Before you begin organizing, it's imperative to have a game plan for what exactly you're going to organize. To that end, I've create this checklist for every room in your home you should organize from attics to workspaces, and guides to how to organize, store, donate or recycle everything in your home and office. (See the daily, weekly and monthly organizing calendars for even more tips on when to organize everything.)
2. Sort out your attic.
An organized attic is a great asset because of the (sometimes huge) amount of storage space it offers. Make sure things are placed on sturdy shelving for easy access, and labelled for easy retrieval.
When to Organize: Organize this space twice a year. I like to tackle the attic when it's time to take down and then re-store holiday decorations.
3. Organize basement storage spaces.
Much like an attic, an organized basement is a great asset because of the amounts of storage space it offers. Make sure things are accessible -- this is where your buckets and bins come into play -- and safe from water damage. I like to use this shelf-and-bin combo for storage:
These three products make it incredibly easy to store, and then easily retrieve out-of-season clothing, kitchen items, office supplies and more, while keeping them out of your main living area.
When to Organize: Organize this space twice a year. I like to tackle the basement seasonally, when it's time to take down and then re-store holiday decorations, clothing, or outdoor gear like patio furniture and beach supplies.
4. Declutter and streamline the bathrooms.
A clean, well-organized, and clutter-free bathroom can help you get a good start to the day, and is all-around healthier as you'll be purging the space of old medications regularly.
When to Organize: Declutter this space weekly. I like to tackle the bathroom on Sundays to start the week fresh.
5. Organize the bedroom (including under the bed).
Keep as little as possible in your bedroom*, making sure your clothes and shoes don't overwhelm the rest of the room. This is supposed to be a restful pace.
*The exception is if you live in a studio apartment, and then organize it into zones: sleeping, eating and cooking, entertaining/relaxing and your dressing area.
When to Organize: Declutter this space twice weekly, including a quick closet sweep, a good dusting, and decluttering for un-worn or dirty clothes that haven't made their way into the hamper yet.
6. Get the closet organized.
An organized closet will make your bedroom more peaceful, and will help you maintain sanity on early mornings while trying to get yourself and your family out the door to work, school, and errand-running.
When to Organize: Declutter this space twice weekly, and do a major over-haul and re-organization twice a year.)
Your complete guide to Closet Organization.
7. Get control of the clutter.
Banishing clutter for your home is process that requires daily upkeep. The resources below will take you step-by-step through your home with a plan to declutter a little bit at a time.
When to Organize: I recommend staying on top of clutter every single day, but following the Weekly Organizing Routine, or committing to declutter your home once a week.
- What is Clutter?
- What is Aspirational Clutter?
- What is Sentimental Clutter?
- What is Abundance Clutter?
- What is Bargain Clutter?
- Readers Respond: What is the Biggest Source of Clutter in Your Home?
- 8 Reasons You Have Clutter
- How to Let Go of Clutter
- How to Clear Clutter
- How to Declutter Your Home Room-by-Room
- The Top 10 Sources of Clutter
- How to Organize Cable Clutter
- 5 Tips to Stop Hoarding Clutter
- Cut Clutter with a 30 Minute Organizing Project
- Follow the Weekly Organizing Routine and Declutter for 20 Minutes a Day
8. Organize your donations.
Knowing a good place to donate clothing and household items makes the decluttering and organizing process much easier. I donate all of my belongings to a charitable organization that picks them up at my doorstep (Its the Vietnam Veterans of America), which makes the process even easier for me, because all I have to do is clean and bag things, and then leave them on my front porch on the appointed date.
When to Organize: Take some time to research an organization whose mission you support, read their donation guidelines and then start donating on a regular basis, either monthly (for a large household) or seasonally.
An organized entryway is going to help your efforts on many fronts: it will assist you to get out the door more quickly in the morning, and it will aid in a more organized, neater walk through the door when you return.
When to Organize: Organize this space weekly as part of the Weekly Organizing Routine, and then do a seasonal re-vamp.
10. Sort and store your financial documents.
Once you've organized your financial and important documents (think birth certificates, social security cards, credit card statements), you're going to feel very accomplished. This task is worth the time in peace of mind alone.
When to Organize: I like to go through these documents once a year, and then I incorporate decluttering these documents into my weekly routine while handling mail and paper.