How Organized Is Your Home?

Updated on March 04, 2013
L.P. asks from Upland, CA
27 answers

I've pinned so many organization ideas on Pinterest but have yet to really use any of it. I'm pretty organized but kids homework drives me batty. My ex is on an organization kick (to show me that organization is easy) so he's labeled drawers and has cubbies for the kids and has cleared alot of junk (his, by the way). Totally appreciate that he's finally helping in that area but over time I've always relaxed on it (and the fact that no one else is really helping) and I'm wondering when he will burn out and realize kids will be kids. Then again, maybe I'm wrong?

So the question is, How organized is your home and when you do start something, how long do you keep it up before it falls apart (or does it ever)? And if you have been really successful, I'd love to hear what has worked.

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So What Happened?

So all those "organizational tools" he and his gf set up are now two weeks behind (as in the last time they filled in the calendar was two weeks ago). The house is still much cleaner but little by little they leave a bit of a mess but overall we are all working to keep the house clean. Last week I gave in and did an entire load of dishes they had out for two days. I couldn't stand it any longer. I have OCD where I can't cook unless the kitchen is clean so in order to make me a tuna sandwich I HAD to have the sink clean (and the stove). At least I'm not the only one who comes up with organization ideas that over time just fall apart. We tried.
Oh my gosh, so I'm so happy to read that many people are like me. I organize constantly but somehow with husband and 5 kids things just pile up. I trash mail and kids papers the day they come in but somehow I still have messes in the cubby. I don't touch husband's stuff and he's the pack rat in the house (saves everything!). I agree with working with him because I would not want him to feel as I did all those years. I think he's finally willing to give up stuff. Here's to hoping this last a long time. Thanks everyone, I'll definitely keep some of your ideas in mind.

Featured Answers



answers from Seattle on

I finally signed up for TODAY!!! Yeah for me and my family - I hope.

I have moved 37 times in my life, 18 with kids. So I probably get an F in actually being organized...I have 18 bottles of everything I think....And I desperately want to be organized. As in I cannot cook in a dirty kitchen, and I love to cook. So it's a bit depressing not being able to find things. But I still manage to pull it together for periods of time. It takes me about a year to set up a house, if I'm motivated. Some moves I'm not too keen. And my husband is NO help with keeping things de-cluttered or functional. In addition, I'd be way more organized if I spent less time on this site.

5 moms found this helpful


answers from Jacksonville on

It would be very organized if I lived alone. But, alas, I have a husband, a teen, and a pre-teen. None of whom live by the mantra: A place for everything and everything in its place. They live more by the rule of: If it fits, it sits.
I can only remove so many piles of other people's "schtuff" and pile it elsewhere, in a single day. I'm just one person. And husband is probably the worst offender... lunch bag, wallet, sunglasses, multiple CD cases, books, ipod, ball caps, coffee cups, gatorade bottles, beer caps.... I mean... if he carries it into the house, it gets set on whatever open/available kitchen counter space there is. The cleaner I make it, the more stuff he piles on it. Then he proceeds to go run and leave half empty gatorade or powerade bottles sitting around. Oh... and his water bottles from work (still a quarter full of water)... Then he'll pop open a beer and leave the cap on the counter where he used the bottle opener.
(The trash can is right. there. dude.)

When I have tried to create organizers/organized spaces, it just becomes part of the clutter, as they pile their stuff on top of the organizer, instead of in it.
I even built vertical hooks in my laundry room behind the kitchen door, to hang gym bags, back packs, hats, dog leashes, etc.... Know what hangs there? What I put there. Nothing more, nothing less.

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Houston on

Very! Being organized is a lifestyle we've developed over the years. Its not just a spring project we do every once in a while.

2 moms found this helpful

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answers from Seattle on

1) Right this instant?

Not at all. I've spent the past year in divorce land (and broke).

0.5) For the past several years? 10 minutes could "company ready" my house. In theory. I homeschooled & some of those projects took up the entire downstairs. But ASIDE from occasional magic school bus recreations... General state if being was 10 minutes to "go".

I have ADHD. I have NO interior sense of structure. So I have to create exterior structure. Organization was/is pretty key to that.

As long as ***I*** create the mess, I can reach 3 feet down, past something rustly, by the orange thing, while looking across the room at something blue and fluffy, and pull out EXACTLY what I need/want/am looking for. My brain takes these kinds of snapshots of sensory information (not geography). I can a tually find things in a mess faster than in a spartan space. But I digress. The moment kids enter the picture, its no longer "my" mess. So I can't live in one. My brain literally shuts down as its trying to pull sensory data.

My "niche" is chaos, but I can't live/stand chaos that I don't create.

Hence intense order.

Its QUIRKY order to work with ADHD... Because instead of adapting to my environment I have to adapt my environment to me.

- If I ALWAYS drop my books/backpack/keys/groceries in a certain place... That's where they "go". It doesn't mater if there's a bowl/ hook/ cubby/ shelf/ counter 12 inches away. They will NEVER go there. So I have to pay attention to my own patterns... And then instal gear. Drove my ex nuts. He was constantly moving stuff about 6" in any direction. Because it was "better" (actually, I think just to screw with me. Because if someone moves my stuff, even 6 inches, I go blind. I can't see it. Not with out running all over the house first.)

- Everything needs a "home".
- The smaller the "home" the more likely it will end up there
Those 2 added together look like this:

Home = kitchen = probably somewhere on the floor with the kitchen in it. Sometimes on other floors or outside.

Home = kitchen drawer = sometimes in drawer & sometimes anywhere else in 3' radius of drawer. Because Ill get it in the general direction of the drawer.

Home = specific place in the drawer = in the drawer, just within a few inches of its home in the drawer

((I also organize my stuff oddly. Just to stay with the kitchen analogy : Things that stir & things that don't are 2 drawers of utensils. On top of my counter are 2 ceramic jars (99% probability items will be in jars) of Things I use in sauté pans: Metal & nonmetal.))

1) -Yes. Back to #1-

After a year of home visits by parenting evaluators, CPS workers, stalker girlfriends... A year of my ex sloooowly collecting his things... Of no longer homeschooling (not worth the court battles... I don't have 40k or the sanity for that fight!), anxiety attacks, no money to fix things, & just general craziness: My house is a disaster.

I hate it.

I'm slooooooowly reclaiming it.

But its going to take some time before I can just be comfortable in my own home, much less have people over on the fly.

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Dallas on

Not very. I don't really try, to be honest. We aren't "stuff" people, so we don't have a lot of clutter hanging around. We are both artists and our brains are just not made for organizing.

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Chicago on

The things I have done in the past few years that have worked well (meaning, I've stuck with it):

Front door area: tall IKEA shelf where I put bins for each of the 3 kids' shoes (it has a total of 5 shelves, so I guess we can only have 5 kids) ;-) -Been doing this for about 4 yrs

Toys: IKEA Trofast shelving - has a flat top, and spaces for slide-in bins. Accessible from both sides. I line a few of these up against the wall in the family room and have storage out of the way, with room for larger items on the top. Also have one in the big boys' room to keep small pieces out of reach of the toddler. Got it 2 yrs ago. Initially had pictures of the bins' contents taped to the outside, but the kids kept ripping them off. I finally just wrote with a Sharpie on each one things like: Little People, Farm Toys, Music, Cars, LEGOs, etc.

Cleaning supplies and toiletries: I got a few over-the-door shoe organizers with the transparent pockets. Spray bottles of cleaners or spot removers, nail polish, and other toxic things go in the highest pockets. Band-aids, toothpaste, soap, combs, hair clips, tampons, etc are easily accessible and I can always tell how much of something I have. I also hung one on the inside of my pantry door so I have a good place for packets of seasoning, dried beans, plastic grocery bags, etc. (Did this about a year ago)

Besides those key areas, I feel like the rest of my home is out of control. We simply have too much stuff, no matter how much I Freecycle, donate, toss, or whatever. I can't keep up with the volume of stuff coming in.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Chicago on

We're 95% company ready most of the time. I keep the bulk of the house super clean and organized, but I let our work room adn office get messy frequently. I am trying to keep them up, but as with all things, it's about cultvating the habit.

I don't have labels on things, but I do have bins for everything, and I recently put bins in my freezers.

Also, since truly organizing my kid's closet, I haven't had to clean it in almost 2 months! They are been brilliant about hanging their stuff up and putting the bin stuff in the right bins. I can't believe how organize it looks in there! My 3 year old loves it because he can get to all of his stuff, including his swim suit and winter gear, so he can get himself ready! Super empowering.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from New York on

everything is organized. drawers, pantries, closets, kitchen etc. it's easier to maintain once you organize. we don't own junk, meaning whatever doesn't get used we donate. i organize every few months. i use the word organize loosely because it's already organized i just go in everything, decide what is kept and what gets donated.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Seattle on

My home is not organized AT ALL.
But I know where everything is!

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Atlanta on

I'm not very organized by nature, and our house reflects that. My husband is better, and he leads our periodic charges to de-clutter clothes drawers, tables, etc. However, entropy usually happens after a few weeks and the clutter returns until we can't stand it any more and a clean-up session happens. We DO make sure that the kids' backpacks, schoolwork, and books (both library and owned) get put in their usual places. Toys are stacked in clear plastic boxes on shelves in the living room, however the kids have outgrown most of those. The Legos live in a section of the floor near the TV; at least they are localized to one specific area... The kitchen is pretty organized in that we know where things go and usually put them there. Important papers do get filed and we usually can find what we need.

Basically, we can function pretty well, however getting the place 'company ready' takes a while. Let's say that it's a 'lived in' home...

Wish I had some good suggestions for you! I look forward to reading what other people say.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Los Angeles on

I try to be organized but I'm just not "that" person.
Meaning it's not in my personality to be "totally" organized.
I wish I was.
I find that my friends w/Type A personalities or anal tendencies are much
more organized than me. And I love their homes!
I've tried but it all falls apart.
I will say, I was much more organized before kids.
Having said that I do try and teach them to put their toys away after use,
putting their shoes by the door etc.
While I want my kids to be organized and responsible, I still want them to
be kids while they can. My youngest is young and they will never have
this opportunity again to be free of burdens (ex. mortgage, working etc).
No one in my house helps me to keep things organized at all but I still
try. It's more in personality than theirs to try.
He may burn out. He may not.
I try to organize simple things:
-keys always go in the same spot (side table by the door)
-shoes go in rooms. One pair by the door if they use that same pair
every day.
-mail goes in a mail tray
-bills go in a bill organizer
-every activity, birthday goes on the calendar
-hanging shopping list so everyone can put smthg on the list that we've
run out of or if there is a spec request (lunchmeat etc)
-I'm not a labeler but love those that do. I've labeled a few things (bins,
electronic cords etc)
-I donate what we have outgrown or is no longer used
-We keep very few things until they fall apart (cars is one of those items).
I'd rather donate it so someone else can get use out of it if I no longer
need it.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from San Diego on

This house has 3 kids, 4 cats, one husband and myself in a space that is too small for all of us now.
I no sooner get something organized when someone comes and undoes whatever I did and a few more things just for good measure! LOL
Important things get better organized than other things and if it's mine and mine only it stays organized when I'm done with it for the most part.
It's never been so disorganized that we miss paying a bill or pay it late (well..except for one year's car registration..have no idea why I wrote down the day after it was due as the due date..I remember there was a lot going on that year). But I have had to go digging around for the bill because it fell under the seat in my husband's car that I never drive or something. We've never missed an appointment or anything like that either.
I'm working on getting things in better shape but it's an uphill battle in the snow both ways kind of job around here.
Maybe one day!! HAHAHAHA

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Honolulu on

I figure, our house is normal, being we have kids.
Sure, its not a museum and all overly organized. But, it is fine.
My Hubby is like yours. He gets on kicks occasionally where EVERYTHING has to be...
So then well at that point in time, it gets organized. Even if it was already.
Then, at the next point in time, it gets "messy" again. Why? Because: we have kids, we are human, not everyone will heed to a label on a drawer and do it 100% all the time everyday.
Its, human.

My house, is fine.
If I lightly clean, guests can come over.
I don't have to deep clean. Because it is clean.
To me, a house can be clean but still messy.
Or it can be organized/spotless, but still not clean.

A living space/house does not fall apart....
It is the inhabitants, that make it..... messy or clean.
Because, a house is like an organism.
It ebbs and flows and is never... static.
If a house were static, THEN it would... never fall apart or get messy.

And keep in mind: even the super anal super organized Husbands, are MESSY too, and can't find where things are.
My, "clean organized" Husband..... is, messy.
Drinks a coffee. Walks away. The cup is still there. On the table.
He comes home. Puts his jacket on any ol' chair. He walks away. It is still there. For DAYS.
I can come up with TONS of examples. Of how the so called "neat" one in the family, is not, neat. Nor better organized than the rest of the family.
But they like to think, they are.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Pittsburgh on

What do you consider "organized"?
Our house is "company clean" 95% of the time.
Things are put away & picked up daily.
Laundry done weekly (to the bottom of the chute)
Beds changed every or every other week.
A 3 tier inbox for school stuff.
Closets neat, drawers not jumbled.

In my life, clean=organized!

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Boise on

Right this moment, fairly organized. I just spent two weeks tearing my house apart, moving kids rooms around and doing some massive spring cleaning. Still have a few pocket's of stuff that I can't figure out what to do with though.

Get back to me in 2 week, I guarantee my answer will be different.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from New York on

Hey, if he's finally driving that ship, let him run with it. Further, don't do anything to undermine it. You can remember I'm sure how sucky if feels to be unsupported in this regard.

Our home is organized to the hilt. Both of us are tidy by nature. We've got a place for everything and everything goes in its place. We declutter often and are in the habit of donating/ throwing away unwanted items. Fridge gets cleared out of questionable food items, books and toys get sorted through, no decade old underpants or holy socks etc.

Our little boy is similarly inclined. (Not sure if its nature or nuture). We obviously demonstrate cleaning up all the time, and encourage him to do the same.

Good luck to you and yours,
F. B.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Cleveland on

I'm an organizing freak so our house is very organized. Basically everything unnecessary gets thrown out quickly so not much piles up. Each child as well as my husband and I have a "bin". We got wooden hanging files from Ballard that looks pretty good and holds our mail temporarily and the kids homework. I'm weird and actually like going through closets and throwing stuff out... So I do that often. Toys have their specific bins and there's a big one for arts and crafts supplies. My husbands not as anal but I go through mail quickly and as many things as possible are on autopay so not mich bill paying. I also have a master "to do" list that I review to remind me of things. Ie: dog food, dr apps, oil changes etc. Then I have a list for the pharmacy : shampoo, toothpaste... Anything we need regularly so I quickly look at the list and it reminds me if we need something. I also have a list of dinner ideas to scan. The fridge has a white board for grocery needs.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Kansas City on

Mine is not as organized as I would like! I've tried, but the kids had that distroyed in about a week. I finally gave up on the idea of having a organized home until my youngest is a little older. It's not like a tornado or anything, but it drives me crazy when I open a drawer and I can't find what I'm looking for.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Washington DC on

surprisingly well, considering what a disorganized twit i am.
but that's mostly due to my husband. and my highly organized friend who came over and redid my entire kitchen for me while i sat in a corner and gibbered.
it's also way easier to do now that the boys have moved out!
i get brief intense waves of wanting things in their place, so have learned over the years to jump on it before it fades away.
my junk drawer was in beautiful shape for about 2 years! the longest it's ever gone. but it's starting to get pretty junky again. i should tackle that next.
ETA after reading riley's response i have to wonder if i DO have a mild form of ADD. i'm exactly the same way with *my* clutter, and how if it gets moved out of *its* place i can't see it!
:) khairete

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Los Angeles on

i am pretty organized but not with like containers and stuff that is too expensive. I have gotten rid of a lot of clutter and stuff we do not need. I have seen many super cute "command center" organization things on pinterest and they are great but I to not have room for it. We sort of have a breakfast bar but I will NEVER use it for that because it is like 3.5 feet long and it is in a walkway/door way. so under that where the stools would possibly go I have hung 2 cute decorative flower hooks for my girls backpacks/coat. they only need one there. there are a couple scrolly things on the flowers that I hang a binder clip from and the binder clip holds their homework packet for the week. and that is my command center. It works for me. I just have taught my kids what goes there and what doesnt. backpacks must be zipped up and not spilling out everywhere. it took a little time but it is going well. My girls are 5 and 7.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Indianapolis on

My house is pretty organized. I de-clutter constantly. And we don't own "extra" things that wouldn't be used. Right now I have 2 trash bags of stuff for Goodwill, 1 trashbag of clothes for Once Upon A Child, and a plastic bag of books for Halfprice Books. I'm a freak about the kitchen and laundry. My husband never really puts away clean clothes or clean dishes because he would mess up my flow, lol. I even have a hard time allowing my husband or children to put the toys away. It bugs me if they're not in the "right" spot. Even the groceries have to be put away a certain way. Right now hubby keeps putting the lettuce down in the veggie crisper. That's not where I want it, so I've moved it like 3 times this week!

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Los Angeles on

My house is nowhere near as organized as I would like it or as organized as it was when I *only* had 3 kids.

The only rooms that are really organized at this moment are:
--My living room, b/c we don't have a lot of stuff in it, just 1 bookshelf and 1 cabinet that can be closed that hides all our componants and the Xbox and the games and DVDs and then the furniture. We have designated all the other schtuff to the family room downstairs which also doubles as a playroom so it is WAY out of hand...but my living room stays nice and tidy!
--My laundry room, thanks to shelves and a lot of space...I have a spot for hanging clothes as well as a closet area that I can close that holds all the soap...makes a huge difference, IMO.
--Lastly, my daughter's room, thanks to a beautiful bookshelf that has spots for those cool pretty baskets (thank You MIL) and a closet with organizational built in shelves...and the fact that my daughter is like a mini-mommy already and really does do a good job of putting all her toys away where they go. I have made a place for all her stuff and even at 5y/o she is able to put things in their 'home'!

~My younger boys' room (they are 9 & 7 and share a room) is a disaster area...I usually go in and 'help' them clean it but we haven't done a sort of their toys in awhile and it is showing something fierce.

My room is currently the catch all for all the dirty laundry...I thought this would be a better way, keeping the kids room free of dirty clothes and ensure their floor stays less cluttered but all it has done is make it so that their floor is covered in toys and my room has all the baskets of dirty clothes, which in hindsight was NOT a good idea!

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Dallas on

Right now, not at all. I have been working weekends and trying to pack "extras" up to put into a pod to declutter the house to put on market. Getting there, but with all the tubs and boxes sitting around, I am going nutty!

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Grand Forks on

I am fairly organized. I know where everything is because everything has a place. My problem is all the places are everflowing right now, and I tend to avoid decluttering them. The basket of mail that needs to be filed is bursting at the seams. Putting laundry away is a huge chore because I can hardly close the dresser drawers. Bookshelves and dvd shelves are packed full. It is definitely time for a spring cleaning followed by a yard sale...

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Portland on

My home is slowly getting organized and I'm doing my best to keep it that way. We recently cleaned up the whole garage (yet again) and it's still clean because we're trying to take the time to pick up after we get something out. We're naturally creative, messy people, so it takes effort. I've noticed that we're both on board and trying to keep it nice this time around. We have a system for almost everything now, including school paperwork for the kids. They each have an in-progress slot in our mail area for things they work on during the week, then we have two large bins that hide underneath a long filing cabinet piece and those hold papers they don't currently need, but aren't ready to part with...drawings, papers, etc. I separate the ones I want to keep as long-term treasures right after they come home in the packet from school, or when my oldest purges her notebook each week or so. The long-term treasures go in my memories area that currently is in need of major organizing attention, but it's all in a closet and out of the way at least. I plan to get that all organized by this summer. I like to give myself lots of time. lol.

That said, my laundry room is only organized for about a day if I get it all picked up. It's small and it's hard to keep it up. I fight it.

Anyway, the only thing that works for us is consistency. We try to keep the same routines each day and put things away after we use them or at least by the end of the day. We relaxed a little yesterday and today, so tomorrow morning I'll pay for that. Oh well, it was worth it. ;)


answers from Dallas on

Extremely, but I'm naturally very neat and organized, and it comes almost as naturally to my husband as it does to me. Our oldest son is just like me, too. Our youngest son isn't as neat as we are, but he has adapted by necessity.

As others have said, it isn't something we do in spurts. It's a way of life.


answers from Washington DC on

Education is important to me and my husband. So we do have a rolling cart with drawers that has their school supplies in it. They have their own desk with pencils, erasers, paper, computer, etc.

It takes 2 to 3 weeks of doing something to make it a routine. If homework (education) is important to you - then you need to make time and make it a routine. Whether it means that your kids sit at the table while you fix dinner and do it or they go to their own area and do it.

My house isn't perfectly organized....I need to declutter creeps in the house...swear things have been brought in by ghosts!! LOL!!!

Any way - there is a balance. You need to find it.

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