When I moved into my first apartment, it was a disaster. I had just graduated from college. I had clothes, boxes from my childhood bedroom and one piece of furniture – a desk. The place looked how you would expect. Stuff was everywhere.
Even as I started to acquire normal furniture like a bed, sofa and kitchen table, the place still looked crazy.
“Most of the luxuries and many of the so-called comforts of live are not only not indispensable but positive hindrances to the elevation of mankind.” – Henry David Thoreau, Walden
I hadn’t lived there very long when my boyfriend sent someone over (unannounced) to pick up something from my place. He didn’t live with me and wasn’t aware that I was spending my weekend tearing things apart, cleaning and trying to deal with my piles of stuff. When my surprise guests arrived, I was so embarrassed!
Even from the front door, you could tell the place was a mess. At that moment, I realized that I wanted a very clean and organized home – one that would be easy to maintain.
How I Was Able to Organize My House
As someone who works, and always seems to have a side hustle, I don’t want to spend much time maintaining my space. Sure, I have to clean like everyone else. But, I don’t want to move piles around to find things or clean underneath.
So, I developed a system to organize my house and keep it looking good in any situation.
1. Focused Mindset
As I started unpacking my stuff, I realized that I had a lot going. There were craft supplies, art supplies, sewing supplies, old textbooks, clothes, sports equipment, board games, cooking tools and piles of books.
As I considered my situation, I noticed that my possessions weren’t reflective of how I spent my time. I didn’t do massive sewing projects ever. I never looked at my college textbooks. I really preferred to cook simple meals without lots of tools or appliances.
So, I culled my belongings to match how I actually prefer to spend my time. By only keeping the stuff in reach that I actually use daily, my space became more focused.
2. Smarter Storage
For the stuff I rarely used, I developed a pattern for smarter storage. For example, I always have a bin for donations or yard sales. As I pack things away, I find there are items that I’m not sure I want to keep. So, I place those in a “maybe” box along with the items I’m sure that I want to store. This keeps me from endlessly packing and unpacking items that I really don’t want to keep.
3. Manageable Lists
As a list addict, I would fall into that common trap of long, complicated lists. They usually aren’t achievable and bring a feeling of constant defeat. Over time, I changed my mindset and simplified my list-making into a more manageable process. Some of it is similar to Bullet Journaling, where I focus on daily activities and a few long-term goals.
4. Reliable Routine
I must admit that I’ve become a more boring person for the sake of home organization. Meaning – I schedule time to keep things neat. It’s part of my daily, weekly and monthly routine. It starts with putting things back in their place every day. Weekly, I make sure I get rid of items that don’t belong in my home. This is often things that I must return to other people. Finally, I go through my storage monthly. I just do one “problem” space at a time like a cabinet or a shelf. It’s a chance to make sure I’m actually using the things I have put away. By keeping to this regular process, I keep things in check.
What Do You Think?
I’d love to hear about your thoughts on home organization. Do you like to keep things organized? Or do you have a more organic way of managing your life? Tell me more about your thoughts in the comments.