It’s easy for a clean and organized home to fall by the wayside when life gets busy, but keeping your home neat can improve your productivity and even relieve stress. After all, it’s hard to relax in a home surrounded by mess. Instead, you want your home to be a sanctuary. If your home feels messy despite your best efforts to curb the clutter, chances are you might be committing common home organizing mistakes. We reached out to experts from New York, NY to San Diego, CA to share the most common home organizing mistakes they notice and ideas you can use to solve them so you can get back to enjoying, and relaxing, in your home.

1. Starting without a plan 

One of the most common organizing mistakes is not having a plan. Before you start organizing a space, take some time to think about what you want to accomplish. Ask yourself what items you need to keep and what can be donated or thrown away. Take measurements of your space and create a plan of where you want everything to go. This will save you time and help you make better decisions when it comes to what to keep and what to get rid of.

2. Not decluttering first

Another mistake is not decluttering your space before you start organizing. It’s important to go through your belongings and get rid of anything you don’t need or use anymore. This will not only make your space less cluttered, but it will also make organizing much easier. “You really shouldn’t be holding onto items you haven’t used in years, and have no intention of using,” says Teresa Dinneen from Lifestyled “I suggest doing seasonal edits of all spaces in your home and donate items you aren’t using to keep your home clutter free and organized.”

3. Having a lack of storage

Lack of storage is a common issue that can lead to clutter. Make sure you have enough storage solutions in your home, such as shelves, cabinets, and drawers. Utilize vertical space by adding shelves or hanging organizers. “A lot of homes don’t make the most of their vertical space, and it leads to cluttered countertops and floors,” says Kristin Roser of Kristen + Co Organizing. “Think up. Use your walls by installing shelves, hooks, or pegboards. It’ll help keep things off your countertops and floors, giving you a more organized space.” 

4. Filling spaces to their max capacity 

Filling spaces to their maximum capacity is a common mistake that can lead to cluttered and disorganized living spaces. When you cram too many items into a small space, it can become difficult to find what you need and can make it harder to maintain organization over time. It can also create a stressful environment that may cause anxiety and impact your mental health. 

Additionally, overfilled spaces can pose safety hazards, such as tripping over items or having difficulty exiting a room in an emergency. By leaving some empty space in your living areas, you can create a more visually appealing and calming environment that allows you to easily find and access the items you need. “When organizing, avoid overstuffing storage spaces just because there is some extra room. Doing so can cause items to get lost or forgotten.” Danielle Nicholas of Oasis Organizing Solutions shares. “Prioritize the ability to access/see items and make sure everything has a little wiggle room. Try using smaller storage vessels, scale down the number of hangers you own or designate only one drawer for a particular category.”  

5. Using one-size-fits-all organizing products

Using one-size-fits-all organizing products can be a common mistake when it comes to home organization. While these products may seem convenient, they may not be the best solution for your specific needs. Everyone’s organization needs are unique, and what works for one person may not work for another. Instead of relying on a one-size-fits-all solution, take the time to assess your specific needs and find products that will work for you. Consider the size of the space you need to organize, the types of items you need to store, and your personal preferences for organization. 

“One of the most common mistakes people make when organizing their homes is seeing a product in a picture and assuming it will work for them,” states Alaina’s Organizing. “It’s important to work backwards and find a solution that fits your specific needs. For example, if you struggle with accessing items in the back of your kitchen cupboards, consider using a Lazy Susan to spin your bottles towards the front, rather than a shelf riser that still requires digging.” 

6. Not utilizing containers 

Not using containers can be a big mistake when it comes to home organization. Without containers, items tend to get jumbled together, making it difficult to find what you need when you need it. Without containers, items may not be protected from damage or wear and tear. Containers help keep items organized and separated, making it easier to locate them quickly and keep them in good condition. Using clear containers can also help with visibility, making it easier to see what you have and avoid purchasing duplicate items. 

According to Diane Eisenstein from The Tidy Abode, “A super common organizing mistake is buying the wrong size containers. It’s easy to just go shopping and pick out whatever looks best on the shelves, or purchase whatever is rated highly online. The problem is that people end up with containers that don’t fit efficiently into their storage and end up wasting space. My simple fix is to make sure you measure the dimensions of your storage space before making a purchase.” 

7. Not labeling items

Not labeling items is another mistake that can make it difficult to find things when you need them. Labeling containers and drawers will make it easy to find what you’re looking for and will save you time in the long run. You can use a label maker or simply use masking tape and a marker. 

“Labels are a lifesaver when it comes to organizing. They help you keep track of what’s in each container and make it easy to find what you’re looking for. I suggest labeling everything. This includes drawers, cabinets, shelves, bins, and even individual items. The more labels you have, the easier it will be to stay organized long term” recommends Sue Rae from Sorted By Sue

8. Not maintaining the organization

Not maintaining the organization is a mistake that can undo all of your hard work. Once you’ve organized a space, make sure to keep it that way. Develop a routine to put things back where they belong, and make it a habit to regularly go through your belongings and get rid of anything you no longer need. “Getting organized and staying organized are two different things,” says Stacey Platt and Sarah Hayon from DwallWell. “Many clients think that getting organized is a one-and-done kind of thing. But all pros will agree, organizing is an ongoing practice. So we encourage you to set a weekly tune-in. Keep the tune-in short (no longer than 15-20 min) and celebrate your win all week long.”

Home organization can be a daunting task, but with a plan in place and some good habits, you can make your home a well-organized and functional space. By avoiding these common mistakes and following the tips provided, you can make organizing your home an enjoyable and rewarding experience.

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