From overwhelmed to organised
If you’re feeling overwhelmed by chaos at home, this is a good place for you. In this post I’m going to talk about how you can start to organise things at home and get things running more smoothly. I’ll look at small steps you can take towards having a home where you can relax.
Take small steps and you will soon move from overwhelmed to organised. You’ll feel much better overall, and you’ll have a sense of calm.
Two recommendations for organising your house
First of all, focus on just one area at a time, such as one room or one drawer or one shelf. Make the area quite small because then you won’t be overwhelmed. In other words, don’t bite off more than you can chew!
Don’t be distracted. Focus on just one area at a time and you will see good progress quite quickly.
Secondly, most of us are busy people without much time. Fit in just 20-30 minutes of decluttering and organising every day and you’ll soon see a difference. Set the timer if you like!
Decide on your goal
It’s tempting to have a huge and ambitious goal like ‘I want to sort out everything in the house, the garden, the car and the children – oh and work too! As soon as possible and definitely by the end of next month!’
It’s a great goal but, realistically, decluttering and organising a house takes time. Let’s break the big goal down into do-able chunks. That means that you won’t be disheartened, you’ll be able to keep going and you’ll make steady progress.
The size of your do-able chunks will vary, depending on how much time and energy you’ve got. One drawer or one shelf at a time is absolutely fine.
Many people start with organising the area that annoys them the most. It might be shoes all over the place, for example, or piles of paperwork.
Make a note of the problem areas that really niggle you. Also make a note of any ideas you’ve got about why these areas are problems.
Choose whichever area makes sense to you, set the timer and get started!
Make a big difference straightaway by putting all the obvious rubbish in the recycling or the bin. Great!
Next, use four boxes to sort items into:
- Things you want to keep but which belong somewhere else in the house. Try to keep similar things together because it will help you to decide what to keep and how to organise them.
- Things to be mended
- Things to give to people or organisations who would appreciate them and make good use of them
- Any recycling or rubbish you’ve overlooked.
As soon as possible, get the recycling and the donations out of the house. Go round the house to deliver those things that should be elsewhere.
Great work! This is a good start!
Now on to organising
Here are a few questions about different places and spaces in your home. Take your time to think about the best answer for you. You could try a few things out until it feels right.
Q. Are your items in the best place?
Do you keep things near where they are used? For example, is the bread knife near the bread and bread board? Are cups and mugs near the kettle?
Grouping things together with other similar items makes sense. You will probably have to rethink where you keep some things as you work through organising your home.
Q. Does some things have no permanent home at all?
That could be why they keep going walkabout. Keys, for example, seem very keen to disappear. Some people swear by always putting their keys in a bowl near the front door. That’s a good place – if there is somewhere to keep the bowl. Where would make sense for something like this in your house?
Q. Does this area of your home do what you want it to?
If it does, that’s terrific. If it doesn’t, can you change things around or compromise a little? I know that sometimes it’s just not possible, though, because space is limited. It’s often difficult to fit in a drum kit, for example! Time to do what you can and be creative!
To label or not to label
Some people are mad keen on labelling as part of organising the home. Others? Well, they are not so keen. I think there’s a happy medium somewhere between.
Labelling certainly helps in bringing groups of things together, such as all the Christmas cards ready for next year, the spices, the medication or the batteries. And grouping items together helps you know what you’ve actually got. That means you don’t waste time trying to find things, or buying duplicates.
Secondly, labels distinguish between similar items such as keys.
Labelling also helps other people in the household or visitors to find what they are looking for. And maybe to put things back after they’ve used them!
Whether you use a label maker or make your own labels is your choice!
Learn from other people
Remember how you made a note about particular problem areas? You’re definitely not alone here! Keep your eyes open for how other people have met similar problems because their answers might work for you.
Shoes in the hallway? Would an over-the-door organiser work? What about more shelves?
Plastic lids that keep falling out of the cupboard? Does each one have its own container and would a box keep them all under control?
Finally, could a professional organiser help you to organise your home?
If you’re overwhelmed with stuff, short of time and can’t see the way through, Uncluttered or another professional organiser would be pleased to help you. Getting professional help is a great step to take. That’s because we’ll help you to decide exactly what you’re aiming for, and we’ll work with you to get there. It makes it all do-able. (And we won’t be shocked or judge you.)