For every minute spent organizing, an hour is earned. ~ Benjamin Franklin
This quote by one of this country's most famous founding fathers, Benjamin Franklin, still rings true today. The importance of organizing your home and life in order to increase your amount of available time cannot be overestimated. After all, organization is the primary key to time management. Time management is essential in creating a good work/life balance. And happiness, for most people, requires this work/life balance.
You can start on the path to a happier and more organized life by clearing out and organizing your home. This will mean donating/disposing of excess possessions while creating good, easy-to-maintain storage for what remains. No matter what size space you are working with, having a place for everything and everything in its place is the key to maintaining an organized home and life. Basic organizational principles will apply to most storage needs. To get your house in order, review every room/closet in your home and then apply these tried and true organizational tips/tricks for each space.
Principles for Successful Home Organization:
Group like items together: This is the natural way to organize and will be easiest to maintain. Think of silverware. Do you throw our silverware in a drawer all mixed up? Of course, you don't — that would be silly. The same principle pertains to just about everything.
A Place for Everything: Create "homes" for possessions (everything from closets to junk drawers) and try to always return to same place. Saves a lot of time and frustration.
Common sense: Kitchens require a lot of "common sense" to set up properly. Put dishes and silverware near dishwasher, pots, pans and spices near stove, cleaning products under the sink. Use lower shelves for frequently used items. The rosette maker, seasonal items can live on the top shelves.
Keep it handy: Always try to find a spot for a broom, step stool or other often used items near where they are required. Don't keep the vacuum on a different floor from the rugs.
Room by Room Organization Tips and Storage Solutions for the Home:
Start with the smaller spaces first and work your way up to the bigger projects. The experience gained by clearing out and organizing the little things will help you with the bigger projects.
One of the first impressions guests have of your home: Try matching decorative hangers for a nice, welcoming touch.
Could be for guests only or combined with homeowner outerwear: A simple closet system divided in sections works well to get shelves that are easy to reach and maximize space.
Include hooks: Good for scarves, umbrellas, dog leashes.
Shelves are essential: Great for mittens, hats, games, etc. Use an attractive basket to group small items like gloves so that they don't get separated or lost.
Provide empty hangers: Guests will unpack if they brought formal clothes for the visit (as in a wedding) or are planning to stay longer than a weekend.
Provide drawers: If room is too small for dresser or doubles as another space that lacks a dresser such as a home office, add a few drawers and shelves in the closet so that your guests can unpack.
Hooks are welcomed by guests for various needs.
Keep towels and washcloths in the closet or separate guest bathroom if you have one: Install shelves for towels and linens in your guest bath and/or closet. This ensures that your “good” towels are kept nice and always ready for guests. A small basket filled with travel size shampoo and other essentials is a nice touch and a good way to use up all the samples you receive from your own travels.
Internet Access: Everyone travels with a Smartphone nowadays. Attach your WIFI address/password to inside of your closet door, making it easy for guests to sign in. Use a decorative paper for fun.
Divide space in two or more sections with adjustable shelves: This allows for some shelves to be closer together, some farther apart. It is often better off to have one side wider to maximize storage.
Each section should be independently adjustable to maximize space depending on items being stored: Sections don't have to be divided into same size.
Store and fold sheet sets together: This makes it easy to retrieve a complete set of sheets so you aren't hunting for matching pillowcases when you need them. If your sheets and pillowcases tend to get separated, consider placing the folded set of sheets inside the pillowcase. It will keep everything together and looks neat on the shelf — even the dreaded fitted sheet looks nice when stored this way.
Deep shelves not necessarily the best in a linen closet: Linen closets usually end up storing more than just towels and sheets. Extra bottles of Shampoo, conditioner and other toiletries often end up in the linen closet. These small items will get lost in the back with deep shelves. With the exception of quilts and blankets, most linens can be folded to fit on shelves as shallow as 10 inches deep.
Opt for pull-out shelves designed for pantry use to contain the small items: Use closet organizer accessories like pull-out pantry shelving that is specifically designed to contain jars, bottles and small items.
The ideal laundry room will include appliances plus storage for cleaning supplies: Shelves or cabinets are a must for the laundry room.
Install cabinets above washer to provide a lot of storage: Standard upper cabinets are only 12 inches deep. Use deeper upper cabinets to allow for easier access to shelving and to provide a lot more storage. Try 18-inch-deep cabinets above your washer and dryer. If you have a top loading washer, it is important to make sure that the lid opens when determining the amount of clearance to leave between the cabinets and washer/dryer.
Hang drip dry clothes above dryer: Dryers are always front load so makes sense to install a hanging rod above the dryer.
A sink and folding counter are a bonus: If you have the space, include a countertop for folding clothes. This can go across the top of the washer and dryer if both are front loading and do not stack. Otherwise, a countertop located near a utility sink is helpful for rinsing out certain items.
Use the space behind the door: Put up hooks for a step stool, mops and brooms. Behind the door where they remain unseen is best.
Use a light and bright color scheme: Decorate with art, accessories or paint a bright color to make laundry more fun.
Pantries can be for food, dishes, appliances or all three.
Divide your pantry storage into two or more sections and use adjustable shelves: Just as in the linen closet, multiple sections of independently adjustable shelves allow for maximum storage. Almost any size of shelf will work in a pantry. Even very narrow shelves work because there are so many different sizes of pantry items. Measure the largest item you want to store to determine minimum shelf size.
Use specialty shelving designed for pantries: Upright dividers can hold trays, broiler pans, large cutting boards and cookie sheets on end for easy access. Every kitchen has these oversize items, and flat horizontal storage for them is always a problem because they just don't fit right when stored this way. A vertical tray organizer inside a cabinet or closet is the best solution.
Add baskets and pull-outs: baskets and pullouts are handy for onions and potatoes, or even "K" cups of coffee. Baskets also work for chips, rice, pasta. Even art supplies. They're great for things that need to contained or might slide around.
Large, heavy items go on the middle shelves: Put heavy items like mixers at 36 inches counter height. That makes it easy to transfer them to the kitchen counter when needed.
The Master Closet:
Include drawers: Walk in closets can provide one-stop dressing if large enough. Include drawers in the closet if possible, instead of running back and forth from closet to dresser to get dressed. It will make your life easier in the long run.
Make sure there is plenty of light in the closet: Add extra fixture or change to brighter bulbs to add more light. Paint closets white to make it look larger and brighter.
Double Hang: Get twice as much in same amount of space. A rod on the top and a rod below work great for separates. Make sure the clothes rods are at the correct height, so clothes don't drag on the floor. Don't be afraid of double hang rods — Most people can reach higher than they think.
Group items by category: Hang like items together. Hang blouses, shirts, jackets, slacks, skirts in their own section if possible. this makes it easier to find things and prevents buying duplicate items you already own. Separating outfits allows other combinations of clothes to be put together. Sort by color to keep track of what you own.
Your closet will determine how you store your clothes: If you have more shelves, fold items you might usually hang. If there's more rod space available, you can even hang t-shirts.
Shelves versus drawers: Drawers are great for items that need to be contained: socks, smalls, lingerie, work-out togs, swimwear, etc. - Shelves work well for folded items like sweaters, t shirts, jeans, sweats. You can only see what is on top in a drawer. Shelves put everything in sight and on display. Shelves also work great for shoes. Best to get them up off the floor, but not below the hanging clothes. Devote an entire row of shelves to shoes if space permits. If there are more shoes than shelves, store out of season and seldom worn footwear in labeled shoe boxes on the top shelf. The top shelf is perfect for out-of-season or seldom worn items. Shelves also work for hats and handbags.
Hampers: Include a place in the closet to collect dirty clothes.
Home organization with proper storage is essential to leading a less stressful, more organized life. With today's hectic lifestyles and the mass consumption of consumer goods, it becomes more and more difficult to stay organized, leading to increased stress, and lower quality of life. As stated by Ben Franklin so many years ago, setting aside a little time to organize can actually increase your total amount of free time. Why not improve your life by making it your mission to create a place for everything, keeping everything in its place?
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