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What Order to Organize Your Home

The best order to organize rooms and storage spaces in your home.

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Laying out what order to organize your home in, is really a plan of how you're going to organize, and I love to plan. Planning things out in advance makes me feel more in control of the chaos that my home can often fall into if left to it's own devices. It also ensures that if I get off track, I can get back to it and focus on the task at hand. To that end, I've created a checklist of not only which rooms to organize in the home (What to Organize A-Z Checklist), but also an order in which to organize these spaces.

What order to Organize Your Home

Storage Spaces

Elfa Garage Utility Shelving
Photo / The Container Store

Your storage spaces are the place to begin organizing, because once you dive deeper into your house, you're going to be doing a lot of decluttering and re-arranging of items. Less-frequently used appliances, clothing, shoes, books, and papers will need a place to be store that is neat and tidy.

Think of it like this: Before you un-load groceries, you've got to create space for them to go into the fridge; before you load the dishwasher, you've got to unload the dishwasher.

Consider also working simultaneously on a small project that you can tackle quickly and easily. This will give you the satisfaction of completing a more visible task while you're working on a larger, less-visible space like the attic, basement, or storage unit.

Here's my order:
  1. Junk drawers
  2. Utility or storage closet
  3. Basement + Attic
  4. Garage

Shared Spaces

Anderson Ross / Getty Images
Shared spaces go next since they are the most trafficked areas in the home. Start with the kitchen, followed by the foyer, living room and bathrooms. A big plus to organizing these areas is if you live with others, they will start to see these spaces organized and may join in, or begin working on their own personal spaces like bedrooms and home offices. Whether they notice or not, organizing is decluttering, sorting, and finding a home for your objects, so before you begin working in shared areas, tell your roommates or family exactly what you're doing, and let them collaborate on the best places to store shared items.

 

Example: If you have children, let them "help" to pick out a storage space for their toys in the living room, as long as you can live with their decision (i.e. it's in a corner, and not in the middle of the room), go with it, and they will feel a sense of ownership over the project making them more likely to work with you, not against you.

On the other hand, if your fellow house dwellers are resistant, go ahead with your plans. Just make sure they know what goes where when you are done.

  1. Kitchen
  2. Entryway
  3. Bathrooms
  4. Living room
  5. Dining room
  6. Dorm room

Personal Spaces

Jenna Lyons Closet from Trulia
Photo / Trulia

Personal spaces like bedrooms, closets, and home offices take more concentration as you need to touch and assess most items in these areas individually in order to organize the space.

Think about it: when organizing the kitchen, you can organize 25-40 items at once if you're dealing with utensils. In a closet, you have to make a decision on each and every button-down shirt, and in an office, you've got to sort each paper and receipt.

These spaces will definitely tax your energy, so it's a good idea to begin these on a weekend morning, with a good cup of coffee or tea.
  1. Closet
  2. Bedroom*
  3. Home office

*Don't try to organize a bedroom before tackling the bedroom closet. Closets have a tendency to spill out from behind closed doors very easily. Get them in check before working on your bedroom.

Small Spaces

Andrew Olney / Getty Images

Now start on smaller spaces like linen closets, laundry rooms, guest rooms, and mudrooms. These small spaces often get a short shrift because they are not very exciting. However, having them organized can make your home a more efficient place.

Example: If you have guests coming to visit, having an organized linen closet will make your life -- and there's -- a while lot easier. You'll be able to locate extra linens, toiletries, and bathroom supplies much more quickly, and if you're not around, they can easily grab these supplies themselves. Likewise, an organized laundry room will make that chore easier by placing the soaps and tools you need front-and-center.

  1. Laundry room
  2. Linen closet
  3. Mudroom

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