Simple tips to add to your daily routine for a more organized life!
Even though January (seemingly: the month of organization) has come to an end, I still wanted to share some of my favorite organization ideas and products with you. To me, the new year is a time that we can cleanse our homes of the things we no longer need, and organize the necessities.
I have always been one to purge and donate many times throughout the year. I like to keep the things I need, and get rid of the things that are no longer useful or necessary. At the age of nine, that meant keeping buckets and buckets of Barbies, but now that means collecting heaps of glass jars, and more baskets than I can count, yet still giving away old blankets, used towels, and other things we need to replace or no longer use.
These are some of my go-to practices that help me stay organized throughout the year! I'd love to hear some of your favorite ways to stay organized too - let me know in the comments!
7 SIMPLE HOME ORGANIZATION IDEAS
Baskets and glass jars are my best friends when it comes to organizing. I dislike colorful and plastic packaging more than I can describe. The first thing I do when I bring home groceries is unpackage and transfer. I like to put all of our pantry goods and soaps in glass containers rather than keeping them in their colorful boxes and jars. I keep a big glass jar for olive oil and soap, and a basket under the sink for holding trash bags and countertop sprays.
I like to keep glass jars on hand so that I always have a jar to put pastas, rice, candies, etc. in. Sometimes it's impossible to re-package a pantry item (say a specialty vinegar), so I like to group those specific items together in baskets so that all of the "special things" are in one place. Even things like batteries and tape can be grouped together and put into baskets or containers.
Collect at a slow and steady pace.
While I love glass jars and baskets, it is a collection that I have grown over years. Some of the glass jars I love most were brought home in my suitcase on my last trip to France. They are treasured and loved, and seem to make the most ordinary thing very special.
I guess my point is, don't put pressure on yourself to organize everything at once. Your home should tell the story of your travels & passions, and house only the things you truly treasure. When Greg and I first moved in together, I felt like I needed everything organized right away. I went to Target and World Market and bought all of their least expensive baskets and storage options, and while I still use some of those things, they aren't my favorite.
They don't tell my story in the least bit. I wish I would have slowly collected all of those jars and baskets, because I have ended up donating most of them, and repurchasing as I find options that I really love. For example, I splurged on an antique laundry basket from France. Sometimes the basket has pillows in it, sometimes it actually has laundry in it...the point is, that laundry basket is special to me, and it tells my story. Life isn't about being perfectly organized all the time, ya know?
My best advice is to start with a bathroom, then move on to your pantry, then your laundry room... Work your way through the rooms of your house at your own pace. This will probably take years! I just know the baskets and jars I have bought hastily don't have the same cherished feeling that my collected jars do.
...but, when all else fails: mason jars are the perfect quick fix.
Mix and match
I love a collected feel (see above). Don't worry about matching everything you bring home. Instead, think of how best each piece can serve a room. That might mean using various shades of wicker in your laundry room or different colored glass jars in your pantry. Some of my favorite jars are one-offs I found at flea markets or in our basement.
Maybe I've convinced you to ditch packaging? If so, you'll need to adapt to a labeling system. You don't want to mix up baking powder and baking soda or bleach with vinegar. My favorite labeling tool is the Wine Glass Writer. I use it on everything!!! The ink is removable, and comes in so many colors. I also love creating special labels that fit my aesthetic for things that will be housed long-term. Galvanized or chalkboard tags are also a cute way to label baskets and containers!
Have a home for everything!
Sometimes this means getting rid of things you thought you needed. My mom taught me this concept when I was little, and it has stuck with me my entire life. Everything needs a home!
Use this concept to group similar items together - office supplies, toiletries, sports equipment, etc... If you find that you have an item in your home that you cannot find a place for it to "live", then you probably don't need it!
For example, our leaf blower, chain saw, and lawnmower all live together in our garage. I always know where to find them, and I know where to put them back. On the flip side, I had 5-6 extra cabinet drawer pulls I was holding onto. I kept moving them from place to place in my office before I finally realized that I had no home for them. I knew that I wouldn't need them, and they were just taking up space, so I decided to donate them.
Have the discipline to put things back.
Oh this is hard. I'm not a master of this concept, but when I do practice this, I am generally much more focused and relaxed. I once read an article about a lady that, "decided she would no longer half complete a task," and it changed her life. Since reading it, I have tried my best to implement the idea, but I am still one to put the just-dried laundry in a pile on our bed... Baby steps.
Once you spend time organizing a cupboard or room, take advantage of your hard work and put things back when you are finished. Your whole home will stay so much cleaner, and your hard work will not be wasted.
Create a sense of beauty even in the mundane.
Have you ever heard, or used, the term "sucker for packaging?" That accurately describes me. I don't care if it's a mop or a marker - give me good packaging, and I am sold. Just the other day I fell in love with the spray paint at Target. The packaging was just so pretty! I keep this in mind whenever I am organizing a space in my home. It's my number one trick for creating a beautifully organized area that might otherwise look like a cluttered mess of competing brands.
Even things like bills and toothpaste can be made beautiful if they have a pretty home. Rather than buying a basic file folder for your home paperwork, use something unique - like a beautiful silver tray for bills or a metal box for filing papers. Turn a piece of chipped ironstone into a catchall for keys and cell phones. Remember that just because something was intended to be used a certain way, doesn't mean it has to be!