(Alberto Castillo Q./Unsplash)
A clean, clutter-less home is not just about having a comfortable space to live in. A tidy home has a calming effect on the mind too. Studies have shown how a clean environment de-stresses and clears us up internally.
Organizing can sometimes be daunting, especially with a family whose members have each accumulated many belongings over the years. Children’s toys can easily pile up, as can file cabinets filled with documents. Sometimes, the minutiae of daily life throws mail, children’s homework, and other miscellaneous objects into the fray. Home organizing experts give their tips on how to most effectively clean up.
1. To begin, set out tackling just one room, or even one part of the room, such as a bookshelf.
“Most of us get overwhelmed looking at the whole house or a full room. But, if you concentrate on smaller projects, as a part of the bigger picture, it’s easier to see the light at the end of the tunnel,” said Amy Trager, a certified professional organizer based in Chicago.
2. When deciding what sentimental items to keep, make sure to put a limit to how much you decide to hold onto. “Decide ahead of time what size box, bin, or basket is appropriate for your keepsakes. Fill it as you please. But, once it’s full, you’ve hit your limit. It forces you to pick your favorites,” she said.
3. If the home also includes other family members, get them involved in the organizing too. “Let them make decisions over their own items. If you set up the newly organizing space without them, be sure to provide a tour when you’re done. The system will only work well if everyone who uses it knows where to find—and put away—what they’re using,” Trager said.
4. When going through the room you’re cleaning, sort items into different piles: “Keep, Donate, Trash, and Goes Elsewhere. When you have finished sorting, it’s simple. Organize the ‘Keep’ items and put them back in their space, box up the ‘Donate’ items, throw away the ‘Trash’ items, and move the box of Elsewhere items to another space to unload when you are done,” said Bonny Ford, editor of the Furnish My Way lifestyle blog. Furnish My Way is also a home furnishings company.
5. Tidying up doesn’t have to be boring. You can use your belongings as decoration itself. “Use hats, scarves, and other items you own as decor. Hang hats on the wall, create awesome collages with your scarves, or a gorgeous piece of wall art with your craft items or board games,” said Ford.
6. Another effective guideline when organizing is “the items we use often should be accessible and those that we use infrequently should be more remote (attic, basement or garage),” said Ben Soreff, a professional organizer for the Connecticut-based company House to Home Organizing.
At the end of a cleaning session, reward yourself for getting the job done! Next time, you’ll be able to tackle another part of the house for de-cluttering.