Let’s face it: Our lives have changed a lot since the beginning of the pandemic. And between work obligations and the everyday balancing act of trying to run a household, life has gotten pretty messy. Literally.
When’s the last time you asked yourself “what should I do with all this stuff laying around,” or “what’s the best way I can reorganize my home”? Let’s revisit that. Start with this decluttering mindset: To do better with? It’s easier to focus on how to do better without. Then, let the organizing fun begin!
But how should you start? And what should I declutter in 2022? From your kitchen cabinets to your daily schedule, here are some of our favorite home organization hacks that are here to stay.
1. Kitchen Organization Hacks
It’s simple: The key to great cooking experiences is organized ingredients. And when it comes to kitchen organization, small changes can make a big impact. To see the impact in action, take these steps:
- Go through your fridge, cabinets, and pantry and empty everything out. Throw away all the expired, spoiled, or stale goods.
- Then buy storage containers for cereals, pastas, spices, and anything else in your inventory.
- Make a list and print out labels for those storage containers.
- Then, organize by food or category. Find some duplicates (no judgment)? Store those bulk extras with heavier items in your pantry organization near the floor. Just make sure they stay visible, so they can easily be rotated into the mix when the time comes.
Presto. You’ve conquered your cabinets and fridge in one fell swoop, and given yourself a system to keep it that way. While you’re at it, you may want to look around your countertops and see if anything would be better off hanging on the wall, like knives and other cooking utensils.
2. Closet Organization Hacks
Closets are perhaps the easiest and most fun areas to organize. In fact, you’ll likely end up finding forgotten treasures along the way!
- Get resourceful and find any unused hooks, baskets, bins, or other supplies laying around the house that you think may come in handy for organizing.
- Then, empty out your closet and go Kondo crazy — that is, say goodbye to any items that haven’t been worn or used in a year or so (yep, hard but necessary).
- Throw away any clothing that is stained or torn. Make a pile for items no longer used to sell or donate.
- Then, get to the good stuff: Use the popular trend of color coordinating or “rainbow-ing” your clothes by color. Keep reds together first, then oranges, yellows, and so on. For patterned prints, decide the primary hue on each item and “file” it under that color. This keeps your tops and bottoms streamlined and easy to find, too.
|Did you know? The closet is the perfect place to try out some DIY organization hacks! Hooks (you can use kitchen or door knobs, etc.) are perfect for hanging most-used outerwear and scarves. Baskets and bins work great over hanging racks for purses, lingerie, or sock storage. And shoes can be kept on floating shelves stacked from the floor up in a corner.|
3. Garage Organization Hacks
Does it feel like your garage gets the short end of the stick when it comes to clutter? It’s pretty easy for the area to turn into a dumping ground — hello, four pairs of mowing-the-lawn shoes. If it’s been awhile since you’ve even considered attempting to park a car in there, it’s time to declutter and get into full-on organization mode.
First things first, empty out the garage. It’s easier to work with a blank canvas. To temporarily store all the lawn accessories, seasonal and holiday décor, and everything else that’s been taking up space in the garage, use a PODS portable storage container. It’ll be conveniently placed right in your driveway, and as you organize and re-situate things, you can use it as a sorting station that can easily be locked up and revisited as long as you need it. (Tackling the garage can take longer than one day, after all.)
Undecided about whether or not you should keep certain things? Simply keep them in the storage container for a while. If you’re finding yourself missing the items, just bring ’em on back!
And when you’re thinking about your layout and organization options for the items that do make it back in to the garage, consider the following tips:
- Use garage racks and tool cabinets for floor storage.
- Try the trending over-the-garage-door storage hacks.
- Use wide floating shelves, and don’t be afraid to install them high up, since they can easily be accessed with a stool or ladder.
- Separate items by category, such as Christmas tree decorations or soccer equipment into individual bins, and store them on shelves. Go a step further by organizing the bins by category.
- Store bins with memorabilia on the top-most shelves, since they won’t be accessed very often.
- Near the entrance from the garage to the house, designate a cleaning section with hooks or a rack for brooms, mops, and the vacuum cleaner. Use a shelf on top for cleaning sprays and bottles.
- Have a basket or container by that door to throw things in at the last minute to put away later.
|Pro Tip: Avoid using overly wide shelves on the side walls of the garage. Measure out first how much space you need once your car is parked in the garage with the doors open! Then create some walk-around room and decide how deep your racks or floating shelves should be.|
4. Schedule Organization Hacks in a Planner
Nobody can remember it all. Between work appointments to house errands to kids’ activities to planned nights out with family and friends, keeping it all together can get hard.
Sure, it’s cliché, but the best method to stay mentally organized is to keep a planner handy. Whether maintaining a physical planner or using the calendar on your smartphone, the hardest part is getting started. But once you’re on a roll, it will come naturally.
Just start jotting down appointments on the due date and a few days before as a reminder. Use the same method for work deadlines; that will help you avoid the mistake of not checking your calendar for a couple of days and missing out on a very important assignment. Then, add birthdays, anniversaries, or anything else that you don’t want to forget. Every morning, give your planner a once over, and make it a habit to add new things and cross things out that are done. It’s the best feeling seeing things marked complete!
5. Hacks to Keep Things Organized
Decluttering and organizing — and knowing everything is in its place — are great ways to achieve a cleaner house and a happier you. But how do you declutter and stay decluttered? Organize everything and maintain it? It’s all about consistency and forming habits. When you begin with a clean and refreshed space, physically and mentally, you’ll naturally be inclined to want to remain that way.
Like the garage example, try keeping baskets or bins near heavily trafficked areas to store last-minute things to put away later. While waiting on your morning tea or coffee, quickly unload the dishwasher. And while sitting in a rush-hour standstill, use the time to update your calendar. Little efforts like these will end up making large impacts!
Remember, though: Practice makes perfect. Just keep at it until it becomes routine and seamless without a second thought. Before you know it, you’ll be a decluttering and organization pro yourself!
Kiran Bahl is a freelance writer who loves discovering how to make something better yet simpler at the same time. She lives happily and peacefully amongst her family and enjoys dessert every day — especially after meeting a writing deadline early.