The One Rule to Staying Organized

It’s an unspoken rule that kind of has to be followed. One that I realized very quickly after moving from a 3 bedroom, 2 bath townhouse, with full basement storage, into a 2 bedroom 1 bath apartment in the city- with 0 basement storage.  You cannot accommodate around your belongings, you have to accommodate around your space. Sorry to break it to you, but your stuff takes a back seat to your space. I know what you’re thinking- my shoe collection will just have to fit awkwardly in my closet forever and forever, digging for my favorite pair is just part of my routine. On the day of my move I openly and willingly admit to panicking and saying out loud “where is all this actually going to fit?”. That was followed by a blank stare, a longer than normal one. But I did what I do. I strategized inside the walls of our new space. I let go of more items we didn’t need or used. I looked at opportunities within the space to get a little creative, I measured closets, cabinets and made it my mission to make sure we would fall in love with our new home and not feel like the walls were caving in on us. There are no magic tricks or secrets involved. You have to be willing to look at your habits, what you are holding onto and ask yourself if feeling crammed and cluttered in your home is worth it. Regardless of how much space you have, always accommodate the space not your possessions. When things get too cluttered, edit and then edit again. In my experience you won’t miss what you have decided to donate or toss, you will just be really excited about all the space you’ve opened up and you’re going to save alot of time by not digging for the other shoe. I promise.

 Always accommodate the space, not your possessions. When things get too cluttered, edit and then edit again.

I thought about the most common items and areas that are a cause for clutter and took some pictures in our home of how we keep them organized (for the most part). I’m a big fan of what I call “out in the open hiding spots” as you’ll see from some of the systems that work pretty well for us. It’s never about perfection but about simple, easy solutions. Here’s a little tour of my space from the entryway and kitchen to the bathroom and bedroom closet. Don’t judge, it’s not always this neat 🙂

Entryway
Winters in Southern New England can cause hats, gloves, and scarves to pile up, everywhere. I hide them in bins by the door. Easy to get to and easy to hide. You can also take it a step further and designate a bin for each person in your home.
entrway 2
I cannot praise cubbies enough for an entryway. If you have clutter that piles up corral that clutter using this simple solution.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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This is dubbed eating space only. Put up a sign if you have to. Keep your kitchen counters and eating spaces clutter free. Repeat after me- flat surfaces are not for storage. Remove what is on them, then divide and conquer. Find a new home for what has been piling up on counter space.
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Shelving is a great way to bring the items up and off the counters. Baskets are one of my “out in the open hiding spots” to store bread and clean dish towels. I keep our cutting board out and a couple of cookbooks used regularly. The rest are stored inside the cabinets.
cabibets
Bins with handles are my favorite kitchen cabinet storage item. It keeps like items together and nothing gets crammed in the back of the cabinets. This also makes your grocery list easy because you are able to pinpoint what you are running low on alot faster.
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This is where the mail lives if it’s not something that is being filed away or recycled. I also tackle the mail the moment I receive it to avoid clutter on the counters. These magnetic mail files can hold almost anything that normally lands on your counter space in terms of paper.
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Junk drawers can be a nightmare and I have done entire posts about them. My number one tip is to use small storage compartments for smaller items, don’t have an overabundance of anything in this drawer and clean it regularly. What’s in there usually isn’t really “junk”, so keeping it as organized as possible does help.
Living room
Toys, video games, the remote, whatever clutter that has taken over your living room can be hidden away in decorative bins, baskets and storage ottomans. I have this one next to the TV and it has a cover so it’s another out in the open hiding spot for tv room clutter.
Hallway
This basket looks pretty, and it happens to be the best hiding spot for magazines and newspapers. My rule? Once it’s at the halfway point everything gets recycled.
Dining room
I keep my dining room table set to look as if we’re always expecting dinner guests. It keeps clutter off the table and once again an eating spot is dubbed a clutter free zone.
Closet
My husband and I share a closet in our new place, which was not the case in the past. I created a his and her side using space saving hangers, bins and lots of decluttering!
Bathroom
I live by the idea that we don’t need an over abundance of hair products, make-up and toiletries. Just the ones that we love and use. When we moved I managed to toss two bathrooms worth of products and get it down to the basics using some basic organizing systems including a wall shelving unit. 4 months later I still have no idea what we even got rid of and this system works well.
Linens
I’m happy to have shelving for my towels, sheets and blankets and I made sure we only kept what would fit. If you struggle to keep your linen closet organized my first tip is to toss whatever is torn, old or not being used. You’d be surprised how much space you end up with.

If you suddenly have an urge to start decluttering I have some good news. Just head to my Youtube channel here, where you’re going to find an endless supply of videos with tips on getting your space to work for you not against you. You can also hang out here on the Organized for Life site and find more blog posts centered around embracing your space. If you liked this post please comment or spread the love and share.

Always on a mission to help you embrace your space,

Lauren

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