To-Do's: Your Guide to a Totally Organized Home in 10 Weeks
The start of a new year is a great time to assess your lifestyle choices. Many people set goals to hit the gym more often, eat healthier and quit bad habits. And having a clean and organized household can go a long way toward helping you succeed in those personal goals. So we turned to Houzz contributor Laura Gaskill’s series of seven-day organizing plans to create a comprehensive guide to restoring sanity in each room in your house. Follow each one, in no particular order, and you’ll have a completely tidy home in two and a half months.
1. Kitchen. With kitchens now often the hub of busy households, it’s important to keep these high-traffic, high-functioning areas in tip-top shape.
Begin by tackling the appliances first, cleaning out the messier ones such as the oven and fridge, and tucking away small gadgets to declutter.
Next, initiate a top-to-bottom cleaning mission that goes beyond wiping countertops and shelves and gets to the nitty-gritty of pulling out appliances and cleaning behind and under them. From there you can move on to organizing the cabinets and pantry and cleaning the windows, walls and floors.
2. Bathroom. With so much daily use — and the prevalence of water, lotions, toothpaste and other gunk — keeping a bathroom clean can feel like a Sisyphean task. But the key to success is making a plan and sticking to it, beginning with a full-bore purging effort followed by a deep clean. Next focus on addressing any moisture and humidity issues, then work on organizing all the toiletries before laundering all towels and bath mats.
3. Laundry room. Start by cleaning your washer and dryer. Then move on to decluttering, tidying up and incorporating resources like a small mending kit and a folding drying rack for more efficiency. Cap this off by adding style and creating a routine to stick to in the future.
4. Living room. It’s hard to relax when you’re surrounded by clutter. To keep messes at bay in the living room, begin by thoroughly decluttering, followed by dusting and vacuuming. Next, focus on the floor and bookcases. Make the room shine with clean mirrors and windows. Then turn your attention to the furniture upholstery. Finish by implementing a few styling tricks for a polished look.
5. Kids’ room. If you’ve got kids, chances are you’ve considered giving up on ever having an organized house — at least until they leave for college. But you don’t have to. Having a plan to simplify and pare down clothes and toys can set you on the path to sanity. Decluttering is the name of the game here. Start by sorting and conquering one area at a time, removing unwanted or broken toys and setting aside clothing that your child has outgrown, to sell or donate.
Next, dive into deep-cleaning the room and set your sights on organizing artwork and schoolwork. Finish by creating zones for reading, sleeping and playing, and introducing a labeling system on cubbies and drawers so everyone in the family can get onboard with organizing.
6. Bedroom. As in the living room, it’s hard to get rest in a bedroom when it’s full of clutter. And it all begins with the closet. Having a streamlined wardrobe will do wonders for your psyche and set you on the path to a decluttered, organized bedroom.
Follow this with a whole-room refresh during which you dust, vacuum and launder all rugs, curtains and linens.
Next, turn your attention to style, working with soft colors and textures to create a relaxing feel that will make you want to maintain the clean vibe.
7. Garage. While the garage might be at the bottom of your organizing list, it’s an important room. You don’t want to fall into the trap of decluttering your home only to find that what you really did was just move all the clutter into the garage, which oftentimes is the first thing most people see when they arrive home.
Save this task for a nice-weather week so you can enjoy some sunshine while you purge the garage, separating important memorabilia, holiday decorations, tools and other things you want to keep from everything else that you can donate, sell or throw away.
It might sound daunting, but you’ll want to remove everything from the garage, then vacuum or sweep. Next, it’s time to address storage systems, thinking of ways to get items off the floor.
8. Home office. Even if you work in a corporate office, chances are you have an area of your home where you catch up on your finances, tackle extra work and maintain household schedules and chores. And if that’s the case, this space has likely become overwhelmed by clutter and paperwork at some point.
Start by dealing with the latter, sorting and stacking important papers and throwing away, shredding or recycling those you don’t need. Consider various storage and labeling systems that will help you stay organized in the long run.
Next, declutter other items such as toys, cups, cords and books. Finish by thoroughly dusting, vacuuming and wiping down all the surfaces before turning your attention to style.
9. Entry. The entrance to your home sets the tone for how you and your guests will feel. It’s also your first line of defense in keeping clutter from encroaching deeper into your house.
Start by addressing the outside, sweeping and cleaning the porch or stoop, steps, walls and front door. Inside, clear everything out of the entryway and then bring back only the essentials, focusing on things that will help organize coats, shoes, bags, keys and mail. Consider how you’ll handle dirt and mud getting tracked in, then focus on creating good flow into your home and introducing some style.
10. Dining room. The dining room should be a relatively easy room to keep organized, as long as you don’t use your dining table as a catchall for clutter. Nevertheless, begin with a full decluttering effort to remove shopping bags, library books, toys and laptops. Follow this with a deep clean, making sure to vacuum and mop the floor and wipe down the baseboards. Use a wood polish or other appropriate cleanser on your table, and make the mirrors, windows and any other glass shine.
If you’ve got a buffet, organize the drawers and corral placemats and napkins into their own spots. Make an assessment of your lighting and think about how you can enhance it to make things look more appealing.