How To Start Organizing A Messy House: A Beginner’s Guide


The house is a mess.  The kids are constantly playing with toys and they’re not old enough to put them away yet, so you’ve turned into a professional toy picker-upper.  You work full time, so the thought of picking up toys or doing dishes or laundry is exhausting because you’re tired and you want to […]

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The house is a mess.  The kids are constantly playing with toys and they’re not old enough to put them away yet, so you’ve turned into a professional toy picker-upper.  You work full time, so the thought of picking up toys or doing dishes or laundry is exhausting because you’re tired and you want to spend time with your kids.  However you do want an organized house, you just don’t know where to start. Here are five easy steps that will show you how to start organizing a messy house.

Routines and habits are a huge part of a successful organization.  It takes discipline to use the system or it’s no good.

The best way to start is high level, you want to establish some basic systems before you start diving into specific rooms and projects.  You’re basically going to be touring your home and making it functional as you walk through it.

How To Start Organizing A Messy House

1. Create an entryway or door entry system

The first thing you should do when figuring out where to start organizing is begin with your entryway.  When you walk into your house establish a system where you can hang up items immediately for jackets, backpacks, handbags, etc.  Hooks are a great organizing tool to establish this system.  Stand-alone hook pole works but wall hooks work best.  This area also includes an area for your keys either a tray or a smaller wall hook specially designed for keys.

how to start organizing a messy home

One more thing to include in this space is a place for your shoes.  Use a shoe rack or storage bins to easily store them.  Michaels and Home Goods are a great place to start for bins.  It’s all about creating a system you know you will use, so if you know you will place them on the shoe rack, use it. The shoe rack does make the space look more organized.

Establish a Command Center

Create a central place where you can manage your mail and calendar.  Use a chalkboard or dry-erase board for a calendar.  Having a visual calendar will help keep your life organized.  Even if you only use a digital calendar, establish a visual calendar for your household so that it’s always in front of you.  The best place for this is somewhere in or near the kitchen.

Pottery Barn has an excellent system that allows you to customize it to the space you currently have to see what will fit there.  You can play around with a few different pieces to see what you like before making a purchase.  We have been using the Command Center system from Pottery Barn for years.  Yes, it is a bit pricey but worth every penny because of its quality.  I waited for a while for it to go on sale before purchasing it.  It was the style we had been looking for for quite some time so it was worth waiting for it.

command center

Analyze your Den/Living Room

Go to your den or living room and see what you can do there to improve it.  Use baskets and bins for blankets and remote controls.  Do you have a coffee table?  Do you need one?  If you have one, what is on it and can you use storage baskets there for organization?  If you need one, search for one that opens and closes so you can store items in there or allows you to keep a basket or bin on it.

Analyze your Kitchen

(this step is interchangeable with step 3, it depends on which area you walk into first in your home).  Take a look at your kitchen countertops, and eliminate anything that creates clutter.  If you use to keep small appliances on the counter, make sure they are used daily, for example, a coffee maker.  If you don’t use it daily, store it away.

For example, we have a Vitamix and make smoothies a few times a week but we don’t use it daily so we removed it from the countertop and it has eliminated clutter.  If you have an island, clear anything on there that doesn’t need to be stored there.  Chances are you will have items in the kitchen that you’re not sure where they should go, use a storage bin or basket to keep them there for now.

Use a Toy Organizer

If you have kids, chances are you have more toys than you ever thought you’d imagine.  Get a system that allows you to easily put them in storage bins.  Get a system that allows you to have multiple storage bins available.  IKEA has quite a few to choose from that are flexible and easy to use.

how to start organizing a messy house

We’ve been using the Trofast system for quite a few years now.  The system is actually pretty easy to set up, especially for an IKEA piece.  The storage frame is sturdy and is easy for kids to access and more importantly, put away their toys 😉

Another great way to organize toys is by using a cube organizer.  A cube organizer adds vertical space, which helps overcome the problem of not having enough space.  You can add cube organizers for a neat and organized look.  Larger toys that don’t fit in the bins can be easily displayed on a row of their own.

If you go the cube organizer route, make sure the bins are the same color for that row.  Matching bins make a space look neat and orderly.  They also minimize confusion.  If you want more than one colored bin, use the same color in one row and the same color in the next row.

Final Thoughts

These five simple steps will get you started when you don’t know where to start organizing.  Once you have these steps completed, you can start working on specific projects in each area.

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*affiliate links used.  If you purchase the recommended product, I may receive a commission.  I only recommend products that would benefit you.  You can see the full disclosure here. 

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