Easy Tips For Home Organization
Written by Jaymi Naciri on Saturday, 11 January 2014 8:35 am

Everyone likes to head into the New Year with a clean slate (perhaps this is why binge-drinking is so popular on the last night of the year).

“One of the best ideas in January (is) to get organized. But doing it means creating a plan of action, a plan for success,” said HGTV. “The hardest part of getting organized is simply getting started, so the first step in the organizational odyssey is to determine which areas of the home need an organizational boost. Trying to organize the entire house at once means becoming overwhelmed. Instead, plan for one room at a time.”

“Tap that energy to get organized in the New Year,” said Organized Home. “Give in to January’s offerings, and you’ll bear organizational fruit the whole year long.”

For many people that clean slate means making things neat and tidy to start off the year and (hopefully) develop good organizational habits that last. No matter what time of year it is, a few tips and tricks can help you get, and stay, organized.

The Closet

Experts in the home organization industry (yes, there is a home organization industry, and it’s booming!) recommend one simple tip when it comes to getting rid of clothes: If you haven’t worn it in more than a year, ditch it. Then, “immediately fold these unwearables and place them in a box for charity,” said HGTV.

Then, organize the rest. “Experience serene mornings by saving time and reducing stress with an easily visible set of choices. We recommend organizing clothing by type, such as short sleeve, long sleeve, pants, skirts, jackets, and suits, and then within each category also sorting by color, from light to dark,” said Good Housekeeping. “This arrangement allows you to create many more outfit combinations and actually see what you have.”

The Home Office

Whether stacked on the desk of a home office, or – more likely for many of us, on a kitchen counter or bartop – paper clutter can become messy, unruly, and lead to general disorganization. Misplaced bills or receipts are one of the byproducts of a lack of organization, and can create stress and anxiety.

“Paper is an obvious problem in any home office. Take this opportunity to shred any documents that aren’t needed for tax purposes,” said Real Simple. HGTV recommends sort incoming mail daily, tossing junk mail immediately, and reading other mail that may need you to take action without delay. “Don’t put it in a pile for later or it will grow uncontrollably until it takes over any available horizontal space.” Sound familiar (it does to us too!)?

Getting your papers in order at the beginning of the year can also pay off at tax time. “For most of us, a bit of preparation in January will save hours of April agony,” said Good Housekeeping. “First, look backward. As you file this month’s phone bill, scoop up and sort last year’s receipts. Clump them together with a big paperclip, and if you’re really motivated, place them in a brand-new file folder, marked 2013 Receipts.”

The Garage

The first step to an organized garage is knowing the right place for everything… which makes the second step putting everything in its place. “To free up floor space, invest in a number of wall panels that use a variety of hooks and baskets. With such a system it’s easy to hang bicycles, sports equipment, garden tools and ladders,” said HGTV. Buckets or bins that are labeled with the contents can keep smaller items organized. And if you still need more room for your stuff, look up. “One storage area that is frequently overlooked in a garage is the three or four feet just below the ceiling. Easily create storage for seasonal decorations or other items that are infrequently used by installing shelving at this level around the perimeter of the garage.”

The Martha Stewart Way

You would expect Martha Stewart to have a thing or two to say about home organization, and does she ever. Check out her site for some great tips about getting – and staying – organized, like this ingenious idea for keeping items straight in your pantry or on kitchen shelves. “I use this trick in my cupboards at home,” said Martha Stewart. “Create dividers for them using tension curtain rods. Buy rods to fit the space, and position pairs of them at intervals. Twist to tighten.”

Or, her simple way to keep your linen closet looking neat and eliminate the frustrating search for matching pillowcases.

“Keep sheet sets together with this trick,” she said. “Tuck a sheet set inside one of its pillowcases, and then stack according to size (twin, full, queen, king) or by the room you use the sheets in (master bedroom, guest room.)”