Is your house fairly organized with most items contained in pre-determined spaces where everything gets put away at the end of the day? Or does your house often look messy and everything is out of place? If the latter is true, then it may be time to organize your house.
Organizing projects in a house should happen every 3 to 12 months. For homes where new items are frequently brought into the home, every 3 months will likely be necessary. Homes that don’t add a lot to the home each year can easily maintain organizing every 12 months.
For more information about when to organize your home, how organizing is different from decluttering and cleaning, and signs that it may be time to start tackling your organizing projects, keep reading below.
How often should you be organizing your house?
Keep in mind that organizing, decluttering and cleaning are three separate things. While often done around the same time, they do not always go hand and hand. Plus they involve different processes and frequencies.
Organizing is taking the items that you have decided to keep and putting similar items in a defined area in your home. It doesn’t have to happen as frequently as decluttering or cleaning.
Organizing often also involves using storage solutions such as bins, shelves, drawer organizers, racks, etc.
Decluttering should almost always happen before organizing. It is the process of going through the items in your home to see what you can throw away, donate, or sell at a garage sale or online.
Cleaning should be happening frequently but is made easier when items in the house are already organized and put away.
So, how often should you be organizing your home? It will be different for each person/family.
How often you need to organize your home can be affected by the following criteria:
1. How much you already own
The more you own, the more frequently you will have to organize.
This is why it is essential to go through items in your home often to see if there is anything you can get rid of. For tips about decluttering your home, check out my other post.
It is not necessary to get rid of a large number of items all at once or to become a minimalist. But it is important to only keep what you really love and use so that you aren’t having to keep inventory in your home and constantly finding space for everything.
It’s much easier to organize a space and find storage solutions when you are storing less items in that space. It also makes is easier to find items.
2. The size of your home
The size of your home can make a huge difference in how often you need to organize.
It’s easy for people as they move into larger homes to accumulate more stuff. Only due to the fact that they have more places to put things.
This isn’t really a great way of thinking. Just because you have more space to shove and hide items doesn’t mean that you should buy more. Or that you shouldn’t organize frequently still.
It’s okay to have some empty drawers or cabinets in your kitchen or closets that are only half full. It’s much easier to see what you have if there is actually free space around the items in your home.
This will make it easier to find items. Plus you won’t spend money buying the same things over and over again.
3. How long you have lived in your home
6 Months or Less
If you have only been in your house for 6 months, you likely just nicely put everything away. So there is probably some sort of organized system in place and you are fully aware of what you have. You would have just touched every single item to put them away and likely decluttered some items in the process.
For anybody who has just moved into a new home, you need to consider how often you bring new items into your home.
If you frequently buy new permanent items (ie. not food or things that get consumed), then you should be going through your home every 3 months to see if there are any areas that are starting to get out of control.
Example: If you created a container for first aid products and it’s overflowing, then it’s time to tackle that area.
If you don’t buy new items very often and only buy what you actually need, you should only need to take a quick look through your home once or twice per year. This is just to check if any storage areas are getting full or overflowing.
It should be a quick tidy-up and declutter and you’re good to go.
More Than 6 Months
If you have lived in your home for a long time and haven’t organized anything, then the process to get it organized could take 3-6 months before you can start on an organizing schedule.
Work through your home to get rid of as much as you can before diving into an organizing project. Read my post about how frequently to declutter for tips on how to let things go so that you are only organizing what you want to keep.
There is no sense in organizing items that you will never use again.
Then you can put all related/similar items together where they are frequently used to get everything in its final space. Don’t worry about bins or anything at this point.
Once you have everything in its space, it will be easier to see what size bins you need or what other storage solution would work best for your items.
Then it will be quick to put everything away in its designated storage solution.
4. How often new items come into your home
If you are somebody that frequently goes shopping for home decor, craft supplies, new dishes, or furniture. Any new item that comes into the home is adding more clutter and is harder to keep organized.
Consider whether you really need to bring new items into the home as frequently.
If it makes you happy and you don’t want to trim down on what you purchase, then you may need to spend more time decluttering other items so that you aren’t just building up more stuff in your home.
Once your home has been fully organized, the maintaining portion of organizing should happen:
- Every 3-6 months if buying new items frequently, and
- Every 6-12 months if you don’t buy new items often.
What are the advantages to being organized? Find out here.
Hints That It May Be Time to Organize Your Home
When the home should be organized is not the same for everyone. But your home may provide some hints as to when it’s time to tackle your organizing projects.
1. You can’t remember what you already have
If you know that you bought something at some point but have no idea where you put it. This may be a sign that you need to organize your home.
You should be buying only what you need and will use.
So if your home has an organized system in place, when you bring a new item into the home you will either use it right away and then put it away. Or you will immediately put it into the space that was created for items similar to that new item.
Having clearly defined areas for items will make it easy to go to that spot and quickly look through what is in there.
Then you don’t have to remember everything that is in your home, which will take some stress out of your mind. You will no longer have to keep track of where everything is and keep inventory.
2. You’re spending money on replacing items you already have
If you are looking at your receipts or your credit card bill and you’re noticing that you are buying the same items over and over again, or that your credit card bill is increasing each month. This could actually be a sign that you need to organize.
You may be purchasing items that you already have in your home and have just forgotten about.
Think about the money you could be saving if you had set spaces in your home for everything so that you could quickly go to that spot, check whether you need to repurchase, and then make a sound decision that you do or do not need it.
3. You misplace items often
You remember holding an item yesterday or buying a new item recently but now you have no idea where it went.
Is the item hidden under a pile of other things in your home? Did it just get thrown into a random drawer?
This is different from just forgetting what you have. In this case, you know you have it somewhere in the house, you just don’t know where it is.
If you are not sure where something went that you just recently saw, this might signal a problem with the organization of your home.
* This is not including people who have medical reasons for forgetting things easily.
4. Your house doesn’t have clearly defined spaces for everything
If you have similar items all over the house, how can you possibly know which of those spaces to go to find the exact item that you are looking for?
It is important to take the time to create spaces for similar items when you are in the process of organizing.
You don’t have to have pretty bins and organizing units all over the home in order to organize everything.
Sometimes it is as simple as just getting everything that is similar or related and putting them onto the same shelf, or in the same drawer, or just in the same closet.
The bins and other storage options can come later. As long as everything is in its defined space, you’re already 90% of the way there.
5. There are items all over the floor and surfaces
If you are noticing piles growing in your home or you don’t remember the last time you saw your floors, this is a huge problem.
Piles can also build on tabletops or on counters. Or maybe you have drawers that are so full that they can no longer shut.
If this is how your house is looking I know it can seem really stressful to decide where to start.
So for now, just focus on the floors in one room. Grab a laundry basket and put anything that doesn’t belong in that room into the basket.
Put that basket into another room to deal with later. Just focus on putting everything away that does belong in that room.
Don’t leave the basket untouched for more than a week or it may never get put away. When you get to the basket, separate the items into piles of similar items. Then begin taking those items to the spaces that you plan to store them. Or just where the items will be used most frequently.
6. You are getting overwhelmed at the thought of tackling your house
If your house is to the point that you don’t even know where to start, you may be putting it off because you are too overwhelmed.
Putting off organizing is a bad idea, because it will just keep getting worse as more items are brought into your home. So it’s important to start with small areas to make some positive progress.
Start with just one cabinet or one room and work your way through it putting items back where they belong. This process doesn’t have to happen overnight.
Just try to work a bit each day until you are beyond the overwhelmed feeling. Then you can focus on the bigger organizing projects.
If you are overwhelmed at the thought of organizing, this post provides reasons why you may be avoiding your organizing projects.
As you can see, how frequently you need to organize will differ based on your own personal situation. How much you own, the size of your house, as well as other factors.
In the end though, if you can manage to get your entire home organized (no matter how long it takes), and come up with a plan to keep it organized, you are in a great place to keep it that way.
The frequency can then be anywhere from 3 to 12 months that you will need to reorganize, which is doable. You’ve got this!
Still struggling to get organized? This post provides 7 reasons why it feels great to declutter and organize.