I recently took a look at my kitchen pantry and wanted to scream in frustration. It felt like no matter how much time I spent organizing, it would quickly return to a state of chaos and confusion. I sent a picture to my old college friend, Kelley Fillion, captioned “HELP ME.”
Kelley is a former school psychologist turned personal organizer. Launching her business on Cape Cod, Kelley works with clients to help them transform their spaces through functional and beautiful organization. Kelley was that friend in college whose kitchen was always clean, bedroom was always organized and would be the only one cleaning late night after a party. She recently joined me in Vermont to help bring some order back to my kitchen space. In just a few hours, Kelley transformed my pantry from complete chaos to the sort of order that feels like a sigh of relief, a weight off your shoulders and a warmth in your heart. Seriously satisfying.
I sat down with Kelley to get some of her best tips and tricks for organizing your house room by room. Kelley uses a simple, refined and foolproof method to declutter and organize a space, and today I’m going to share that with you.
How to Organize Your Home Room by Room
Kelley’s Foolproof Method to Declutter and Organize Any Space
Step 1: Take Stock of Space
Before you get started organizing, first take stock of the space how it currently is. Why is this space cluttered? What can you do to make it more organized? How can you keep it organized? Take before pictures, it will be so satisfying at the end of your organizing to look back and see the transformation. Take measurements in order to consider how you would like to bring order to this space whether that means ordering/buying bins, baskets, labels or other organizing means.
STEp 2: Clear Space
It’s tempting to just dive in and start moving items around within a space without a complete clear out. You may feel like maybe you don’t want to waste time clearing your space completely, only to have to put everything back. But, believe me, unless you completely clear everything out of the space and weed through each item you will end up missing out on organizing opportunities. Expiration dates will be missed or items that could be discarded or donated will be forgotten. Make sure to clear out your space completely so you have a blank slate to work from. This will allow you to completely reenvision this space and return things in a tidy and purposeful manner.
STEP 3: Make Piles/Organize Items
Once your space has been cleared, you can begin to organize the items into piles or categories. This will help you see what items you actually have and maybe don’t need and can discard/donate. For example, if you are organizing your pantry you can discard expired items and donate snacks/foods you’ve been hanging on to but know you won’t eat. If you are organizing your closet you can make piles of different clothing types (t-shirts, tanks, jeans, leggings, etc.). You may be surprised by how many t-shirts you have that you don’t wear or jeans that no longer fit you. Weed out what no longer serves you (or “brings you joy” as Marie Condo likes to say) and make a donation pile.
STEP 4: Return items to space in a Purposeful/Tidy Manner
The last step of the organizing process is returning the items back to the space in a purposeful and tidy manner. Remember you want your organization to stick, so make sure you have the right mechanisms in place to keep your space tidy long term. For pantry, cabinets, etc. use bins, baskets, and labels. For a closet or dresser use neat folding to keep things easy to see and return in a tidy manner.
How to Organize Your Home Room by Room
We don’t have a mudroom in our house and I wish we did. If you have the space for individual cubbies for each person in your house, it’s a great way to organize each persons hats, jackets, shoes, backpacks, lunch boxes, and sports gear in one place. It will also save you time with a designated place for everyones things.
We spend so much time in the kitchen and organizing and cleaning out what you don’t need will save a lot of time and energy in the future. Utilizing labeled bins in our pantry space has been a game changer, as well as the lazy susan, spice rack and tea organizer. I can easily access frequently used items because I see them as soon as I open the door.
I tend to hoard clothing and shoes, so it can be difficult to weed through things. If you haven’t worn it in the past year it is probably time to say goodbye. Sometimes having a friend help with this process is helpful. We can be indecisive when it comes to our own things but our friends know us well and can be honest about what we’ll wear and what we won’t. The important thing with clothing is to take absolutely everything out of your closet and decide what things you love and bring you joy. If not, it goes into a donation bin. Before returning items back to your closet/dresser consider how you want to organize your items. Make sure those you wear the most are easily accessible/visible. Make sure you have systems that you can stick with in order to maintain order and tidiness.
Products can easily accumulate under a sink space and it feels wasteful to rid of these things, but if you’re never going to use them there is no use in holding on to it. Donate or discard old products no longer in use and organize products you are using into bins or these mesh organizers are a great organizing space saver.
Basements tend to be a dumping ground for storage and if yours is anything like ours, it has gotten a little out of hand. Every time I venture down there to get wrapping paper, decorations, hand-me downs for my baby, etc. I emerge frustrated and exhausted. Creating an organizational system that works for your space and storage is key. We plan to put in shelving along the back wall of the basement to store all the Tupperware bins labeled with things like “Christmas Decorations”, “Gift Wrap”, “Camping Gear”, etc. This way when we go down to find something we can simply pull the bin we need off the shelf and don’t need to rifle through a mountain of bins to uncover the one we need.
The living room is a shared space that is often in use and when it feels cluttered it can create internal clutter. Whether you have kids or not, utilizing baskets for storage helps to make this space feel relaxing and calm. We keep our babies toys in three baskets in one section of our living room and our books, computers, etc. in baskets on a shelf in another section of our living room. This way we have the things we need and so often use but they are out of eyesight.
Our garage is another space greatly in need of a makeover. Shelving, tupperware bins, and utilizing the wall and ceiling space is key. Make sure there is a designated space for things like tools, outdoor decor, furniture storage, outdoor gear, etc.
Other Helpful Tips and Tricks for Organizing
revolving door method
The revolving door method is another one to maintain all year round. If you bring one new thing into your home, another one goes out. Not only will this keep you from over-filling your home with unnecessary items, but it will provide simplicity and mental clarity without all the nick knacks and excess.
Clothing Turnover fRom Winter to Spring
At the end of each season turn your hanger loops towards you. Each time you wear a piece of clothing when you return it to your closet turn the loop away from you. At the end of the season, you can see what you wore and didn’t wear and donate the items that no longer serve you.
Feeling overwhelmed by all of the projects that need organizing in your house? Simplified by Kelley is here to help. If you’re on the Cape or surrounding areas get in touch with Kelley and she will help you take stock, address your needs and get everything in order. There is nothing more satisfying than opening a cupboard or pantry and seeing everything in its place. I still smile every time I open our pantry and see the beautiful bins, labels and everything in it’s place.
What organizing projects do you need help with? What tips and tricks have you found helpful in your own organizing endeavors? Let us know in the comments below!
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