I’d been thinking about an angle for another Home Neat Home post when this phrase popped into my head as a theme: “A place for everything and everything in its place.” We’ve all heard it before. I think it really is the essence of a decluttered house.
In this post, I wrote about decluttering and slimming down the variety of things in each category. Once you get to that step, you have to find a place to put everything. But before you can even start sorting, you have to assess the space you have to work with.
My remote control gets tucked into that box under the TV when not in use!
Organizing professionals often advise that clients take everything out of their closet/garage/kitchen/junk drawer and then slowly put back things in order of importance, leaving a pile that either needs to be sold, donated, or relocated. Taking everything out will allow you to view the space differently and utilize it in an unimagined way.
I rarely lose things because there is only one spot (maybe two) where I put them. My Kindle is either on my nightstand or on the coffee table. My keys always go in the basket by the door. Incoming paper and mail go into one of two spots: the office inbox or the outbox by the back door. Rain boots and yoga mats always go in the hall closet. My soccer bag is stored in the downstairs mudroom. Even my water bottle has a place where I store it at night in a cabinet. When you have a spot for everything and everything is in its place, the house is tidy and you can always find exactly what you’re looking for.
This piece that I bought on Joss and Main years ago works so hard in our kitchen entryway. Keys go in the basket, the Pottery Barn sorter holds pens and serves as an outbox, the drawers house chapstick, packaging tape, chalk, Gus’s leash and baggies, etc., and the baskets underneath hold shoes and extra dog items.
My home gets cluttered throughout the day, but by evening it takes me 10 minutes to put everything back where it belongs. Clutter problems occur when you don’t have a spot to put something. I am often brainstorming better, smarter systems in which to organize everyday items like shoes, dog gear, Mazen’s toys, kitchen items, and more.
What do you do if you live in a tiny place with no storage? You can either: reduce your things or create more space. I’ve gotten creative with storage in the past and used my dining room cabinet for kitchen overflow, basement shelves for appliances (I’m seeing a kitchen things problem theme here!), or spare rooms and closets for off season clothes. Smaller spaces forced me to think out of the box for storage solutions.
I didn’t want appliances like the microwave or toaster on the counters, so I had this shelf custom made through Etsy to keep my countertops clear. Wine and extra water bottles fit in the crate on the bottom, and there’s a neat spot for T’s lunchbox.
As much as I love my belongings, I could live without most of them if I had to. I’d just have less variety in my life for serving dishes, sheets, clothes, tablecloths, recreation, and decor and would need to stick to just one per category. If your candle storage box, or your tupperware drawer, or your kids’ toy bins are overflowing, that is not your cue to re-organize; it’s your cue to give some away. We are naturally going to acquire new things, so the other old saying “Out with the old, in with the new” must apply. Every space will fill up in time if we’re not careful. Our job is to make sure everything has a place to rest and space to breathe.
Tablerunners hidden in the coffee table!