Your home is a representation of you. Your personality. Your energy. It shines through the space where you spend so much of your time.
Therefore, keeping it orderly, relaxing, and free of clutter can have a profound effect on both your mind and soul.
“I am a true believer that physical clutter leads to mental clutter,” says Rachel Rosenthal, NoVA-based organizing expert and founder of Rachel and Company. “When you give yourself a clear space physically, it will clear up that space mentally, which will allow you to do your best work. Self-care is so important and vital to mental well-being, and I truly believe that organization is one of the ultimate forms of self-care.”
“If your home and space is calm, you will feel calm,” says Lauren Sadlon, owner of Neat Method Northern Virginia. “Home organization is part of the total aesthetic and design; taking your home from chaos to composed by having organizational systems will elevate the interior design.”
You’ve heard of spring cleaning, but fall is actually the perfect time to revisit the flow of your home and make sure you’re staying on top of your organization.
“Organization is not always about spacious walk-in closets or pantries larger than some studio apartment,” says Rosenthal. “Organization is about implementing systems and principles that help you manage what you have to function for you and your daily life.”
Here, Rosenthal and Sadlon provide some tips for better organizing your home.
Decrease your clutter
Decluttering is important for the function of your home, but it’s not always easy to do.
Shifting your mindset goes a long way in making it easier, says Rosenthal.
“You need to transition your mindset to not look at decluttering as parting with something, but [instead], look at it as creating physical and mental space in your life,” she adds.
Organization isn’t a one-time event but a way of life.
“When you implement organization into your daily life, it helps your overall mental well-being,” says Rosenthal. “Schedule time into your month or quarter to do a quick declutter session just as you would something like mowing the lawn.”
And you can save time later by taking the time now to put things back in their place each day, advises Sadlon.
“Hang your coats up, unpack backpacks, put your clothes away, and sort your mail,” she says. “If you spend 10-15 minutes doing this each day, you’ll get into the habit, and you will be able to manage what I like to call the ‘daily clutter.’”
Start with shared family spaces
The first order of business, Sadlon says, is to tuck away any items that you can.
“Categorize your family’s items — toys, games, electronics, etc. — and utilize bins and baskets to contain everything,” she says. “If it’s an open area, find some big, beautiful baskets to keep things hidden.”
Rosenthal agrees. “The most important thing when organizing shared family spaces is to create a home for everything and zones within the space,” she says. “When everything has a home, there is no question where everything and anything should be put away.”
Tackle the kitchen
Thinking about reorganizing your kitchen may sound like an overwhelming task, but once you see the end result, you’ll be so glad you did it.
When organizing your kitchen, consider systems that may make your everyday life simpler and increase the functionality of the space.
For instance, you can make mornings smooth by creating a coffee and kids lunch station, Sadlon suggests.
Or, if you are a baker, organize in a way that keeps your pans and ingredients at your fingertips.
Creating categories in your kitchen and pantry will make this process even smoother, says Rosenthal.
“I like to choose a category per shelf — for example, cans or baking goods — and then do a mix of clear bins and turntables to maximize the space, contain the categories, and allow easy access to each item,” she explains.
And make sure you are organizing your kitchen and setting up systems that will work when it is fully stocked.
“Organize your kitchen on a shopping day,” Rosenthal adds. “There is no use organizing your fridge or pantry on a day it is empty, it will just become overrun again the first time you hit the store.”
Reset your kitchen each night to ensure it always remains clean and organized.
“Put away your leftovers, clean up the countertops, and run or empty the dishwasher each night so that the kitchen is clear for the following day,” Rosenthal says. “I’ve found that waking up and walking into a kitchen for the first cup of coffee of the day is just that much more enjoyable when there isn’t a dirty spaghetti dish staring back at you.”
And don’t forget your areas
It’s important to make sure you’re keeping your own personal areas — such as your home office — tidy as well. (Remote workers, we’re looking at you.)
Start by tossing any unnecessary paperwork, suggests Sadlon.
“You can find bills online and take pictures of kids artwork to upload to a service,” she says. “Always keep the important stuff, but you do not need everything.”
And keep in mind the functionality of the room.
“Just about every home office space these days needs to do double duty, so make sure you are thinking of the functionality of the space for more than just working hours,” Rosenthal says. “I suggest utilizing an acrylic desktop mail center to not only allow for storage of things like scissors and pens but also a spot for mail and keys that would previously have been strewn on your desk area.”
For your home office space, double duty might mean having a drawer or bin of coloring items for your kiddos when they need a spot for homework or perhaps a desktop calendar or bulletin board to serve as the family’s command center, she says.
Megan Herr is an editor and writer residing in the Shenandoah Valley. She graduated with a degree in journalism from Penn State University.
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