As that weirdo in college with an obsessive habit of deep-cleaning and reorganizing my apartment, my passion for home organization has always fallen on the extreme side of the spectrum. But now, with a full-time job and a side hustle, organizing often falls to the wayside amid jam-packed schedules and ever-expanding to-do lists. Since I know that nonstop days are inevitable and my busy to-do list isn’t going anywhere, I’ve come up with a few tricks to keep my home as organized as I like it, without spending too much time. These organization hacks make it possible for me to keep my home in order, even when life threatens to get in the way.
By committing to these daily habits, I keep my clutter under control and maintain a sense of order without putting in a ton of effort or time. Read on for the organization hacks I swear by to keep my life tidy, even during the busiest weeks.
1. Stash items in containers
This is one of the easiest organization hacks out there, and you can use it in every room! In the living room, woven baskets or lidded bins are an easy solution for clutter-causing items like magazines or TV accessories. The area under your bathroom sink can benefit from stackable containers or open bins for hair tools, extra toiletries, and beauty products. Add in skinny dividers to compartmentalize your kitchen drawers, and use bins to neatly corral different categories of pantry ingredients. Each day, all you have to do is put items back in their appropriate containers, and your home instantly looks organized!
2. Do a quick reset every night
Make tidying up a part of your nighttime routine so you never have to wake up to a disaster zone. Before you shut off the lights and head to bed, take 10 minutes to “reset” your space. That might mean folding up throw blankets that were strewn all over the couch or putting away clothes left on your bedroom floor. You might just sleep better knowing you don’t have to spend the next day catching up with yesterday’s messes.
3. Clean the kitchen while the coffee brews
By my calculation (or, you know, the kitchen clock), it takes eight minutes for my java to brew, which means I have eight minutes to tidy up before I take that first sip. Every morning, I take a few minutes to clean off the counter, put dishes away, and clean anything leftover from the night before. I make sure that the kitchen is cleaned (in just a few minutes!) before I drink my coffee. Not only does this save me the hassle of having to straighten up after work, but it’s also a way for me to make the most of those few precious minutes before it’s time to start the workday.
4. Wash the dishes right after dinner
I know washing up after you’ve gone all MasterChef and prepared a showstopper of a dinner is probably the last thing you want to do. However, doing dishes as soon as possible can prevent food from sticking onto pots and pans that have been sitting for a while. Because I’m the type of person who always needs dessert, I’ve incorporated cleaning up into my dessert routine. After dinner, I return to the kitchen to wash whatever pots and pans I used that night. While I wash, I multitask by turning on the kettle for tea. By the time I’ve scrubbed my last pot, the water is ready for my cup of chamomile, and I reward myself with dessert.
5. Unpack your bag when you get home
Unpacking my bag immediately when I get home is a holy grail step for me. See, I’m a schlepper. I’m that person who totes a massive purse with her everywhere she goes. While I love the convenience of an oversized bag (it’s a lunchbox, backpack, and makeup bag!), I don’t love fishing around for headphones, my phone, or lip gloss. The fix? Reorganizing and unpacking regularly. As soon as I get home, I set my purse down and take everything out of it (à la Mary Poppins). I then put everything away (lunch container on the kitchen counter, shoes on the shelf, lipstick in the organizer, etc.) immediately so I don’t have any clutter in my purse or in my home.
6. Put things back right away
It’s common sense that when you take something out, you put it away, right? Try telling yourself that when it’s 10 p.m. and you’re cozy in bed with your pajamas on and a cup of tea in hand. But the second you finish a book, you should place it back on your bookshelf. That also goes for your laptop, magazine, phone, etc. The point is that when you’re done with whatever it is, put it back where it belongs. Don’t set it precariously at the end of the bed, toss it on the couch, or relegate it to a pile of “stuff” on the coffee table. Doing so just creates an eyesore and makes it more time-consuming to put away in the long run as item after item stacks up. Save yourself time and clutter by putting everything back as soon as you’re done using it.
7. Pick out your outfits on Sunday
A few months into working my current job, I noticed it was taking me longer and longer to get ready in the morning, all because of my outfits. I’d put on a shirt, realize it didn’t work with my skirt, then swap it out for a sweater only to decide it’s too bulky for the skirt. Before I knew it, 15-20 minutes had passed just focused on my outfit. I began carving out time on Sundays to pick out and plan my outfits for the week. Doing it in advance also allowed me to check the weather and review my schedule for the week. Am I working from home every day? Do I have meetings? Events? Planning my outfits ahead of time saves me the hassle of figuring it out the morning of. But the best part? I never have to deal with piles of clothes thrown around the room.