Calm the Chaos: An Organizers Guide to Creating Functional Spaces

As moms, we want to have it all together. There are more and more things to do and seemingly less and less time in which to do it. Now, factor in the size of your family, and it’s no wonder most moms feel like there’s never enough time in a day. It might seem like you can’t afford the time it will take to organize your living spaces, but, believe me, the opposite is true. Think of how many things you could check off your to-do list in a day if your house ran like a well-oiled machine. Focusing on one area a day, you can calm the chaos and create beautiful, functional spaces.  Try these five tips to help make your busy home work for you.
  1. Systemize Snacks

organized pantryKeep family-friendly bins in the pantry labeled “kid snacks” or “treats” stocked with parent-approved snacks easily accessible throughout the day.  Do the same in your refrigerator.  Fill it with healthy snacks your kids can grab when they’re hungry. Have them be responsible for grabbing snacks before running out to practice or lessons, and for choosing what they want in their lunch bags. Take note of what’s left before you head to the grocery store so you know what and how much you need to buy to replenish your stock.
  1. Pop the Top on Your Closet

organized shoesAvoid using bins with lids in your closets, especially with frequently used items. Removing and replacing lids adds two unnecessary steps to the process, getting in the way, and making it harder to put things back where they belong. The containers you purchase may come with lids, but it doesn’t mean you have to use them.
  1. Correlate Your Car

car organizer
Shuttling kids to and from activities, running household errands, and commuting to and from work means you spend a lot of time in your car.  Your car may become a catchall for everything from charging cords to sporting equipment. To organize your car, set it up into activity zones according to what you use most frequently. You can find car organizers that neatly fit in your trunk or over your car seat, or get creative with normal household items.  This one, from Amazon, is less than $9! Things you use most often, like cell phone chargers, coupons, or tissues, should be stored within arms-reach of the driver’s seat. Items less used, but important, could go in the glovebox or in an over the seat organizer. Emergency items, items to be donated, and other things that frequently travel with you, should be stored in the trunk.  Take just a minute before you get out of the car to collect garbage and throw it away, no matter where you stop.
  1. Don’t Sell—Donate

donateIt’s easy to become distracted from your project when you find a lost item beneath the clutter. Although selling unused items seems like a good idea, the added time it takes detracts from your goal.  Unless you have the time to organize and host a yard sale or upload photos and catalog items to sell online, donating unneeded items allows you to spend more time doing the things you love and less time moving the mess from room to room.  If your goal is to organize and feel more comfortable in your space, pocketing a few extra dollars won’t help you feel accomplished.
  1. Set Yourself Up for Success

Have clothes that don’t fit well? Accessories you haven’t worn in years? 23 pair of jeans? Create a list of your personal organizing rules. Before you begin your next project, review your rules, and stick to them. A written set of guidelines will give you direction, motivation, and insight into your progress. Posting your guidelines near your project can serve as a helpful reminder as you work.   Wait to buy bins and other storage items until after you’ve sorted your belongings. One of the biggest mistakes people make when attempting to organize a space is to think they need containers before they begin. Waiting until after you’ve sorted through your things allows you the opportunity to buy appropriate storage solutions that will better fit your belongings. Organizing your home to work with your busy schedule will be the greatest time saver of all.  Seriously, set aside the time, get the family involved, and create a system that works with your lifestyle. I'm pretty confident you won't end your project saying, “I totally regret organizing my home.” Stylish functionality will bring more peace and harmony (see what I did there??) into your otherwise hectic life. Happy Organizing!