Did you know January is Get Organized Month? Are you wondering how to start organizing your home? Use these tips to help you organize for January or all year long.
January has been quite the month around here. I don’t know about you guys, but it’s been busier than any normal January and it all started in November.
Yes, you read that right. I just mean that we started our busy season in November and it didn’t stop. Nearly every weekend was taken up with some activity or other. Thanksgiving, birthdays, Christmases, and reclaiming days solely dedicated to my mental health.
Every November, we reclaim our formal dining room in order to accommodate guests as we now host Thanksgiving every year. I decided last year I would cook a Thanksgiving meal solely for the purpose of filling my belly with gluten and dairy free EVERYTHING. It’s the one holiday that made me miss not having sudden food allergies and I absolutely hated watching everyone else eat Turkey, sweet potato casserole, and pumpkin pie. So, Thanksgiving is the one holiday I force people to eat allergy friendly food. And, I get to leave the table unbuttoning my pants from the sweet satisfaction of overindulging (for a change).
But, I digress.
My point was we spend the first couple weeks of November cleaning out the formal dining room, which, in the course of a year, becomes our catch-all rooms for deliveries, boxes of toys the kids didn’t bother to open at Christmas or birthdays, boxes of crap we intend to donate, and random odds and ends we just don’t have a designated place for. I literally call that first part of November the reclaiming of the dining room.
By the time Christmas is over, everything gets stuffed in the dining room again for us to go back through it at our leisure. The sad part is, we’re always so busy and have so much stuff that we don’t typically get through it all. This past year, in fact, about half the kids’ gifts were still piled up in a corner of the room. They never opened the presents.
This year, however, we’ve managed to somewhat keep the dining room usable, though it’s still a staging area for donations, trash nights, and reorganization projects.
I thought I was going to be clever and call January “organization month,” but apparently get organized month already exists in the month of January.
So what made January different this year?
For starters, we did the annual reclaiming of the dining room, just as we do every year. I loved it so much, that I’ve been making sure to keep up with breaking down shipping boxes and trashing or recycling regularly.
Within several days of all the December gift-giving events, we homed most of the toys. Thankfully, the grandparents went easy on the number of gifts and we used the 4 gift rule to help cut down on the number of items we had to find room for.
Now, one of the major things that prompted all this organization was having received a Cricut Maker for Christmas. This meant we had to turn our mess of an office into usable office and craft space. Hubby had to clean up his 3D printing area and better organize those supplies so that we could make room for crafting supplies.
About the same time, my daughter made heavy use of existing craft supplies on Winter Break. Though she happily “crafts” quietly most of the time, she’s not very thrifty. She blew through a ream of paper, a pack of felt, and a couple packs of chenille stems, just to name a few. The kids’ craft supply cart was nearly emptied, despite my many pleas to cut down on waste. So, I had to move the craft cart out of the playroom into a storage closet, requiring total reorganization of yet another area of the home.
How to Start Organizing Your Home
Making room for new items isn’t easy when you don’t have room for items you already own. There’s only so much shuffling you can do with 20 years of stuff you’ve collected in your adult life. And I have more from my childhood and teen years.
This year though, it was time for a change! These are the things I did to reorganize every room in our house. And, I recommend these steps if you’re reading to start organizing your home, at time of the year.
Sell, Donate, Trash
If I haven’t used it in a year (or more), the item when into one of 3 piles. Good items generally went into the SELL pile. When selling online, if it didn’t sell within a week, it went into the donation pile.
I put it in my mind that I didn’t have any time to sit on items any longer. The year it sat there unused was long enough and I wasn’t wasting any more time holding on to it “just in case”…
Bonus tip: Free up space in your closets by eliminating clothing that no longer fits or haven’t been worn in the last year.
I’ve been given some pretty nice items over the last couple years, but some people just have me all wrong. So, I’ve got these things I just hate and I hang on to them because I feel bad. But, I shouldn’t, should I? That’s part of the reason we have things without a place in our house … because we just don’t need (or want it) and we’re hanging on to it because it was given to us.
Eff that! Just because you don’t like something doesn’t mean you don’t know someone who would. Re-gift those nice items and make someone else’s day and help clean up some extra room in your house!
Write organization efforts on a to-do list
A to-do list (or an app) will be handy to keep you on track. Like goals, you’re more likely to complete tasks if you have them on a list to check off. Keep yourself accountable and remember the details with a to-do list.
The to-do list on my phone reminds me of all my necessary to-do items in one place, including my organizing efforts. Using a to-do list allows me to keep up with my housekeeping schedule and a calendar app keeps my family schedule organized too.
Put stuff away as soon as possible
I told myself to find a home for almost everything within 2 days after receiving it. Additionally, my formal dining room was not going to be the storage room for the kids unused toys. They have an upstairs playroom with a large bookshelf that now holds unopened boxes of toys, which I’ll use throughout the year when their love wanes from their current favorites.
This mentality filtered down to any orders we were receiving. On my end, I made it a point to put things away as quickly as possible.
Buy New Stuff
Boy, that’s a weird thing to say! Well, that’s the truth. Turns out buying things to actually help organize went a long way in actually getting it done. New shelves and designated storage options for specific items was very helpful. In the craft room, we placed storage shelves in the odd-shaped closet for craft supplies. We bought under-the-bed storage bins for clothes that originally were stored in large bins. If something wasn’t in a “home” we made sure it had one.
The thing about January is that we were committed to getting the house organized. But, we hadn’t been motivated to get organized until we realized we had no more room to place the things we bought or received in December. We were tired of having to shuffle things around in order to use a space, then shuffle it back when we needed to use a different area of the house.
Aside from organizing the house, I also became motivated to organize the family schedule again, including scheduling time for myself and making sure my to-do list was up to date. I needed to keep up with my housekeeping schedule and remind myself of any special items I wanted to accomplish as part of my 2018 goals.
Will you use these tips to help you organize your home this year?
What other tips do you have for helping others organize their homes?