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| Home Organize Your Home The Organized Beginner How to Start Organizing your Home
Organized 101How to Start Organizing your Home
You may be overwhelmed with the chaos and disorganization in your home. So where do you start? The most common culprit in the battle against clutter: Laundry. Take on the laundry room and dirty clothes first to see near-immediate results.
Where do I start organizing my home? While some home organization specialists will tell you to start in the kitchen, I’m going to advise beginning in another area. The kitchen will be the third place we attack and this doesn’t make it less important, but I will explain why I’m starting elsewhere.
First, if you look around your home, you probably see lots of clothes. Am I right? You’ve got clothes in closets, you’ve got clothes in piles (meaning to put them away and not having time, eventually just pulling them out of the pile and wearing them), and you’ve got clothes in laundry baskets. You might even have rumpled clothes in the dryer or (heaven forbid!) the washer. If it’s the former, the clothes are only rumpled. If it’s the latter, they’re probably rumpled AND smelly and (potentially) mildewed. Yuck! If you don’t have a laundry room but have a laundry closet (with room for the washer, dryer, and some shelves), I’m betting you haven’t seen the top of your dryer for weeks or even months. It’s covered in rumpled clothes and towels, right?
Have you guessed where we’re starting? That’s right! The laundry area of your home. And here’s why: if you get your laundry room cleaned and organized, you’ll be much more apt to actually DO the laundry that plagues you and helps your home to be disorganized. And because you won’t want to undo the work you’ve done in the laundry room, you’re more likely to fold the laundry when it’s done, and put it away. There’s something that’s a breath of fresh air about a straightened laundry room, sort of like when you walk in to a closet where everything is hanging neatly.
So start with small steps:
Can you see the floor? No? Then pick up what’s on the floor and put it in laundry baskets. If you don’t have enough laundry baskets to accomplish this, then just sort the things in to piles outside the laundry room. I make piles of light clothes, whites, darks, and towels/rags.
Can you see the top of the dryer? If not, put the excess clothes in the aforementioned piles. Grab one rag to dust and have two plastic grocery bags, one to collect junk, and the other for later. Dust the dryer from the lint leftovers and use a little window cleaner if it doesn’t come off readily. Don’t neglect the area where the “start” button is, that can be grimy, too!
Ok - now you’ve got your washer & dryer cleaned off. Congratulations!
Now take a critical look at your supply shelves. Do you have empty bottles or boxes lying around from spent detergent and/or fabric softener? Clean those out. Use that grocery bag that you’ve put excess dryer lint in and pitch those empties. Then organize what’s left. If you need to add things to your shopping list, now is the time—now you know what you’ve got and what you need to buy. When you organize your supplies, I recommend putting the detergent and any liquid softener above the (gasp!) washer. Make it easy to reach. Put the dryer sheets over or on the dryer why reach more than you have to? If your shelves are higher than you’d like, use the top ledge of your washer & dryer to hold supplies! I’ve never seen a washer and dryer that didn’t butt up to a wall for the electrical plugs they need. So use that space to your advantage. Put the detergent box or bottle on the top of the washer, along with whatever other washing supplies you have.
If you have wire shelves above your washer & dryer, you’ve got a built-in place to hang a trash bag. Use that extra grocery sack and cut one of the handles in half. Then tie those two ends around some of the wire shelf and use the bag to collect dryer lint and empty containers from your emptied laundry supplies. When it’s full, cut it down and put it in the trash and put up a new one.
Now look at your floor. Does it need sweeping? If so, grab a broom and sweep. It won’t take you more than 5 minutes and you’ll feel much better about your room and your work, especially if something you’ve just washed falls on the floor as you’re transferring stuff to the dryer.
Congratulations! You’ve done the preliminary work of organizing your home, you've won the battle in your laundry room! Take a 15 minute break and enjoy this victory. Then start the task of doing the excess laundry that you’ve been collecting, one pile at a time. When the first is done, swap it out immediately to your dryer or to hangers, if that’s more appropriate. Take it one pile at a time, in other words, small steps! Soon, you’ll find that it really only takes 5-10 minutes to fold warm clothes from the dryer and put them in laundry baskets, ready to transfer to the appropriate rooms, closets, and drawers. Now that you have some extra time, you can start on another room. How to start organizing your home wasn't all that hard after all!