However, if you haven’t quite got the execution right, a seemingly harmless storage or organisation hack could have you fossicking through the linen cupboard looking for that ‘thing’ you put in a ‘safe place’ for over an hour, only to discover it in another box, in another cupboard, in another room. Not quite the time-saving solution is sold itself as now, is it?
Organisation mistakes are something we all make, so here’s a list of the most common blunders and how to fix them.
Mistake One: Keeping mail, bills and paperwork all in the same place
The problem with this idea is that you have to sort out the things you need to follow up from those you’ve completed, and it clutters up the area you’re keeping the papers in. Not to mention, if this little area is somewhere you rarely frequent, you’re likely to forget to go back to those things that need following up. A better solution is to digitise all your mail, paperwork and have your bills emailed to you. This way you can create an easily accessible folder on your desktop and label folders for each ‘paid’, ‘to follow up’, or ‘keep for tax time’, etc.
Mistake Two: Thinking a product or storage box will solve all your problems
On average, we use 20 per cent of our stuff 80 per cent of the time. So rather than keeping everything and just buying more storage, try to eliminate as much of the excess 80 per cent of stuff as much as possible. Only buy more storage after you’ve already decluttered your home. You may find that after a good clean out you don’t even need all the storage products you already have.
Mistake Three: Stashing your stuff out of sight
The problem here is that you’re tucking things away to make your home appear clean on the surface, but when you go looking for anything specific you have to dig through piles of stuff to find it. A good rule of thumb is if you can't find, remove, use and return something to it’s rightful place in a few movements, then it’s time to reorganise your cupboards or hidey-holes. Use the many:few techniques for shelves and cupboards: Place many items in a single row at the back, and another single row of just a few things in front. This makes everything visually and physically easier to access.
Mistake Four: Not knowing how you want a space to function
It’s important when organising a particular room or space that you have a plan for the way you want it to function. Make sure you’re utilising prime real estate effectively. Keep the most essential and often-used items in storage areas that are easy to access. For example, don’t store pens and paper in a cupboard that requires a step ladder for access. Store them in a drawer the whole family can easily reach.
Mistake Five: Not utilising organisation and storage products correctly
Labelled items can be very useful, but only when you know where they are. Utilise over-the-door hooks for school bags, or for cleaning products in the laundry. Label a ziplock bag for each digital device in your home, and ensure chargers and connection cables are kept in them for easy identification. Electric cables and other bits and pieces can be slung over wall-hooks inside cupboards or on the garage wall.
Mistake Six: Not having a disposal plan
The biggest organisation mistake you can make is not having a plan for how to dispose of all the items you no longer need. Sort items into piles of donate, sell or toss and get them to their destinations as soon as possible to avoid driving around with a bag of clothes for the op-shop in your car for a month.
This article originally appeared on Better Homes and Gardens.
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