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bless this mess: tips for an organized home

On a scale from one to OCD, where do you fall?

Does picking an article of clothing off your floor to wear speak to you?

Does having a color coordinated closet sing sweet tunes of organization to your daily life?

Does being able to give step-by-steps directions to your hunny bunny as if blindfolded to lead him to EVERY SINGLE ITEM in the house (that has been in that same dog-gone spot since moving in) give you a bizarre sense of accomplishment? Asking for a friend...

Some may consider a clean house an organized home. Some may consider a true organized system to be an organized home. Either way, we all have areas in our lives that we would dare to consider “organized”. Our motto at Times Two Design Co is that, if everything has a “home” you will use it more. Sharing what we have learned over the many years of walking into home after home, here are some helpful steps you can take to get your house organized:

Take rooms one-by-one.

Trying to conquer the whole house can often be the road block you don’t need. Start with baby steps. If that means starting with a closet or just a single drawer in the kitchen or a single tote from the attic, you will find that the process will go quicker and be less painful. WARNING: kitchen cupboards are addicting and often start the domino effect. Pretty soon that room has every door left open like a pregnant woman trying to find where she hid those Oreos in the middle of the night. Maybe save this area for when you have lots of energy and the mindset to handle the chaos before the you can enjoy the aftermath calm of the organizing storm.

Be honest.

Many find there is a crazy amount of joy in purging. But, you don’t need to fully Marie Kondo your home in order to have a successfully organized home. However, you do need to be honest with yourself by asking when you used or even looked at the item last. Also ask yourself “why” you are hanging onto the item. We each hold onto things for any given reason and that’s okay. If that item has a memory or feeling attached, then maybe now is not the time to part with it. Maybe next time you go back, it will bring you less attachment and that is the sign to consider moving on from said item. Only you can justify why you want to keep an item. To sum this up, getting an organized space doesn’t always mean throwing things out.

Little wins = big impacts.

When I was little, my sister and I would rearrange our room dozens of times throughout the year. Each time we would magically find that belt or barbie shoe we had been missing. I remember getting so much enjoyment out of revealing the new layout to our parents and getting those bonus kiddo points when we told them we found one of our long lost treasures. We started by just wanting a change up, but that lead to finding things and subconsciously getting organized in the process. Maybe my mom was onto something. Now thinking about it…we were destine to be interior designers.

Group like items.

We often are wasteful in a society that buys things they already have because they couldn't find it. This happens a lot in the work place. Pens...those dang little things have grown legs. Staying organized and having a general "overflow" spot for like items to live until another one is needed can be very helpful. Especially, if you are someone who buys in bulk. Yes, you need toilet paper in every bathroom and a few extra rolls per space, but that 24 pack can live in a general pantry space so that everyone knows where to find it if they need more. Now, if that toilet paper roll makes it onto the actual toilet paper holder is a whole other battle we can not have for you and that is because we are fighting that same battle in our own!

Out of sight, out of mind.

These can be the worst spaces for the sheer factor that it is a catch all and once you dive into the space, it can look like a bomb went off and you find yourself going from the kitchen to the laundry room to the basement to that one specific folder and then to your kids toy room, feeling like you are not accomplishing anything by running around like a chicken with your head cut off. To tackle this space, walk in and close the door behind you. That way you can’t escape or get distracted to start the rat race. Start with one box/stack and from that, make your piles by the room the items need to go to. Keep working through the boxes/stacks until you have only stacks by room and are now ready to deliver the goods to their “homes”. Bring those stacks into the respectful rooms and DO NOT, I repeat DO NOT put them away until all stacks are delivered. Why, because the moment you give this new fresh meat of a room any attention, you will start to pull apart that room when this other catch all room is still in a pile of shambles. To achieve the art of staying focused, its best to get the catch all space done with smaller and more manageable “organized chaos” piles in the other rooms.

Juggle the junk drawer.

Who are we kidding if we think every single area of our home can be 100% organized at all times. Not everybody can be perfect, Karen. How many times have you yelled, go check the junk drawer? It’s a necessary evil and absolutely perfect to have spaces in your home that are meant to be messy. We are believers that if your kitchen can afford giving up the space to keep a junk drawer in that area, then keep a junk drawer. Maybe its just having dividers to help keep that drawer more organized. Also consider this, the junk drawer doesn’t have to live in your kitchen. Maybe the mudroom, laundry room or garage are just as good of a location and gives you the sense that you gained space in your ever so important kitchen. Don’t be rash…we encourage that you embrace the junk drawer, not get rid of it.

Have fun with a theme.

In a time where every birthday party has a crazy cool theme, why not apply that method to getting organized. Matching totes and printed labels gives me life. So does making a space that we identify as solely functional into a pretty AND functional space. Find the theme that works for you with labels, colors, splurging on the pretty storage racks, not just the Rubbermaid ones (nothing wrong with those) or by adding pictures to the ends of the bin for shoes or smaller.

Tag team.

Ask for help and then give directions and then laugh about the day over a nice meal and a glass of wine. A sibling, friend, mom, dad, and spouse…who no doubtfully has added to this utter chaos, can be of great relief to help feel less defeated by the divide and conquer approach. Offer to do the same in return when they have a space they want to tackle. One of our four jobs in college was to clean homes. It’s always more fun to clean other people’s homes and there is a career in that. People hire a professional every day to either organize their home, wash windows or siding, clean their pools, bring them their groceries or babysit their dogs and there is no shame in hiring the work out. Sometimes it can be easier to crank out organizing a space without the emotional attachment to the items that make up our home. This can often be seen when preparing for an estate sale, which alone bring lots of emotion and decades of collected items that never were organized or purged.

Take your time.

Rome wasn’t built in a day. Give yourself time to do this and be realistic with when you want to be done. If that is a month, so be it. If that is a year, go get that goal! Make a calendar of dates to change your furnace filter, or dates of when you want to tackle each room. Getting prepared itself can take some time and you don’t need to break the bank doing it. We’ve discovered great finds in Walmart, Amazon, Sams Club/Costco, facebook market place and did you know that many dollar stores carry awesome, name brand tote options? If you go around the back-to-school time, there is even more options to choose from and in some fun colors. Target dollar bins always have awesome finds year around and at school start too but buyer beware…that dollar bin section along with the rest of the store can be a killer on your wallet. What do you mean these pillows are not needed to get organized? Once I see all the empty space I have in my living room, I will need to spruce it up with these pretty pillows.

Now go forth and tackle that room, drawer, attic, box, bin or closet and know you have some tools to get organized. And don't forget to crank that music…that always makes for a better time!

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