Organizing for Beginners: Tips for Organizing Any Space

One of my favourite hobbies is to organize. A form of self-care I didn’t even realize that was always ingrained in me.

As a teenager I would always pick a small project in my room to declutter, clean, and sort. One week it was my stationary drawer, and the next it would be my gigantic jewelry box. If you’re a desi girl reading this, I’m sure you can relate to how chaotic our costume jewelry and bangles get during wedding season!

Ever since we moved into our house in 2020, I have been organizing (and re-organizing!) rooms, closets, drawers… pretty much anything that drives me bonkers to the point that I have to spend a weekend or two to rearrange so it becomes functional for us. For me, it’s less about the aesthetic or how it looks (although I love a good before/after reveal) and more about utilizing a space to it’s maximum potential.

Another big advantage to having an organized space is that you *almost* always know where everything is! This comes in super handy when my son asks me for a specific toy or when I need to prepare snacks for school every morning.

If you’re looking for organizing inspiration or simply don’t know where to start, here are my 7 tips for organizing any space.

Tips & Tricks for Organizing a Space

1. Pick one project to focus on

It can be really overwhelming to think about your entire house or condo and everything that needs to get done. The best way to get started on your organizing journey is to pick a space. It can be your medicine cabinet, spices cupboard, or a walk-in closet. This will help you narrow down and stay focused on that space until you are happy with it, and may save you money if you’re on a budget but need to get items for organizing (more on this later).

*Tip: Keep a spreadsheet or notebook handy with all the house-related projects you want to do. While you are working on a space, if another comes to mind or is bothering you, note it down so you can tackle it when you’ve completed this one!

2. Map out what you hope to achieve with the project

Some questions to ask yourself about the space you want to tackle (or consult with your partner on):

  • Is this a simple declutter because things got too messy?
  • Are you preparing for a new season or big milestone? 
  • Are you having a hard time finding things and need to rearrange and simplify?
  • What’s working for this space?
  • What isn’t working?
  • Are you looking to maximize space in the best way possible?
  • Are you hoping for it to be functional?
  • Does it need to look nice (i.e. will anyone see it except for you)?
  • Do you have a budget in mind (if any) for this space?

I often use this step to get inspired via Pinterest or Instagram. Some spaces require minimal work while others could be a total overhaul with new furniture such as shelves, containers, etc. It’s important to establish what you want to do and how much you’d like to spend on the project.

The amazing thing about social media is that you can literally search for anything! I have very specific Pinterest boards for projects like creating a command centre, organizing spices in a cupboard, interior car organizing gadgets, and more.

3. Take inventory of what you have

The BEST way to declutter and organize is to take everything out of the space you’re working on and take a good look at what you’ve got. You may find things that don’t belong there (cutlery in the bathroom) or items that no longer serve a purpose in your life (jeans you haven’t worn in 4 years).

4. Declutter

As I mentioned, those jeans you haven’t worn in 4 years? The dress you’re trying to lose weight to fit into? These things need to GO! Along with anything that may be rotten, expired, broken, belonged to an ex, etc. Declutter as much as you can or feel comfortable doing. This will help create space for what you actually need in your life right now.

Decluttering can be really hard or challenging for some, but also a therapeutic process for others. If you struggle with it, know that you are not alone and it may be helpful to talk to someone about it.

5. Group similar items together

Now, some people prefer to sort their items into similar groups before decluttering. For example, you may want to see how many pairs of shoes you have before deciding to throw out a couple of them. You might also declutter AGAIN after the initial purge. The two steps are interchangeable and the more you organize, the more you’ll find your groove and what works best for you.

Grouping similar items together will help you get an idea of how many piles you have that need to go into this space and what kind of storage solutions you may need (if any). All the blouses in one pile, pants in another; stack similar-sized bowls together; group all the headache/migraine type of medication together and bandages in a separate pile.

Remember that if there are items you temporarily don’t need, such as winter coats or snow boots, consider putting them aside and store them elsewhere if possible (in a bin in the garage, crawl space, or under the bed to name a few places).

6. Utilize bins, baskets, hangers, shelves or containers to organize

When it’s time to put your grouped items back in the space, I suggest using ‘tools’ to keep them organized so all your hard work doesn’t go to waste!

This is a great time to pull up your Pinterest inspo again to see what kind of look you want to go for. Clear plastic bins to be able to spot snacks easily, labeled spice jars in a rack to avoid confusion, little storage bins to separate undergarments (socks, bras, underwear) in your closet. The list goes on.

Whenever I’m organizing on a whim or need to sort a drawer quickly, I utilize what I already have. I will temporarily use bowls, random bins or baskets I’ve collected from Christmas gifts, or sometimes even clean + washed yogurt/food containers. A couple of reasons why this could be a good idea:

  • Great solution if you don’t want to spend $$$
  • Sustainable and environment-friendly
  • You get a feel for how this type of solution works for you (maybe you decide you hate the baskets and prefer if they were clear bins)

Once I am ready and able to afford an overhaul, I head to stores like Solutions, Walmart, or Homesense to find storage items that are more my style to replace the ones I had temporarily set up.

8. Schedule a date/time to do this again in the future

Remember that it’s all about progress, not perfection. Once you are happy with the space and how it functions, even if it’s not 100% IG-worthy stunning, I recommend having a schedule for yourself to go through these steps again and declutter, purge, sort, reorganize. It can be once a week, month, year… the cadence is really up to you (and depends on what the space is). This will help keep your space and home tidy, organized, and utilized in the best way possible.

Hope you enjoyed these tips as much as I enjoyed putting this post together. Let me know if you’d like me to share more tips for organizing your home and life! As I mentioned earlier, it’s easily one of my favourite hobbies and passions. 🙂