Practical Things You Can Do To Organize Piles of Stuff Around The House

Anyone else guilty of making piles of stuff that just sit for weeks and weeks (or longer)? When life gets busy, or we just don’t know what to do with items, it’s easy to just make a pile of stuff to get it out of the way or to do something with it. Your home may be plagued with piles like our home can be, but you don’t have to live with these piles of clutter forever. 

Here are a few habits that help us organize piles around the house for good:

  1. Everything has a home. Every item has a place to live within our living space. Easy stuff is the silverware lives in the drawer next to the fridge and each type of silverware piece has a slot in the organizing tray. Makes sense, right? However, when we start looking at other items it can become a little confusing. Where do the charging cords live? How about the vase you got as a gift? If you look around on your surfaces where clutter is building up, you’ll probably find a few things that still need “homes” within your house. 
  2. Create a system for new things. When you have something new come into your life, you need to evaluate if you really want/need that item. If so, then, you need to think through where it will live. If an item doesn’t have a place to live, it will soon become clutter and cause future stress. However, IF you decide you definitely are going to keep this item, you need to figure out a place for it, which may mean reorganizing and decluttering other items to make room. I also like to follow the one in/one out rule. When we get new items, we have to get rid of the same quantity of other items in return. It’s a nice way to think through managing our stuff over time. 
  3. Create Holding Zones. Sometimes piles are full of items you will truly need, just not today. The items in these piles may need to go to a Holding Zone. I like to think of Holding Zones as places for items I will need soon, but not right now. I don’t want to put them fully away yet, but I also don’t want them floating around becoming clutter. We have a Holding Zone on a small table on the edge of our kitchen where our mail organizer sits, but then there is space to put stuff like this that we will need soon, but don’t want on our kitchen counters. Beware, though:  these spaces need to be looked through every few weeks or months to see if anything has gotten forgotten.
  4. Spaces for Piles. Sometimes you just need to get stuff out of the way. When you have family coming over, all that junk on the kitchen table needs to go somewhere. If I haven’t had time to sort things, I like to make a pile of that stuff and move it to my office desk, or somewhere else where I’ll be forced to address it before too long. Just don’t throw your piles into a deep, dark closet where you’ll never look at that stuff again. 
  5. Find Storage. If you’re looking for homes for things in these piles of stuff, odds are you’ll need some storage containers. I like to find storage containers after I know what I’m organizing. I rarely go and buy storage containers and then start organizing the items. Over time, I’ve found that some of my baskets and boxes are still in good condition but I don’t need them right now. If I have the space, I will save these empty containers, knowing that down the road I will need to make a home for new items. Friends, I’m talking 2-4 containers that might be floating around empty in my basement for a few months or years at a time. If you have a ton more than that, see if you can give them to a friend or donate them so that others can get organized too without breaking the bank. No need to hoard!
  6. Spend a few minutes. I try to look around my home and see what items I “consumed” that day to make sure I’ve tidied up those items at a bare minimum. As you start to do this, you’ll realize what items have been sitting around for days or weeks and need a home. If you do nothing with them, they will soon get thrown in another pile and start to haunt you!  Spend a few minutes as you go through your day to help keep the piles down. Your future self will thank you for it!