The Five D's: Step 3 - Devise & Organize

A great mudroom has a place for everything and makes keeping muddy shoes, jackets, and keys orderly and accessible.

January is National "Get Organized" Month. Makes sense since it's probably on the Top Ten New Year's Resolution List. I know it's on mine, like, every year.

To me, this is a fun step. The hard part for me is purging and getting rid of stuff. The next step comes with relief that you can now freely organize all your favorite things without trying to cram every last tchotchke or work out shirt or junky fast food meal toy or the 110th ball point pen into a spot intended for much less junk. Yup, junk. Cause if it's not working for you, it's working against you. And believe you me, it's no fun to try and organize a junky, overstuffed house. You'll just never be happy with the outcome.

Under stairs storage - brilliant use of space!

So! First things first:

1. Devise a plan. Assess the areas that need organizing. Maybe even make a list (I love lists). I tend to focus on either the area that is in the most need, or the area that might be the quickest to get done. Sometimes it's nice to start with a couple simple projects so you can enjoy the results. Maybe it's your mudroom or entry. Maybe your desk is cluttered and doesn't have enough drawers. Perhaps your kitchen "junk drawer" is a little too junky and isn't accessible.

Think up! Store rarely used items (like camping equipment) above doorways or attach bins to your garage ceiling.

Great storage options are everywhere! Use a plastic shoe container to make kids' craft supplies easily accessible.

2. Empty the space of all items. This will give you a clean canvas to decide what needs to go back into the area and how best to put it there. You may find that you'll purge a few more things along the way - great!

Couldn't we all use a refrigerator this clean and organized? You can do it! Keep items corralled by type and use for quick reference and it will make meal planning and snack so much easier!

Organizing the afore mentioned kitchen drawer? I routinely put on a good TV show (Hoarders, anyone? Nothin' puts me in the mood to get rid of stuff better than that show!) and empty out the contents of the drawer onto my family room floor. A grocery bag of trash later and I'm in business.

A fabulously organized craft room/office. A simple, neutral color scheme and big box shelving makes this a no-brainer. Plus, all the cute little containers make searching for that perfect ribbon or marker fun!

This works on a grander scale if, say, you're completely reorganizing a closet, or your home office. It will take longer than your junk drawer, but the results will have you breathing a huge sigh of relief.

3. Go shopping! Not to be confused with the final step of Decorating (Step Five - be patient!), this step will help you find the best options for keeping your stuff clean, organized, and easily accessible.

A linen closet gets total organization with personalized canvas bins containing all the important items each family member may need for daily routines. Take your bin with you when you get ready for the day and you'll keep your counters and under the sink areas clean and clutter-free!

First, I like to shop my house. So you couldn't part with that really cute, little white ceramic urn? Maybe that's a fabulous way to display your paint brushes or crafting tools? Have a cookie jar that you adore, but now you're on a low-sugar diet? Use it to store your powdered laundry detergent.

Check out tie and belt racks to store ribbon, scarves, and jewelry!

Get creative! The pretty patterned containers in the image above are just a wrapped Pringles chip can and drink mix containers!

This is a genius way to keep your batteries in one spot and easily take inventory. Organizing should make your daily life easier. Have a collection of something? Create an easy way to store and access the items and you'll save time...and your sanity.

Once you've exhausted storage items from around your house, head out to your local dollar store, thrift shop, or big box discount store. Just remember that you're on the look out for great, inexpensive organizing tools, NOT more stuff!

Apply all your great bins, baskets, and containers and enjoy the fruits of your labor!

Stay up, Step Four: Deep Clean

{images via Pinterest}