Sure there’s spring cleaning and New Year’s organization, but anyone who attempts to keep a home even semi-together knows that it’s a year-round battle of streamlining. Which is exactly why we’ve tapped Lisa Ruff, an expert behind the Neat Method, to serve up their best organization tips to get your home ready for one of the busiest seasons of the year.
Whether you’re prepping little ones to go back to school, or settling yourself into a new routine at work, fall is a time for new beginnings. It’s a time to focus in and conquer some goals before the holidays hit.
So why not set your home up for success? Using Ruff’s organization tips below, you’ll prioritize what areas of your space you should focus on organizing… and then how to keep it that way. Read on, queue up an autumnal playlist or podcast, and get busy polishing your space.
image by kristen kilpatrick
image by Neat Method
How do you decide which space takes priority when it comes to organizing?
Start by organizing the space that’s most impacting your day-to-day. Are you not motivated to exercise because it’s a hassle to untangle your leggings? Is getting your kids out the door in the morning a stressfest? The positive impact of organizing those spaces will motivate you to keep going on the rest of your home. However, do not start with the space that requires editing your beloved graphic tee collection! That’s best saved for after you have a few rooms under your belt and you’re already reveling in the benefits of living in an organized home.
What should you do if you have just one afternoon to declutter?
Think small. You need enough time to completely finish the project or else unwanted items will slowly creep back in. It’s not just editing and organizing, you may also need to run out and purchase organizational product or make a donation drop for the items you no longer want.
What’s your top organizing tip for small spaces?
White space (or negative space) is important for all homes, especially small spaces. Creating white space allows your eyes a rest, creates a sense of calm and ensures easy access to items. So resist the urge to fill a closet or shelving to capacity and aim for ruthless editing. If there’s plenty of space to grab an item and easily put it away, you’ll be more likely to put it back in the correct spot and not just shove it where it fits.
How often should we be doing a home-wide organization push?
We suggest that if you’ve experienced a major life change (move, new roommate), then it’s time for an overhaul. Otherwise, periodic “touch-ups” should be enough to maintain organizational systems, especially after a busy work week or the holidays. People are surprised to learn that being organized is not “one and done.” It’s an on-going process. But touch-ups will go quickly when done on a weekly or daily basis. For example, when you put away your grocery shopping, take five minutes to put things back into their place. More frequent touch-ups will go faster and help maintain the organization.
image by Neat Method
How can you get the other members of your household on board with organization?
Involve everyone who lives in the home from the beginning and ask for their input. The more invested they are in the project, the more likely they will maintain the organization. Also, realize that being organized means something different to everyone. Just like life, it’s about compromise so everyone feels comfortable at home. But there’s no reason you can’t go full Martha Stewart on your own underwear or personal bathroom drawer!
What is the best way to store seasonal decorations and/or items?
This is the time to utilize out of the way shelving and other storage spots that are more difficult to access on a regular basis since these items won’t be used again for a while. Transparent bins with lids are the perfect option so you can quickly see what’s inside and stack a few to take advantage of vertical storage. We also always recommend labeling long-term storage bins.
Do you find that we prioritize organizing certain spaces during certain seasons?
Definitely. As seasons change, it makes sense to take stock of items that are in current rotation. In the transition to fall take a look at your outdoor items, plastic glassware, pool towels, bathing suits, etc. Are they still sparking joy at the end of the season? If so, clean them up and store them away. If not, donate them to someone else who will love them.
What is the best way to prep your home for fall?
For many, fall is an opportunity to get cozy at home and entertain. That means that spaces like kitchens, pantries, bar carts and guest rooms are seeing a lot of love. Schedule some time during the summer to fall transition to touch-up these spaces. Maybe move the margarita glasses and pool towels to the back of the shelf or long term storage to give the red wine glasses and throw blankets some extra room.
image by Neat Method
What organization tip do you wish everyone knew?
Everyone should have a bin or bag within easy reach for no longer needed items. Once it’s full, then make a donation drop-off. Often an unwanted item is put back because in the rush of the moment there’s no time to track down a bag to put it in and then a place for the bag to sit. Carve out a small space in your home for the bin to live, you’ll thank us later.