Do you ever feel like no matter how often you tidy up, you still can't get certain areas of your home to stay organized? Frustrating, no? In the middle of these crazy days, sometimes I find myself standing in the middle of the mess not knowing where to begin. While no one (or no home) is perfect, the art of organization might be more difficult to achieve than it really needs to be if you're making a few of these mistakes.
While some may be obvious, others might surprise you. I've compiled 5 of the most common organizing mistakes I typically see, and want to pass them along so you can avoid them, minimize clutter, and keep your home neat(er) for good.
You buy containers and products before you've categorized anything.
This is probably the biggest mistake I see people make. They get motivated and excited to begin the organizing process and run out to purchase products before taking into account what (or how much) they need to contain.
Here's the thing. Beautifully labeled bins and baskets DO help you stay organized, but they don't magically perform the actual act of organizing. Instead of expecting your baskets to do the work for you, begin by taking everything out of the space you're working on. Throw away or donate what you don't need, then sort everything into categories. Then make a list of the boxes, bins, or baskets you need to get a better idea of how many containers to purchase. When you make a plan at the beginning, you'll not only save money but you'll have a clear plan for how everything is intended to be used.
You make categories too specific.
My kids LOVE anything that goes VROOM. Trains, cars, airplanes, Hot Wheels... there are SO. MANY. THINGS. A few years ago, I made the mistake of sorting them into individual baskets labeled: "Red Cars", "Thomas Trains", "Airplanes", etc. It sounded like a great idea in my mind, but what I found out very quickly is that my kids didn't care about my carefully crafted system. It was too difficult for them and impossible to put everything away! Instead, I made each category more broad and labeled the basket "Auto".
If a category is too specific, maintaining your system will be much too difficult and you'll end up throwing things in the first bin you see. Not only that, but when you broaden the category, there's a much better chance that your people will be able to help put things away where they belong. That's a win-win.
You're not labeling
So you sorted through your space and got it all beautifully organized into different baskets and bins. It looks so amazing! But the problem is, you didn't take the time to label what was in each container. Have you done this? The issue I have with not labeling - especially if your containers aren't see through - is that over time, items tend to creep into the wrong basket. And if you're not careful, the system you worked so hard to create falls apart and you find yourself back at square one.
Whether you use something like a Cricut (honestly my Cricut Joy is one of the best purchases I've made) or tackle your labeling with a marker, making sure each basket is clearly marked will be a game changer for maintaining organization in your space.
These metal basket clips are my absolute favorite and I can't recommend them highly enough. They come in a Set of 8 on Amazon (available in several different colors) and even come with 40 pre-printed pantry label stickers. They easily slide over the top of a basket and clip to almost anything. They're easily removable so you can reposition them as needed.
So to sum up: label, label, label!
You're not mindful about what you bring in.
Half the battle of keeping everything organized is maintaining the system you created in the first place. It's even more difficult when the items you bring in far outweigh the ones you purge or remove. Listen, I'm not saying to never buy new things (this coming from the queen of the Target run). BUT, when you're mindful about the items you bring in to your space, you'll ask yourself if it's something you truly need. If it is, think about what you might be able to remove to make space for the new.
You're not doing a 15-minute tidy at the end of the day
My rule of thumb is that if something takes two minutes or less, try to do it immediately. However, as we all know - life happens and things just tend to accumulate. Shoes get tossed on the floor, toys make their way around the house, and dishes end up in the sink. So at the end of the day, I set a 15-minute timer to round up anything that's out of place and put it back where it belongs. I even try to get my family involved! 15 minutes per person = one hour of my time spent picking up, and that goes a long way.
When you give everything a specific home, putting it away at the end of the day will allow you to take a deep breath and go to bed knowing that (almost!) everything is in its place in time to start another day. Whatever you don't get done in 15 minutes... stop. Pick it back up tomorrow. But give it a shot - I guarantee you'll see a difference!
Again, no home or person is perfect. Warning: Don't open my coat closet right now! If you're overwhelmed, don't know where to start, and need help getting certain spaces in your home organized, get in touch with me. I offer Virtual Consultations or would be happy to come check it out in person. Email me at email@example.com to get started. Creating organized systems is much easier than you think, and I'd love to coach you through it!