If there's one thing I've learned about organizing a house over the past few years, it's that every single thing must have its place. Now, I'm not perfect at it, but these are a few tips that I've learned and wanted to remember. I was very proud to have cleaned the house for 12 hours the other day --- I don't think I'll do that again, but my bathroom is so much better for it. I should have taken pictures!
1. Consolidate. Don't be afraid to throw things away. We always think we'll look over those dated notes or that we'll wear those old clothes, but in reality we won't. If you haven't used it or thought of it in months, donate it or throw it away. A great way to remember those notes and keep down on paper hoarding is to take a photo of a card or note with a digital camera and then throw it away. Remember to use the macro mode so you can still read it from the digital photo! This has been saving me!
2. Take note of what you really need. One day, I walked around my house with a notepad and made a list of all the things that were out of order or things that needed a place or receptacle. I had stray hair ties and cups on my nightstand, the dog's leash was never in the same place, the napkins had no home, and our collection of plastic grocery bags was overflowing. There were some simple solutions to these problems, a tray with a few bowls on my nightstand as a catch-all, installing a few hooks for the leash and other hangables, purchasing an inexpensive napkin holder, and minimizing the plastic bag intake for our household (take it back to the store for recycling!).
3. Be creative with what you already have. Rearranging furniture, repurposing old items and utilizing what you currently own is a great way to mix up your decor and organize your home. I received a great print as a gift, and the mat for the frame wasn't being used, so I re-purposed it for another print. Wonderful!
4. When you get something new, give away something else. This is the surefire way to make sure you're not just accumulating things and keeping them -- I've learned this is the easiest way to acquire clutter. I'm still in the process of giving away so many things that I don't need. I've got craft supplies galore and old college text books that are begging to be thrown away or given to those who need it.
5. Keep to the useful and beautiful clause. William Morris was a textile designer and is best known for his quote "Have nothing in your house that you do not know to be useful or believe to be beautiful" and it is very true! All other things are just taking up space! What a great guideline to purging and organizing.