Greetings, friends!!! In keeping with our November organization challenge, I’ve put together a list of 60 home organization tips to get you started on your organized and stress free home. 🙂 If you missed it, be sure to check out our post on organization basics. And here’s another great organization post that talks about how to simplify your life in three easy steps.
Feel free to jump in in the comment section with your favorite organization tips, and to share how your organization challenge is going.
1. Put things where they work for you, even if it doesn’t make sense to someone else.
2. Make a habit of making your bed (and having the kids do the same) as soon as you’re up in the morning.
3. Make a “bug out plan” for if you need to leave the house quickly due to a disaster or emergency, and have a list of what you need to put in it attached to the bag. Some things to put on the list? Valuable papers, meds, snacks, activities for the kids.
4. Once you’ve got your re-organize done, make a maintenance plan for each area that fits your schedule.
5. Keep a wall calendar in a prominent room so that everyone is aware of where people are/need to be on what days and at what times.
6. Have a small variety of cards on hand from the dollar store so that if an unexpected need comes up, you’ll have a supply ready and won’t need to make a separate run just for a card.
7. Put a basket by the most-used door for keys, etc.
8. Keep a specific file that holds valuable paperwork such as birth certificates, social security cards, passports and diplomas.
9. Reader tip from Liz: Spend 15 minutes a day tidying up around the house. Be sure to have the kids help.
10. If a task will take you 5 minutes or less, do it now.
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11. Whenever you run across anything empty, ripped, the wrong size or never used, immediately toss it in the trash or a charity box.
12. Reader tip from Kay: Be careful not to “over declutter” and give away stuff you really don’t want to get rid of. Take your time and make wise decisions.
13. Get rid of all of those old magazines and books you haven’t looked at for years.
14. Go through each room and closet and do an honest assessment of what you need, and what you don’t, and then get rid of the stuff you don’t need or use.
15. Get rid of duplicates that don’t serve a purpose.
16. Only keep clothes that truly serve a purpose. Most of us wear only about 20% of the clothes we own.
17. When decluttering, don’t think about what you’re “losing”, instead, think “Could someone else benefit for this better than I can?”
18. Reader tip from Barbara: For sentimental stuff that you want to get rid of, take a picture of it so you have a digital memory, then send it on its way.
Organization for kids
19. Give kids their own alarm clocks and post morning checklists for them. (It’ll be less for you to organize.)
20. Teach kids to get in the habit of picking up after themselves.
21. Put kids’ crayons, markers and other art supplies in separate, stackable, covered plastic storage containers.
22. Teach your children to get everything ready for school; back packs, finished homework, outfit, the night before, so that getting ready in the morning will be more streamlined.
23. Keep a tray or basket by the front door where kids can drop off docs from school such as permission slips and homework assignments, that need to be reviewed and signed by parents.
24. Have each kid fold and put away their own laundry, and change the bedding on their own beds.
25. Assign each kid their own color, and use that color when purchasing things for the kids so that everyone will know whose stuff is whose. This works especially well for families with more than one of the same gender.
26. Get kids in the habit of giving away toys they no longer use, especially when new toys come into the house.
27. When wrapping presents, buy each kid their own design of wrapping paper so you’ll know whose is whose on Christmas morning and you won’t have to worry about making tags.
28. Make a list of who you have to buy for and how much you want to spend on them, and then stick to it.
29. Have a list of go-to dishes, appetizers and desserts, along with their recipes, for when you need to bring something to a party. Make a similar list that works for when you host a party at your house.
30. If you host parties often, have a plan in place for where serving tables will go, where people will sit to eat, and how tables will be dressed so that meals are organized and pleasant.
31. Buy one of those big, long storage boxes for wrapping paper, To/From tags, tape and scissors to be stored in.
32. Buy themed napkins, paper plates, etc., on clearance after an event so you’ll have them for next year.
33. Have both a written and digital list that contains passwords, account numbers, etc., and store the lists in a safe place.
34. Store all your instruction manuals in one box or binder and keep it in the place where you’ll use it most, whether that be paper manuals or a computer folder for online manuals.
35. Unsubscribe from all of those commercial emails you never read.
36. Have a car charger for your cell phone or other gadget for when you forget to charge it up at home but still need to be able to utilize it.
37. Set a day/time each week to clear out your email inboxes and sent/deleted items
In the kitchen
38. Have a menu plan and shop accordingly so you always know what you’re making for dinner.
39. Tidy up the kitchen after every meal. A clean kitchen reduces stress.
40. Set up your pantry like a grocery store, lining items up with the oldest in front and newest in back, so that you’ve got a clear view of what you have/don’t have.
41. Use the inside of your pantry door for hanging up aprons and/or potholders.
42. Clear your counters of the things you rarely use unless they have a decorative use. For instance, if you rarely eat toast, put the toaster in a cupboard.
43. Keep a sheet of paper on the fridge at all times for people to write down things needed from the grocery store, which will help you not to forget what you need to buy when making your big shopping list, or for grab n’ go when you’re just making a quick run to the store.
44. Have a “leftover night” once a week to clear the fridge of leftovers so they don’t go to waste and so the fridge stays cleaner.
45. Keep a few meals in the freezer at all times for nights when you don’t have time or are too tired to cook.
In the bathroom
46. Keep a basket in your bathroom that neatly displays extra toilet paper rolls or hand towels/wash cloths, so that they’re always right there when you need them.
47. Rid your bathroom cabinets of all that stuff you never use, and keep only things you need in there.
48. Give the bathroom a quick wipe down every day, and the toilet a quick scrub every day, so that it never gets out-of-hand dirty.
In the family room/living room
49. Use some type of basket, or a chest or ottoman with storage under it for ready-to-use blankets to cuddle up with.
50. Put a plate or basket on the coffee table to hold remotes.
51. Have a basket for newspapers and/or magazines, and clean it out once a week or once a month to make room for new stuff.
52. Keep your cat or dog’s kibble in a plastic trash can with a lid in the room where you use it most. This will keep you from having to dig into the bag and prevent rodents from digging in.
53. Keep a caddy handy to hold pet brushes, shampoos and toys.
54. Keep a spreadsheet of when baths and vet visits are due so that you’ll keep on top of vital maintenance and care.
55. Keep a spreadsheet tracking all of your spending, adding to the list at the end of each day.
56. Schedule payments online at the beginning of the month so that it’s done and you don’t have to worry about it until next month.
57. Make a budget at the beginning of each month so that you know what needs to be paid and have a plan for your paycheck before you get it.
58. Automate savings deposits each month so that they’re out of your account before you have the chance to spend them.
59. Create either an online file or a physical file that contains quarterly investment statements, social security statements, and so on, giving you quick access to your money picture.
60. Have a written 5, 10 and 20 year plan for your financial goals.
Great list Laurie. Really thorough and I like how you included tasks for the kids.
Our son is two years old so he’s still limited to what he can do but we’re trying to include him in helping out. So important to build those good habits early on.
Thanks, Joseph! Even at 2, kids can do little tasks that will ingrain good habits over the long haul. Keep up the great work!
Wow, Laurie, you are a Powerhouse!!! That was a great list. When I read the title, I was like, 60? Really? Is she going to be able to come up with 60??? And then, BAM! You slam dunked that baby! 😀
Thanks for the linky thingy, Lauire (technical term)! You are SUCH a sweetheart! 🙂
LOL, I have to give the credit to the Lord – I’m not nearly that talented on my own. 🙂
Wow – what a list. I got down to number 10 and realised that I needed to action a lot of these. List printed and pinned to my TO DO board for next week! Thanks!!
Glad you liked it, Moneystepper, and thanks much for the comment – we appreciate it!
These are all great tips! I feel so much better when my living area is well organized.
Me too, Lauren. It just invokes peace, doesn’t it?
Great list! I’m gonna have to save this post cause it has some excellent tips. We moved about a month ago but haven’t really completely unpacked. Things are still cluttered and unorganized so I’ll definitely be using some of the tips here.
LOL, we moved two years ago and still have boxes in the garage. I guess that’s up for organization next. 🙂
I love this list. This would be great to print out to remind you what needs done every day. I always seem to get things done if I have a list in front of me. Thanks!
I’m a huge list person, Charlee! They are really motivating for me too. Thanks for the comment!
Great list, Laurie. I’m going to save this for reference. Thank you!
Glad you found it helpful, my friend!
Thanks for the great list! I’ll definitely come back to this one often 🙂
Yay! Glad to hear it, Chela. 🙂
May favorite is number 1. I have a weird habit of putting things in places that doesn’t really make that much sense. When my mother would visit me it would drive her crazy. I would explain to her why I have designated the odd place for an item, and she would reply to me in her famous Jamaican accent that sounds like she left Jamaica yesterday vice 43 years ago that it doesn’t go there. When she goes home I always plan to spend a week not being able to find anything.
LOL, funny, Petrish! I learned that tip from the Julie Morgenstern book, and wow – it’s really been a time saver for us!
This is a great list, Laurie. Organization is something I definitely have to tackle. I need to go through my closets again. I have lots of nice work clothes that I don’t need right now, but since I don’t know whether or not I’ll need them again – I hang on to them. If do go back to Corporate America, I don’t want to have to buy a whole new wardrobe. 🙂 But still, there are things in there that can go and elsewhere too. And it’s funny because I was just talking about this with my parents, they are both neat and organized, but my brother and I are both slobs. Go figure.
That is so funny, Tanya!! Personality really is a big part of it. We have some neat and organized kids, and some more on the sloppy side.
Awesome list! Another good tip I read (in a magazine maybe?) is to hang all your clothes in the closet with the hangers facing the same way, when you wear them and hang back up with the hanger facing the other way. After a year throw out or donate the clothes you haven’t worn (easy to tell because of the way the hangers are turned)
Thanks for the tip, CT! What a great idea. That way there are no excuses for keeping those old clothes one never wears. 🙂
Eric and I are trying to do better with eating leftovers and eating what we have. We have a whole kitchen full of food, but often complain there’s “nothing to eat” because we’re too lazy and spoiled to cook something. That is something we’re actively trying to change. It’s our own “eat through the pantry” challenge so to speak.
It took us awhile to drop that habit of only eating what we wanted and liked, but now that we’ve been doing it for a couple of years, it’s not so bad. I actually find that food is less of an issue for me and that it’s simply a means of survival, which is helping me to eat less.
What a useful list! I personally harp on Tip #46 lol. It’s not fun when my awesome DH forgets to fill our toilet paper basket and I’m on the loo, with no paper and no DH at home!
LOL, that’s another benefit of homeschooling: always someone to grab me a roll if the basket’s out. 😉
These are really great tips. I definitely need to work on my email organization and unsubscribe from a bunch of store email newsletters. I get way too many every day and I hardly ever read them.
Me too! I’m slowly starting to weed them out and unsubscribe. Mostly what I was getting was shopping deals and/or news site emails. The news ones are depressing, and the shopping ones tempt me to spend, so I decided they had to go. 🙂
This is an AMAZING list Laurie and it has completely inspired me to re-think a number of areas in my life. Sometimes I feel as though I am organized because one or two areas of my home are, but I could really stand to do a full home audit and make improvements in lots of places.
Yay!!!! Glad you like it, Shannon! As we have worked to do our “full audit”, we’ve found a number of ways to clear out our home and our minds. 🙂
Awesome tips! Timely too, because we are in the middle of a clutter clean up ourselves. 🙂
LOL, join the party, Brian! Declutter seems to be the order of the month.
I am so glad there’s a section for kids in your list: it may be an irritation for them, but kids need to be made to understand that they are a part of the family and they have responsibilities. I’m not talking about being paid to do chores: I’m talking about working together as a family BECAUSE you’re family.
WISE comment, Myles!!! I agree completely. Too many families serve their children instead of making their children a part of a team. Our kids do their chores and help out because they are a part of our family TEAM. We do have other occasional, random chores that we offer to pay them for, but regular house stuff is just a part of the deal.
The “do it now” tip has changed my life over the past couple years. I resist systems after a while and tend to regress into my lazy ways. But I’m naturally impulsive, so when I think of something or notice a task that needs to be done, that’s really the only window of opportunity I’ll likely have for the day. If I do it now, it gets done. If not, then not. 🙂
Great stuff as always, Laurie. I really appreciate the helpful tone of your blog.
DB40, I’m exactly the same way! I totally rebel at systems. If I do it now, I don’t have to think about how I don’t want to do it now. 🙂 SO glad you like it here, my friend. That means a lot to me, knowing I’m helping others. Thanks. 🙂
Thank you, thank you for putting together such a detailed and thorough list. I’d say it’s worth printing out to follow, but fear that would just add to my clutter! Nevertheless, some great advice worth reading over and over again!
Awesome list Laurie, and the great thing is implementing only a few of these would really go a long way! I’m also a big fan of doing things straight away if it only takes a few minutes – this is a habit I’ve worked hard to develop and is such a liberating feeling when you just do it!
I also got into the habit of keeping my inbox clear, and it’s amazing the impact that has had on decluttering my mind. Now whenever I see someone else’s inbox with 500 items in it I cringe and feel a bit ill!
Sometimes, I don’t buy magazines because these just pile up in the living room. What I do is I just download a pdf copy of it so that I can read it on my tablet. Not only do I save space but also I save money. Enjoyed reading your tips! A home would surely be happy with those rules observed.
This post makes me SO happy!! I love organizing; it’s one of my best qualities (I’m always organized and it comes easy to me). While it may not seem like a valuable skill, I cannot tell you how much more calm and orderly my life is because I always keep it organized. The more systems you have in place, the better.
Love all the tips! My favorite tip would be organizing items in storage boxes then always putting labels on them. This would lessen the time in opening each one of the boxes when you’re looking for something.
Wow, great list! Would love to print this out so I have a visual and a constant reminder whenever I see our fridge.
Before the year ends, I always like to do a major cleaning and decluttering in our house. I came across this article that mentioned this Japanese author (can’t recall at the moment) and I was really intrigued with her home organization method which I would like to try this year. What she does is she gets rid of all the stuff that doesn’t make you happy. You only keep what you need and what makes you happy. I think that’s good advice. It’s nice to surround yourself with positivity and what better way to do that before welcoming the new year, right?
What a great list Laurie! Very thorough indeed. I use some of these tips already, but some of them were new to me. Thanks for sharing!
Glad you found it helpful, my friend!
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