A friend FaceTimed me the other day and man, she didn’t look quite right. “Hey there, you okay…?” I asked.

The dam broke.

“IT’S JUST ALL THE STUFF!” she wailed. She went on to describe what I know many of us are feeling right now—our homes just won’t stay tidy and it’s starting to make us feel downright crazy!

In my friend’s case, for example she’s running the dishwasher at least twice a day. The second she’s done putting all the dishes away, though, she turns around and there are a dozen newly dirtied cups in the sink from the kiddos. “It’s so frustrating” She said, “I just can’t keep up.” She sounded totally deflated.

The phenomenon is this; we’re all home more, we’re all putting a ton more miles inside our four walls and we’re starting to feel it BIG time. Our once lovely Pottery Barn-looking homes are starting to resemble more of the Ikea inspired college housing that you once shared with ten other people.

Adjusting to this weird time is tricky. I’ve worked with clients facing deep crises, a need for safety and security and mostly, a sense of order—a lot like now! What a perfect time to pass on a few tips to help you feel home in your home again.

Have one spot in the home that’s your “sane” zone. This would be a place you can go that is just for you, where you won’t be disrupted by anyone else. You can create that boundary and encourage other family members to do the same! (Kids love this activity.) Think creatively on this one. You’d be surprised by the spots I’ve seen people carve out for themselves. One of my favorites was a client who, with no trips to Home Depot OR The Container Store, renovated her small walk-in closet into a humble bohemian writing spot; relocating all of her clothing to a hallway closet, a dresser, an armoire and under the bed bins. It became her sanctuary and everyone in the house respected it.

Consider less organized systems than what you’re used to. This might sound counterintuitive but it works. Look around and see where there are setups that are perhaps “too” organized for your own good. I see this often with Tupperware and storage items! It’s often set up like a Jenga game, so much that no-one wants to touch it because it might then ALL come apart. The fix for this would be to, instead of having all your Tupperware neatly organized, have a Tupperware drawer and then just throw it all in there, free style. The idea here is, what is rigidly organized that could flex a little?

Out of sight, out of mind? One of the biggest contributors to clutter is the visual disorganization. Getting organized is a process with a lot of layers. One of the things that can help is to find containers that can hold a bunch of stuff while serving as a spot to also hold future organizing projects. For example, I love storage ottomans! I see parents throw toys and all kinds of end of the day stuff in there. Once their kids are tucked in to bed, they throw their feet up and relax. It’s a way to have excess visual clutter handled and ideally, it’s also a way to have a future organizing project ready to go.

Relieve crowded areas. Remember when you used to be able to go to the shopping mall and pick out clothes? Remember, also, how often racks of clothing would be so jam packed you could barely pry apart the items to see what they were? I. Hate. THAT. It’s so annoying and quite frankly, makes me want to just leave the dang store and not buy a thing.

With that in mind, take a peek around your home and see if you can find any area that is just simply way overcrowded. Are you shoving fifty pairs of shoes into your twenty-five-shoe-capacity shoe rack? Are there more wine glasses, shot glasses and champagne flutes than you would use…ever? Time to relieve some of these areas. Just be a little easy with yourself, start with a softball, and go for it.

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