Interior Cleaning

9 Organizing Mistakes That Make Your House Messier

Sometimes organization can actually work against you. Here are nine common mistakes that turn “neat” into a problem.

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Real Organization Makes Your Life Easier

While it’s true that a well-organized home is more functional, peaceful, and attractive, that’s only true when it’s well organized. You might think that everything is fine as long as the place is clean and there aren’t teetering piles of clutter scattered about, but actually, there are a few organizing mistakes that reduce the form and function of your space, rather than improve it.

Here are nine common mistakes that turn your good intentions on their head. Luckily, it’s easy to fix them and gain the organized home you’ve always dreamed of.

Related: The 30 Easiest Organizing Tasks Ever

Neatly Stacked Piles of Clutter

Just because you’ve neatly stacked all of that unfiled paperwork on your desk, the multiple plastic storage containers sans lids in your cupboard, or the magazines you definitely intend to read “one of these days,” that doesn’t actually count as organized. You’ve merely made clutter less overwhelming. Instead, file or toss those papers, read or dispose of the magazines, and get rid of excess storage containers, along with any other items you’ve “organized” by stacking.

Inconveniently Placed Cleaning Supplies

Sure, you could store all your cleaning supplies on the service porch, in the garage, or under the kitchen sink, but if your home is large or has multiple floors, that’s a lot of trekking back and forth come housework day. Instead, keep cleaning supplies in or near the room where they are actually used: toilet and tub cleaner under the bathroom sink, kitchen-cleaning products under the kitchen sink, and general household cleaners stashed in a tote that’s easy to grab-and-go when you need it.

Related: 15 Cleaning Mistakes Everyone Makes

“Just in Case”

Many homes have closets and cabinets loaded with dusty items being stored “just in case” they are ever needed. But unless that item is actually used at least once a year—holiday decorations, for example, or seasonal sporting goods—it’s actually just taking up space that could be put to better use storing things you do need and use regularly. Be honest with yourself, and sell or donate those “just in case” items that you know deep down inside are never going to be needed.

Inconveniencing Yourself

Your kitchen counters might look Instagram worthy without the coffee maker, toaster, or knife block out on display, but if you use those things every day, it makes more sense to keep them out than to put them away and pull them back out each and every morning. Instead, store small appliances and kitchen gadgets that are used on occasion, while leaving out only those items that truly are used regularly.

Overloading on Organizers

Far too many people become so enthusiastic about the idea of organizing that they hurry out and buy an overload of boxes and bins which wind up becoming clutter themselves. If your garage, kitchen cabinets, or coat closets hold a plethora of storage boxes packed into other storage boxes that you’re holding onto in case you need them at some indeterminate date, then it’s time to let those extra organizers go.

Bedroom Closets that Don’t Work For You

A well-organized bedroom closet definitely speeds up your mornings, but only if that organization works for your actual lifestyle and needs. Just because you admire a gorgeously organized closet on Pinterest or Instagram doesn’t mean that’s the best solution for your own home. Sure, your dressiest shoes and garments might look spectacular up front and on display when you open the closet door, but if you rarely wear those items, it makes more sense to store them towards the back of the closet, and instead move the shoes and clothing you wear most often up front where they are easily accessed.

Related: Organize Closets with 11 Things You Already Own

Too Much Stuff

It’s possible to have a well-organized home that still feels cluttered. No matter how large your space, it has a maximum storage capacity beyond which you enter the “too much stuff” zone. The solution is simple, although not necessarily easy; you need to be honest with yourself about each and every item residing in your home. If it isn’t useful, beautiful, or loved, it’s taking up space best used by something that does fit those requirements.

Confusing Clean with Organized

Ideally, clean and organized go together, but one does not necessarily indicate the other. It’s entirely possible to have a clean home that’s very cluttered, or an organized home that’s actually grungy. However, once you have your space organized properly, it does become a lot easier to keep it clean, as you no longer need to maneuver around clutter. Still, don’t confuse the two; you need to both organize your belongings and clean your home on a regular basis.

Putting Off What You Should Do Today

Organizing your home is never a “one and done” activity. It requires regular—usually daily—attention to putting things where they belong, getting rid of belongings that no longer serve a purpose in your life, and adapting your methods as necessary to maintain a clean, functional, and attractive space. Luckily, for most people it only takes a few minutes a day to accomplish this. Don’t make the common mistake of procrastinating on your organizing efforts, as all too quickly what was a small task becomes a major project that is hard to face, thus leading to further procrastination. Instead, take just five to 10 minutes each day to clean up and put things away.

Get Organized—For Real This Time

With these tips in hand, you can finally get the organized home of your dreams.