Keeping our lives and homes organized is truly a never-ending challenge—but there are ways to make the task slightly less daunting. In addition to providing a sense of calm, an uncluttered space lets your home’s unique design and decor features shine and architectural elements breathe. Here, we spotlight six tips to maintain a tidy home (and a peaceful mind) from organizing experts.
START WITH THE STRESSORS - While it can be tough, starting with the areas of your home that give you the most anxiety is a surefire way to kickstart the cleanout process. Whether it's your bedroom closet, garage, kitchen, or junk drawer, count down from three and jump in—the result will be worth the momentary unease.
LEARN THE ART OF FOLDING - A well-constructed fold can free up more storage space and cut down on closet and dresser disorganization. According to Marie Kondo, a multi-step fold for scarves, dresses, towels and pants will help in stacking them vertically in your closet or dresser, which Kondo says can ultimately allow 20-40 pieces to fit in a space that would accommodate just 10 items on hangers.
BE WARY OF NOSTALGIA - Letting go of sentimental—but often purposeless—kick knacks is hard. But bear in mind, your home is not a museum, and nearly everything in it should be useful. When it comes to deeply beloved trinkets and keepsakes, consider adding them to a scrapbook or framing them in a wall-mounted shadow box.
THE 12 MONTH RULE - Applying this rule—especially to clothing and shoes—can reveal the unimportance of things that really aren’t getting much (or any) use. To start, select an item and ask the following questions:
Do I use this? How long has it been since I’ve used it? Will I use it again? Is it worth the space it takes up in my house? Try to be brutally honest about the probability of the item’s usefulness in your life going forward. Everything you keep should provide you with a worthwhile service.
CREATE A 30-DAY LIST - Truly getting organized is all about the long game and changing habits to prevent the accumulation of future clutter. To this end, consider creating a 30-day list, and every time you want to buy something that’s not absolutely necessary, put it on the list along with the date it was added. Make a rule never to buy anything (except necessities) unless they’ve been on that list for 30 days. Often, the urge to buy most items will dissipate over those few weeks, ultimately saving you a lot of money and unnecessary clutter.
GIVE EVERYTHING A HOME - It’s crucial to find a designated space for every item you own, so says Suzanne O’Donnell, founder of concierge organizing service, My LA Organizer. Giving items a designated space will not only help you find them when you need them, but displaying them clearly will keep you from over-buying things you already have and creating more clutter.