As the owner of Get Organized with Bridges + CO, I have seen many situations of homes and areas that needed to be organized. Although everyone is a little bit different in the way they got themselves into their particular situation and how they like to arrange their belongings, certain rules ring true in all of these scenarios. I like to call these my Golden Rules of Organizing.

Delayed Decisions Create Clutter

Most people tend to have an area where excess ‘stuff’ accumulates. Whether it’s the kitchen table, the area near the front door or the desk in your study, there is a tendency to let things fall and stay in this place. This dumping ground can turn into a real mess over time!

The best way to overcome this habit is to set up a “landing area” that you know you will revisit before the end of the day. This way, those things don’t continue to pile up, creating clutter and wreaking havoc on your attempts at organizing.

I also suggest having a “staging area” where you can get items together that you will be using later on, say the next morning. This would be somewhere near the front door, for example, that you would put your keys, your purse, sunglasses, and anything for any errands or stops you might be making, like a return to Marshall’s.

This allow you to save time in the morning and gives you peace of mind, as you have already gathered everything you will need to head out the door. Gone are the days of dashing around the house for that forgotten item!

rules of organizing

Everything in Your House Needs to Have a Home

No matter what we are talking about, everything in your house needs to have a place where it belongs. The best place for each thing is where you will use it, such as the scissors in your desk drawer or in your kitchen. Where you store things will be different for each individual.

It is also beneficial to keep like things together. When you do this, you save time and money. People spend plenty on items they already have because they are in different locations all around the house, not being used.

One In; One Out

If you are purchasing or acquiring something new, plan on getting rid of another item in your home. Everyone could stand to get rid of some item in their house that they either don’t use or don’t love.

Once you get to a certain point of collecting so many things, clutter begins to creep in, and you’re overloaded with stuff. Make a donation or consider taking those unwanted items to a consignment store and possibly making some cash back on your clutter clearing! Read more about Using Consignment Shops as You Declutter, in my blog.

Stow as You Go

It is wise to return an item to its ‘home’ after you have finished using it. This saves you time and energy the next time around because you know exactly where to look, and it will be there! No more searching for things that you didn’t put away and wondering, ‘Now where did that get off to?’

Vertical is Visible; Horizontal is Hidden

This is a rule of thumb to always keep in mind. It is easier to find an important document if it is stored nicely in a file folder than if it is buried alive in a large stack of random papers.

rules for organizing

Do It Right Away!

Take care of things the first time the opportunity presents itself. Although it may seem like a hassle, this will actually make life easier for you in the long run.

Doing small tasks right away can help keep them from becoming an overwhelming to-do list with no end in sight. When you put things where they belong once a day, it can save you a weekend of cleaning and organizing, giving you time to do the things you enjoy.

Have a “Lids Off” Policy

Placing a lid on a storage container is temptation to continue to stack more containers on top. This creates a situation where the lowest box down is no longer accessible.

If you have to stack containers for space, it will behoove you to use clear bins. That way, you can easily identify what is inside without having to move the other containers to see the contents.

Look- REALLY Look- Back at Your Surroundings 

Clutter can become so commonplace in your home that you may start to overlook it. Look at each area of your room though one end of a paper towel roll. Is it overflowing with junk?

Take notice of these areas and begin to apply the rules we have addressed here. Clutter can be taken care of, it just takes intentional effort and time.

Taking advantage of “little minutes” will help over the long haul. Do you have five minutes to organize before you have to be to an appointment? Why not organize those random items on your dresser that you tossed there last night?

These small chunks of time can help you on your way to cutting clutter out of your life and becoming a more organized, relaxed and happy person!

rules for organizing

Playing by the Rules

These rules, when applied will help you keep your home and your life in order. See how we can help you in your situation by signing up for a free consultation! And, check out my newly revised ’10 Golden Rules of Organizing’ by signing up for our newsletter here.