If ever there was a spring made for Spring Cleaning, it’s this one. All of that time on our hands and in our homes gives us a unique opportunity to assess and attack the clutter, the piles, and the disarray that build up over months and years of life. But getting  and staying organized is no small feat.

As with any home project, achieving an organized home begins with a plan. Fortunately, the path to an accessible, attractive, and mess-free home or apartment isn’t a complicated one. Follow these four steps and you’ll soon be lounging without a dish, dirty sock, old magazine, or piece of unopened mail in sight.

Step 1: Identify The Top Targets

Look around every room in your home and identify the areas most in need of some organizational TLC. Write down what you see and where you see it. This could be a pile of shoes by the front door, a stack of papers that has sat on a countertop for so long it’s grown roots, or a rack of magazines dating back to 1995. Look in junk drawers, closets, medicine cabinets, shelving, and other areas that tend to become easy dumping grounds for clutter. Prioritize the areas you want to attack.

Photo by Jason Leung on Unsplash

Step 2: Figure Out Why

For a solution to be effective, you need to understand the underlying problem. For every mess, pile, or area you identify, try to figure out the reason behind the disarray. Is there no place to put shoes when you take them off? Do you tend to just throw your clothes on the floor because there is no hamper or laundry basket in easy reach? Do you save magazines for a reason only to quickly forget why? Aside from helping to create a shopping list, this also helps you identify behavioral changes so you can stay organized on a daily basis.

Step 3: Brainstorm and Select Ideas

Sometimes, fixes to clutter are easy: a shoe rack, extra hangers, a system for sorting and disposing of mail. Work with roommates and family members to brainstorm solutions to each specific organizational issue. Once you have these ideas, talk through them, pick the ones that are the most doable and have the best chance of achieving your objectives, and write them down so you can be ready to implement your plan.

Don’t forget that organization can be stylish and add to your decor, especially in the kitchen. A ceramic canister or utensil holder is a great display item when placed with other dishware, cookbooks, and potted plants.


Step 4:  Implementation and Maintenance

Being organized isn’t a matter of “set it and forget it.” Buying a hamper doesn’t do much if you don’t put your dirty laundry in it, and a dish rack won’t help your kitchen if the dishes continue to sit in the sink “soaking.” Make sure that you and those you live with are on board with the changes you’re making and that they share your commitment to the lifestyle adjustments needed to get and keep things organized going forward. Soon enough, clutter and mess can be out the door, along with all of those old magazines and pieces of junk mail.