How to Stay Organized After We Leave…

The question we get asked most often by clients of ours when we wrap up an organizing project is, “Does your home look like this?”. The answer is...sort of…

Yes, I do make an effort every day to keep my home clean and clutter free. It’s a habit, but no, I do not have closets lined with white bins. In fact, I only use them in my garage and utility closet. We love those bins; they are fantastic for corralling all sorts of items. We use them in pantries, playrooms, craft rooms, closets, you name it! So, why don’t I use them much in my own home? I don’t have the stuff so I don’t need them.

This to me is the secret to staying organized once you get organized. Keeping the “stuff” under control; being very selective about what you allow to come into your home and what you keep...especially during holiday time! It’s easy to get overwhelmed by the sheer quantity of things we accumulate during the holidays, but I’m hoping that after you read this you will feel like you can avoid the panic that follows the question of, “where is it all going to go?”. Hopefully, it doesn’t all just get stuffed in a closet somewhere!

So how can you keep your home organized when there’s so much coming in? I have one rule and one habit that helps me keep it under control.

First, I purge regularly. Like, every week. I usually dedicate 20 minutes every weekend to go through a dresser, cabinet or closet. I have 2 large bins in my basement, one is for donation and one is for consignment. I schedule a donation pick up almost every month. I’m constantly looking at things in my home asking the questions: Do I love it? Is it still useful? Do I have more than one? This applies to clothes, the kids clothes, toys, linens, gadgets, food, even (maybe especially) holiday decorations! I’m always surprised when I’m opening up holiday bins and discover things I completely forgot about (and often have repurchased), but regular editing helps reduce the volume and keeps things from spiraling out of control.

The other way is a rule I have and one that plays on repeat whenever I buy a a new item. One in, one out.

I’m like a lot of girls; I love clothes, bags and shoes, and I love home decor, but that can be a recipe for disaster when it comes to not falling into the trap of too much stuff. Following this rule helps in two ways. One, it makes me stop and question if the item I’m considering is really worth it because if I follow my own rule then it means I have to get rid of something I already I really want to get rid of anything? Not always, so I pass. Second, and more obviously, if I buy something or keep something (yes, I apply this rule to gifts too) then it has to fit in an already existing space. I don’t create more room for stuff, I replace the old with the new. Maybe it’s not a rule so much as a mantra.

I think it’s important that I practice what I preach, and I hope by sharing this, it helps you to enjoy the gifts you and yours receive over the next couple weeks without worrying about where it’s all going to go.


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