People say a cluttered house and a cluttered mind go hand in hand in hand. That’s an uncomfortable place to be, but it likely describes many homeowners – and explains why home organization is such big business. But hiring someone to organize our homes is expensive. And The Home Edit only gives us eight episodes to binge each season.
Most of us need to find ways to organize our homes and lives for ourselves. The end of the year, with its goal setting and retrospection, seems the best time to do just that.
Thankfully, getting organized doesn’t have to be a complicated process. By taking just a few simple steps in your home, you can save yourself time, expense, and headaches later on. Here are four easy home organization tips to help you stay on top of your to-do list as we head into the new year.
1. Add important home-related dates to your calendar.
Keeping a calendar is a great way to stay on top of your to-do list. And if you track home-related tasks on that calendar, you can better manage finances and maintenance.
Make sure your calendar includes:
- Scheduled mortgage, insurance, property tax, and utility payments.
- Importance maintenance tasks. (Use our handy home maintenance checklist to get started.)
- Upcoming inspections.
Consult last year’s household files or simply work your way through the months of the year to find important dates. Then add each of these dates to your calendar.
You may also want to consider adding reminder dates a few weeks in advance so you have ample time to prepare.
2. Create appliance reference folders.
Ever find yourself searching high and low for appliance receipts and manuals only to come up empty-handed? Simplify your search by creating appliance reference folders for major appliances, such as refrigerators, stoves, washing machines, dryers, dishwashers, and freezers.
Start by taking home inventory that lists all your major appliances and household systems for which you have documentation. Then create physical file folders or digital folders that will help you find information quickly and keep things updated easily. Store important appliance related information in these folders, including:
- Purchase receipts.
- Warranty information.
- Serial numbers.
- Instruction manuals.
Added bonus: If these items are damaged and you need to make a claim, this handy reference folder offers the information you need quickly.
3. Create a home storage chart.
The point of getting organized is knowing where things are so you can find them when you need them – so why organize things unless you record where they’re packed away? Create a home storage chart that identifies storage locations for seasonal items and you won’t scramble to find stored stuff again.
No more searching for holiday decorations or hunting down your stowed summer clothes. The next time you want to wrap gifts or turn over your wardrobe, you’ll know right where to go.
You can create your storage chart using pen and paper, a word processor, or spreadsheet. Once you’ve created your chart, be sure to store it in an easy-to-access spot – like a desk drawer or the inside of a kitchen cabinet – so you can refer to it throughout the year.
4. Rein in your paperwork.
If you’re like many homeowners, you may have important documents stored throughout the house. But you know they’re important and you may need them one day.
Do yourself a big favor and sort these files now. Start simple and separate them into these categories:
- Homeownership documents (your deed, titles, closing paperwork, mortgage information, etc.)
- Tax information (W2s, 1099s, proof of health insurance, and receipts for deductible expenses)
- Other financial information (pay stubs, retirement statements, investments, etc.)
- Insurance policies (home insurance, car insurance, health insurance, etc.)
For extra credit, scan these documents and so you can sort and store them digitally. That way if your physical files are destroyed, you have digital backups on hand.
About the Author
Rashelle Isip is a New York City-based professional organizer, blogger, and author. She is the founder of TheOrderExpert.com , a lifestyle site featuring practical organization tips, ideas, and inspiration. Her work has been featured in Good Housekeeping, Cosmopolitan, House Beautiful, Brit + Co, The Atlantic, Apartment Therapy, Refinery 29, and Fast Company. Get instant access to her free organization resource library filled with eBooks, worksheets, and checklists by visiting her website.
Editor’s note: This post was originally published in January 2019. It has been updated for accuracy and comprehensiveness.