Confession: I'm a recovering slob. See, growing up with two neat freak parents (love you!), being messy became a form of rebellion for me. But guess what? At a certain point, you have to stop living your life as a reaction to your family and make the choices that actually benefit you the most. And for the first and only time* I will admit it: my parents were right all along, being organized makes life easier and better. So now that I strive to keep my home tidy, I'd like to share my insights with you while also giving you a glimpse into my space.
1. Find your specific motivation, write it down and remind yourself frequently. My main motivations are being able to host and craft in a pleasant and inspiring environment. By hosting and crafting often (sometimes simultaneously) I am regularly reminded why being tidy matters.
2. Put like with like. This seems pretty obvious because it's kinda the definition of organization, yet it seems to allude many. This goes for decorating and organizing. For example, all my lanterns and ceiling danglys hang from one general corner, creating a stronger visual statement than if they were spread throughout the apartment.
3. Make it a daily habit. Anticipate, schedule and commit to about 30-60 minutes of tidying/cleaning up after yourself every.single.day. As tedious as this may sound, having tidy habit maintains a consistently (vs. sporadically) nice space and is much less stressful than marathon cleaning sessions.
4. Start each day by making your bed. Look, it takes all of 5-10 minutes but it makes you feel semi-accomplished right away, looks SO much nicer and establishes the habit of picking up after yourself.
5. Pick up after yourself right away, not later. When you take your jacket off, don't slump it on the chair, hang it up. When you're done eating, put your plate in the sink/dishwasher right away, not an hour later. Procrastinating will not magically clean up your little messes, but could result in them accumulating into one big, seemingly insurmountable mess!
6. Use (a) regular cleaning schedule/list(s). It might help to keep separate ones for daily vs. longer term chores. This will keep you on track and on task. Plus, checking off items off a to-do list makes everyone feel good.
7. Identify and target your specific weaknesses. My biggest weakness? Leaving clothes all over the place-- big shocker there, right?! My tendency is to try on a bunch of different outfits before going out and leaving the rejects strewn about. So now I work extra hard to counter that negative habit by immediately folding and storing unworn garments once I'm dressed.
8. Pare down as much as possible. This is easier for some than others, especially collector types such as myself. At a certain point, however, too much stuff overwhelms you and makes it harder to appreciate the real gems. (This trope comes to mind.) If you are a collector, ask yourself: how many of __ do you really need? Can you set a limit and then commit to a one-in-one-out policy? As you keep collecting, your tastes should become more refined and therefore, fewer items should pass the muster. For any given item, determine if having a photo would suffice. I know I feel much better about parting with even beautiful garments if I've blogged them. These days, you can try selling your stuff first but thanks to craigslist and thrift stores, you can make sure useable items don't go to waste. For items of sentimental value that you secretly don't want/like but feel guilty about parting with: would seeing the item in the hands of someone who truly cherishes it maybe better serve the memory?
9. Make furniture your friend, not foe. The curiosity cabinet above helps my tchotchke collection stay both manageable and appreciated because everything is artfully grouped together on display. Maximize vertical space with shelves. Buy furniture which is collapsible or with hidden storage. Raise your bed so you can hide out-of-season clothes. Avoid bulky furniture which lacks storage potential unless you truly have the space and/or they are exceptional pieces. Take inspiration from the interiors of boats and Airstreams.
10. Keep your creative stuff organized! Use drawers, shelves, cubbies, peg boards, wheeled carts and bins/boxes to achieve this and remember to keep like with like. I used to believe the common misconception that "I'm creative so I can't be organized." Yes, creative people often have a lot of tools and materials with which they work and experiment in messy ways. However, you'll find it much easier to find what you need exactly when you need it if everything is in its right place. When you're not actively in process, clean up after yourself until next time.
Well, I hope you've all found this list helpful and inspirational. If you have your own tips/suggestions/success stories about organization, please share them in the comments! You can see more photos of mi casa here.
|my dresser: top right painting is by me, others by Georgia|
|my japanophile collection (in my bedroom)|
|curious table, gift from a friend|
|cabinet of curiosities|
|craft pegboard and clown collection|
|skull collection on my balcony|