6 Principles of Home Organization

by Shelley Frost
A room in a home is extremely cluttered with varied household items, clutter, messy room, junk, decluttering

Do you live and die by minimalist principles, or do you feel more at home with some clutter here and there (or everywhere)?

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Regardless of where you fall on the spectrum between these two home organizational extremes, understanding some basic home organization principles can help you whip your home into shape. Follow these home organization tips to get started.

What Are the Principles of Home Organization?

Organizing your home can feel overwhelming if you don't know where to start. Learning and implementing home organization principles can guide you through the process. These home organization tips can break down the process and make it easier.

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1. Declutter First

Before you start organizing your home, it's often easier to pare down what you own. Getting rid of things you no longer want or need clears out space for the things that are useful and important. It gives you more room for storage and can make organizing what's left less overwhelming.

To keep decluttering from becoming overwhelming, work on one small area at a time. Maybe you start with your closet or the kitchen pantry. Just focus on that area. Toss anything that's expired, no longer useful or damaged. You can sell or donate the other items you no longer want. Get the items out of the house as quickly as possible to clear the way for improved home organization.

2. Make a Plan for Each Space

Before choosing any home organization tools, look at each space and make a plan for it. Consider what items belong there once you've decluttered. Think about how you'll use the space to make sure it's functional. Then, you can decide how to store and organize the items that stay in that space. This can be easier to do once you've decluttered. You might even move things out of the room to have a blank slate before moving items back in and to their assigned spots.

3. Choose the Right Storage Containers

The size, style and material of your storage containers can make a difference in how functional they are. Hard plastic containers with lids offer protection from things like dust and water. Choosing clear plastic containers makes it easier to see what's inside at a glance. That can save time and the frustration of not being sure which bin holds the item you need.

Consider the size and shape of the container compared to the items you want to store. Keeping similar items together improves organization. Pick a container that holds those similar items comfortably so they're not squished without too much extra space. Storage totes that stack easily help to keep your storage area tidy and organized.

The items you're storing can also impact the type of container. Choosing containers for specific items, such as a shoe storage bin, makes better use of the space and protects the items inside.

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4. Make Organizational Tools Easy to Use

Another factor to consider when planning storage and choosing organizing tools is ease of use. The tools should be functional and easily accessible. If you have to move 10 other storage bins to get to the belongings you need, it's going to be a hassle each time. Lids or closure devices that are difficult to open and close add to the frustration when you're trying to access items. Keep the tools simple and functional, so you're more likely to continue using them.

5. Prioritize Things You Use Often

Keep the items you use often in the most convenient spots close to where you use them. Say you're organizing your bedroom. Items that you use every night right before you go to bed might go into the drawers of your nightstand, where they're easily accessible. Things you use less frequently could go in a storage container in your closet.

When choosing the most convenient location for an item, consider how accessible it is. Items on high shelves are more difficult to reach than something at eye level. Things stored inside your home are faster to reach than belongings in the garage or a storage shelf. You can save time when you need to retrieve something by prioritizing your items and placing them strategically.

6. Create Routines

Having routines can help you keep up with your new home organization methods. For example, you might set aside 20 minutes each night to tidy up your home and put items back where they belong. When you're cooking, you might get into the habit of putting ingredients away as soon as you're done using them and placing all dishes in the dishwasher immediately. If you have kids, you could get them into the routine of hanging their coats and backpacks in their designated spots as soon as they get home from school. These routines make organizing more of a habit that you do naturally, making it easier to keep things tidy.

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