So. . . you’ve set a New Year’s resolution to organize and deep clean your house this year. Sure, sure – you said that same thing last year, but this year you really mean it. But now it’s almost the end of January and you don’t know where to start.
Well, today’s the day.
I’ll be blogging each month about an area to work on . We’ll take one area per month. Don’t try to do more than that one area a month and overwhelm yourself because you’ll want to quit.
And quitters never have clean homes!
Ready? Let’s go!
In January, you should work on the area where you enter your home. Front door? Back door? It doesn’t matter. We’ll just call it your home’s entrance.
1. Evaluate what you need in the area. Think through your daily routine of entering and exiting. Think about what you need to help your family get what they need and keep it organized. Coat hooks? Shoe racks? Key storage? Think also about new paint, a bench, or a new rug.
If you don’t have a coat closet to hold your things, you can use ready made coat racks and shoe cubbies. But here’s the important thing – Don’t buy anything yet!! Just think about what you might want to get or do.
2. Step two is the most important step. Touch everything in that entrance area. Pick it up and make a decision about where it belongs. If it doesn’t belong in the entrance area, set it aside.
If it’s trash, put it in a black trash bag. If it needs to be donated, put it in a clear trash bag. If it belongs somewhere else in the house, put it in a large box or basket to empty out later.
After you have made a decision about everything, put the trash in the trashcan and the donation bag in your car so you can drop it off to a charity. Set the basket of items to be relocated outside of the room – don’t put anything away yet.
Anything that stays in the entrance area should be kept together. Take another look at what you have decided to keep. Only keep what is useful and what you like. This is probably the hardest part for most of my clients (that’s why they hire me!)
The more clutter you have, the harder it is to keep organized. Set all of these carefully chosen things aside. You’ll put them away later.
3. Now for the elbow grease. Clean every surface. Start at the top, whether it’s a closet or a wall. Wipe down walls, shelves, and cabinets. Finish with the floor. If you need to make repairs, paint, or replace light bulbs, do it now.
4. Ahh. . . now you have a clean and fresh area to furnish. Whether you have a closet, a hall, or a wall, decide what storage items will help you store what you need. If your family is still growing, you’ll want to take that into account. Use what you already have or purchase new or thrifted items for storage.
5. As you put your belongings away, keep like items together. Put all of the gloves and hats together, all of the shoes together, etc. Put items close to where you use them such as shoes close to the floor, kid’s coats on a lower hook or bar to be easier to reach, etc.
6. Now you can step back and enjoy your hard work. Grab the box of items that belong somewhere else and put them away.
7. Now for the second most important important step – maintenance. Every week, tidy up the area by straightening everything and putting everything away. Every January, go through the area and decide what items are no longer needed.