It’s time. You’re getting organized. Finally. Kudos on making the smart homeowner choice, but don’t get too self-congratulatory while you’re still in the IKEA parking lot. Organization is about giving everything the right place (sometimes the donation bin), and while that sounds straightforward, it’s pretty easy to choose the wrong places, turning your attempt at a tidier home into wasted effort. We’ve compiled our top decluttering faux pas to save you from making these home organization mistakes.
Trying to Do It in One Fell Swoop
Clutter is overwhelming; getting overwhelmed is a great way to make no organizing progress. The best anti-clutter attack begins with decluttering and organizing one room at a time before you move on to the next. And give yourself more than the sliver of Sunday between your golf outing and dinner with each spot.
Starting Without a Plan
Tidying is tidying. Organizing is changing the way you live. Having a plan is essential to transforming your tidying into organizing. It takes longer to think about and implement a system, but the long-term results of organizing instead of tidying will be that you remain organized. A shelf allows you to tidy by getting random hoses and yard waste bags off the garage floor — until they’re used again and tossed wherever. A well-planned system, like filling those shelves with appropriately sized, easy-to-access, labeled bins, can keep your garage organized long term. A successful organization strategy is one that fits your life.
Trying To Buy Your Way Into Organized
Sorry, shoppers: organization is an action, not something you can buy. Common culprits: renting storage space — which costs around $600 a year for a small unit — or sinking $400 into some deliciously chic, hand woven baskets (they’d look amazing in your living room!). When you invest big in one decluttering effort, you end up feeling super accomplished when all you’ve done is drain your bank account — and maybe put a few things in one pricey, new container. Generally, if you can live without something for a few months or a year, you probably don’t need it.
Buying Storage Without Measuring
Shopping is fun. Measuring things is not. But don’t even think about walking into The Container Store before you know the size, shape, and dimensions of organizers you need. Homeowners are constantly buying things first, and getting lured in by cute containers, but then realize the stuff they have doesn’t work for the containers. Be sure to shop for fit and function when choosing organizers.
Ignoring Your Wall Space
Sometimes the best storage option has been right next to you all along: your walls. Forget tucking everything into a bin or taking up more precious floor space with yet another shelving unit. Wall space isn’t just available and efficient, it can make storage more accessible. Adding hooks to make it easy to pick up and go is important —sturdy mudroom hooks are just the beginning. Floating shelves, pegboards, corner shelving, built-ins — even attaching finished wooden crates or hanging a shoe organizer on the wall — can transform your everyday vertical space into an organization Mecca.
Skipping a Labeling System
Putting labels on everything in the house may make you feel like a bossy taskmaster. But, in fact, it makes you a clever organization educator. While labels may seem over-the-top at first, they eventually make organizing second nature by training others (and reminding you!) where things belong.
Allowing Your Organizers to Get Disorganized
Just when you thought your shelf full of tidy, clear, labeled containers were perfect, you open the one marked “gloves” and spend 10 minutes trying to find a single matching pair. Dividers and smaller boxes within bigger containers can help smaller items stay neatly corralled and categorized. Try this solution inside dresser drawers for a refreshingly well-ordered dressing experience. Now you can pat yourself on the back.