It doesn’t take long to get buried under clutter and piles of clothes. Cleaning is probably the last thing you want to do on the weekends or after a long day at work, but the longer it gets put off, the worse it gets. Fortunately, experts offer many tips for organizing your home. Below, we’ve compiled nine great tips that can save you time and make the cleaning process much easier.

Adjust Your Mindset

1. Start small. Thinking of everything you need to do all at once can be so overwhelming that you give up before you even start. To avoid this common trap, focus on just one, small thing you know you can accomplish that day, such as doing a pile of laundry that has been sitting in the corner for too long. Successfully finishing the first task on your organizational to-do list quickly will help build your confidence and reassure you that getting your space in order might not be as tough as it seems. With one step in the right direction, you’re already on your way to getting organized at home.

2. Ask for help. Sometimes a project is just too big to handle on your own, or there may be too many tasks for one person to manage. Enlist the help of family members or friends to get things done more quickly and efficiently. Offer to work with friends on their projects in exchange or treat them to a nice lunch or dinner to thank them. If your organizational needs are extreme, it might be beneficial to bring in a storage and organization specialist.

Solve Storage Issues

3. Don’t cram everything in the closet. If your idea of cleaning consists of tossing everything into the closet so you don’t have to deal with it, it’s time to re-evaluate. The last thing you want to do is suffocate under a pile of junk when you next open your closet door. If you’ve run out of closet space, there are several other storage options available to keep your room from getting cluttered, such as armoires, dressers, wardrobes, and clothing racks. These kinds of pieces come in all shapes, sizes, and styles and are not necessarily very expensive, so they can make a great addition to any type of room.

4. Install shelves. Any empty wall space is just begging for shelves to be added. The best thing about shelves is their versatility; they can function as a decorative element while also providing additional storage space. If too many trinkets are crowding your tabletops, move a few to a shelf. Shelves are also great for storing CD, book, and movie collections because all the titles can be displayed easily.

5. Use drawer dividers, shoe racks, and cubbies. Rummaging through drawers or piles can be tiresome when things aren’t organized well—especially if you are looking for a pair of something that has been separated, such as socks or mittens. Drawer dividers are a great solution for those types of items as well as smaller things like scarfs, undergarments, stockings, hats, and belts. Dividers come in a multitude of sizes and can even work well in smaller vanity drawers for makeup or desk drawers for office supplies. Similarly, shoe racks or cubbies can help you always keep pairs of shoes together. Having a central place where all footwear is kept will help keep single shoes from disappearing.

Never Lose Anything Again

6. Leave keys, coats, and umbrellas by the front door. How many times have you been late because you had to spend ten minutes frantically searching for your keys? If you get into the habit of always leaving your keys in the same place right when you come in the door, you’ll always know where they are. Hang hooks or place a dish on a nearby shelf or countertop for key storage. It’s also helpful to store coats and umbrellas close to the entryway so they are easily accessible if you find you need one upon leaving. Coat racks or hooks and an umbrella holder can also come in handy if you entertain a lot of guests and want to keep all their belongings in one accessible area.

7. Use different bins to separate laundry. Doing laundry can really be a burden when it comes to having to sort through a gigantic pile of clothes. A great solution to this issue is buying a hamper with various sections. Many hampers come with three, so you can designate one each for whites, colors, and darks. Having a separate bin for delicates can also be beneficial, so that nothing ends up ruined by mistake. If all members of the household put their clothing into the correct bins, it saves the person doing laundry time in sorting things out, and laundry becomes a lot less daunting.

8. Label and color-code everything. The more labeled things are, the more organized you’ll be. With clear labels, it becomes obvious when something is misplaced. If friends and family members who aren’t as familiar with your organizational system come over, labels will make it much easier for them to find things or to help you clean up after a party. If everything has a definite place it belongs to, things will get lost much less often.

9. Group similar items together. Grouping things logically helps contain messes. If everything laundry-related is kept in the laundry room, you shouldn’t find dirty clothes scattered throughout your house. This rule should even apply within rooms; if you keep everything in your nightstands related to bedtime activities, they won’t become cluttered with all kinds of other objects. Keeping similar items together also makes it easier to find things. You’ll spend less time wondering where something is if it is stored with like items.

Organization just takes some creativity and patience. It’s all about establishing routines and sticking to them. If you’re starting from scratch, it can be overwhelming, but once everything is organized effectively, it will be much easier to keep your home in order and avoid huge messes from developing. With fewer messes comes less stress, and you will be able to enjoy your space so much more.

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Sources: Better Homes and Gardens; The Container Store; Good Housekeeping; HGTV.

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