5 Strategies to Help You Organize Your Home

Woman sorting through books in bookcase
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Despite all the resources, how-to guides, and product suggestions available for home organization help, it can still be hard to know how to get started. Learning different techniques is invaluable, but the other part of being organized is getting in the right frame of mind to tackle this lifetime commitment.

Here are five important tips to help you streamline your home and reinvent yourself into an organized person.

  • 01 of 05

    Be OK With Being "Organized Enough"

    Help me organize my home
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    You don’t live inside the pages of "House Beautiful"; your televisions have cords and cables sticking out of them, your books aren't color-coordinated, and your children and pets make their presence known in your household. Organized enough means that while the sweaters in your dresser may not be perfectly folded, you do know exactly where they are. The same goes for your refrigerator's user manual, your passport, and your checkbook––everything has its place in your home and you know where that place is.

    Set up a system that works for you and your lifestyle, rather than duplicating what an online organizational guru tells you to do. In general: Keep like items together, don't bring something home if you don't have a place for it, and make organization part of your daily routine.

  • 02 of 05

    Know Your Spaces

    Ensure any shelving you buy actually fits your space!. Hero Images/Getty Images

    Many people decide to get organized, head to the Container Store, and then find that the products they've bought in a mad rush don't fit their space. First, decide which storage solutions will work for you, then purchase products that fit your spaces (closet, kitchen, garage) and your collections (shoes, small appliances, tools).

  • 03 of 05

    Be Proactive

    Be proactive when organizing your home
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    Take action. Make "do it now" your new mantra. Sometimes it takes just as long to add something to your to-do list as it does to actually do it. To be proactive about home organization:

    • When you get a notice in the mail that your favorite magazine subscription is expiring, renew it now instead of waiting until later.
    • After you finish eating a meal, wash your plate and fork immediately.
    • If there's a piece of trash that missed the waste bin or a wrapper that blew into your yard from the street, don't wait for someone else to pick it up––do it when you see it.

    This strategy doesn't just organize the clutter in your home; it eliminates clutter in your mind. By doing things right away, you're crossing them off your mental to-do list. When you're lying in bed at night, you'll no longer be thinking about that magazine you have to renew or finding time to tackle the stack of dishes in the kitchen tomorrow.

    There are times when you can't do something immediately and that's fine too. But when you can, do it.

  • 04 of 05

    Understand That Messes Happen

    Messes happen when organizing your home
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    Messes are a testament to the fact that you’re actually doing something; you are an active participant in life.

    Accept that cleaning and organizing are an ongoing process. As soon as you finish one task, there are always two more that pop up. When you're not focused on "getting everything done," home organization is a lot less stressful. There's no point at which you will complete every task that needs to be done; instead, do a little bit every day.

    Continue to 5 of 5 below.
  • 05 of 05

    Don't Stock Up

    Don't bulk shop
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    If you're an avid couponer or bargain hunter, you may disagree with this last tip. For the rest of us, though, it's a good idea to avoid stockpiling items in our home.

    When it comes to personal care and food, you can give yourself a little bit of leeway. If your kids eat peanut butter and jelly sandwiches daily, it doesn't hurt to buy a few jars of peanut butter when you find a good deal. But do you really need 20 bottles of lavender body lotion?

    Before you buy anything in bulk, ask yourself:

    • Is it something you really love, or do you just feel compelled to buy it because it's a good deal?
    • Will you use it in a reasonable amount of time? Lotions, shampoos, and other toiletries will begin to degrade in quality after a few years.
    • Will you get tired of it? That bulk package of peanut butter cups sounds like a solid idea now, but sometimes too much of a good thing is just that.
    • Do you have space for it?
    • Will it be on sale again? Sales are cyclical; it doesn't make sense to stockpile a year's worth of razors if they'll be on sale again in three months.

    Think about donating stockpiled items that you won't use to your local food pantry or women's shelter.