Where to Start When Organizing Your Home

organized junk drawer

The Spruce / Candace Madonna

How you organize your home ultimately comes down to preference, but there are some guidelines to help you streamline the process. It's often best to begin with your storage areas. This will allow you to free up storage space by getting rid of stored items you don't need anymore before you tackle the rest of your home and encounter items that need putting away. If you're ready to go on an organizing journey, here are some tips to get you started.

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    Storage Spaces

    Junk drawer

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    The first step of your organizing process is to make sure your storage spaces are neat and free of clutter, so they'll be able to accommodate items from other areas of your home. Think of it like this: Before you unload groceries, you have to create space for them to go in the fridge and pantry.

    Start with a project you can easily complete, such as organizing a junk drawer. Then, move on to a hall closet or a storage area in your basement. Divide large storage spaces into smaller zones, so the organization task doesn't feel so daunting. And if necessary, invest in organizational systems, such as a closet organizer or storage bins, so everything has a place that will be easily accessible.

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    Shared Spaces


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    Shared spaces—such as the kitchen, living room, and bathroom—should be organized next because they are the most trafficked areas in the home. A benefit to organizing these areas is it could prompt others in your household to be neater and join your organization efforts.

    Within these areas, plan to declutter and find a designated home for all of the items that live there. Collaborate with members of your household on where shared items should go, so you all know where everything is and everyone will return items to their proper places. For example, if you have children, let them help you pick a storage space for their toys in the living room. This might cause them to feel a sense of ownership over the project and make them more likely to work within the organizational system.

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    Personal Spaces

    Woman standing in front of closet

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    Personal spaces—including bedrooms, closets, and home offices—can take some effort to organize because they often involve assessing many items. For instance, when organizing your closet, you have to make decisions about whether to keep, donate, or toss all of the items in your wardrobe. And in an office, you might have a lot of paperwork to go through and either file or shred.

    Plus, you're the only one who can make decisions about how to organize your personal spaces. Set up a system that works for your lifestyle. For instance, you might prefer to organize your closet by type of clothing, such as all your shirts together and all your pants together. Or you might like to sort it by outfit to make the process of selecting something to wear easier.

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    Small Spaces

    Laundry room

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    In general, you can save the small and out-of-the-way spaces of your home for the last step of your organization journey. Such spaces include the laundry room, linen closet, mudroom, and guest room. Unless these spaces are extremely disorganized, you probably can live with a little clutter in them as you get the main areas of your home in order. But ultimately having them organized too will lead to a more efficient lifestyle for you.

    For example, if you have last-minute guests coming to stay with you, you'll be happy you already have a tidy guest room. And having an organized linen closet can make it much easier to locate extra towels and toiletries, as well as to know what you're running out of. Plus, an organized laundry room can make doing laundry a more enjoyable chore when everything you need is at your fingertips.