My Top Five Tips for Organizing Spaces Quickly, Efficiently, and Cheaply!
I've been on a major organizational spree in our home over the last few weeks. We had several spaces in desperate need of some organizational attention and little did I know what a big undertaking this was going to be!! This will be my THIRD week of organizing and some of the spaces I've tackled have been more exhausting than my makeover projects (I'm looking at you primary closet). I have some principles and tips that have been guiding me along the way and I wanted to share those here with you in case you find yourself getting lost in an organization project!
1. Make Three Piles. Anytime I'm organizing a space things get a lot worse before they get better. I typically make three piles in that space as I go through things:
1. Donation Pile- I love using an old empty box to throw things in if I have one lying around. Once it's full, I toss it into the back of my car, ready to be dropped off at a donation site!
2. Trash Pile- I pull in a trash can (or bag) so I can put things directly into the trash that I no longer need and aren't worth donating.
3. Keeper Pile- This is my pile for things that are keepers, but don't belong in the space I am currently organizing. I just pile those items up in a basket (or right on the floor) to deal with after I'm finished organizing the space I'm currently working on. It's very important to not wander off multiple times putting things away in other spaces- that's how I wind up cleaning my kitchen when my project for the day was organizing my closet. Just make a pile and deal with it when you're finished with that space. Stay focused and don't get sidetracked!
2. Make fast decisions. The longest I will let myself consider whether an item is worth keeping or not is about 10 seconds. Once I've made the decision I either find a permanent home for it in the space I'm currently working on or it goes in one of my aforementioned three piles.
3. Use what you have. Nothing makes me feel more organized than corralling similar items in bins, but it's also easy to get hung up on wanting those cute clear organizers from The Container Store that are just the right size and next thing you know you're at the store with a full cart and spending hundreds of dollars on containers that you may or may not actually need. I love container organizing, but I made a rule at the beginning of this organizing session that I could only use what I currently have on hand. No buying new containers. I think organizing our pantry last year is a good illustration of this. I did a first round of organizing our pantry two years ago soon after we moved in and I purchased about ten dollars worth of bins at the dollar store, they worked great and I learned what I liked and what I didn't over the course of the next year.
It wasn't pretty, but it was actually quite functional, so when it came time to do a "pretty" pantry makeover I felt comfortable shelling out some money on cute organizers from Ikea because I knew they would fit the system that we had already tested and knew worked quite well.
I also just organized our laundry room last week and really wanted two bins for our miscellaneous lightbulbs, but I only had one so I just cut the top off of a small cardboard box and put them all in there. Instant free bin!!
And when I revisit that area next year if I still really need two bins for this area maybe I'll treat myself to a pretty clear one from The Container Store.
4. Don't get overwhelmed. I think the fastest way to get overwhelmed during an organization project is telling yourself you're going to get the entire house organized in one day. Is that possible? Maybe... but you'll wear yourself out and it's just not necessary! Instead, I suggest taking two or three weeks and doing one area each day. What if you have a busy day and work late one night? Then maybe you skip that day or just organize one small drawer that day! Seriously little chunks of time can add up quickly! Last year I even split up our garage into three sections and organized one section per day. It made the task much more approachable, which ensured that I actually got it done.
5. Labeling. I love my trusty label maker and constantly have it around while I'm doing organization projects. I love labeling bins and areas so I know exactly what goes where and it can help family members fall into your organization system as well without constantly badgering them about it. Take for example our playroom- everything is labeled so my kids know exactly what toys are supposed to go in what areas. My four year old Lincoln is still learning to read, but this actually helps with that too! This label says cars and trucks so he sees those words and is making that little brain connection that cars and trucks are inside that bin!
I hope those tips help you get going on your projects, be sure to tag me on intagram if you've been tackling some organization projects and use #organizewithjenn- I love seeing what projects you're up to and it's comforting knowing you guys are out there tackling these organzing projects along with me!
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