12 Things All Organized Homes Have in Common

cabinet storage
Conquer the chaos for good with these real-life solutions for a more organized home.

Declutter, Declutter, Declutter

The first step to having a well-organized home is to regularly purge what you don't need. Whether you're tackling a junk drawer, pantry, or closet, ask yourself these questions: Do you use it? Is it expired? Does it fit? Does it still suit my style? For the items you decide to keep, the next step is to find the appropriate home for everything. For example, you might want to keep the collection of pens you find in the junk drawer, but it might make more sense to leave just a few in the drawer and move the rest to a home office area.

Make a Plan

Cleaning up feels great when you're done, but it's impossible to maintain a clutter-free home without a plan for managing the constant influx of paperwork. Set up a three-part action folder where you sort mail so you can quickly file things under Do Now, Do Later, and Pending. Bills and party RSVPs move to the Do Now folder. Catalogs and store mailers you want to review go into Do Later. Save mail-in rebate receipts, bids for home repairs, and other long-term correspondence in the Pending folder. Take time once a week to review what's in the folders and discard or move what you no longer need.

Create a Centralized Family Calendar

Use a large calendar from an office supply store to create a single point of reference for all family members. Pair it with a whiteboard that highlights the events coming in the next few days. This is also a great place to post reminders. Create a digital copy of the family calendar that can be shared between parents and kids using mobile devices. Apps such as Cozi make it easy for the family to stay organized when they're away from home. 

Prep the Night Before

Pack lunches, backpacks, and briefcases the night before. This saves you precious minutes during the groggy rush to get out the door in the morning. Setting out clothes in advance not only saves you time in the morning, but also gives you a heads-up to any would-be disasters such as not having a clean team shirt for spirit day at school. #closeone

Create a Weekly Meal Plan

Sit down with the family calendar to figure out what nights you'll be at home for dinner. Then plan how many quick meals you'll need and how many days, if any, you can enjoy a more leisurely dinner. Once you know what you're making you can create a grocery list based on the ingredients needed. When you have what you need to make dinner you'll save yourself multiple trips to the market. And fewer shopping trips means more time at home and more money in your pocket!

Want to spend less time cleaning your home? Here are the strategies that will make that dream a reality.

Clean Less Often

Stretch the time between cleaning days with these sneaky tricks.

Follow a Cleaning Schedule

Do you feel like you're always cleaning, but your home never looks clean? Following a cleaning schedule with daily, weekly, monthly, and annual tasks helps conquer daily clutter as well as hit regular maintenance items. The great thing about cleaning a little every day is that you don't have the overwhelming messiness that takes entire days or weekends to recover from.

Use Labels

There's no sense running around the house to look for something when a well-labeled bin can quickly help you find it. Bonus: Family members and guests will also know where to return things when bins and shelves are clearly labeled.

Repurpose Storage

Before spending money on new storage containers, consider repurposing what you already have. That old over-the-door shoe storage you don't use anymore would make a great place to keep scarves, leggings, or oversize jewelry. These easy-access pockets would also work well in a kid room to hold dolls and action figures.

Take Inventory

When you make an investment in new storage-packed furniture or add-on accessories, be sure to take accurate measurements of what you plan to store. Also count how many items you plan to store in the new piece. Media centers, for example, fill up quickly with DVDs and video games.

Go Vertical

Make use of wall space to keep counters and desktops clutter-free. This space-saving storage remedy is also helpful for finding what you need. Everything is right before your eyes.

Store by Task

Group items together that you need to perform a certain task such as paying bills and sending cards. In the kitchen, keep bowls, spatulas, knives, and other food prep items near the range or prep space.

Take Advantage of Unused Space

Large open cabinets, such as those in a bath vanity, have a lot of storage space that often goes unused. Small shelves, baskets, or back-of-the-door storage accessories take advantage of open space. In the kitchen, risers offer a place to hold cups or bowls above plates and make the most of a cabinet's vertical space.

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