How to Organize a Cluttered House

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Your surroundings can directly affect the way you feel, which is why a cluttered environment may cause feelings of anxiety. Organizing and de-cluttering your home will also save you time since you won’t have to search through everything — plus, it will likely cut down on the amount of time it takes to tidy up your home. 

Go through your house one room or area at a time to avoid overwhelming yourself, which could result in scrapping the entire project. 

Here are some tips on how to attack the clutter and organize your home:

Labels

Label your containers or boxes. Designate one for misplaced items that belong elsewhere, one for donate or sell, one for keep and one for undecided. Trash bags are for the garbage.

One Area at a Time

Pick up one item from your cluttered area at a time. Look at the item and decide where it should go. Keep things you use or things that bring you joy, such as the inscribed picture frame your grandmother gave you on your wedding day. If you haven’t used it, worn it or looked at it more than once or twice over the past few years, toss it.

Trash/Donate/Store

Remove the garbage and donate or sell box immediately. Store the box of items for sell or donations in a shed, attic, garage, guestroom or another out-of-the-way place until you can host a garage sell or drop them off at a donation center.

Put Things Away

Put away the things that belong in the room or area you’re working on. If you’re doing a complete overhaul and implementing a new organization strategy, it’s OK to leave the items in a “keep” box until you have all the items that are supposed to go in that room so you know what kind of storage and organizational bins or baskets you’ll need.

Assign a Home

Assign each item in your home a place to live. For example, extra bedding for your teenage daughter’s friends can go in her closet or under her bed. Keep similar items together in a place where it makes sense, such as keeping records and paperwork near your desk or computer.

Use Bins

Use baskets, bins and other organizers to keep your belongings organized. For example, store your children’s summer clothes on top of their closets in plastic containers and small kitchen items in drawer organizers or baskets.

Labels, Again!

Label storage boxes so you know what’s inside, or use color-coded bins. For example, Halloween costumes and decorations can go in black or orange containers, Christmas decorations in red or green, and keepsakes in blue. Date and label boxes by writing on masking tape with a permanent marker so you can replace the label if necessary.

Rotation

Rotate your collectibles or knickknacks to cut down on dust and clutter. For example, put out one-third of your collection and rotate it every few months. This allows you to truly enjoy and appreciate your collection without having a cluttered house.

No New Items to Add to Clutter

Avoid bringing in new clutter. Make a pact with yourself and your entire family that for every item that comes in, something similar has to go. For example, if you purchase a new set of glasses, you have to donate or sell your old set.

Keep a Handy List

Write down where all your belongings are stored. For example, write down “Attic: holiday decorations, maternity clothes, Grandma’s china” or “Hall closet: off-season clothes, ski equipment.” Refer to this list every time you need to find something or when it’s time to put the item away again. The list should be easily accessible to everyone in the family so keeping your home organized is a family effort. 

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