Screen Shot 2016-07-18 at 12.12.43 PM

Screen Shot 2016-07-18 at 12.12.43 PM

Capsule wardrobes. Minimalism. The life-changing magic of tidying up. Chances are you’ve heard someone talk about one if not all of these ideas at some point over the past year. Well, up until very recently, my home looked clean and organized, but it was mostly surface level. Closets were full of boxes and bins which were full of misc. stuff. I was holding on to items I hadn’t worn in years. To gadgets I hadn’t used in forever (like my waffle iron and pancake batter dispenser please don’t judge me). I had a craft bin. Here’s how to organize your home.

How to Organize Your Home

Then I purged everything. Twice. This meant hours of organizing, selling, and donating old items, and it was so worth it. I feel more relaxed at home knowing that I can open a closet and not feel overwhelmed by it. So now, my home that always looks tidy actually is tidy. I’d still like to do one more once-over which shouldn’t be difficult since it’s freezing outside and there’s nothing else to do.

1. Only hold on to things you actually need.

When going through each item in my closet, if it wasn’t something I’d want to wear in the coming week (assuming it was seasonally appropriate). I’d get rid of it. Disclaimer: This might mean investing in a few new items once you realize you’re down to 3 sweaters for a Chicago winter (oops), but at least you’ll own less and love what you have. 

I had a drawer full of DVDs that I never watch, so I got rid of any movie that isn’t one of my favorites. If you made it a full 365 days without using that food dehydrator, chances are you’ll be able to get along just fine without it. I chose my the coffee table books I love the most and am selling the ones I don’t actually look through when I’m back in town.

2. De-junk your drawers.

Take everything out and throw away anything and everything you don’t need. Then get a few plastic containers and keep what you do need in those. I have a bin for Buddy’s things, one for tools and extra cords, and one for office stuff.  And try folding your clothes (and keeping them folded).

3. Find a home for everything / don’t throw your sh*t everywhere

The coat closet in my last apartment wasn’t near the front door, so I put a hook by the door for my coat and bag and had a little basket by the door for shoes.

That craft bin was in a huge lidded basket at the back of a closet under 3 other boxes. It wasn’t easy to access and I couldn’t even see what I kept in there. Make your storage bins accessible, and make sure they’re full of things you’ll actually use.

4. Clean up before bed

I rarely go to bed with dishes in the sink and pick something to clean up before bed. So whether that’s the kitchen or bathroom counters, sweeping, or dusting, I’ll take maybe 5-10 min each day (most days) to get a little bit done. You can’t always stay on top of everything, so pick two things to organize or tidy up before the day comes to an end.

5. Organize your mail

I put my bills on my desk and once they’re paid, put them in a box in my closet. I also have paperless billing (and autopay) whenever possible and immediately throw away junk mail.

6. Simplify and style

If you’re going to have a big open shelf, hold on to lots of books, or have a few items you can’t (or don’t want to) get rid of, consider styling what you do display. Lidded boxes and baskets are great storage and decor, and stacks of books can look really pretty when they’re done right. Not sure how to get started? ask a friend who might be able to help, scour pinterest for inspiration, or if it’s in your budget, hire a stylist.