It’s 2021 and you’ve resolved to create a clean and organized at-home oasis. After a few weeks of hard work, you finally get everything decluttered and put into place. Your home looks beautiful and you feel great! But there’s a voice lurking in the back of your mind reminding you that the hardest part of organizing your home is making it last longer than the first few months of the year. Visions of fresh piles of clutter start to dance in your head once more.
With everything else you have on your plate, cleaning and organization tends to fall to the bottom of the list, particularly as things get more cluttered and piles grow, and especially when you are not the only one in the household contributing to the mess.
So, how do you make your new year’s resolution last longer than a few weeks? Keep reading for our advice on staying organized once you’ve gotten your clutter under control.
Follow through on your donations
Once you’ve sorted through your belongings, decided what you could part with, and bagged everything up, don’t let those bags sit in the corner of your room or the trunk of your car for the next six months! Follow through on the decluttering process and drop your donations off at the appropriate donation location.
TSI TIP: Many donation centers have stopped accepting donations during the COVID-19 pandemic. Check to make sure the donation center is accepting items at this time and, if they are, what items specifically they are requesting. If your usual second hand stores aren’t accepting donations, look into men’s and women’s shelters—many of these organizations are continuing to accept donations during the pandemic.
Before you pick up a new item, really consider whether or not it’s something you need. Try to avoid impulse purchases by making a list of what you need before you go out or shop online, and do your best to actually stick to it. Some experts recommend a one in, one out rule, and while this can be effective, it is not always realistic. Just make sure you really need or really want and will use the item you are acquiring before you bring it home.
Create a simple organization system
There doesn’t necessarily need to be a designated place for everything! The best way to stay organized is to create a simple system that is easy for everyone in your household to understand and abide. The more rules you have, the harder this will be. Remember to be realistic about the level of organization your household can maintain and create a system that works for how you live your life. Even if it seems illogical to others, it doesn’t matter so long as it keeps you on track. Here are some methods you could try building into your organization system:
- Set a timer for ten minutes. Everyone in your family uses those ten minutes to tidy up shared spaces after dinner.
- Create a daily chore schedule. Consistency is key to turning cleaning and organizing into a habit, so having a set time where kids complete the same chores every day, even if there isn’t that much to clean or put away, can help set them up for success.
- Make putting things away a habit. Even if you’re tired, always make sure you put something back in its designated place. This goes a long way to maintaining a clean, organized home. Plus, modelling this behavior for your kids and requiring that they do the same will help them recognize that finishing a task means putting things back where they belong.
If you live with other people, especially children, it’s important that your system makes sense to them as well. Take the time to talk with your family or housemates and work together to create a system that works for everyone. If it’s too complicated or only tailored to your needs, it’s almost certainly not going to work the way you want it to and the clutter will pile right back up.
Share the new organization system with your household
The problem with cleaning and organizing your home when you live with other people is, at least to some degree, that you live with other people. You have to get everyone on board with the new system or else it won’t work. With children and teenagers this is easier said than done, but you can try to help them by making the system as simple as possible and giving them dedicated tasks appropriate to their age, such as being responsible for keeping their rooms clean or putting away toys and school supplies when they are done using them.
Don’t fill up every container
An easy mistake to make is to use containers that are sized to hold only the things you currently own. Instead, use a slightly larger container to leave some room for new items so you aren’t always having to find a space when you acquire additional items.
Make organization a habit
Another key element to keeping your house organized is to actually follow through with putting things away. The best time to put things away is right after you are finished using them, so if you can make this a habit for you and your housemates, your organizing system will be much easier to maintain.
Be kind to yourself if it doesn’t work perfectly
Getting a house organized can be a herculean task, especially when you live with children or other people. Try to focus on the general level of organization and not the little details, and remember that it doesn’t have to be perfect. Where you can, make adjustments to things that aren’t working rather than insisting that people adhere to the new system.
Keeping your home tidy can be immensely satisfying and beneficial for your wellbeing, especially when you’re spending more time in the home. After you declutter, finding a level of organization that is realistic and that you are satisfied with and then building a system around it is the best way to maintain that post-declutter feeling. Stay organized by:
- Actually dropping off your donations at the donation center
- Only buying or bringing in new things when absolutely necessary
- Creating a simple organizational system
- Explaining it clearly to people you live with
- Not filling up every empty space
- Putting things away as soon as you are done with them
- Being kind to yourself if it doesn’t work perfectly
Resolved to get organized in 2021? Control your clutter with our organization resources.