Living in a cluttered home is not only unpleasant and inconvenient, it can force you to compromise on living the life you’ve always dreamed of.

Imagine your living room muddled with furniture (which you neither need nor use) that’s devouring up your precious space, your bedroom scrambled with all those unattractive flower vases ready to fall off their shelves any minute, or your kitchen drawers overflowing with utensils and other unnecessary paraphernalia which you no longer require.

What an eyesore!

And now picture a neatly organized and clean space with all your important stuff tidily stacked up in place, just so that you never have to waste your time looking for them again. You never know, you may end up rediscovering all that space you had forgotten you had at home and voila, suddenly you have room to accommodate that lamp you’ve had your eyes on for the last couple of months!

Wish to make that a reality? It’s pretty simple, really. Just conquer that clutter and watch all the junk vanish, thereby make more space for the things that you actually need or want to have.

De-cluttering is easy when you’ve got the money to afford all those expensive products that help with the sorting, the organizing and the storing of everything you own. However, not everyone may be as fortunate and have no more than a limited budget (or absolutely no money) assigned to their storage solutions.

With a little creativity and the will to organize, you can unclutter your home even on a shoestring budget. Here’s more on that.

1. Clear It Up

Irrespective of how deeply or emotionally connected you may think you are to an item, if it’s junk, it has to go. Make this your mantra to clear out the mess and separate the essentials from the broken, obsolete and redundant stuff.

The best and the cheapest way to organize your home is to get rid of stuff. Unless it is a precious heirloom item or a valuable Picasso, be ready to say goodbye to it.

If it overwhelms you, you may want to start small i.e. begin with clearing out a drawer and move on to the closet and then finally the room. Breaking up the task will make it seem more doable and allow you to plan better. Before you know it, you will have purged your entire home of all that was unusable, broken, unworn and unwanted.

If you find items which may be useful to others (but not to you), you can donate or sell them (and make some money). Trash the rest. A great way of doing so is to tackle each room one at a time, armed with a trash bag and boxes for items you want to sell, donate and for those which belong in another part of the house.

Soon it’ll all be cleared up leaving you with more usable space at your disposal – all this without you having to spend even a single cent.

2. Group Similar Items


When sorting through your things, you’re bound to come across items that may be similar in nature or have the same end use. It makes sense to group such pieces together and label them as you purge through every room. This will make it easier for you to categorize and store them.

You could also sort out the items which belong to a particular room and cluster them accordingly.

Place that book you found with the other books, DVDs with the DVDs, bags with the rest of your collection, and shoes with the other pairs. Before you know it, you’ll have everything figured out and kept in place.

Avoid bunching disparate items together as doing so will only make it hard to find what you need and create visual chaos and you don’t want that. The idea is to straighten out the disorder, and not create more of it.

3. Make a List

Wouldn’t it be great if you knew exactly what you have so that you could determine its use? One of the best ways of organizing quickly and in an error-free manner is to make an inventory of all the things you own and the items among those you want to hold on to.

Doing this should give you a good idea of how these items should be stored and what type of furniture and containers you will need to preserve them. You can now make an informed decision and buy the suitable storage solutions once and for all, rather than end up buying something wrong and making repeat purchases.

For instance, in order to store your t-shirts and formal shirts separately, you could use either shelf dividers or strong and sturdy hangers to allot them their place in your closet and distinguish between them in a jiffy. Similarly, once you’ve counted how many CDs you have, you will know the size of the rack to get to store them in.

4. Make De-Cluttering a Habit

To save yourself the hassle of letting things pile up indiscriminately, sorting through them again and again, and repeating the whole de-cluttering grind, it is advised that you find solutions that work in tandem with your personal habits. Intertwining these two factors can go a long way in keeping your home free of clutter at all times.

For example, if you’re looking for basic organization solutions for all your photographs, you will do well by simply clustering them as per the year and storing them in a box. However, if you’re detail-oriented, you may want to segregate them by month, year, occasion, and so on. Hence, you may be better off using photo albums.

Don’t conclude your de-cluttering efforts until everything you own has found a place for itself. Whether it is a desk for your table clock, a hook for your keys or a drawer for your socks, everything should have its own place.

Not only that, you should make it a habit to return each of your things to their own place after every use. That will ensure that they’re always safe and can easily be located in times of need. Easy and reasonable!

5. Use What You Have


Sometimes, you can serve old wine in a new bottle and get away with it. While I have advised you to dispose of, donate or sell what don’t need, you may want to pause and consider reprocessing them if they aren’t damaged.

With certain items that you may own, it may be a good idea to repurpose them. These can include jars, plastic containers, storage bags, cardboard boxes, laundry baskets, and so on.

Old duffel bags, backpacks, and purses may be great for holding things that you don’t need immediately, but might need them later on. For example, your empty suitcases may be perfect for holding your winter wear. That way they’re out of sight for the rest of the year, yet you know they’re safely stored.

6. Look For Bargains

Many a time, we’re tempted to buy high-end, expensive storage solutions which are specially manufactured by niche companies to fulfill such requirements. These products are top-notch in quality and can be expensive, even when on sale. But, you can still have them.

In order to stick to your budget, you can either purchase them second-hand at a garage sale or look for other alternatives such as

Searching online message boards and auction sites for deals on shelves and storage ideas. There are several portals on the Internet that come up with lucrative offers, shopping coupons and even freebies for such items. Look in the right places and you’re sure to find what you’re looking for.

Posting on the local trade websites; requesting the items you need and exchanging them for your discards. By taking recourse to the good old barter system, you can swap the items you don’t need with others who need them, for something that may be useful to you. Don’t forget to keep a track of/check for updates on your posts.

Shopping at the “as is” section of your local furniture and hardware stores for discounts on slightly scratched or dented items. The imperfections may be barely noticeable, but the discounts are heavy, which make it a very attractive option for many. You might want to consider getting your hands on something that may not be as perfect as you’d like it to be, but it is better than having nothing at all.

Do not make the mistake of overlooking your neighborhood thrift stores and yard sales. Just stay focused on your objective of getting rid of useless and unwanted items and organizing the things you need, whilst adhering to your budget. Remember, you want to eliminate clutter, not add to it.

Conclusion

I’m sure that by the end of the de-cluttering process, you’re going to love how imaginative and inventive you can get. Rediscovering this new side of yourself is going to make you glad that you did this important task and got it out of the way, without spending much. You don’t need to be rich or have extravagant organizing tools to de-clutter. You can focus on the simple things and get the job done effectively too. The above tips should help you in your endeavor to set things straight at your home.

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Organize Your Home after the Holidays

By Ron Maier | Filed in Closets, Organization

Organize Your Home after the HolidaysOrganize Your Home after the Holidays

 

Holiday season is over and you have stacks of gifts to organize, decorations to take down and your home is in total disarray! If you can relate with the situation, this article is for you.

First thing first, do not fret. This is the perfect opportunity to freshen up your home after the holidays. Take examples from the Japanese.

In Japan, there is a tradition called ‘oosouji’, which literally translates as ‘big cleaning’. They clean their homes, offices and even school desks from top-to-bottom. By eliminating dirt, clutter and disorganization from the previous year, oosouji helps to create a clean emotional slate.

Here are some simple tips to organize your home after the holiday season.

Get a Fresh Start

Apply the fresh-start philosophy. This is your first step to organize your home after the holidays. There have been excess everywhere during the holidays. Take time out to purge and simplify things in your home. Start with cleaning out drawers and closets. Though there will be no visually obvious improvements, you will be amazed to see how much space it creates.

While you are at it, don’t forget to purge your bathroom drawers and cabinets. These places usually contain empty makeup containers and free samples that you no longer need. Your kitchen cabinets are also overflowing with old and mismatched pots, cooking items and Tupperware. It’s time to reshuffle those cabinets too.

Instead of storing your holiday gifts in the closet, look for the items that can replace some of these old stuff. For example, if you have received bath towels for Christmas, why don’t you start using them instead of those tattered and torn linens?

Do you want to change the interior design in your home? Decluttering and sorting your old items will help you find thing that you can repurpose. You can, for example, turn your duvet cover or comforter into an area rug during the winters.

Getting a fresh start after the holidays gives your home a new look and you don’t have to go through the stress of doing it before the crazy holidays.

Analyze Your Home

There are many things in your home that are likely to make you feel let down as you look around your home. Especially after the holidays when you take the decorations down, your home often look very plain. Worst still, without the decors, Christmas ornaments and special linens, any signs of wear or scratches on your walls, floors, doors, sofas, bed coverings and furniture amplify.

 

 

The post-holiday season therefore is the best time to analyze your home. Take pictures of each area such as the entrance, doorway, hall, your living room stairway, kitchen, bedrooms and kids rooms from several perspectives. Look at those photos and start listing things that need a repair or a rearrangement.

Don’t forget your cabinets and closets. While cleaning out few items will free up a few areas, you can also add new shelves or a hanger or two here and there to reorganize the space. For example, you can use plastic containers for organizing things. This will make the storage more usable and keep the place more orderly.

Little tweaks and touch ups can help you add a new dimension your home in the New Year.

Declutter Old Items

Follow the rule of ‘Get One, Toss Two’.

Behind the shelves, boxes and hangers, lies a reality. To declutter your home you need to let go your possessions, at least some of it. This is a simple clutter-cutting tip to put away your new holiday gifts: for each gift you receive or each item you bring in, throw away two others.

 

 

It is not easy to make room for your new holiday gifts, especially when you still have a bunch from previous years, many of which still unused. For example, if you have got a set of new book for Christmas, give away two older titles to your local library. For those beautiful new dresses you’ve got this year, find two sets that have outgrown your size and fashion and add to the donation bag.

You can recycle, sell or donate your old possessions to reduce clutter and make your home organized. The best time to do it is during the holiday weeks or soon after it as you will be excited about the new possessions and can easily cut the ties to your old, outworn items.

This is a sweet and painless way to organize your home.

Another good way to declutter your home is to hold a post-holiday White Elephant exchange. Host a Super Bowl party or invite your friends for dinner and ask all your guests to bring a white elephant for a gift exchange. This is a good option to clear clutter, but be careful about regifting faux pas. Alternatively, you can hold a stoop sale or a yard sell to get rid of unneeded items.

Sort Your Decoration before Stowing Them

Now that the holiday season is gone and you’ve taken down the decorations, it’s time to store them. Instead of stowing your holiday decorations, Christmas ornaments, linens and crockery sets right away, sort and declutter them first.

Throw away the non-working, tattered and tired items. You can even recycle or donate the has-been decor items or repurpose some of them. The goal is to streamline your decor items for next year; you will probably have to throw out the old, dilapidated one, so why not now!

Create a Toy Library

If you have young children at homes chances are your storage spaces and bedrooms are overflowing with toys and dolls after Christmas. Consider setting up a toy library and get away with excess toys. In fact, a toy library is a good option to retain the value of playthings, even though they are old and familiar.

 

 

You can add some of the new Christmas toys to make it seem new and exciting along with the old doll houses, playsets and blocks, construction sets, and stuffed toys. You can turn your storage area or attic into a toy library using lidded plastic storage containers or plastic garbage bags.

To keep clutter at bay and enhance the play value of the library, consider rotating items at regular intervals.

Spruce Up Your Living Room

Let’s accept it; your living room is probably a complete mess after the crazy holiday season. Now that your guests are gone, it’s time to reorganize the living room. Begin with disposing of the old newspapers and magazines. If there are particular articles you want to keep, tear them out and create a folder and organize them according to their category, in an alphabetical order.

If there are books you no longer read, trade them with a friend or fellow book club members, donate them to your local library or put them for a garage sale. You may additionally take them to a Goodwill or Salvation Army or at least relocate them to a different area. For instance, you can create shelves or storage space under stairs to hide unused things discreetly.

If you don’t want to invest on shelves, you can buy some baskets to put the magazines and place them underneath taller tables or convert a ladder into a book shelf. It looks both functional and neat.

 

 

Holiday season is the perfect time to take some nice pictures with your family. Now, if your tables and cabinet tops are cluttered with photo frames, you can reduce this. Invest in some neat flip book to store the pictures. If you would like to display them, buy a spinning frame holder or a small metal picture displayer to fan out pictures for viewing.

Family tree photo frame chandeliers are also good options to spruce up your living room walls. A cost-effective alternative is to use your hangers to display photo frames.

Take a Closer Look at Your Closets

This is one place you need to minimize and declutter after the holidays. Keep some baskets in your closet to store clothes for laundry and dry cleaning. Get rid of the worn-out clothes and uncomfortable shoes that you no longer wear. Now, use the space to categorize your clothes by purpose and separate them by season.

 

 

The rule is: your current season’s clothes stay on the lowest level while the out-of-season attire move up in the shelves. If you don’t have a scarf rack, keep them on a hanger along with your belts and ties.

To keep your handbags, tote bags and hats organized, install hooks on your closet wall. If there are delicate clothes you want to save, store them in a vacuum-sealed plastic bag.

On a Final Note

It’s still cold winter months, so why don’t set a cozy and warm winter tone once you have organized your home.

Candles and lamps can create a warm glow at dusk, especially if you don’t have a fireplace and want to create a similar atmosphere. If you have got some cashmere or wool throws as Christmas gifts, use them to decorate your sofas and chairs to add a cozy feel. Old wool or cotton pieces can even make nice, comfortable rugs in the winter. The idea here is to get creative.

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Home organization is easier planned than executed. What you expected to finish in an hour takes up your entire afternoon, and all other ‘to-do’ stuff remains as it is.

And if you are a working woman with kids at home the phrase ‘organized home’ may seem like an oxymoron.

A home with young children is usually run over by toys, building blocks, random pieces of puzzles, Lego people, Lincoln logs, crayons- the list is endless. There are not many moms out there who have not squealed in pain when they stepped on tiny toy parts when fumbling to switch off lights before crashing into bed.

So how can you organize a home and bring back a semblance of normalcy to your tattered apartment? And more importantly how can you manage it with a toddler or two in tow?

Here are a few tips to help you figure out how to get the job done.

1. Tame the Toy Clutter

An organized home can be achieved only if you make organizing it a part of your daily routine. Picking up after art and craft activities, play time and before going to bed will help keep the toy clutter at manageable levels.

Also, as far as toys are concerned, less is always more.

Do not stuff your kid’s toy chest with toys and lay out all his books on the shelf. You will see that his favorite play is to dump all toys on the floor, fling a few across the room, and pull down each and every book from the shelf. He may not focus on any toy or spend his playtime well.

So, do not overwhelm him with toys, a few which are his favorites should be kept in his toy chest or basket. Not only will they be more accessible for your kid, but your clean-up time will also be much easier. Rotate the toys once in a while so that your toddler never ceases to be entertained.

You can keep a few books on the shelf at a time and keep the rest away, or in another room.

Donate toys that he has outgrown or has duplicates/triplicates of.

There are great storage solutions available for organizing kid stuff. And some look so good that you would not mind having them in ‘adult-areas’ as well. Not only is your toddler’s stuff at hand, but also aesthetically organized.

Ensure that you buy storage solutions only after you have got rid of all the unwanted stuff.

2. Help Your Kids Help Themselves

This is the key to helping your kids get organized.

Low shelving, baskets, clear boxes with removable lids, shallow storage units and zipper toy bags are all great toddler-friendly storage options.

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It is important you have child-friendly furniture in rooms where they spend most of their time. High racks and difficult to reach cubby shelves will make putting things away a hassle for the little people.

Even toddlers can be taught to read picture labels attached to low shelves, drawers, baskets and cubbies, and organize things accordingly. You can also keep laundry baskets in their rooms where they can toss in the dirty clothes.

Appreciate, encourage and reward their efforts. Even if they haven’t cleaned up the room completely, you can do the rest of the clean-up after they are asleep, so that they feel it’s all up to them to keep their room tidy.

3. Organize the Bedroom Clutter

Bedrooms are where we spend most of our time at. And as a result this personal space is also the most cluttered in the house.

Side tables are usually cluttered with magazines, cell phone accessories, random medicines and sleep aids. Clean all the stuff that you do not require and find a place for the rest. A small basket with all the necessary stuff can be placed on either side of the bed.

Wardrobes need to be organized every few months so that you are not staring at unseasonal or ill-fitting clothes each time you are looking for something to wear.

Donate all the unwanted stuff and store away clothes you do not require currently, or are not sure of keeping or trashing. Keep in mind that you will, most probably, never wear something that you haven’t worn in a year. So don’t mull for too long on individual pieces, and get over with your purging ASAP.

4. Organize the Toddler Wardrobe

It doesn’t take long for a toddler wardrobe to fill up and become chaotic.

The key to getting things organized in a kid’s closet is for all the stuff to be easy to see, reach and put away. This will make it easier for your child to do some organizing on his own as well.

Hanging space determines how structured and accessible the toddler wardrobe is. Since most wardrobes have adult proportions the top hanging rod is probably at a height of 5 feet or so. Get more space by adding a lower hanging bar.

How you hang your toddler’s clothes also matters. We offer great options with the toddler’s wood hangers, and children’s satin and plastic hangers. The combination clips will help you keep tops and bottoms together, and grab them on the go on super-busy mornings.

Labeled or color-coded baskets and bins will help keep your little one’s pajamas, play clothes and inner wear organized. Hanging canvas shelves and drawers is great for holding kiddie stuff like gloves, socks, and hats.

Labeled ‘Too Small’ and ‘Too Big’ bins can be used to toss in all that does not fit. Evaluate, store and purge periodically to keep the bins from overflowing.

5. Make Organizing Fun

Ensure keeping home neat and tidy does not become a horrible chore for your little one. Do it when she is happy and ready for it.

There may be many days when your kids are cranky and clingy. Do not expect them to put away their toys or tidy up every day.

But slowly, over time, you can gently make it a part of their daily routine.

A few baby steps each day, and you will very well be on your way to a neat and clutter-free home.

Conclusion

Do not worry about the mess too much. Very soon your precious babies will be grown up and gone, and what you will be left with will be sweet memories of their childhood. And when you see the nostalgic ‘kiddie clutter’ somewhere else it will bring a smile to your lips and a tear to your eye.

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