Once the editing is complete, then you can and should make a list of things you need for organizing these items. That makes such a difference – are you going to need drawer dividers in the kitchen? Perhaps jeans should be hung instead of stacked so you can see the color and style better? What about well fitting baskets in the mudroom with tags or labels so you can find items easier?
I have worked as a professional organizer for about 10 years now. Once in a while a client suggests that I write a book about it to which I always respond that there are hundreds already out there and they ALL say the SAME things. So I must say when Marie Kondo exploded into the scene I was a bit taken back by her success. She was a successful organizer in a country where the average home is 1310 sq ft but her rules for organizing once and going on to lead clutter free lives resonated in this country where houses average 2600 sq ft.
1. Commit yourself to tidying up
2. Imagine your ideal lifestyle
3. Finish discarding first
4. Tidy by category, not location
5. Follow the right order: clothes, books, papers, miscellaneous and sentimental items
6. Ask yourself if this sparks joy.
Absolutely agree with scheduling in time to do this, getting several trash bags/containers: donate, toss and fix. Most of my clients were not imaging ideal lifestyles, just less messy and more functional ones. Edit then organize but tidying up by category might be chaotic when you have your coats in the mudroom, clothes in master and off season clothes in the attic or in some other closet. Go through the clothes and see if they look good on you and I do apply does it make you happy here with one big caveat. Some basic workhorses of your closet may not spark joy on their own. They might need a great top or jacket or shoes to complete the picture which then will spark joy. But do not hold on to some old sweatshirt on account of wearing it when working out or what not. Or pants that may fit you if you lose weight. In other words, get rid of anything that doesn’t look great on. Even when it cost you a lot of money, if you don’t use it, all it does is hog space.
Another difficulty in organizing your closets is that we are very attached to our stuff and while its not that hard to go through the kids playroom and get rid of things (though it was kind of sad to let go of some of the toys and books, I kept some), it is much harder to critically look at your wardrobe and edit. I do recommend a stylist for a quick purge, someone who will honestly tell you whether it looks good on you and what you need to buy to have a functional wardrobe. If you are not sure where to start, read this post: What to toss from your closet asap! I swear you all have these items in your closet!!!
I never discard anything for my clients, I have gotten many a call several hours after leaving a client when they are basically sitting on top of the discard pile with a glass of wine and cant let go. I tell them to bag it all and put it into a different room. If 6 mo from now you haven’t retrieved and worn anything, its safe to say bye-bye.
However, the most crucial part of making your home more functional is figuring out the right place for your stuff. Do you read in the living room or mostly before bed in your master? If it’s the latter, perhaps figure out if you can add shelves in there and store books there. Are you working on a crowded kitchen island while the guest bedroom sits empty and could do double duty? Do kids do crafts in the playroom or in the kitchen, if it’s the latter, you could assign a drawer for that stuff in the kitchen. Do you put shoes on in the closet or in the mudroom, perhaps you need more shelving in the mudroom? Move things where they make sense, measure the space, go to Container Store or Target and you are on your way! Your home has to function for you and your family. Planning for this is time consuming but in my experience really the only thing that guarantees keeping the clutter at bay. As much as possible.
Don’t miss these great how-to posts for more helpful tips on organizing your home.