7 Tips for Achieving Home Organization

Follow these expert tips to reduce clutter and establish positive habits.

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With a new year comes a new opportunity to get tackle organization of the home. ESTATENVY spoke with Amanda Barkley of Rae Duncan Interior Design and Terri Albert of The Chicago Organizer Inc. to see what the experts had to say about creating a structured home experience.

1. Find a clutter buddy.

Taking on a large organization project can quickly become an overwhelming situation for anyone to battle alone. Albert recommends employing a clutter buddy to help address the situation in a less daunting manner. These can include close friends, family or professionals.

2. Look inward.

Not sure where to start? Albert suggests figuring out what part of the home is bothering you most. Whether it’s a small space or a larger area of the home, determine what comes to mind first and foremost. If that space is larger, work on it section by section.

“Choose one drawer or one shelf and have tunnel vision.” She advised. “Don’t overwhelm yourself with the project. Chip away at it. If you do one drawer a day for a week, you could have the whole project done before you know it.”

3. Divide and conquer.

Barkley recommends a similar approach that includes dividing clutter into four piles: keep, donate, throw away, and rehome in another area of your house. This way homeowners can effectively determine what belongs in a space–and what needs to go. “Be ruthless here! It's the only way to manage clutter,” she said.

4. Five-minute rule.

In order to keep your home at that baseline of organization, Albert recommends adopting baby steps such as opening the mail each day. She recommends homeowners adopt the mantra, “If it takes five minutes or less–just do it.”

5. Containerize.

According to Albert, the key to organizing is containerizing. This means learning to categorize and sort items based on what they have in common and storing like items in different organizers. Clearly labeling these spaces will help reinforce the habit and make it easier to find what you are seeking.

The beauty of containers is the variety of design options available. Homeowners need only get a little creative in order to achieve a stylish and functional system within their living space.

Baskets are beautiful and generally much more visually pleasing than plastic containers,” said Barkley. “Lots of stores carry baskets that are chic but also functional. Try checking out boutiques for baskets with a unique look.”

6. Shelf it.

Organizers can also take on a more permanent place in the home. Barkley recommends making use of built-in shelving and organizers to give your home a clean and cohesive look.

“They are a fantastic way to maximize storage and make it suitable to your specific needs without sacrificing on style or your home's architectural integrity,” she said.

7. Outsource if needed.

“Everyone should learn the skills needed to maintain their home. If you’re struggling to get to that baseline on your own, reach out to someone,” Albert said. “If organizing is not your thing, know when you need to get help. People outsource so many things. Think about it, people are capable of working out on their own but a personal trainer can be necessary for getting the right motivation.”