Everyone has a different relationship with cleanliness and organization. Some of us are Monica from Friends and others prescribe to an organized chaos lifestyle. Either way, we can all agree that spring is the perfect time to clean out and organize our homes, our cars, and our wardrobes.
The state of your home has an enormous effect on your wellbeing and your mood. And it may not be something you experience until you take the time to organize your home and feel the difference when you walk in your door.
We hope to provide you with all of the information you need to make your home a space you love to be in. Decorating your interiors is all fun and games until you realize your home office has become a catch-all for clutter and your living room is covered with toys. That’s why we went straight to a pro.
Cat Camara, a professional organizer in the Boston area, gives us her top tips for a more organized home.
Cat started in the organization world after attending a seminar by Marie Kondo. She was inspired by her book and method and experienced firsthand the changes that happen in your life when you take the time to clear out and organize your home. Following that seminar, she knew she wanted to help others experience the same sense of wellbeing.
She recommends taking everything out, whether it be your closet or your kitchen drawers, and then determine what you’ll donate, keep, or throw away. Although the process can seem overwhelming, she encourages you to start small and think in micro projects.
Cat explains, “Set small goals with yourself. If you’re starting with clothing and the idea of taking all of your clothing out is too overwhelming, take out just t-shirts or dresses. Keep all the sentimental objects to the end, because that’s what will hold you up.”
Take everything out
When you start the process of clearing out, it’s important to take everything out at once. Cat describes, “You may think you know what it’s in that closet, but chances are you don’t. It’s really important to see the empty space and then only put back items that are important.” Once you’ve taken everything out, wipe the space down before you put anything back.
If you have kids and you’re not sure where to begin, the toy chest is the perfect place to start. Cat explains, “Do a toy purge regularly before birthdays and holidays. Get your kids involved and they’ll learn to know when it’s time to donate toys. I think it’s important to teach our kids to let go of their belongings.”
Purging the items in your home will not only feel amazing but it’ll teach you to be aware of how much you have. Cat says, “Once you do it, it won’t feel right anymore to have excess.”
Quick Tip: If you’re on a time crunch, clear out your purse! It’s a small project but one that will leave you feeling organized and accomplished—and will probably yield 3 lip balms and a fistful of change.
Give everything a home
It’s imperative that once you’ve gone through the purge process, you ensure that your belongings have an organized space to live in. Cat explains, “My goal isn’t for people’s homes to be perfect or never messy. But if everything has a home, you can easily tidy up in less than 10 minutes.”
With clothes, their home is fairly self-explanatory—your closet, a chest of drawers or dresser, and storage bins for out-of-season clothes. For other belongings, Cat loves baskets.
She’s a big believer in having a mail station in the entrance to your home where your papers go. “If you have a pretty basket that you enjoy looking at, your papers are less likely to end up scattered around your house.”
Makeover your cleaning supplies
This tip is simple yet effective. If cleaning is not your favorite chore, and even if it is, make it more enjoyable by choosing cleaning items that actually make you want to clean.
Cat says, “Find smells that make you happy and use bottles that are aesthetically pleasing. I like to take labels off and put my cleaning supplies into clear jars.”
Be sure that your cleaning supplies have a home (a basket is perfect here!) in a room that’s convenient and not tucked away in a closet where you can forget about them.
Avoid impulse purchases
Once you’ve gone through the process of cleaning and organizing your home, you’re naturally going to be more aware of your possessions. But it’s important to keep this awareness alive in your day-to-day life.
Cat says, “These days there’s Amazon prime, everything is cheap, and we live in a world where we can have stuff coming in constantly. Being conscious and creating a system to keep track of what’s coming in completely changed my spending habits.”
She recommends “skipping freebie gifts,” like tote bags, which end up being clutter. The goal is not to cut off all spending, but to make thoughtful purchases and invest in quality over quantity. Try to stay aware of impulse purchases when you’re out and perhaps consider the emotional triggers behind your spending habits.
Change your home, change your life
Cat stresses that when you put a spotlight on your home and how you interact with your environment, your life will change too. She describes her process, “I focus on the emotional part and why people hold on to things and that’s what separates me apart from other organizers. It’s not a short term fix—I work with my clients to put systems in place that change their mindset.”
Clearing your home of things that don’t make you happy will not only clear your mind but it’ll make living in your home a more pleasant experience. Visit Cat on Pepperlane to learn more about her business and her process.
Inspired to do a spring makeover in your home after you’re done organizing? Learn how to transition your home décor from Winter to Spring.