The new homeowner's guide to organizing

By Pepper Rodriguez
February 20, 2024

Clutter control is one aspect of buying a new home that doesn’t always come up frequently in conversation. But it’s a reality one immediately faces in a new home. It’s an important aspect in keeping your dream home from turning into a nightmare, and we have some expert advice from one of the best in the business to prepare us.

Clutter isn’t one of the biggest concerns when you take possession of a new home, but it can quickly overtake your life when it is allowed to accumulate. How many garages have you seen filled with clutter instead of cars? How quickly do spare bedrooms become no-space-to-spare rooms?

So, how to prevent clutter from happening in the first place? According to organizing guru, Megan Golightly, a mindful approach is the best way to prevent clutter.

“To prevent clutter, adopt a mindful approach to possessions by regularly assessing what you truly need and use. Implement systems like the one-in-one-out rule, where for every new item brought into your home, one item is donated or discarded,” she says. “Also, make use of organizational tools and storage solutions to ensure everything has a designated place.”

Megan, who is appearing at the Edmonton Home + Garden Show from March 21 to 24, says items should prove their worth before entering your home. “Clutter has a way of accumulating, so understanding what it is and how it forms is key.”
Megan Golightly is the driving force behind Simplified Inc. As the founder and CEO, she leads a team dedicated to empowering Edmontonians to declutter, organize, and embrace simplicity. Here are here tips to stay organized in your new home.

1. Any other organizing tips for someone moving into their first new-build home?
For someone moving into their first new-build home, my advice is to start slow and be intentional about what you bring into your space. Take the time to plan each room’s function and aesthetic before filling it with furniture and decorations. This proactive approach helps prevent clutter and ensures that your home reflects your personal style and meets your practical needs.

2. What should new homeowners organize first? Especially for first-time homeowners moving into a new-built home.
For new homeowners, especially first-timers in a new-build home, the priority should be organizing spaces that will immediately affect your daily routine, such as the bedroom, bathroom, and kitchen. These areas are essential for your day-to-day comfort and functionality, setting a foundation for a well-structured home life.

Keep in mind, the size of your home is set, and to truly love your space from the get-go, it’s key not to clutter it up. Honor the boundaries of what your home can hold, or you’ll find yourself in a constant battle of stress and fighting it. From the very first day, be mindful about what you allow to enter your space.

3. Why is organizing the household important?
Organizing your home is crucial not just for the aesthetic and functional benefits, but also for your mental well-being. A well-organized space reduces stress, saves time, and enhances your home’s overall energy. Equally important is decluttering; knowing and respecting your clutter threshold is vital. If you consistently exceed this limit, no house will ever feel big enough. An organized and decluttered home contributes to a more peaceful and productive environment, ensuring that your living space supports rather than hinders your daily life.

4. What types of organizers should they invest in?
Invest in versatile and scalable organizers that can adapt to changing needs, such as modular shelving units, drawer dividers, and clear storage bins. Choose quality over quantity to ensure longevity and choose organizers that complement the aesthetic of your home to maintain a cohesive look.

Keep in mind, the purpose of containers is to set boundaries, ensuring you don’t constantly keep adding. It’s more about making steady progress than achieving perfection, and in my view, functionality takes precedence over aesthetics. It doesn’t need to look flawless; just respect the dimensions of the designated container for each item and stay to its capacity.

5. What will you be talking about at the show?
At the show, I’ll be discussing strategies for maintaining a decluttered and organized home that supports mental health and enhances daily living. Topics will include practical decluttering tips, the psychology behind attachment to objects, and how to create functional, peaceful spaces within your home.

About Pepper Rodriguez

Pepper Rodriguez is a writer, editor of New Home + Condo Guide's Calgary and Edmonton editions.

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