You know that feeling when you walk into your home and all feels right with the world?? Like you just get that sense of calm and ease. I love to give that same feeling to my clients with every in-home organizing job we complete. It is our mission!! We want to help simplify your home so you can easily maintain a clutter-free home!
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In order to truly simplify your home, you need to start with a a solid foundation. The basic principles include gathering all the like items, edit what you have, store categories together, and label everything. These basic principles apply to every and all organizational projects you may do, so to have a strong understanding of these principles will help you simplify your home quickly!
Step one is to gather all like items together. When it comes to bigger categories like the kitchen, you can break it up into subcategories. For example, you can gather all kitchen gadgets together. All the kitchen utensils can be gathered together. Bowls can be gathered together, while baking items can go together.
By gathering everything in one category, you are able to see how much you have, which makes it easy to pare down what you have to a manageable amount.
When I gather items with clients, we typically start with clothing for an entire house overhaul. Clothing is the easiest to start with because you see it daily, so deciding on what to keep and what to donate is easier once you get going.
For items in an establish kitchen with limited counter space, I suggest gathering subcategories to reduce the overwhelming feeling. As for toys, just gather all of the toys. It really will make you want to get rid of more if you see the giant pile all at once.
Once you have gathered one category, it is time to edit what you have. This step is really important when you are working to simply your home. Edit means only keep essentials. Think of editing a book or a paper. In order for the paper to make sense, you had to remove all the “fluff” to make sure you get your point across. This is the same method for all the items in your home. You only want to keep what is essential to live a simplified life!!
As I edit categories with clients, I ask them a few questions:
- Does this item have a purpose in my home today?
- Will this item be used in the future?
- Do I actually use or wear this item?
- What about this item is making me want to keep it?
- Would you spend money on this item at a store now?
By diving deep into the purpose of an item in your home, you are allowing yourself to simplify what you store within the walls of your home.
Once all the items in one category are edited down to what you need to simplify your home, it is time to store those items. I recommend storing like items together in one location that is easily accessible, near where those items are most frequently used. If there are items that are can be found in multiple locations, sub-categorize these items. For example, not all the kitchen gadgets will fit into one drawer or cabinet. So group them based on type and store together.
When it comes to kids’ toys, store those items together by category. Then you can spread the toys out throughout the home based on areas that make sense for where the kids play with that particular type of toy category.
Shoes and purses can be stored based on “every day wear” and “dressy”. This limits the amount of things in one particular location, especially if you have a small mud room or entryway closet.
Some of my favorite products
The final step is to label. If this step is missed, things will not stay organized. Labeling makes it easy for any person walking into your home to find things, store them, and maintain a simplified home.
There are many ways you can label. I have created hand written labels using Sharpie markers. Vinyl labels are my go-to for clear bins in pantries or linen closets. Picture labels are perfect for the kids’ clothing.
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Now that you understand the basic principles to simplify your home, you need to develop routines to maintain the work you just did. By developing those daily, weekly, and monthly routines, you will be able to continue to live a simplified life!
In order to develop those routines, you will need to observe your daily behavior. Do you come into your home and throw the mail on the kitchen counter? Then the pile builds up and you are overwhelmed by the amount of stuff collecting on the counter? If so, you need to change your routine in dealing with the mail. One easy tip I have clients do is to open the mail immediately. Recycle unwanted mail and have a space for the mail to be dealt with.
Less = More
As you simply your home, you will come to realize you are owning less stuff. This is actually really helping you create more space in your home. By reducing the excess amount of clutter that can easily pile up in drawers or cabinets, you are clearing space to spread out. Spread out your dishes, glasses, cook wear. Space out your clothing so it feels like a department store. Display books so you can read the covers without anything blocking your view.
By owning less, you are more likely to feel more happy. According to a documentary called “Happy“, owning less stuff will, in fact, make you happy. They argue that the initial rush of buying something new feels good and makes you believe you are happy. But once that initial feeling wears off, you are still looking for that feeling of “happiness” you felt when you first purchased that item. You already know how to feel that feeling again, so you purchase more. As your items accumulate around you, you begin to feel depressed and overwhelmed. Which is the total opposite of what you wanted to feel.
By owning less, you are reducing the anxiety you feel when you are surrounded by all the “stuff”. Which, in turn, helps you feel like you own more! More freedom, more open space, more simplicity!
During the simplifying process you may be collecting items to donate or sell. My tip for selling is to have it listed for 2 weeks max. If it doesn’t sell, then you need to donate. It is the only way to ensure the items get out of your home and are used by someone who would actually use it.
There are lots of debates about the best place to donate your items. I have found that going local is your best option for donations. I have an entire e-book on the best places to donate your stuff. The list includes phone numbers, addresses, and specifics about what each organization will and will not take!
Simplify Your Home
Now you are ready to simply your home. Remember the basic principles: gather, edit, store, and label. Create routines to help continue to keep the space clutter-free. Live by the “less is more” mindset. And donate locally, if you can!
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