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The Biggest Organizing Mistakes You’re Making According to Pros

An discouraged woman looking at her unorganized home.
Ground Picture/ Shutterstock.com

Having an organized home feels fantastic. Stress levels seem to drop when your space is clutter-free, and everything is in the right place. But when our demanding life takes priority, that house can quickly become disorganized.

We wanted to learn about people’s biggest blunders when organizing belongings in their homes. We spoke with the President of YouCopia, Lauren Greenwood, and Certified Professional Designer Serena Close from ShelfGenie. Not only did they fill us in on some of the biggest mistakes they see in homes, but they also provided us with ways to fix them.

Contributing Factors to Poor Organization

Too many boxes of stuff that need to go.
Ms S. Ann/ Shutterstock.com

We wondered what some of the most significant contributing factors to an unorganized home might be, so we asked both experts to chime in on the subject.

Both Greenwood and Close agreed that it is essential to know what items you have in your home in order to keep your space tidy. This will ensure you don’t accumulate unneeded duplicate items. Having a designated place for everything and ensuring that these items return to that space when you are finished using them is also critical for an uncluttered home.

“Be ruthless about what takes up space in your home,” says Greenwood. “If you purchase something new, make sure you decide where it will be stored and use the opportunity to donate any worn or unused items it might replace.”

Close also made an excellent point. She told LifeSavvy that “periodically re-evaluating the items in your home will help keep you from accumulating unnecessary or duplicate items.”

Figuring out what stays and what goes can be difficult for some of us. The key is to take time to assess all the belongings you own and to not hold on to any unnecessary stuff. You don’t have to decide what goes right away, but the longer you wait, the messier your home may feel.

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Biggest Organizing Mistakes in the Kitchen

Countertop clutter in a kitchen.
Kevin Brine/ Shutterstock.com

It’s far too easy to accumulate unnecessary kitchen gadgets, and it happens all the time. Greenwood let us know having too many tools is one of the biggest organizing mistakes people make in their kitchen. She told us that “gadgets and tools tend to accumulate over time, but you’re likely always reaching for your favorites when it’s time to cook.”

She is totally right. As someone who is passionate about cooking, gadgets absolutely do build up over time. No matter what, though, I always reach for my classic go-to tools for most cooking tasks.

Close told LifeSavvy that one of the biggest kitchen organizing mistakes is not creating zones for yourself. “Place items conveniently where you need them,” she said.

Most chefs organize their kitchens with zones to ensure that every step they take is seamless. For example, keep your favorite tools (like your chef’s knife, cutting boards, skillets) close and the ones you use on a rare occasion (like your cheese grater, immersion blender, slow cooker) in another location like the pantry or corner cabinet on the other side of the kitchen.

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Biggest Organizing Mistakes in the Living Room

A couch filled with several things

The living room tends to be the heart of a home for many families. With all that foot traffic and time spent on the couches, clutter accumulates rather quickly. Possibly one of the biggest organization mistakes in the living room revolves around electronics.

Remote controls, charging chords, and other gadgets always seem to find their way to the living room, but your space will start to look untidy without an adequately designated space for them. Close recommended having a designated area for the remote and other controllers and phone chargers.

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Luckily, there are several ways to ensure your remote returns to the same spot every time. An all-in-one remote control caddy is possibly one of the easiest ways to stay organized. Store your tablet, phone, remote control, and anything else in one sleek organizer.

Biggest Organizing Mistakes in the Bedroom

A disorganized and messy bedroom.
Neil Carrington/ Shutterstock.com

Bedrooms are often smaller than the kitchen or living room, so they tend to become cluttered quickly. Whether your closets and dressers are overflowing or your space has too much unnecessary stuff everywhere, it’s essential to evaluate every so often.

Close let us know that sometimes the biggest organizing mistake in a bedroom is having too many organizers. She told us that buying too many organizers can become the main issue because of all the valuable space you take up. Instead of buying more organizers for your stuff, she recommends taking inventory of what you need before purchasing an organizer.

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If owning too many clothes tends to be your number one issue, there is a nifty trick you can use to help purge unwanted extras.

“Commit to a solid month of wearing everything you have,” Close told LifeSavvy. “When you wash it – don’t put it back in your dresser.” Close then explained that the clothes should go into the closet instead. “Hang it back up but put the hangers up backwards. At the end of 4 weeks, what is left in your dresser/closet should be re-evaluated.”

What a great way to see what clothes you actually wear and assess which ones can go to a donation box.

Biggest Organizing Mistakes in Storage Spaces

A garage with a lot of stuff pile up.
trekandshoot/ Shutterstock.com

The attic, basement, and garage are all awesome locations for storing extra stuff you may have. Unfortunately, letting unnecessary stuff pile up in those locations can be a big mistake.

Close pointed out that when we store items away in boxes, they tend to stay there because they are “out of sight, out of mind.” Those “time capsules” do nothing more than collect dust and take up space, so make sure you know what’s inside and get rid of what you don’t need.

Close recommends using clear bins to help see what’s inside and to reduce wasted space. Large plastic bins like these IRIS USA containers offer plenty of room and come with secure latching lids, so you won’t have to worry about busted tops.

Tips for Becoming More Organized

A donation box full of unwanted items.
LightField Studios/ Shutterstock.com

Organizing your home can be a huge task, but taking small steps to help declutter and tidy up your space will get you great results. While it can feel overwhelming at first, there are lots of tips you can take to become more organized.

Both Greenwood and Close gave us some of their best tips for becoming more organized, and we can’t wait to put them to use ourselves.

Start Small

Giving yourself small achievable goals will surely give you great results over time. This is especially true when organizing your home. “Organizing your whole home is daunting, so focus on one area, like a single drawer or cabinet, first,” Greenwood said. “If you can get a small win (woo hoo!), you’ll feel motivated to keep going, one area at a time.”

If you love to-do lists, feel free to write down a list of organizing projects you would love to complete in your home, then start attacking one project at a time. Celebrate your win, then move on to another project.

Start Tossing Items

While it can feel tough to donate or toss some items away, it’s the one step you must take to get closer to a tidy home. Close says to “toss anything you haven’t used in the last six months, combine any duplicate items where you can, and throw out expired items.”

If you have items that a nearby shelter can use, consider bringing your stuff there. Not only will you clear out space in your own home, but you will also be helping a community member in need at the same time.

Use Organizers

Organizers are a beautiful thing when they are actually used. Not only will they help keep your home looking fresh, but some organizers double as fashionable furnishings for your home.

Greenwood told us that “turntables, bins, racks, shelves, and other organization solutions can provide a dedicated place for household items, so you’re more likely to stay organized in the future.”

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Fashionable and functional.

We keep a leather ottoman bench by our door underneath our coat rack. It’s an all-in-one place to store school backpacks, lunch boxes, purses, and much more. Not only does it look lovely, but it serves the purpose of hiding items that are often left all over the house.

We all make organizing mistakes in our homes, but as long as we start somewhere and continue to re-evaluate over time, we can all have a tidy space where we love to relax. 

Emilee Unterkoefler Emilee Unterkoefler
Emilee Unterkoefler is a freelance food writer, hiking enthusiast, and mama with over ten years of experience working in the food industry. Read Full Bio »
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