If you're a real-life human looking for real-life home organizing tips, then this post is for you.
Let's begin with the truth: If you check out my Instagram page, you'll see that I like the spaces I organize to be neat, tidy, functional, and beautiful. It’s just who I am. Chalk it up to my thirst for the dopamine hit a good "Before" and "After" photo gives me.
BUT for all the non-robots out there, here’s the side of organizing that you may desperately wish to know about...
Throwing items into spaces is ok to do. There, I said it.
As I’m working with a client, especially one who is a busy mom and/or ADHDer like I am, I consider it my duty to learn about the ways she moves about and functions within her home. By doing this, I'm able to determine where and how each category of item should be stored in order to provide her with the greatest chance of being able to successfully maintain it.
So when a client is decluttering and organizing alongside me and says something like, "I'm probably just going to throw that stuff in.", then guess what?
That's precisely what I'm going to do.
With that being said, I'm going to make sure to follow these three guidelines when deciding to "Just Throw Stuff In":
Let's go more in-depth into what each guideline entails so that you too can begin to give yourself permission to toss items into spaces while still keeping them organized and beautiful-looking.
Guideline 1: Categorize It
Categories are key when it comes to organizing, and they are especially important to create if you plan on throwing items into spaces.
When you categorize the items you're storing in a particular space in your home, you're able to accomplish several important things:
Categorizing supports your working memory. Gone are the days of forgetting where you put that box of migraine meds and making a mess of every kitchen and bathroom cabinet while searching for it with one eye shut and the other half-squinted open. Creating categories helps you to remember precisely where your items are stored in your home, which increases efficiency and builds self-confidence.
You're able to know your stock within each category at all times. This keeps you from falling into the trap of spending your precious time and money overbuying or rebuying products you already have quite enough of.
You're able to determine the best storage spaces for your items. When you take the time to categorize the items you're storing in a particular space in your home, you're able to gain a better understanding of which products you use the most and which you use the least. This not only encourages you to declutter, but it also helps you to functionally space plan (a.k.a. set up the space so that your most frequently-used items are within reach and the lesser-used items are placed down low or up high).
Guideline 2: Mask It
Now that you have your categories established, you can take a really good look at which items you'd prefer to just throw into the space and which you'd like to reset in a different way (such as folding or lining up neatly). For the categories of items you'd like to give yourself permission to toss into the space, consider using a container that will mask them (and, in turn, remove any perceived messiness).
Clear bins (such as these fav faves from Target) are great for storing products that you plan on lining up neatly, but for items you plan to just throw in, they can lead to a disorganized appearance and visual overstimulation/overwhelm.
Knowing this, it would benefit you to select containment options that are solid in color for at least some of the categories of items you're choosing to throw back in.
Notice how clear bins were used for storing bulkier items that were easy to line up, and how black and white bins were used to store items like wound care and nail polish (which were of various sizes and could just be tossed in).
(click the image to see the "Before")
Guideline 3: Label It
Let's quickly talk labels.
Labeling is not always necessary, but when it comes to using solid-colored bins to mask your "just throw it in" stuff, labels are important to use.
When you can't see what's inside of a bin or basket and a label is not added to the front of it, it won't matter how much time you took to declutter and categorize your items... you'll experience some object permanence issues and begin to forget what's inside of each container, which will lead you to begin mixing products that are unlike, which will then lead you to falling back into the spiral of "losing" items and having to rebuy them, which will THEN lead to frustration and a desire to just give up.
Don't do this to yourself, my friend!
Simply adding a label to the front of any solid-colored bin you choose--which can be done with painter's tape or by using a label machine--will keep you from experiencing this black-hole of a situation.
So there you have it. You can create beautiful, functional, organized spaces in your home while non-robotically throwing things into them. Just be sure to follow the steps outlined in this post in order to achieve the best result!
Hey! If you enjoyed this information and would like to stay in the loop with future blog posts, free guides, organizing challenge invitations, and more, I'd love to have you as a member of the community!