  • recycle bin;
  • donation/garage sale box;
  • cleaning supplies (paper towels, wipes, duster); and
  • storage items like bins, boxes and bags (only buy these after you assess what you need in the space to make sure it fits and can be used).
  1. Set aside time - you'll never get around to organizing if you try to squeeze it between dinner and running the kids to soccer. Schedule a set time dedicated to organizing. During this time, do not have visitors, turn off your phone and focus on the task at hand. It's OK to take small breaks, but commit to finishing what you have started. If something happens and you must stop in the middle of what you are doing, make an effort to clear things out of the way and make a note of where you left off so that you don't leave yourself a bigger mess than you started with and can resume easily.
  1. Categorize - with each area that you begin to organize, create 3 piles - keep, trash and donate. Obviously things you want to keep go in the "keep" pile, items that can't be used again go in the "trash" and things you can pass on to someone in need go in the "donate" pile. Doing this will give you the chance to really evaluate the items you have and if you truly need to keep them or not.{relatedarticles}
  1. Think outside the box - if you are struggling to find storage space to fit your possessions, there are many hidden and overlooked spaces that you can use to accommodate them. The backs of doors can be great places for hanging organizers in a linen closet or laundry room; the space over the door can also be used for a shelf to house books or baskets. There are many containers designed specifically to fit under the bed for rarely used items, and many furniture pieces such as benches, ottomans and even coffee tables can be found that feature built-in or hidden storage space.
  1. Enlist help - the whole process of organizing can seem less overwhelming if you delegate tasks from your to-do list to family or helpful friends. Having multiple people working on different rooms or areas at the same time can get you finished in no time.
  1. Hire a professional organizer - if you're knee-deep in clutter, it is beginning to affect your ability to enjoy your home, and you don't think you can conquer the clutter on your own, a professional may be the way to go. A quick Internet search can lead you to someone in your area who can come in and assess the situation and develop a plan for organization that will work for you.{relatedarticles}
  1. Digitize - to cut down on piles or boxes of paperwork (and to help the environment), take the time to type up your phone and address book and store it on your phone or computer. Scan important documents and then shred the paper copies. Take pictures of your children's artwork instead of saving it; photocopy the recipes you actually like and use out of cookbooks and donate the books; and get rid of all those takeout menus and phone books - if you have a computer with Internet access, this information can be accessed easily.
  1. Keep it clean - even a well-organized closet or kitchen can look messy if it isn't clean. While organizing, be sure to wipe down shelves, dust and vacuum before you put anything back in its place. A clean space also will inspire you to keep it looking good.
  1. Maintenance - this may be the most important step of all - keeping it up! Set a day once a week for regular straightening and picking up, even if it's just for 10 minutes. Then commit to a date once a month for a deeper clean. By taking small amounts of time to tackle small messes, you'll avoid a big chore later.{relatedarticles}

By following these easy guidelines, your home will be back in order in no time. Remember that it didn't take a day to create the mess, so it will take more than a day to remedy. But sticking to a plan will yield results the whole family can enjoy.