If you’ve ever walked into someone’s home where everything seems a mess and they can never find anything, most often the same sentiment is reflected in their mental and/or emotional health. Sometimes the state of our homes and living spaces is not taken into consideration when we think of mental health and overall well-being. Yet, this is true as an organized home and mind typically go hand-in-hand.
Life can already be very stressful and the home should be a place where we can unwind, relax and release any stress. We should be able to tap into our creative abilities in this space as well. So, if your home is organized with everything in it’s designated place then it is easier to focus and solve other issues that may come about as part of the overall human experience.
When the home is clean and organized it allows one to have an organized, free of clutter mind to work with. It also helps to eliminate any extra stress such as rushing to find something before going to work/school or having to move a lot of junk just to find a place to lay down at the end of a long day. Each room reflects a certain aspect of our lives and thus can be a reflection into the state of one’s mind.
The following suggestions are designed to help you get started if you are feeling overwhelmed and don’t know where to begin. Remember you don’t have to do this all in one day. If it is better for you, tackle one room/section a day while making sure the work you’ve done the day prior isn’t undone by not keeping things in it’s place. Rooms and locations are not presented in any particular order.
The bedroom should be a place to rest, relax and rejuvenate your energy. If your bedroom is a mess, with you sharing papers and electronics on one side of your bed, chances are you are not getting proper sleep. Your mind will reflect that in that you may have a harder time recollecting certain information and not operating at your best brain capacity simply because of a lack of wholesome sleep.
How to organize
Get rid of anything in the bedroom that is not conducive to rest and rejuvenation. Remove all clothing that is laying around and put them in the laundry for washing. Drawers should be neat without any clothing sticking out. Refrain from doing work on the bed. Instead, utilize a desk or table for your job. I don’t like having TV in the bedroom however for those that do there are some TV cabinets that you can close to hide the TV when not in use. You can also simply not use it at least one to two hours before bed.
Make sure the night stand is clear. You should only keep things such as a lamp, alarm clock, maybe even some flowers or small decorative piece. If you are into journaling such as logging your dreams you can keep it there. If it has drawers, put your necessities in there. It is best to not keep your phone there. If you do, put it on airplane mode and disable all notifications during the time you sleep.
Bonus: Incorporate calming colors that help to keep you in that zone and get good sleep. Example, blues, lavender, or light, pastel colors. Darker hues can work too, whichever colors work for you. Utilize aromatherapy of essential oils (such as peppermint or lavender) by using a diffuser if this helps you get better rest.
This area typically represents the parts of our lives we like to keep hidden or in the back of our mind. It is a space for storage of clothes, linens, etc. depending on it’s associated room. The ones located in bedrooms can be utilized for clothing or some bedroom items such as an ironing board. The ones dedicated to lines such as wash cloths and towels should be dedicated to just that.
How to organize
Hang clothes that can wrinkle easily, the rest can go in drawers. Switch out clothing for the season. For example, put Winter clothes away when Spring comes and so forth. The only clothing accessible in your closet should be the ones for the current season and weather you are experiencing. Out of season clothing should be put into storage bins. If you have room for them in your closet, keep them in a storage bin at the bottom or up on a high shelf. If not, put the clothing in another storage area such as an attic or basement that is not susceptible to mold and water damage.
Shoes should be on the floor (preferably with a shoe mat/tray or in their original boxes) or in shoe storages in the closet. You can also store them in a rolling storage box under the bed that can easily be rolled out or on a shoe rack at your home entrance (elaborated further in article).
Closets dedicated to linens should have all neatly folded towels in one place, wash cloths in another. It may help to get cloth drawers or baskets that you can slide out. You can even label them. Some have dedicated label spots, others you can simply get some masking tape and write directly on them and stick it on each drawer.
Bonus: You can also sort clothing and anything you wish to donate and set a date you will drop them off for donation. For children’s rooms, you can also do this for old toys they no longer use.
Another area dedicated to cleaning and organizing. We have often heard the phrase “airing out dirty laundry” which presents any issues that need to be solved being out in the open. This is likened to the nasty smell old dirty laundry can have. Nobody wants to see that.
How to organize
This space should be clean, even when dealing with dirty clothes. Hampers, laundry baskets and laundry bags can be used to hold dirty laundry. Depending on the size of your living space, they can be placed in the laundry room off to the side, in a linen closet on the floor or in the bathroom in a corner. Definitely refrain from leaving clothes sitting in either the washer or dryer longer than laundry day. Clean clothes should be folded to put in drawers or on hangers to be put away the same day they are cleaned. Leaving it to sit out forces you to sift through them when looking for something to wear prior to leaving the house. That’s added time and energy wasted that prevents a smooth “get ready” time.
Bonus: Have a shelf dedicated to laundry detergent, bleach, dryer sheets, etc. Storage drawers dedicated to dirty laundry can be sorted by color or types of wash. For example, sorting dark clothing, lights, whites and delicates.
A place designed for elimination and cleansing. This area can represent how well you can release negative energy in your life. Often the bath/shower is a great space to release mental stress, hence, emotional cleansing baths and showers. Therefore, it is important to keep this space free of any clutter.
How to organize
Make sure toothbrushes have a place where they can properly dry such as a toothbrush holder or a cup. Keep toothpaste on either side of the sink counter. If space unavailable put it in the overhead medicine cabinet.
If you have multiple people in the house using multiple shampoos, conditioners, bottles, bottled soaps, etc. then get a caddy to hang in the shower to keep it all organized. It also helps to prevent them from accidentally falling when getting in and out of the tub. There are all different types of caddies within most budgets. You can also get hooks to hang loofas if there is more than one in use. Don’t let them pile on top of each other. That’s unsanitary and not conducive to an area designed for cleansing. An over the toilet caddy is a great place to store extra toilet paper, toiletries, shaving supplies and more.
Bonus: If you have a window, make sure to crack it open to prevent mildew and bacteria from forming. If you have a bathroom fan, make sure to turn it on after each shower or elimination in order to get air circulating in there.
A place for nourishment and creativity. Some call it the heart of the home. For many, it allows them to show care for their family through the healthy meals they can prepare. When this is out of balance it can make cooking a bit more stressful. You want cooking to be a fun experience. I, myself, enjoy playing some good music while preparing a meal. Some say this helps to put in the extra ingredient of love into the food.
How to organize
Have a dish rack to hold dishes for drying. Dishwashers have also been used as a dish rack vs actually using it to wash dishes (however that’s a personal preference bc of those who wish to save on water/electricity). If there is no space for either, then dishes must be put in the cabinets.
Organize spices and herbs in your cabinets by way of what you use for daily cooking, baking, deserts, etc. You can also organize by way of bigger/taller items in the back, smaller in the front. There are organizers you can utilize to help that you can find in your local store such as a rotating spice rack.
You can do the same for your refrigerator. Throw out anything that is expired, smells funky, etc. Put bigger/taller items in the back, smaller in the front. Make sure to clean all shelves and door handles regularly. Do the same for the freezer and pantry.
Ensure the counters are free of anything not conducive to cooking. Push back any appliances such as a toaster oven, microwave, coffee pot is pushed back against the wall. If you have blenders, food processors, etc., be sure, if you can, to put them away in cabinets lower cabinets or in the pantry.
Take out trash regularly once it gets full.
Bonus: Put liners down in cabinets that hold dishes. This helps to prevent any damage such as scratches to your cabinets and dishes.
Place for eating and socializing during meals by combining the heart and care of members of the home by way of nourishment with social connections. Keeping this area clean and organized makes it easier for when you use it for eating at meal time or entertaining guests.
How to organize
Make sure the table you eat on is clean and ready for meals. No piles of newspapers, magazines, laptops, etc. If that’s the only place you can use for studying/work due to not having space for a designated desk (such as a in a tiny studio apartment) make sure to remove it when not in use. Always allow this room for eating meals together with family/friends.
Bonus: Use a table cloth/covering to make cleaning up after meals easier. Just pick it up and put it in the laundry to be washed.
A place to socialize and entertain with friends and family. A living room can also represent the social aspect of your mental and emotional health. It is often a place where people settle or pass through in your home. An organize living room allows peace of mind for you and your guests.
How to organize
Entertainment systems designed to hold TVs and decor are great spaces to utilize for storing things like magazines, books, family games and remotes. Coffee tables with drawers/cabinets are a great hack bc they double as a useful spot for decor as well as storage. Ottomans with storage are also great because you can also use them as foot rests. Having a book case is also a good idea if you have many books.
Bonus: Many people do not like shoes in their home. If you don’t have a foyer or hallway with a mini closet, have a coat rack and shoe rack/mat for yourself and guests at the door.
Used for storage or entertainment depending on how you have developed it. So mentally this can be another place to put things away or entertain allowing fun and pleasure in your life.
How to organize
If utilizing for entertainment such as sports tables (i.e. table tennis, air hockey, ,etc.) ensure that game pieces stay with the tables (either or top or under in their respective/dedicated boxes. Allow room to walk between areas without accidentally stepping on or bumping into them. Storage drawers are cost efficient, great to use and can be placed against a wall.
If for storage, make sure that everything is neat and organized. For example, garden tools should be in one designated area. Home improvement tools can by organized in their own drawers or hung on the wall using racks or boards. There are many options that may be available at home improvement stores.
Bonus: If you have moisture issues and have done everything you can to tackle it on a structural level, utilize a dehumidifier to prevent damage to your belongings.
Mentally the garage can be utilized as a place for creativity such as for DIY projects (such as those outlined here) activating those brain centers for pleasure and problem solving and not just a spot to park your car depending on it’s size. Similar to basement uses, a garage must definitely be clean, especially when cars also occupy the space. You don’t want your projects being run over by the vehicle or have tires punctured because of something you forgot to put away. All of that adds more unnecessary stress.
How to organize
Allow for an ease of flow into your life by making sure you have set locations to either do your projects or to store them. Use sliding storage boxes and label them.
Bonus: Utilize tool drawers and shelves for things like nails, screws, etc. so they are not lost.
Make sure to always put things back where they belong when you finish using them so that when it is time to do your deeper cleaning at least once each week there is less to do. The more you allow to pile up the more it can become overwhelming and the more you don’t want to do anything. After you have organized all the areas in your home you will begin to realize how much easier your life will be just by making those changes.
Remember to stay active in your self-care!
What other ways can you ensure that your home is truly a place where you can be productive, get rest and have room to be your best self through organization?