How Organizing Your New Home Can Improve Your Life

You did it! You found the perfect new home in a great neighborhood. Just the right size and shape, and good feng shui, to boot! Your new place is steps away from a café (lucky you) and close enough to work that you just might become known as the office early bird.

Now you feel like sitting back and taking a well-earned break. And you can do that—after you finish organizing your new home.

This is the perfect time to get it right – to set up your new pad to suit you perfectly. No more clutter, no more looking everywhere for the scissors or ruler or tape measure.

Ask yourself: have you ever really been organized? Chances are — assuming you’re human — you haven’t. The fact is we all have more interesting and pressing things that we prefer to do. But, if you want more time to do what you really want, then getting organized can actually help you create more spare time.

Just think: six minutes every morning looking for your keys becomes 36 hours a year. That’s an entire summer of dance lessons or intensive language classes. According to The New York Times, it’s even enough time to get to know your new city.

Clearly, it’s worth your time to get organized.

An icon of organization is Dorothy Breininger. You might know her from Hoarders; to me, she’s Dorothy the Organizer. I had the chance to ask her my top two questions on organizing a new home, and here’s what she shared:

On starting to organize your new home:

When organizing your new home, you want to declare your zones (or categories) in advance before you unpack or as soon as you finish reading this blog! For example, think about where you plan to keep your bags and luggage – is it the closet or the garage? How about gardening supplies? Garage or back yard shed? Gift wrap zone – hall closet, guest room, or craft area? Photo albums and photo CD’s? The family room or the office? Even if you packed up your belongings haphazardly; now, as you unpack, you now have a “zone” for all grouped items together in just one area. Picture this: Your spouse says, “Honey, where are the rubber bands?” And you say, “Why they are in the office supply zone in the closet in the new office, my dear!” Blissful new home indeed!

On avoiding clutter:

You can eliminate clutter before it builds up in your new home. I suggest getting really clear on your values in life right now– for yourself and your family. You only want to purchase or receive items from others that support those values and learn to say “no” to the stuff that doesn’t. As an illustration: If your career as a chef is what you value you most, then it makes sense to keep your food magazines, cookbooks and kitchen gizmos. But then be clear you don’t bring in other clutter like travel magazines or crafting projects to use up your precious space for cooking stuff. If health is what you value highest, then exercise bikes, vitamins, running shoes and jump ropes are what you want surrounding you but steer clear of lesser valued clutter such as gardening guide books, bins of yarn and material for sewing, or the inherited (and unwanted) piano from your late Aunt Ruth.

Here are a few more simple steps to keep in mind as you unpack and set up your new home.

  1. Think about how many dishes you really need. Sure, Mom gave you service for 12, but if it’s just you, you might want to sell that. When it’s party time, go with eco-friendly plates from Whole Foods.
  2. How many books did you bring? Before loading up your bookshelves, ask yourself if you are likely to refer to a book again, ever. If not, it’s a great time to get acquainted with your local library.
  3. You have a new home and a new place to make your art. Put all your hobby supplies in one place. A cardboard box works great. When you have some time, sort through what you will actually use and what you won’t. Sell the rest on eBay. Take the money and explore your new neighborhood’s pubs.
  4. If you’ve brought along a bunch of framed pictures but can’t find the right spot for them, consider taking them out of the frames and scanning them into your new, organized online album.

You have a new place and a new start. Now, get it organized and enjoy!

Conna Shannon

Conna Shannon

Conna is a writer, editor and aspiring filmmaker. She's into DIY, upcylcing and macrobiotic cooking. She lives in Monterey, California, with a yellow lab named Daisy.
Conna Shannon

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