I love organizing. Would I call it a passion? Yes. A sickness? Umm… maybe. I do have my shortcomings. For example, my house isn’t without clutter and I need to get it control every once in a while like any other household. I sort of blame it on my husband, who does not like to keep things “just so” like I do and will put things wherever he likes. But then… I am not without fault. I always leave my DIY projects unfinished on the dining table and in the sunroom, with the intent of getting back to them when I (circle one)
A. buy more supplies.
B. think of a better way to deal with something that didn’t work.
C. have company coming over.
Compared to some of my friends, I may appear to be really organized. I’ve been known to clear off a desk or two in their homes. When they weren’t looking. In under five minutes. OK, fine – it’s a sickness!
Here are a few tips I use around my house and anywhere that needs an organization overhaul. Perhaps they will help you if you’re looking for ways to put more order in your home.
1. Group like items together.
Apples with apples; oranges with oranges, right? Organization is no different. Put your knives all in one place, as well as your paid bills.
2. Give everything a home.
Designate a place where each object in your house lives. You already know that the sofa lives in the living room and the bed lives in the bedroom, but where do your keys live? Where do your incoming mail live? Where do your magazines live? Items can have more than one home, especially in the case of books, but giving them a home means you’ll always know exactly where to return them if they ever go for a walk .
3. Go vertical.
There is this TV show on the W Network that I watch occasionally called “Love It or List It.” I personally watch the Vancouver version so I can see if I know which neighborhood the house is in. But anyway, that’s not the point. The point is that the couple ALWAYS complain about lack of storage. Yet, I see nothing but bare walls in their cluttered homes. Go vertical, people!
Do the math: Every home has at least four walls that are at least eight feet high and one floor. Which is there more of? Walls or floor?
Here are a few ways of going vertical for added storage:
1. Bookshelves for books. Vertical drawers for anything else.
2. The backs of doors are also considered a vertical space.
3. As are the inside of cabinet doors.
4. Metro shelving was installed to make up for the lack of kitchen cabinetry.
And if you’ve run out of walls, there’s always the ceiling! Think pot racks, suspended shelving in garages, etc.
Added bonus of going vertical: getting things off the floor makes it easier to vacuum and mop.
4. Build your storage needs around the objects.
When I first moved into my house, I balked at all the wasted storage space. There was so much potential in the closets, but the existing shelves were utilized ineffectively. Shelves were too deep and spaced too far apart.
Here are a few general notes:
- Bookshelves should be no deeper than 14″. If you are storing primarily reading books (i.e. fiction paperbacks), you can get away with only 10″ of depth.
- Pantry shelves should be no deeper than 12″ and spaced no farther apart than 12″, if you are storing canned foods on these shelves.
- Choose the proper depth of shelving (generally, 14-16″ is good) to store power tools and like in your garage or basement.
- Make sure your clothes closet accommodates double hanging space.
Anyone who really knows me knows that I’m a complete nutter when it comes to containers. I keep containers within containers. I just think all the little objects look better and more organized when corralled in a container. Try it and you’ll know what I’m talking about.
I also firmly believe that containers within the same room should be similar, either in style, shape, or color. Having one element that ties them all together will really make the room look cohesive.
6. Label all sides of a container.
I haven’t seen this tip floating on the Internet at all, so I’m not sure if I’m the only weirdo doing this, but I think it’s very effective. Take the extra three seconds to label all four sides of your boxes. Do this and you’ll never again encounter:
- An unlabeled box.
- Looking to see which side of the box should face out.
7. Use a label maker.
The problem with handwriting your labels is that everyone’s handwriting is different. Even your own handwriting will change depending on the occasion. It’s inconsistent.
You could produce beautifully printed labels from your computer that you’ve sourced off a blog that was offering it as a freebie, but do you realize how much time it can take to make EVERYTHING in those labels? And what if you change the contents of the container? You’ll have to go back to the printer to print off ONE label on an entire sheet of paper. Trust me. I’ve been there and it’s only frustrating when I allow it to frustrate me.
The easiest and most duplicatable route is to use a label maker. This handy device is an organizer’s best friend, I tell ya! Anyone can use it and those labels stick to everything and peels off without leaving residue behind. It’s just the best. You can get machines that print different types of font and and styles and labels in different colors, if you must have a bit of flair in your life. I’ve opted to simplify this approach by sticking to the standard Arial font in black print on white label. This way, I only buy one label cartridge and never have to worry about switching things out. But don’t let the way I do things dictate the way you want things done in your house.
8. Don’t stuff it in.
Don’t overcrowd your possessions. Give them the chance to breathe and be objets d’art in their own right.
In my closet, I could’ve easily placed more than two pairs of boots on these shelves, but I chose not to. I chose to give the boots room to breathe. If I reconfigured things so that I could squeeze four pairs of boots on each shelf, I risk the chance of scuffing the leather or heels. And I wanted to give them importance that they’re worth the investment to shine in my closet without overcrowding.
9. Go see-thru.
In certain parts of my home, I love using clear glass jars and clear plastic containers. Going see-thru makes it so easy to see what contents lie inside. Clear also works with any color palette.
10. Make room for pretty.
Form follows function. Get your ducks in a row so you know where everything is, but don’t overlook the part about making everything functional visually appealing. You live in your space and you should surround yourself with beautiful things. Always.
The main reason why I think being organized is necessary is TIME. Get organized and you don’t waste time looking for things. It’s as simple as that. I, for one, would like to use my time to be with my husband, or my friends, or to go out and enjoy the rare Vancouver sunshine…. instead of looking for misplaced keys or wallet. What about you? What are some reasons you like about being organized?
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