When you first buy a house, everything is perfect. You look into the space that each room occupies and compare it to the things you own. For instance, if you are a collector of things or require different rooms for various purposes, you will buy your house based on the things you have with you or the needs you have got. ‘Organized living’ is something that is developed.
This was the same in my case as well. As a bachelor, I looked out for a house with one bedroom. This gave me enough space for all the things I had. I was a musician, so I had my set of instruments which occupied a small space in my living room. However, this was not going to last for long. I eventually got a roommate as the rent for the house was too much to bear. He came along with his luggage, so I couldn’t keep all my rooms just to myself. As I made space for him to come over and organize his things, I realized that the house was getting smaller, and not in a physical way. It was more in the mind.
As I grew older and married my wife, I sent my roommate packing and let my wife become my permanent roommate. Although there weren’t many changes, as one roommate left and another came, this was about to change in a few months as she became pregnant very soon. The baby came and the house shrunk further with all the other baby-related things in the house.
This led me to believe that it wasn’t the problem of the house, but the way I was organizing my things. This was when my journey of learning how to organize my house began, and boy did I find plenty of things online. Many of the things I learned were a huge help at that time. However, to this day I have a few hacks that I use constantly. Since these tips stood the test of time I thought I’ll share them with you as well.
Get over the mental block
As I told you before, the main reason why I started organizing my house is that I had realized that the size of the house wasn’t the problem, but the number of things I had. I found many experts online talking about how there are a lot of things we own that we don’t even know about. They sit in the back of our cupboard collecting dust.
One room at a time
Going through piles and piles of things can be stressful as it can take up a lot of your time. And one easy hack I found to help you go through your stuff quickly is to start with one room at a time and work your way across your house.
Keep, donate, and throw as often as possible
When you have decided what you will start cleaning first, the initial thing to do is to take all of the things out of its place and lay it out for your eye to see. As you are taking out the things, keep sorting them into three different piles. One pile you can label as the items you want to keep, another pile as the items you want to donate, and the last pile that you want to throw.
You may be thinking; what is the difference between the donate pile and the throw pile. This is more of a selfless tip. There are so many in the world who don’t have what you have. The donate pile will contain all the items that you don’t want but are not that bad that it has to be thrown away. Basically, they are the “good” to “ok” quality hand-me-downs. The throw pile, as you would have guessed by now, is a pile of things that aren’t good enough to be donated.
Learn to let go
Now not every one of us is that rich enough to let go of the things for which we spent so much money. If you are one among them, I hear you, as I am one too. I have an easy system to help you come out of this trap. A useful tip I learned is to keep an identification mark for all your things when you are arranging them back into their places. Then, the next time you use anything to change the mark into something different. After a year, take a look at how many things still have the older mark. This means that you didn’t use these things for a year. Now, this is an indication that it is time to throw out the thing or donate it.
I had done the same thing for my cupboard of clothes. I used hangers to hang all my shirts and kept the hook of the hanger facing outside. Whenever I used a shirt and kept it back, I turned the hanger the other way so that the hook was facing inside. Over the year I watch as most of the hooks kept flipping inside. Finally, I had about 6 shirts that I hadn’t touched for that entire year. I ended up sending three to my friend and giving away the other three to a charity.
Follow the rules of minimalism
When keeping things back I took to the internet to get inspiration for how to arrange all the stuff in my home. The one thing I noticed in all the beautiful pictures I found online was that most of them followed the lifestyle of having as fewer things in the house as they can. For instance, a shelf that has 10 spaces, had only 10 things. I used to be this person who tried to fill up every space I could find, but after seeing this, I tried it and my house started looking airy and beautiful as well. I kept just one statue, related food items, or one set of color-coordinated books that were mostly the same size, in each cube of every shelf I had, and I was able to achieve the look I kept seeing in all the pictures online.
A good proverb to keep in mind that everything has a place and everything should be in its place. If something doesn’t have a place of its own, you will tend to either drop it on the floor or clutter a place that you have just organized. Another thing to remember is that whenever you are about to buy something new, tell yourself that you should give away something that you already own to make room for the new item. This is a great tip to exercise for clothes, kitchen items, and toys if you have kids.