When it comes to organizing I have one main rule: KEEP IT SIMPLE.
You can spend hours and hours reading and looking at blogs, Pinterest, online shops and books all focused on organizing. There’s no shortage of information and tools out there about it, but it amounts to very little if you haven’t first done the hard work of seriously decluttering and minimizing the stuff you own. Put another way, organizing will not work or accomplish much unless you ruthlessly declutter and minimize your belongings.
Back to my one main rule of organizing simply. When we invest in complex pieces and methods, its too much work and we don’t do it or those we live with don’t understand and don’t follow along. So what does organizing simply look like?
1. Have a place for everything. This helps everyone. If everything has a home, its easier to put away. You know where it goes, they know where it goes. It may take some training to put things where they belong, but make sure everything has a home. As you’re thinking through homes for your items, don’t be afraid to go against the grain. Just because you’ve always kept your purse in the closet, doesn’t mean that’s necessarily the best place for it. Notice where and how you use more general items and see if there’s a better space for those items.
2. Use what you have. Minimalism is cutting down on items you own. So rather than running out to your favorite store and buying new shiny baskets and boxes, see what you already have that you could use. As I was decluttering, I found baskets I had forgotten about and got creative with repurposing items to use for storing items I chose to keep. Its also more environmentally friendly. Mason jars, clothes pins, shoe boxes, bags, baskets, etc are items that we all own and can use for organizing.
3. Use modules for tasks & projects. As you think through where things belong in your home, you may want to corral them into boxes or baskets so that they’re easy to store, but also readily available for when they’re needed. A great example of this is a craft project. Maybe its not getting finished because you keep it all tucked away in an office or closet. But if you have the desire to see it finished, maybe you can store it in a box or basket somewhere in your living area, so that you can easily pull it out and work on it, rather than making it hard to access. Another example could be your side hustle. I work full time, but obviously blog as well. Besides my laptop I use a notebook and a few other items for planning and dreaming. I have a backpack that I keep these things in so that I can either jet out the door to a coffee shop or pull it out at my dining table and work when I have a few minutes.
4. Keep surfaces clear. To be blunt our countertops, table tops, and floors should not be storage space. This was a weakness of mine that I didn’t even realize when I began decluttering, but I used to be the queen of making piles. But not only do piles on our surfaces attract more clutter, but they are an eye sore and can add to stress.
5. Organize simply. Inner & outer circles & deep storage. I’ve heard this method throughout the years and it makes sense while being simple. The idea is that those items that we use over and over again should be in the inner circle of a space. So in the kitchen, the knife and cutting board you use every meal should be easily accessible, plates, cups, silverware, again, should be in the inner circle. Maybe a serving platter that you use once or twice a week, belongs in the outer circle. Meaning it may be higher up in a cabinet or farther back on a shelf than items that you use more than it. Deep storage would be for anything that is rarely used, like a turkey roaster, etc. As a minimalist, I could argue that anything that would qualify for deep storage, should seriously be considered for minimizing.
I love this Marie Kondo quote: “The secret to maintaining an uncluttered room is to pursue ultimate simplicity in storage so that you can tell at a glance how much you have.
While she is referring to see through bins, it makes sense on more levels than just the bin you use. The key to organizing is decluttering first and then organizing in a way that makes sense and keeps it simple. So often we want to sort and label and buy new things to store stuff in, but that’s just adding to the complexity of life. Keep it as simple as you can on all levels and your home will feel lighter and more relaxing.