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Organizing Thoughts and Tips for the New Year!

Hello friends!  I hope you’ve all had a great start to 2019!  My kids are going back to school tomorrow (today when you are reading this!) and we had such a nice break.  I’m really sad to see it end this year!  We spent Christmas at home, then went to Utah to visit family, came home for a few days and then spent a day in Julian followed by a few days in Palm Springs.  My husband and I set a goal this year to take more short, weekend trips with our kids.  We all love to be home without plans, but we’ve found that when we have a free day Kenny ends up working, watching sports or napping, El ends up in her room talking to friends on the phone, Ad is off on her own creating a new type of slime, Kole is on the xbox and I’m in a closet organizing something. :)  All nice outlets and we love time to do our thing, but we aren’t spending quality time together.  Getting away from the house for a quick weekend more often creates some fun family time that we all love and need to prioritize more!  We didn’t have major plans for Palm Springs.. just took the kids on a hike, ate out together, swam and used the hot tub (it was cool but the pools were heated!), and then we stayed up late watching movies.  The best!  I came home feeling so relaxed and energized and ready to hit the new year running!  Or at least walking at a swift, steady pace. ;)

I’ll share a few pics from our trips soon, but today I want to share a few thoughts and tips that are on my mind about organizing because I know so many of us are working on getting our homes more clean/organized for the new year.  (Love that about January!)  I shared a round-up of some of my favorite organizing projects on IG a few days ago starting with this picture of our organized playroom closet and it brought up so many great comments and questions.

Organizing Tips (Sunny Side Up)

(Organized Playroom)

So here are my random thoughts to address and answer some of those questions and also just some basic tips I’ve learned throughout the years that help me keep my home clean and organized!

First I just want to stay that I think it’s really hard to focus and be productive and creative and on time and healthy and happy and ALL the good things when your surroundings are a mess.  Most of us would agree that a clean space does wonders for our sanity!  For that reason alone it’s important to prioritize getting our homes in order!  But our homes are here for us to live life in them.  They aren’t perfect and perfection isn’t the goal.  A lot of times when I share perfectly organized, clean spaces on IG I think people assume my home always looks perfect.  Please!  I have 3 kids.  My home isn’t always perfectly clean.  I finish an organizing project and snap that perfect picture and then we get on with life and my kids have 10 friends over and rooms are a mess in minutes.  My spaces are organized and work well for us, but things don’t stay Pinterest perfect lined up all the time.  Those of you who follow my blog know that.  But what is true about my home (and I feel like this is key!) is that it doesn’t take too much work to get my home clean again.  By clean I don’t mean floors and showers scrubbed (that is a lot of work and I have help when it comes to the deep cleaning!).  By clean I mean everything picked up and put away where it goes and looking presentable with closets and drawers and cupboards mostly tidy.  The reason I’m able to do this without too much effort is because of a few reasons..

1 – I don’t keep things we don’t use/love.  I know.. it can be so hard to get rid of things!  But you won’t have an organized home until you can learn to purge and get rid of excess.  Also purging isn’t something to just do once every few years or once every January.  Especially if you like to shop like I do. ;)  We have to re-assess what we use/need and let go of things we aren’t using often.  The good news is that the more you do it, the easier it gets!

*Here’s a tip on getting rid of sentimental items that are hard to part with (I struggle with this too!).  Focus on what you want to keep, not what you’re saying good-bye to.  

Organizing Tips (Sunny Side Up)

(Organized Blankets and Towels)

When I was organizing this hallway blanket closet I really struggled with letting go of some of my kids’ small baby blankets.  I had so many and they all reminded me of such a special time and lots of late nights rocking and cuddling.  I looked at the huge pile of baby blankets and I pulled out my favorites.  The blankets that I really love the most and had the most meaning.  The rest I quickly put in a bag for goodwill and told myself that they would make another mom and baby happy.  I didn’t focus on the blankets I gave away, but instead I focused on the baby blankets I kept and thought about the memories associated with them and how happy I was to hold on to them.  It was hard giving the rest to goodwill at the time (I felt like I was saying good-bye all over again to that stage of life with my kids) but do you think I’ve missed them since?  I haven’t thought about them once until now because I’m writing this post!  And this closet has stayed organized because it’s not overflowing with blankets we never use.

2 – Everything I do keep has a place.  I’ve worked hard over the years to establish a place for everything.  If you find that you are constantly putting things in different places and can’t find something when you need it, it’s time to stop and think about what location makes the most sense for that item.  Group it with similar items and give it a permanent HOME.

Organizing Tips (Sunny Side Up)

I remember after we moved into our new home never having a place for my camera.  I kept setting it in different closets/drawers/cupboards and spent way too much time looking for it when I needed it.  I finally cleaned out a pull out drawer in my office, rounded up other camera equipment and similar items and decided this was their home.  This picture was taken right after I organized this drawer.  Everything isn’t this perfectly lined up right now!  But the same items are there and my kids know where the stapler is if they need it and I can easily find my camera and put it away when I’m done using it.  GIVE ITEMS YOU’RE KEEPING A SET HOME.  Everything you own!  Give it a place to live and show your family and tell them that’s where those items should always be put away.

3 – I never let my home get too out of control.  I always get asked “how do you KEEP your spaces organized?”  It’s one thing to get motivated and purge and organize a closet.  It’s another thing to keep it organized and clean.  The secret I’ve learned is setting up habits (things you just do without even thinking about doing them!) to keep your home clean.  These are a few things I do often that are just habits I’ve formed over the years by doing them again and again.. and again!

  • I don’t go to bed at night with a messy kitchen.  Other spaces can be messy but I always load dishes and clean my kitchen counters and sink after dinner and again before bed.  Waking up to a clean kitchen starts my day off better!
  • Every time I get groceries (usually twice a week) I do a mini fridge/pantry clean out.  Before I put new items in I quickly toss expired items, wipe off a few shelves, etc.  This doesn’t take more than 10 minutes and it’s how I keep my fridge and pantry always clean and organized!
  • After a trip/vacation I always wipe out my bathroom make-up drawers before I put my make-up back in them.  I seem to travel somewhere every 2-3 months so my bathroom drawers get a mini clean-out often enough that they stay clean and organized.  If you don’t travel as often, just set a reminder on your phone to give certain drawers/spaces a quick clean out every 2-3 months!Organizing Tips (Sunny Side Up)(Organized Bathroom Drawers)
  • Whenever I’m on a long phone call I wipe out and straighten a junk drawer or small drawer in my kitchen.
  • I always place items my kids need to put upstairs in their rooms on our stairs and they know that means they need to take them up and put them away.
  • I involve my kids often and most afternoons we do a quick 15 minute clean-up of main rooms.  They have become good helpers because I have involved them in the cleaning since they were little.  They also know that their rooms need to be cleaned each day.  Before they can hang out with friends or play the xbox or anything like that I always ask “is your room and bathroom clean?”  They keep their rooms pretty picked up most of the time because they don’t want to have to do a major overhaul every night!
  • I have a routine for laundry.  (I’ll share more on that in a separate post!)
  • I have a main cleaning day once a week when all of the deep cleaning happens and every other week on that day I wash all of our sheets.
  • I put things away after I use them.  This seems so obvious but we don’t always do it!  It’s easier to just set something on a counter than to put it away where it goes.  But once you get used to always putting things away where they belong it becomes a habit and you don’t have to remind yourself as much.  (Same with reminding kids and spouses – do it enough and they will start putting things away just so they don’t have to hear you nagging reminding them!) ;)  I’m working on this in my closet this year.  Do you ever wonder why I haven’t shared that space?  It’s the one area I struggle to keep organized because I just can’t make myself consistently hang my clothes back up instead of laying them on the counter.. or the floor.. or anywhere but the hanger.  Ha. :)  #2019goals

So that’s it!  Get rid of things you don’t use or love.  Give everything an organized home.  Work hard to keep things clean by establishing habits that are part of your routine.  (I have something coming soon that will help us all with establishing good habits!)  Don’t strive for perfection – leave that for bloggers. ;) .. strive to have a home that is well organized and functional and full of only what you use and love.  A home that you can clean quickly after the daily messes.  That has always been my goal!  We live in our home and it can get messy, but if I suddenly found out people were coming over in 20 minutes (which happens all the time now that I have a teenager!) I love that our home can be whipped back into shape quickly without too much effort.

I hope that answers some questions, gives you some ideas and helps kick things off if you are working on home organization this year!  I have so many organizing projects on my list and can’t wait to get started!  2019 is going to be a good, well organized year for us all.. I just know it.


xoxo, Erin
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24 thoughts on “Organizing Thoughts and Tips for the New Year!

  1. Happy New Year, Erin! So happy to hear you have had a wonderful Winter Break and are excited for what comes next. We have one more day off and then it’s back to the races for us. Thank you for sharing these great reminders on how to keep things tidy. They are all practical and doable! Thanks also for reminding us that your house isn’t Pinterest/Instagram ready at all times. I love when you share the “behind the scenes, reality hits” photos. They emphasize that you are human like the rest of us. I wish you all the best and success this coming year. I hope you meet and exceed all your goals. And I look forward to reading about what you are up to as well. :)

    1. Happy New Year sweet Jeanne! I hope you’ve had a nice break too! A little rough when that alarm clock went off this morning but it’s nice to be back in a routine too. That’s what I’m telling myself today anyway.. ha. ;) I will definitely share more behind the scenes pics this year.. very human around here I assure you! Thanks for your sweet comment (for all of your sweet comments that brighten my day!) and enjoy your last day off! XO

  2. Great ideas Erin! With kids back to school and hubby back to work today, this post was the perfect way to start the New Year off with some good motivation :)

  3. What a lovely post!
    Sitting in my lounge, after cleaning and having everything ready for tomorrow.. this post is food for the soul. I love planning and organisation. Looking forward to your posts this year


    1. Thank you so much Chanelle! That means so much! January is such a fun month of planning and organization. I love that we both love that! :)

  4. I love having homes for every thing in our house. My goal this year is to finally get the pantry and linen closet changed from the wire shelves since we had our house built almost 7 years ago and to also organize my makeup drawer. I need to find some compartment boxes in the right sizes and I’m on the hunt.

  5. Happy New Year Erin and family. It’s a great post to start the year. Sounds like you had a wonderful Christmas and short break.
    I have been madly decluttering before I return to work and the children return to School. In AUS, our summer holiday is now so the children are home for six weeks. It has been a little crazy but we are getting somewhere. xo

    1. Thank you so much Shelley! I bet it feels so good to see progress! It’s always a little crazy when a lot of decluttering is going on.. things get worse before they get better. :) Enjoy the rest of your break and happy 2019! xo

  6. Perfect timing for this post on purging and organizing. I don’t struggle with organizing but my husband does. Once I realized that not all of us are blessed with the “organizing gene” (my husband), I just had to let his space (workroom) be his. But when he was away for six months on a work assignment, he was less than thrilled when came home and discovered my efforts to organize his workroom. I thought blue bins for plumbing, orange bins for electrical, and black bins for paint made perfect sense. I digress… :) … Now that I have entered retirement, it is time to purge clothes. I have a hard time purging clothes that are perfectly usable but while maybe not totally out of style, definitely not current trends. I appreciate your encouragement to focus on what is kept rather than what is given away. Thank you for your inspiring words!

    1. Thank you so much Beverlee! Your comment made me laugh.. my husband has a drawer in our kitchen that I’m not allowed to touch! He wants one spot that isn’t organized and labeled.. ha! :) Clothes can be hard. I really struggle with my kids’ clothes and have had to work on that one! With my clothes I always tell myself that if I didn’t wear it this Fall, I won’t want to wear it next Fall (same with all seasons..). :) Happy organizing and thanks for your sweet words! xo

  7. Your organisation posts are always my favorite I just love having everything clean and uncluttered!! Happy New Year and good luck with that closet!! ;) (I’m looking forward to hearing your laundry system that’s probably the area I’d never take photos of here!!!)

  8. Happy New Year Erin!

    I LOVE your small weekend trips idea! Great way to connect the family and get away from all of the distractions without spending a ton of money! Thanks for sharing that thought!

  9. Hi, Erin! I just discovered your IG and blog! Love it! How do you store your Christmas? By room? By item? I’m trying to get better this year and would love some ideas!

    1. Hi Lisa! Thank you so much! I store my Christmas stuff all together in an upstairs attic we have. I group similar items together! All the garland is together, all the trees, all the reindeer, etc. I’ll try to take a pic to share on my blog when I get it all organized. I’ve actually been cleaning out my attic this week! :)

  10. Hi Erin! I love all your posts—they are are truly so inspiring—but your organization posts are my FAVS!!! Please please please share about the laundry routine. I’m a new stay-at-home mom with 3 young kids and I have been trying to tweek the laundry routine for a year now. Either I’m doing laundry every day or I feel like I’ve fallen behind. I’ve picked up so many great tips from you, I just know your laundry routine will save me! Ha!
    Wishing you all the best for an amazing 2019!

    1. Oh no.. the pressure! Ha ha.. I don’t know if it will save you but I’m happy to share my routine! It’s just so hard to stay on top of with kids.. I feel your pain! I’ll definitely share some tips that have helped me soon. Thank you so much Maria! So sweet of you! :)

  11. Loving all the organization! We have lived in our home almost 4 years and last week for the first time I went through our kitchen cabinets and drawers. Moved things around and filled two boxes for donation and one bag of trash! Felt so good to clean it all out. On another note, this past year I saw your post about birthday card organization and bought the little box. Well today I finally made labels and filled the box. Only took me about 6 months but who’s counting? ;)

    Your pictures and home are beautiful! I bought our new living room rug on your recommendation and I love it!! Thank You! Julie

    1. I’m so happy to hear that Julie! All of it! The rug and the card organization box (hey.. better late than never right!?) ;) and YEA for cleaning out your kitchen! I know.. BEST feeling! Happy 2019 and thanks again for your sweet comment! xo

  12. I would LOVE to hear how you manage laundry! It’s where I fall down. Wash and dry ✅✅ but putting things away is my big fail. I’m usually rummaging through baskets and shaking creases out! 🙈

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