Oops! 9 Most Common Home Organizing Mistakes

Oops! Road SignEvery family’s space and organizing needs are unique but there are some common mistakes that many people make when struggling to organize their home.

1. Not Utilizing Vertical Space– Take a look around the room. Is everything in the space at or below counter height? This is a good indication that you’re not taking advantage of your vertical space. Some options include: a fixed shelf, adjustable shelving systems, a bookshelf, armoire, pegboard, rail system or even some simple hooks.

2. Not Designating a Home for Your Stuff– So many people end up being late because they are looking for their keys or cell phones, items we use and look for daily. You can save your future-self the stress and aggravation of trying to find your keys, remote, sunglasses, cell phone, etc. if you determine where it will live. You’ll also need to foster the habit of putting it away in it’s designated home instead of dropping it where it lands. {I’ll be post more about this during the 31 Days of Real Life Organizing.}

3. No Place for Outerwear– Many people do have coat closets, but I do find that they are often stuffed full of seldom used items and offer no room for storing frequently used outerwear and gear.

4. Not Taking the Time to Label– Never underestimate the power of labeling. I say that quite often. Label makers are so inexpensive these days. Type up a label for the shelf and/or each container on a shelf. Even a extra-sticky notes and a marker will work. This will help reserve a spot and ensure the appropriate bin returns to its designated location on the shelf.

5. Not Utilizing Containers– Containers are the key to keeping related items organized. If you group like items together in one container, you can pull it out when you need it and simply place it back where it belongs when you are done. This works great for things like hair care, skin care, first-aid, etc. Some options include: clear, plastic shoe boxes (with or without the covers), food storage containers, bins, baskets, drawer organizers or even up-cycled boxes and food containers do the trick. {Here’s another topic I’ll post more about later in the 31 Days series.}

6. Folding Clothing & Linens Without Considering Your Storage Space– One of the best ways to maximize your storage spaces (i.e. drawers, shelves, etc.) is to adjust how you fold something. Perhaps your towels would fit better if you rolled them instead of folded in half…or maybe try folding in thirds instead. Also, we traditionally stack folded items in drawers. Why not try filing instead of piling? Instead of piling t-shirts in a drawer, try to fold them smaller and position them as if you were filing a piece of paper. You will be able to grab the one you want without disrupting the whole lot.

7. Not Having a Collection Point for Paper– Designate an inbox as a single collection point for incoming paper. You can also train family members to put papers in your inbox so they don’t get misplaced. There is a lot more to organizing your paper but it starts with a solid foundation. You do need to process it on a regular basis in order to tame the paper monster. It works best to create an inbox for each person in the family.

8. Using the Builder-Standard Closet Shelf & Rod– You don’t have to spend a boatload of money to reconfigure your closet. If you are on a tight budget and have the typical rod and shelf set up, simply raise the rod and shelf and purchase a double hanging rod or ‘closet doubler’ to double your short hanging space. This step alone can double the amount of hanging space available.

9. No Systems for Letting Go– We spend lots of time acquiring stuff…but not as much time letting go of it. To make donation collection easy, keep a shopping bag or box in your closet. As you dress and find things don’t fit you or you continually pass up an item because it is uncomfortable, or just not your style anymore, toss it in the donation bag. Once it is full transfer it to your car to drop off and start a new one. You can do the same for each family member and this applies to toys, gadgets, books and other belongings, too.

I could probably continue adding to the list but I tried to stick to the most common mistakes I have seen when organizing in client’s homes…and those that are easily addressed. Do any {or all} of these sound familiar to you? Do you have any you’d like to add to the list?

Practice Assignment: Pick one “mistake” from the list above in your home and commit to fixing it by commenting on this post. Don’t forget to check back in and let us know how you did.

Ciao for now!


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