I am an organizational freak.
Like not even a regular freak, an OCD organizational freak. lol.
I’m a firm believer that everything, no matter how small it is, MUST have its own little home inside my home. I know where everything is at any given moment and if I don’t know the exact spot, I know the general vicinity it’s in, like the particular cabinet or place in the garage.
Sometimes I think I drive my kids nuts, but I’m bound and determined to teach them my organizational tips and ways. They don’t have to be OCD like me, but there should be some sort of order.
Little by little, over time, I try to teach them these important habits. Here are the 12 habits people who have organized homes do (like me)….
12 Habits of People Who Have Organized Homes
Habit #1: Everything must have a home
Everything inside your home must be put back in the same spot at all times when not in use. This is, by far, the most important habit people who have organized homes do.
During the day, put everything back and right before bed, allot yourself 10 minutes to organize and pick up everything and put it back in it’s specified place.
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If you’re looking for an organizational binder to help with how to organize your home and life, here’s a great bundle that’s currently free!
Over time, this has become such a monumental thing for our family. In fact, I tested my theory and stopped doing that for one month to see how it would affect us and we were a mess. Everything was all over and cluttered. I couldn’t get a rein back on it and it literally took a week or two to get things back to normal. Thank GOODNESS that’s not the norm. Just 10 minutes before bed can really change things!
Habit #2: The second your bills come through that door, they are put up
Right when the mail comes in the house, I put it up. I may stick an unopened bill in my bill folder on occasion, but it’s put up where it belongs. Junk mail goes to the recycle, unwanted newspapers go to the recycle, and I’ve gotten off all magazine subscriptions because I never really have time to read them and they just end up being clutter.
Once a day, my son is responsible to take the recycle to the recycle bin in the garage. We have very little actual trash each week; almost everything is recycled.
Habit #3: If you haven’t used it in 6 months, get rid of it
One exception is seasonal items. I usually use a 2 year rule for those. If I haven’t used a seasonal item in 2 years, it’s time to go.
The other exception is important paperwork. Things like IRS taxes and such, you want to keep for 7 years.
This means all clothes, bedding, toys, garage stuff, junk drawers, tools, dishes, furniture, any household items that you haven’t used, is all just taking up space. Much better to sell the items and get money in the bank, than to be storing things you’ll most likely never use.
Yes, there will be a few things that you have to buy again that you got rid of, but 99.7% of things you won’t and with all the money in the bank you’ll have from selling all the stuff, you can afford to buy the few items you got rid.
Habit #4: Keep on top of your paperwork
Keeping your paperwork organized can be a huge challenge, so I’ve written an entire post dedicated to just organizing your paperwork. You can read it here.
In that post, you will learn:
- How to use the 1-touch system to make life easier
- How and why I set a timer to keep myself from getting overwhelmed
- Why you should consider using online banking and bill pay to cut clutter
- Why investing in a good paper shredder and filing system is key to your success to organizing paperwork
Habit #5: Every time you hit the store, put everything away that day
I’m really horrible about leaving my shopping bags in the middle of the living room floor. When I get home from shopping, I’m tired. I want to put my feet up and rest. So, I do. Then, I don’t want to put things away and they sit there for a week. No joke.
What I’ve found now is that I will still take my break, but I’m committed to myself to putting those bags up THAT day. If I really don’t feel like it, to help me, I’ll have the kids take everything out of the bags and put all the items out on the coffee table, where it’s easy to delegate to them where everything goes.
They put up the bags and boom, I’m done. I find no shame in that. I’m a single mom and we all work as a family to help each other out. I pay my daughter $1 to bring all the groceries inside the house and put them all up. It saves me energy, time, and she earns money. I don’t believe in child labor, but I do believe in working as a team. 🙂
Habit #6: Don’t bring stuff you don’t need into the house (or garage)
Sometimes we get the newspaper as a special promotion. Of course, it has tons of ads in it designed to tempt you into buying. I take that newspaper and I put it immediately into the recycle. It does not even make it into the house.
Why? Because I don’t want to have to deal with (or think about) the same item twice. I think about it as I pick it up, put it on the coffee table, then later, I have to think about what to do with it to move it from the coffee table. It really just cuts one step out of the process. I make a gazillion decisions every single day. I really don’t need any more and I’m sure you don’t either!
Habit #7: Everything is put up where it makes sense
I went to Fred Meyer recently in my area and they had changed the whole store around in a remodel. They put the bread on the ice cream aisle. Please tell me how ridiculous that is. Because everyone eats bread with their ice cream, right…
If it doesn’t make sense to you, it won’t make sense to your family and you’ll spend more time shuffling things around and going out of your way than putting things away where you naturally gravitate to.
When I first moved into my current home, I put my drinking glasses in one cabinet and kept finding it annoying to have to go get them. I moved them and now, it’s a lot more convenient where they are. Things have to make sense. Make things easy. Make it easy to organize and put stuff up.
Habit #8: You have to work as a family
If your kids are pigs like mine, you have to teach them. This takes a lot of diligence and patience to train them over the years, but if you are consistent, they will pick it up…eventually. 🙂
Our family is very close and we work together a lot. Many times I will have my children go through the house and make a checklist of the things they notice that are out of order in the house. Then, they clean or pick it up. By teaching THEM to notice things instead of me just giving them the “answers,” I’m hoping that I’m making them more aware of their surroundings and how we all work as a team. It is incredibly important to work as a team, rather than a mom frustrated because she has to keep nagging.
A great example of this is the other day in our home. I have been asking my oldest to keep her room clean and have been giving her many, many chances; 6 months worth of chances to be exact. She would not do it, so her and I BOTH cleaned her room and I threw away some things that she wanted to keep. I explained to her that I had given her 6 months to do as I had asked, and she hadn’t, so it was MY turn to organize and clean her room.
I also made her aware that this will be a new routine if she can’t keep it clean. While I don’t expect perfection and a room that looks professionally cleaned, I don’t expect the floor to be so covered, you can’t walk in a room without stepping on something EVERY step you take.
That’s ridiculous in my opinion.
I wouldn’t allow that mess in the rest of my house and I want her to have enough RESPECT for my home to keep her room semi-decent. There’s room for a child to be themselves and show off their creativity, but within boundaries. If there was a fire, she’d have a good chance of tripping and not making it out fast enough because of the clutter on the floor. At that point, it’s a problem and not “creativity.”
Whatever your rules are, use your best judgement and be consistent. Follow up. When you say you’re going to do something, do it. Consistency will help them understand this is a rule. Following up helps ensure your rules are being followed.
If your husband is a pack rat, try to be patient with him and show him how easy it is to get rid of things. Entice him to sell things by setting aside whatever money you make from selling his un-needed stuff into a fund for your next family vacation or a new toy he’s been wanting. Maybe a new ATV or whatever. Better for him have an ATV he WILL USE than a cabinet full of junk he won’t!!!
Related: 7 Tips to Organizing with a Messy Family
Working together as a family doesn’t just happen offline either. My daughter and I had heaps of fun creating printables together for my Shopify store.
My daughter is really great at ideas and technology, so it’s really helpful. She’s a strategist so we bounce ideas off each other all the time. She’s created a couple of printables by herself for the store too (she’s only 14) and they are solid work. Very pretty designs. She wants to be a blogger/YouTuber when she’s older and so starting now is a great idea to get experience.
Each member of your family has unique traits, abilities, skills, and interests. When you utilize those skills and traits, each person in the family THRIVES and you work together as a family. Working online (and offline) with my family is the best treasure I could ever have!!! <3
Habit #9: Use tubs and baskets
Tubs and baskets can be extremely helpful in organizing on a budget, especially little stuff. I have shelves in my closet where I keep some of my stockpile of things I’ve gotten on sale. Rather than having them just on the shelves, I have them in bins. They look so much neater and organized in their specific tubs and it’s especially helpful on the top shelves, where I can just pull down a tub to see what’s up there, rather than get on a chair and try to see everything. Likewise, in the garage, I have baskets full of shampoo and conditioner bottles. Each basket has a different variety and it keeps them all nice and organized.
Habit #10: You need a routine
You need to routinely organize as you go. You can’t let everything pile up for long periods of time. Then, it just becomes overwhelming and you don’t know where to start. It can overtake your life and your living space. Keep on top of organizing daily. Even if you are just setting aside 10 minutes on a timer to clean, it is an awesome thing to get into a habit of picking up things daily.
Habit #11: Have an entry way table
Or maybe it’s the desk near the door. SOMEwhere that everyone can put things as they come in and leave the house. My ex-husband used to lose his wallet and keys ALL THE TIME. It was beyond annoying.
I have a hook on the wall for keys, a little clock shelf for cell phones, purses, wallets, etc. We keep our shoes by the door to the garage and coats in the office. Everything is there by a door and easy to get to.
Habit #12: One item, two purposes
I needed a stand up mirror when I moved, but looking around all the mirrors were $100-$200. I happened to see this one at a Tuesday Morning store while shopping and I absolutely loved it and knew it was for me, but it was $100 in the store and it was a store display. So, I looked online for a new one and found one on Amazon.
Bought it and it was super easy to put together and even has a lock to keep kids and burglars out (not that my jewelry is worth anything; it’s more decorative pieces). Now all my jewelry is stored in one place inside the mirror, completely out of the way and a total space saver!
Implementing these 12 habits will make your home run so much smoother! You will have a much more organized home, less stress, less fighting, less losing stuff!
Related: Organizing your home can be so difficult. You have no idea where to start or how to organize your home room by room in a way that makes sense. This organizing essentials guide is the perfect solution. With real life advice and hacks, this go-to guide covers almost everything you own! Get started now and say goodbye to clutter forever!