Your Guide to Organizing a Small Home
Author: Julian Lane of the The Fix it Champ
Organizing any home can be difficult, but finding a place for all your stuff in a small house can be particularly troublesome. Whether you live in a city apartment or country cottage, not having enough storage space can become a real problem. Taking advantage of tried-and-true storage, decluttering, and organization tips is crucial to finding a place for all of your things. Here are some things to keep in mind as you go about organizing your home.
Before you even think about organizing your home, you need to declutter. Most of us have more stuff than we probably need – craft supplies long abandoned, storage containers never used, and broken appliances we were going to “fix.” These things can take up valuable space in your home that could be used to store items that you actually need. Simply put, if you have less stuff, there are fewer items you have to find room for in your home.
Plus, there are other benefits of decluttering as well. An overwhelming amount of clutter can induce anxiety and stress. U.S. News also points out that a clutter-free home allows you to perform daily tasks more efficiently. If you know where everything is, cooking and cleaning can take a lot less time. Instead of scouring under every cabinet for the dish soap, you’ll be able to quickly locate it and get on with your cleaning.
Decluttering can benefit your physical health as well. Excess clutter can hold onto countless dust particles, allergens, and pollutants, decreasing the air quality in your home and increasing your allergy symptoms. Decluttering your stuff can declutter your home’s air as well.
The easiest way to tackle your clutter is to sort everything into three piles: “keep,” “trash,” and “donate.” You can do this on a room-by-room basis or section off the house and do multiple rooms at a time. You might, for example, do all the bedrooms and then all the bathrooms. Or, you could do one bedroom at a time — it’s up to you.
Make sure you have a plan for how you’re going to use each “keep” item; “I might fix it one day” doesn’t count. You should have a real, immediate purpose for everything you keep. If you aren’t going to use it in the next month, you don’t need it.
Next, consider where you’re going to use each item and store them near that location. You don’t want to store your sheets on the opposite end of the house from the bedrooms, for instance. Some items, such as your vacuum, might not have a single location. In these instances, it is okay to store them in a general “cleaning closet” or out of the way in a centralized room.
Take Advantage of the Space You Have
Now that you’ve decluttered, it’s time to find a place for everything. If you followed the last step, you should now have less stuff to find room for, and everything should be in the general location where you use it. One of the easiest places to do this is in your closets. Many closets only have a clothes rack and perhaps a shelf or two. However, by really taking advantage of the space and adding shelves or cubbies, you can easily double or triple the amount of stuff you can fit in your closet.
Real Simple recommends grouping your short clothes on one side of the closet and your long-hanging garments on the other. This opens up tons of usable floor space, where you can store your shoes and other belongings. You might also want to consider adding a dresser in your closet if you have the room. Install shelving and drawers. Old furniture such as bookshelves and cubbies can also add tons of storage room to a closet.
Depending on your closet design, you might be losing out on a lot of space toward the ceiling. Installing high shelves above your clothing rack and investing in a step stool can provide a secure, accessible space for you to store those hardly used items.
Often, a small home has a lot more room than you think it does. Once you declutter the space and utilize every nook and cranny, it becomes much easier to find room for all the stuff you do need. Once you get organized, it is vital that you don’t let yourself accumulate more stuff than you can handle. Restraining yourself from buying things you don’t need and regularly purging your belongings will help keep your smaller home organized for years to come.