Organizing is not a one size fits all proposition. Some techniques that make one person’s life easier are simply lost on another. Looking at photos of super-organized spaces online can be discouraging if you think that is how your space must look. I’m here to tell you that perfection is not the goal! As long as you can find what you need when you need it and easily put things away when you’re done with them, it really doesn’t matter how fancy or complex your system is. Here are some organizing methods that you can absolutely skip if they don’t serve you.
1. Labeling everything – If you look at organized spaces on Pinterest you would think labels are a requirement. The point of labels is to provide a quick visual cue for what is inside a container, and they can be helpful if you are storing a lot of items in opaque bins. But if you use clear containers that show off their contents, or if you have only one or two bins in a cabinet, this might be one to skip. Do you find yourself opening multiple containers to find what you are looking for? If so, you should add a label; if not, it’s unnecessary.
2. Folding clothes – If you’ve read The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Japanese organizing dynamo Marie Kondo, you know she spends a lot of time talking about folding clothes. She recommends folding items into a tight package and then standing them up on end, so you can see all your t-shirts at a glance like the spines of a book. I tried her method for a while, but I eventually abandoned it. This technique only works if your drawers are completely full, and as you remove items the remaining clothes flop over and make a mess. I simply didn’t have enough stuff in my drawers for this to be effective.
I prefer hanging as many of my clothes as possible, even my jeans and t-shirts. It’s easy to see what I have and putting laundry away is a cinch. I recently watched a video where a woman had abandoned folding her kid’s casual clothes and PJs, and just dumps them in their drawers from the laundry basket. Admittedly, that freaked me out, but the point is to determine what level of neatness is essential for you and to let the rest go.
3. Specialized containers – Organizing is a big business and retailers now offer storage containers for every imaginable item. It can be tempting to purchase these, but do you really need a special container designed to hold soda cans, tea bags, or coffee pods? Some of these storage solutions may make sense for your particular space, but in general a simple bin will do the job just as well and it can be reused for another purpose as your needs change. I do a majority of my organizing using shoe box sized containers. Check out this post to find out more.
Click here to learn about using just one container to get organized
4. Complex system of order – When deciding how to store items in your home the simplest solution is the best. You don't need a detailed system as long as you can locate what you need quickly. Do your books and DVDs need to be in alphabetical order? Does your closet need to be arranged by color? Be honest with yourself about your ability to keep that system up over time, and, if it’s unlikely, just arrange your things into broad categories instead. If you have so many of one type of item that it requires a complex system to find things, that’s a clue that it’s time to purge your collection.
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