1. Keep like with like. When putting your belongings away, store them with like or similar items to keep things sensical and logical. So stop with the catch-alls—they might work for a short time, but eventually, they’ll make your whole place a mess.
2. Think before you buy. Impulse purchases are the death of any organizational system. Buy something? It needs a home. Rinse and repeat every time you bring something new into the house. Sounds stressful? It is. Plan before you buy: Where will this live? Do I have room? If the answers are “I don’t know” and “No,” give it a pass (plus, you’ll save money).
3. Everything has a place. Keep it there. Sure, you know your guest comforter lives in your linen closet, but whenever your mom leaves you spend three weeks stowing it in different places around the living room until you finally get frustrated and shove it in its rightful spot. Save yourself the trouble and put it away the first time.
4. Honor your memories—then throw them out. No, we’re not suggesting you toss your wedding dress. Some memories are too sacred, and deserve a place in your home forevermore. But movie stubs? Old train tickets? If you’re amassing a stack of “memorable” paper, it might be time to rethink your saving strategy.
5. Put away your clothes. But mo-oom! I know. I know. But just do it. There are no excuses for this one. Hang, fold or launder your clothing at the end of the day. End of story. An amassing pile of worn clothes is the downfall of many a clean home. Spending a few minutes every evening dealing with the day’s clothes will make your life so much better in the long run.
6. Repurpose, reuse, repurpose again. Using copious containers is the greatest organizing trick there is, but there’s no getting around the fact that those containers are darn expensive. Instead of buying a whole new set of matching clear containers, start reusing what you already have, like shoe boxes and toy bins.
7. Command everything. A command centre has room for your keys, wallet, bag, and any other day-to-day necessities—and it’s the secret behind a super-organized home. You’ll never have to search if you get in the habit of leaving them in their resting place.
8. Set a daily routine. And stick to it. Routines are the backbones of organization: If you’re taking time every day to put things back where they belong, file your papers, and make your bed, your home will thank you. Ending the day with an organized home is a truly wonderful feeling.
9. Start small. If you’re not already an organization master, start with the little things—sorting through papers, setting up a command station—before moving onto the big tasks, like revamping your entire closet organizational system. Enjoy the immediate sense of accomplishment, which will spur you on to bigger and greater future projects.
10. Don’t get overwhelmed. Remember that you are in control of your belongings and can keep them in check. If you set your mind to staying organized, it will no longer feel like a chore. Feeling stressed? It’s okay. You’re allowed to take a nice, long break.