When it comes to the big tasks, housekeeping can be simplified if you tackle one major thing a month. This monthly home organization checklist takes you from January to December, providing you with resources and ideas to keep your home in good working order throughout the year. Follow this calendar to get your home organized the old-fashioned way: working a little bit at a time while tackling one big project each month. If you need extra motivation to keep your house clutter-free all year, you can combine this with the weekly organizing routine to keep your home neat and tidy.
Below you'll find some of the best ways to stay organized and uncluttered month to month.
01 of 12
January means a fresh start, even in your home. Start with the biggest challenge in most homes: the closets. Though you may have lots of different closets, focus here on the closets that hold clothing. (Cleaning out your linen closet comes a little later in the year.) Whether you spend a few evenings a week or one entire Saturday on this task, you're going to feel like a new person when you're done.
Checklist: Tackle Small to Large Closets
Start with your smallest closet and work towards tidying up the largest one. You'll finish small closets fast, giving you more time and motivation to handle your largest offender, likely your bedroom closet. Try this order:
- Hall or entryway coat closet
- Kid's bedroom closet
- Master bedroom closet
02 of 12
Closets may present the biggest challenge, but the kitchen tends to have the most clutter with dozens of appliances, pots, pans, cooking utensils, piles of paper clutter, and the scores of cooking and baking items you have in stock. The trick is to break your kitchen into zones and take one at a time to organize throughout the month.
Checklist: Work on Kitchen Zones
It doesn't matter the size of your kitchen, each one has typical zones or segments that need decluttering, cleaning, and organizing. Check off the list as you go along:
03 of 12
The paperless home is likely a far-off fantasy, which means organizing physical piles of paper in your home office and elsewhere in your home is still important. Organizing paper, mail, and finances in March will mean fewer headaches in April for tax time. When you have the right mail management system set up that you can follow each week, you'll find paper management to be a very grounding and even satisfying process.
Checklist: Steps to Reduce Paper
You may need a few files and boxes to keep documents and papers in order. Organize your papers into these piles, then transfer them into labeled boxes or bins to handle during the month:
04 of 12
Nothing will get your day off to a better start than a clean, well-organized bathroom. The benefits of a clean and organized bathroom stack up. A clean bathroom helps minimize the risk of health hazards, such as accidentally taking outdated medicines or using a toothbrush growing mold on it. An organized bathroom makes the simple act of finding a bandage an effortless process. And, if you're wondering what to do with old, ratty towels and sheets, consider donating the worn linens to your local animal shelter.
Checklist: Tackle These Spots
Bathrooms tend to have a mishmash of small items scattered in various places. As you're going through items, open them up and smell them; some creams may be stale or smell noxious, for example. Clean and organize these five main bathroom areas:
Continue to 5 of 12 below.
- Vanity drawers
- Vanity lower cabinet
- Medicine cabinet
- Shower caddy and shelves
- Linen closet
05 of 12
May is a good month for organizing shoes and boots. It's not too muddy or wet outdoors so items won't be too messy to handle. Depending on where you live, it's also time to transition into warmer months. This way you can see what footwear you and your family may need in the coming seasons. Since you already organized your closets in January, you'll have a little extra time to work on your shoe collections.
Checklist: Reducing Shoe Clutter
Check mudrooms and entryways for forgotten footwear, too. After gathering, cleaning, and disinfecting footwear, take these actions to limit the clutter:
06 of 12
Garages, with their combination of tools, sporting equipment, appliances, beach gear, bikes, and sometimes even cars, clean up easier than you might think. The trick is to organize your garage into zones. To help organize items, consider garage storage systems and ideas. Now is the time to consider cleaning the garage floor and recycling automotive fluids.
Checklist: Organize Into Zones
Garages have universal zones. Grouping like items with like items makes life simple anywhere in the house, but especially the garage where there are many small items that tend to become misplaced. Specific zones requiring storage include:
- Auto supplies
- Sports and athletic equipment
- Household and gardening tools
- Recycling center
07 of 12
Though you cleaned out your closets in January, now is a good time to go back into both your closets and chests of drawers to organize your clothes. Organizing clothing requires a lot of decluttering. Think about donating or consigning clothing, shoes, and accessories that you no longer wear. It's also a good time to repair winter or fall clothing.
Checklist: Clothing Must Have's
It's not always easy to toss an item of clothing. But every single item of clothing should fit all of the following criteria:
- It fits well.
- You wear it regularly.
- You feel comfortable in it.
- It accurately projects your style and image.
08 of 12
It's a good time to add in or tweak daily routines during this typically quiet summer month. A routine can be a very powerful weapon in the fight for productivity and can be customized to your current life. Think of a routine you'd like to begin following. Choose a new or different routine for the morning, afternoon, night, or one that spans the entire day.
Checklist: Hints for New Habits
Change or add to your routine slowly. Choose from the examples, or come up with your own ideas:Continue to 9 of 12 below.
09 of 12
September begins prep work for the holidays before your guests arrive. Begin organizing the linens in your bathroom, hallway, and guest room linen closets. Declutter and refresh the closets so they are stocked with clean towels and bedding for guests. Don't forget that bedding also means new, unused bed pillows for guests. Keep handy a few throws and bed blankets of various weights in the closets for guests who are finicky when it comes to sleeping temperature.
Checklist: Keeping Fragrant Linens
Linen closets have a way of collecting odd odors. It typically comes moisture, humidity, and mold gathering on fabrics. Here's what to do for fresher smelling linen closets:
- Replace old musty towels and bedding.
- Remove linens and wash them.
- Loosely pack linens into the closet for air circulation.
- Keep a box of scented soap in each linen closet.
Cleaning Mixture for Closets
Refresh your linen closet after it's emptied with your favorite spray cleaner. If you prefer, mix a teaspoon of vinegar and 8-ounces of water. Moisten a sponge with the solution and wipe the closet interior clean. Replace linens after the closet interior is bone dry.
10 of 12
You organized your kitchen back in February. Now that it's months later, it's time again to tackle the detailed decluttering and organization of your kitchen's drawers, cabinets, and pantry. Spend time organizing your cutlery drawer to prepare for the holidays. You'll then be able to spot any holes you need to fill for your cooking utensils, as well.
Checklist: Scan Your Silverware
Overlooking your silverware inventory means having mismatched sets or not enough for your holiday table. Improve your silverware situation by doing the following:
- See if you have full formal and everyday cutlery sets; replace if necessary.
- Polish tarnished and stained silver flatware.
- Replace dull steak knives or sets with loosened rivets.
- Separate out plastic cutlery.
Know Your Stainless
If you need to buy more stainless steel flatware, it pays to brush up on the differences in the qualities of stainless steel silverware.
11 of 12
Wondering how to deal with kitchen prep in the calm before the whirlwind of holiday activity? If you tend to empty your cabinets in search of a specific item during the holiday rush, now's the time to become better organized. Head back to the kitchen to focus on pulling out what you'll need in the coming month, including Thanksgiving.
Checklist: Gather This for the Holidays
Now's the time to set up a staging area where you can gather what you'll need before the activity begins. Gather these items:
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There's no need for heavy lifting in December. This month is all about decluttering after the holiday rush. Use that week before the new year begins to clear the clutter and welcome in the new. Donate your purged items to a worthy cause if they're useful, clean, and well-made. Regifting or recycling a gift is acceptable today, too, but only if it's done with care and courtesy.
Checklist: Keeping up With the Holiday Clutter
You may feel like you are walking on a carpet of gift wrap, gifts, and smashed holiday cookies and ornaments underfoot. Here's what to do to keep up with the crush:
- Dedicate a large recycling bag or garbage can for gift wrap.
- Toss broken items in a separate garbage bag.
- Label a large box for donations.
- Find more efficient systems to store holiday decor.
- Invest in a better storage bag for your holiday tree; it'll save money in the long run.
Recycling Wrapping Paper
Plain wrapping paper is recyclable. But anything with added glitter or flocked velvet is not recyclable.