Baby Steps to an Organized Home:
Just as no home stays tidy on a daily basis, no home stays organized from year to year. My home needs a seasonal (every few months or so) going over to quickly re-evaluate storage areas. This is the time to reorganize cupboards, drawers, shelves, and closets and to get rid of the broken, worn out, outdated, and repetitive items. Here is what I do:
1. I pull out, throw out, and wipe out.
2. I put away what doesn't belong there.
3. I pare down what I don't need.
4. I decide on new or different storage containers if needed.
5. I arrange the keepers neatly back in place.
You will notice that this is the short list of how to get organized in the first place, my steps 1-4. Yes, the same thing needs to be done over and over again, except that it should be the quick version from now on.
Here is an example from my own home; a little reworking of two of my kitchen cupboards:This is a corner cupboard next to the stove and below my main counter work area. The door is only 12" wide and very difficult to reach into. But I'm hoping to fit more casserole dishes inside because the current storage for my microwave-safe casseroles will become toy storage for baby grandson.
This is the high cupboard above the refrigerator. It doesn't have much in it.
1. I pull out, throw out, wipe out:I emptied both cupboards onto the kitchen counter, then I wiped the shelves clean.
2. I put away what doesn't belong there:I decided these items could easily be stored above the refrigerator, rather than in the more convenient lower corner cupboard. Even though it is hard to reach above the refrigerator, most of these pieces are used only seasonally so they don't need to be taking up the lower cupboard space.
3. I pare down what I don't need:On further thought, I decided I don't use these pieces enough, or like them enough, to keep them around any longer. Most will go in the garage sale boxes; one is trash (can you guess which?)
4. I decide on new or different storage containers if needed:
In this case, I don't need any storage containers since this was mainly a reorganization project.
5. I arrange the keepers neatly back in place:The corner cupboard now holds all my casserole dishes and baking dishes: 5 glass and ceramic casseroles, 2 bread pans, 3 9"x13" baking dishes, 1 roasting pan, 6 pie plates, 3 round cake pans, 2 rectangle cake pans, 3 mini muffin pans, and 2 cast iron skillets.
The cupboard over the refrigerator now stores my seasonal pieces: a bundt pan, a springform pan, a chafing dish, a decorative ceramic mold, a Swedish cake pan, 5 mini loaf pans, a gingerbread house mold, a ceramic shortbread mold, and a bag of Tupperware popsicle molds. With a step stool, I can easily access them for the one or two times a year that I use them.
Every time I go through this process, the hardest step for me is #3, paring down what I don't need. I still struggle with keeping and accumulating too much. It's an emotional thing to get rid of what I no longer need: What if I need it later? What if someone I love might need it later? What if I never find one again if I need it? Eventually, I learned that I should keep only two types of items: Items that are used at least once a year, and very special mementos. The rest I make myself let go of, and I found my life to be more calm and less stressful. I much prefer it that way.
My two final thoughts for you:
Remember, there is not one “right” way to organize. Find a method that works for you and do it. Don’t be concerned about others’ methods or opinions.
It’s OK if your house looks lived in. After all, you really do live there. Don’t get caught up in magazine pictures that show spotless homes.
Now, go, enjoy your clutter-free home!
Previous posts in the series: