For families with young children, it can seem like the "stuff" kids have is constantly multiplying. Birthdays and holidays bring new gifts and if an organization system isn't in place, the clutter can quickly become overwhelming. Whether you keep toys in a child's bedroom or multiple rooms throughout the house, these tips on how to organize a playroom can help.
First, gather all of the toys into one area so you can assess the situation. Are any of the toys duplicates or very similar? Consider donating one. What's broken or so low quality that it should be thrown away? The hardest part of purging toys is getting past the idea that the child might play with it one day. With two many choices, some toys are going to be relegated to the bottom of the bin, not likely to be seen again. Really try to minimize the stash to age-appropriate, quality items over quantity. In my own home, I've made it a habit to keep a donation bag in a closet and every so often, I do a sweep of the toys (while the children aren't looking - they'd never let them go!) and add a few to the bag. I schedule donation pick-ups monthly.
Next, give some thought to where you are keeping the toys:
Finally, get the kids involved. A family that organizes together...stays organized! Kids love to be in charge, don't they? Ask them to join your brainstorming session or if you think that will lead to chaos, offer them a few select decisions to make towards the end of your playroom organizing session. Then don't forget to play!
Raise your hand if wrestling with jackets, shoes, handbags or backpacks is a daily occurrence for you. I have an organized mudroom and that's still sometimes the case for me! Applying the techniques of organizing your home, I'm going to share my specific tips on how to organize a mudroom.
Mudrooms can quickly become overrun with clutter if each item isn't given a home. Coats and shoes are ever-changing as they get worn out or switched out for the season. This is one space where it helps to spend some time evaluating and making a plan before starting the purge process.
Particularly if there are more than two people in the household, it helps if each individual has their own spots to house their items. A bin organizer, a rack or a combination of the two can keep items close to the door that may not have another convenient home: keys, sunglasses, scarfs, hats - even socks. Bonus points if the mudroom furniture has doors or drawers that hide the items! If possible, include a bench or another small seating option in your mudroom to help with getting shoes on.
Once you have a layout that works with your space (and your budget!), it's time to purge. I have a jacket obsession. There's a green tweed coat that I wear once or twice a year that I just cannot bear to let go and faux fur ankle-length coat for fancy occasions. On any given week, I may wear four different jackets. So I need a quick-grab station that accommodates two or three and a back-up space for the rest. Even so, each year, I try to donate a few coats - the too tight, too ripped or too out-of-style.
After sorting and donating some items that belong to each member of the household, reevaluate your mudroom organizing plan. Do you have a spot for all of the remaining items? Adjust, make purchases and finally, put each item in their new home!
Need help organizing your mudroom? Give me a call!
Now that we've addressed the basic process of how to organize your home, we can dive into the specifics of organizing different spaces. Learning how to organize a closet will serve you well when moving on to larger (and possibly more overwhelming!) rooms.
Closets can serve many purposes, including hiding belongings that have no other home. Some people have a "junk" closet. closets for toys, or like me, one that is fully allocated to a pet! But since most people have clothes and linen closets, we'll focus on these. In both cases, everything - yes, everything - needs to be removed from the closet and broken or unneeded items purged.
How to Organize a Linen Closet
Once you've made your trash and donation piles, it's time to sort like items. Linen closets are often used for more than just towels and bed sheets. You may store cleaning supplies, toiletries and even electrical devices like humidifiers and clothes irons, like I do!
Consider which category you use the most (toiletries, towels or something else?) and assign an eye-level shelf for those items. If they take up 2/3 of the shelf or less, do you have a small category that can fit next to them? If you have small children, consider storing cleaning supplies on a higher shelf and items they can reach for themselves down low. A sample plan for your linen closet could be:
Top shelf: infrequently used items (unless you and your family members are tall!)
2nd shelf: towels and sheets
3rd shelf: toiletries
Floor: bulk supplies
Comb your house for un- or under-used containers like bins, baskets, trays and nice boxes. I'm a big proponent of using what you own then upgrading or going to matching containers when time or cash flow allows. If you find that your folding jobs come undone, consider rolling your towels and placing them upright in a basket. A small dresser in the bottom of the closet can also work well for towels or extra blankets.
Remember that the space needs to work well for you and your family's needs. When everyone can find what they need quickly and without a fuss, you'll find the days just move along a little smoother!
How to Organize a Closet for Clothes
Sorting clothes is one of my favorite organizing tasks. I love knowing I can find all of my short-sleeve options in a single place. The number of categories depends on how you look for items and what your space allows. In many cases, you'll want to consider your dressers and any other clothes storage areas when organizing a closet for clothes. A sample plan for a small clothes closet could be:
Top Shelf: stacks of folded sweaters and/or casual pants
Rod: hanging dresses / dress pants / long-sleeve dressy shirts / long-sleeve casual shirts / short-sleeve dressy shirts / short-sleeve casual shirts
Bottom: shoe storage (rack or low drawers)
Door: hanging pocket organizer for tightly-folded shorts, bathing suits, workout clothes or pajamas
The larger the closet, the more the possibilities so take the time to think about your habits and preferences. Organizing is a personal and tailored process. If you're find yourself overwhelmed or just needing a little advice, contact me about how to organize a closet!
So you've decided your home could use a little (or a lot of) organization. How do you get started when there are so many spaces to conquer? What's the best process to keep it all from turning back into a clutter-fest within a week? Here are a few of my tips on how to organize your home:
I hope this has helped you learn how to organize your home. Stay tuned for more advice on organizing individual rooms, including mud rooms (or corners!), closets and kitchens.
If you want to learn more now or are feeling overwhelmed by organizing on your own, please contact me! I'd love to help you streamline your spaces.
Please join (and indulge!) me in a walk down memory lane that will explain why I organize my home. It was 2017 and I was a working mom of a 5-year-old and a 1-year-old. I ran a decade-old event planning business from my home with a part-time employee. My husband worked out of the house 12 hours a day, so my morning consisted of feeding and dressing three people, making lunch for one, preparing a nanny instruction sheet for another, taking one to school, separating from the other one, emptying the dishwasher and maybe throwing in a load of laundry, if at all possible. And that was just before 9 a.m.
Between a full day's work, making dinner, bathing children and getting at least one of them to bed (welcome home, hubby, here's one for you!), our home was starting to look like the walls were closing in as our belongings piled up on kitchen counters, the dining room table and any empty corner we could find.
Sound like anyone you know?
Now, for an event plannner, a disorganized space is sacrilege, but for me, it was also anxiety-inducing. Where was my well-planned and tidy home that had always kept me calm and focused on the task at hand? A few minutes here or there could not begin to address the exploding closets and cluttered counters. I needed a drastic approach to organize my home and, it turns out, get my life under control.
So, I quit my job.
I said drastic, right? But no, I did not put my event planning company on an indefinite hiatus in order to organize my home. I decided to spend a year - maybe more - to focus on my children more; to be at the school bus when my son came home from the "big school;" to weather toddler separation anxiety by, well, not separating. And then a funny thing happened. My 2-year-old asked to go to school. Here I was, a newly-minted stay-at-home mom with five hours a week to myself. It wasn't enough time to plan an event but it was certainly enough to get the linen closet under control.
And that's exactly where I started. That closet floor hadn't seen the light of day in possibly seven years. It felt so good to throw away one measly bag of garbage I was able to purge. But somehow, as I thoughtfully placed our products back into baskets, there was even more space available to keep the 11(!) bottles of toilet cleaner that I now knew I didn't need to buy for a year. And it felt so good to roll towels, stand them upright, place them in a basket and no longer have a landslide to dread each time I needed one. And it felt so good to see everything lined up neatly and think about painting the closet walls and covering the shelves in printed paper that would make me smile every time I opened the door.
Did I mention it felt SO GOOD?
That's all it took. I was hooked again for the first time. Next came the kitchen counters, the pantry, under the kitchen sink, three clothes closets, four dressers, the mud room, the play room, the basement. And it all feels SO GOOD.
That's why I organize my home. It just feels good!