Remember that familiar phrase from The Wizard of Oz? It is also one of the most important keys to being organized.
Everything needs a home
Did you know that the average person spends a full year of their life looking for lost items in their home?!
“Where are my keys?” “Where is my umbrella?” “Where are the scissors?” For most of us, these questions are a constant part of life. What would you give to instantly know where things are? Luckily, we don’t need special powers, there is a very simple solution.
Find “homes” for things in your house
Sound too easy? Well, it is easy! All you have to do is assign a home for your things and let everyone in your household understands know where those homes are. Everything in your home needs a logical place or “home.”
Most of us have a sock drawer or a silverware drawer, right? The same applies for all of the other belongings in your house. Follow these general rules and you’ll look like a magician anytime you need find something.
Keep like things together
In the garage, set up separate homes for: paint supplies, garden supplies, automotive supplies, hardware and tools by type: hand tools, power tools, electrical supplies, fasteners, etc. Use containers to corral them together.
In the kitchen, arrange your cupboards so all of your baking supplies are in one place. Set aside a shelf for mixers and a drawer or shelf for measuring cups and utensils, mixing bowls, plastic spatulas, whisks, rolling pins, etc. Continue setting up separate homes for baking pans, cookware and cooking utensils, cutting boards, entertaining dishes, plastic containers, vases, serving pitchers, serving dishes, etc.
In the pantry, arrange your foods into categories by shelves: soups and canned goods, oils, condiments, cereal, pasta, rice, snack foods, beverages, etc. The more specific categories you can make, the better. Store your food in clear containers to make them organized and easy to locate. Take advantage of tiered shelving for canned goods and lazy Susan's to keep things like oils and condiments together.
Keep all of your gift wrapping supplies in one place and store all craft supplies in one location to save steps every time you need to do a project.
Designate a closet or cupboard for your laundry and cleaning supplies, paper products, etc. If possible, keep specific cleaning supplies in the room where you use them.
Use bins and containers in your drawers and cabinets
Make it easy to find items by grouping similar things together. Once you have separated the items into categories, you can determine what size containers you will need. Keeping supplies corralled in containers will keep them from drifting away and reduces the need to reorganize.
Continue this process in your home office, bedrooms, laundry room, etc. As you are sorting, consciously think about whether you use that item in that specific room. If not, it needs to be relocated to the place in which it is used. This saves time and unnecessary steps.
Don’t leave anything homeless!
Eliminate the junk drawer and find a better home for those items. Make specific categories for pens, pencils, paper clips, phone chargers, batteries, candles, lighters, etc. Use drawer dividers or small, inexpensive bins to hold smaller items.
Relax. You don’t have to tackle the whole house at once. As time allows, start with one drawer, one cupboard or one room. Once you have assigned new homes, take your family on a tour so they know where things "live." It really helps if everyone understands and plays by the same rules. Labeling drawers and cupboards makes it even easier, especially with children. For kids who haven't learned to read yet, print labels with colorful pictures that show what is stored in that area. Involve the rest of the family, so the new "homes" make logical sense to everyone.
If your house looks like it just went through a cyclone and landed in Oz, following the “homes” concept will soon have you skipping down the Yellow Brick Road and repeating, “There’s no place like home, there’s no place like home.” Especially when it’s organized!
 National Association of Professional Organizers