It’s time to come clean. Some of the methods we use in organizing are doing more harm in the long run.
With our hectic schedules leaving us little time to breathe, it would be unrealistic to believe every home is perfect. But experts in the field of organizing say there are common mistakes that make the process of organizing more difficult than necessary.
While some are obvious, like putting away your dishes, others are more eye-opening, such as where you should store them. We’ve gone to the experts to provide you with a few of the most common organizing mistakes and how to solve them.
Mistake: Confusing Clean for Organized
One of the more common mistakes is the belief that “out of sight, out of mind” is an acceptable way to maintain a tidy home. Maybe you’re the type who keeps a clean living space to impress occasional guests, but at the expense of what works for you.
Keeping a “junk drawer” or throwing various items in random boxes and closets don’t equal organized. In most cases, it’s the complete opposite. It adds the extra stressor of confusion and the way-too-common “Where did I put that [insert important item]?” panicky question.
If you prefer the pile-up method versus drawer stuffing, your methods are just as messy. This is the case even if your piles are neatly stacked and lined up on your countertop.
Even if you’re prone to the more common practices of combatting your clutter, doesn’t mean you’re off the hook. Often, many of us become blind to the non-essential items, like beautiful but empty kitchen canisters. These often take up our space and overtake the functionality of everyday life.
Solution: Aim for Accessibility
Accessibility doesn’t mean completely clearing your countertops and drawers. In fact, professional organizers say this is just as bad as any other organizing mistake.
It just means using countertops to store items that belong there. Remember to remain cognizant of the items you use daily, and keep them easily accessible. Try to stay away from Pinterest posts for pretty home inspiration. Just like any staged home, it might have magazine worthy quality but is next to worthless if it lacks functionality.
This might be a tough pill to swallow, but it is actually OK to add a few “ugly” elements. Add a much-needed shelf for tool storage or leave out the blender you use every day.
Mistake: Creating Clutter with Keepsakes
Sure, we all struggle to throw out certain items that invoke nostalgia or memories. But, to put it in the simple words provided by organizing experts, if it doesn’t spark joy, get rid of it.
On the flip side, this does not mean you should put on display every Knickknack and framed photo that gives you those warm fuzzy feelings. This creates horrible forms of clutter. These do-dads, picture frames, and figurines collect more dust than the actual memories behind them. Plus, they look outdated and can offset the style direction of your overall home.
These various collectibles are often a product of skipping over the important step of purging certain belongings when moving. Just because an item is in fine condition, if you rarely use it, it’s just as useless as the more obvious outdated or damaged items.
This is not just a pre-move task. Often, we fall victim to putting away or storing unnecessary items with the illegitimate notion that one day they will magically become useful. Sometimes, these can even add up to the point you invest in a storage facility. Depending on the size of the unit, storing these items could cost you an additional $2,700 a year.
Solution: Small Steps Equals Big Rewards
Avoid dedicating an entire day to sorting through your home. Instead, use what experts call the “small-zone approach.” Chip away daily by dedicating just 15 minutes to spend on one messy area. It’s important to view this type of approach as a way of life versus a single project.
Mistake: Using Way too many Organizers
Here’s one for irony: the very same organizers you invested in to help clear the clutter can actually make you worse off than before.
Unfortunately, it is difficult to not go overboard by adorning every nook and cranny of your home with assorted containers. If you place wood bins, fabric boxes, acrylic trays and wire sorting racks on the same shelf, it doesn’t how matter well your stuff is contained. Instead, it creates a look that isn’t cohesive, in inefficient spaces that end up sitting in a corner, collecting dust.
Often, thanks to their convenience, these also create a hiding spot for a random assortment of items. This adds to the overall nuisance of not knowing what each container holds, or if it contains a needed item that’s gone missing. You turn a simple task, like locating a ballpoint pen, into a full-fledged event involving step stools, manic searching, and testing your own flexibility when trying to access hard-to-reach places.
Solution: Inventory Before Investment
First and foremost, it’s important to take inventory of your various belongings, and whether these require investing in additional storage.
This way, you’ll only buy what you need. If you are in need of an organizer, make sure it fits the overall look and feel of your home. Figure out the best palette, like wood or certain shades of green, and seek out matching products.
To make sure these serve their main practical purpose, always put them in places that are within arm’s reach.
Mistake: Displaying Entire Collections
When it comes to organization, we generally assume this means storing all similar items together. While this works in particular cases, such as closet storage, it creates an opposite effect when it comes to open displays.
Bookshelves, for example, should never stand as a showcase for every single book you own. Avoid paperbacks at all costs, especially the ones you got wet during a beach vacation. This is the case even if you have a noteworthy series or collection of books. Even though these items are organized in the sense of similarity, visually they create a display of inconsistent clutter.
This is a similar case for open shelving. More specifically, in spaces such as the bathroom, placing all of your items on display is not only an eye-sore but can create the additional hurdle of trying to get to an item without the creating an avalanche of products you knock down in the process.
Glass-front cabinets can also create a messy look if they contain random piles of dishes or collectibles. Stuffing these types of items into one space creates imbalance not only visually, but also in the sense of functionality.
Solution: Focus on Functionality
Instead of grouping based on similarity, focus on how the items function together.
For example, rather than putting all of your dishes together, like fancy wedding china and casual plastic plates, aim instead for a practical theme. Consider showcasing a set of dishware you use often for entertaining.
Always aim for small pieces, which actually add a more dramatic feel when grouped with like items. When it comes to balance, less is more. A general rule of thumb, according to organizing professionals, is if your display is 80 percent full, it’s really full.
If you could take away any advice from this article, it should be this: every item in your home should be stored in a way that makes sense to you.
Of course, if you share a home with a significant other, more than likely what works for you might not work for them. You can easily succeed in creating a functional space for the both of you by sitting down, making individual lists of important needs, and then finding a compromise.
Hopefully, applying some of these tips and tricks will provide results far greater than just helping cut out some clutter. We want to help to provide you with a quality homeownership experience by creating the comforts of an organized and functional space.
Do you have any additional tips or tricks for home organization? Have you ever fallen victim to a home organizing mistake? What are your needs when it comes to a functional home? We’d love to hear from you! Feel free to leave any feedback in the comment section below.