Social media sites like Instagram and Pinterest are famous for showing well-organized and tidy home spaces. These kinds of images can inspire us to take on organization and cleaning projects, which is a good thing mentally and physically. Research has shown that people describe an organized home as “restful” and “restorative.” Here are tips to help you organize your home — even the parts that no one sees!
1. Organize Your Pantry
Does this sound familiar? You come home from the grocery store and shove everything in any available crevice in the pantry. You forget that you have three open bags of rice behind the cereal. Aside from being potentially expensive and wasteful, disorganized food storage can invite pantry bugs like weevils, moths, or beetles. Though they’re mostly harmless to humans, they can cause a real mess and an extermination project.
To keep organized, sort your pantry into zones that reflect your cooking and eating lifestyle. A school lunch bin with all the kids’ favorite snacks can save you time in the morning. Or, bins designated for each of the weekly dinner meals could hold the ingredients you need for each day.
2. Inventory Food Storage
The refrigerator and freezer can become a black hole of lost food just as quickly as the pantry. You may never remember you have two pieces of delicious lasagne wrapped in foil in the freezer. Self-adhesive whiteboard paper attached to the side of the refrigerator or the back of a door gives you an easy way to keep an inventory. A quick photo on your phone before a trip to the store means you’ll never overbuy and you’re much more likely to use up what you have.
3. Designate a “Landing Strip”
Consider the door that the family uses regularly. Then, think of what you regularly bring into the house. A piece of furniture with drawers, a set of hooks, a pretty bowl or dish for keys and sunglasses, a mail caddy, or a shoe rack can make a huge difference in helping those daily objects land in their designated place the first time.
4. Declutter on a Schedule
Once-a-year decluttering can be an overwhelming project. Instead, you could set a schedule that helps you tackle different areas of the house all year long. The weeks before kids’ birthdays or Christmas can be a great time to find toys and books to donate to a thrift store. Go through a family member’s clothes in a designated month each year. Use preparation time before Thanksgiving to declutter kitchen cabinets and hold onto dishes and cookware that you use regularly. Make appointments with yourself in your calendar to stay accountable to your goals.
5. Storage in Unused Spaces
If you’re tight on storage, use every nook and cranny. The backs of cabinet doors can hold small items like measuring spoons and cups on small hooks. The back of the pantry door can hold baskets for spices.
Your mental health can suffer in a disorganized home. Take small steps to keep a clutter-free (and pest-free) home.