Before we start, lets clarify some vocabulary. Clean VS Tidy. Tidy means everything is in it's place, no clutter [no junk drawers]. Clean is when you or your cleaning lady get those rubber gloves on and start scrubbing down the dirt in areas of the house.
I love organizing and getting the satisfaction of having a neat home. After reading The Secret Magic of Tidying Up I learned oodles about myself and tidying. I came to realize that it didn't matter what containers I used, how big or small our home was because staying organized starts with this foundation.
It's not just a saying, it really is true. There is a place for everything and everything in it's place. From now on see every item you own with the mentality that it needs its own "home". Hair accessories, watches, shoes, kitchen items, keys, tools, batteries, every single toy your kids own down to the last Lego. Yup EVERYTHING! If it doesn't have a home, it doesn't belong in YOUR HOME.
Ever wonder why you always misplace your keys, wallet, phone? It's may be because these items have too many homes. If you keep everything in the same place you'll always know where it is. Give it a home and only one home.
BUT purging doesn't happen just once, it happens whenever things start to get a little crowded. Like pruning flowers, our home needs pruning too. I usually purge twice a year and especially before Christmas when our home is going to expect some new items.
3. CREATE HABITS
THE SECRET to a tidy house is creating habits. You may not have the habits yet in order to have a tidy home and that is okay. A home is not tidy because a person is messy or doesn't know how to organize, it's from a lack of two main habits.
1. You haven't mastered the habit of throwing/giving things away... mail, papers, unused/unwanted items [this is how clutter starts and grows]
2. You haven't mastered the habit of putting things away [I'm still working on this especially in the laundry department].
I didn't realize the importance of habits until I stopped having to deal with cleaning out the crazy sticky mess in my purse every few months [thank you Marie for your method]. All my items have a home in the entryway closet. I choose a purse or bag [left hangy thing], load, grab my shoes [right hangy thing] and leave the house. As soon as I walk in the house, I put my shoes away, put my keys on the hook, put bag and wallet away [habit number 2] and throw away receipts or junk [habit number 1]. Less than five minutes and ta-da no losing things, no clutter, no mess. It was a habit worth mastering.
The home may not be perfect or beautifully decorated, but behind every tidy home is an owner who has built this foundation.
1. Does every item in your house have a "home"?
2. Do you need to purge and expand?
3. Do you have the two good habits of throwing and putting away?