Organizing Mistakes To Avoid If You Want To See Results

Stacy Randall
by Stacy Randall
Credit: Shuttertock / Kostikova Natalia

Organizing your home usually comes with plenty of good intentions. But if you don’t approach it with the right mindset, those good intentions won’t mean much. Things will likely go back to how they were before if you only copy and paste what you see on TikTok or Pinterest. These platforms provide some excellent ideas, but the key is applying them within the framework of your life.

If you want your organizational efforts to work, you must consider how you live. Some tips will make sense for you, and others you’re better off skipping. Before you start organizing your house, make sure you know which mistakes to avoid if you want to stay organized.

How Does Organizing Make Life Better?

Maybe you’re not sure if you even want to organize your home. Perhaps you’re fine with things just as they are, with piles of paper sliding off the kitchen counters and clothes strewn across the bedroom floor. But there’s no denying that organization has its perks, including increased productivity, better time management, and an overall calmer living environment.

Plus, how your house functions directly correlates with how you go about your day. To put it simply, a cluttered and chaotic home usually translates to a hectic, frazzled life. But getting organized doesn’t mean you have to turn your house into an episode of The Home Edit (although they are fabulous).

Instead, concentrate on making things more efficient in your home, no matter how that may look for you. Organization is personal, which means what works for one TikTokker or YouTube influencer won’t work for everyone. Use these places as a source of inspiration, but familiarize yourself with these organizing mistakes to ensure a successful outcome.

Don’t Make These 7 Organizing Mistakes

Let reading this be your first step on your organizing journey. Knowing what not to do sets you up for success, so keep reading.

1. Shopping For Storage First

The Scenario:

It happens to the most well-intentioned organizers. You look around your cluttered home and decide it’s time to make some changes. You boldly set out for the nearest Container Store or start furiously scrolling through Amazon for storage solutions.

You load your cart with bins, baskets, cubbies, caddies, hooks, and every other type of organizer imaginable. After paying a ridiculous amount of money for all of these cute, clever containers, you head home feeling very accomplished.

But after you start shoving things into bins, you realize something isn’t right. You’re just moving things around and putting them in containers with no rhyme or reason. Then you realize the baskets you got don’t fit on your shelves or in your cabinets. You start wondering if you even want to bother storing some of this stuff. Ultimately, you created more clutter instead of making it better.

The Lesson: Don’t buy any storage solutions until the final stages of your home organization project. You need to know what you plan to keep and what you actually need to organize first. Furthermore, you want to devise a clear plan of how and where you want to keep and use items so you can choose the best types of storage.

2. Organizing Before Decluttering

The Scenario: You start sorting similar items to see what you have, then buy containers to fit everything. You stack the containers, slap a label on them, and wonder why you still don’t have room to breathe.

Somehow, you thought organizing all your belongings would magically give you more space. However, if you’re like most people, you have way more stuff than you need. The excessive inventory is likely what’s overwhelming you. Think about it. Who really has time to take care of three blenders, 500 books, and countless mismatched food containers?

The Lesson: Organizing and decluttering are two separate things that typically work together. Before you start organizing your belongings, it’s essential to assess what you have and make some decisions. We’re not deep-diving into how to declutter your home in this article, that’s a whole other topic. Just know that organizing is much easier and more successful when you do it after decluttering.

3. Copying Social Media

The Scenario: You see an amazing pin that showcases colorful pairs of shoes in clear acrylic boxes, stacked on shelves from floor to ceiling in a fresh, white closet. It draws your eye because it looks so calm, beautiful, and organized. You want that feeling when you look at your shoes. So, you count your shoes (wow, 50 pairs?!) and buy 50 acrylic shoe boxes.

You put a pair of shoes into each box, then realize your closet is a dingy beige. You buy white paint and give your closet walls and shelves a new look. Finally, you stack all of your shoe boxes and marvel at how much your closet now looks like the one you drooled over on Pinterest.

For a few days, things continue looking great. But then, reality comes back into play and you kick off your shoes in the entryway. You tell yourself you’ll put them back in their box later. The next thing you know, there are three pairs of shoes by your front door and three more pairs on your closet floor.

The Lesson: Most of the organized spaces you see on social media are carefully curated for photographs. The odds are good that it isn’t how the space actually functions in everyday life. Your goal shouldn’t be to make your house look like an Instagram photo.

4. Ignoring Your Lifestyle And Habits

The Scenario: Let’s keep using the shoe example from step three. You come home from work and kick off your shoes. But then you remember your new shoe boxes. You pick up your shoes, walk to your room down the hall, open a box, and put in the shoes.

Then you realize you still have your purse and keys, so you drop them on your dresser instead of by the front door. Later, you remember you’re out of pasta sauce and decide to run to the grocery real quick, but you can’t find your keys. You finally remember you put them on your dresser, but by now, it’s too late to make dinner so you order pizza.

After a few days, you get tired of putting your shoes away. Now you have a pile by your door and a few scattered on your bedroom floor. In addition, you also now have 50 acrylic shoe boxes that you don’t use taking up space in your closet.

The Lesson: Pay attention to your habits and lifestyle when you organize your home. The sign of good organization is that it makes your life easier and more efficient. Another sign that your plan works is that it persists over time.

If you kick off shoes as soon as you get home, a pretty basket or bin by the front door serves you better than fancy shoe containers. Before organizing, observe where various items seem to collect and let that guide you when you create your plan.

Keep your habits in mind when choosing storage solutions, too. For example, if you know you won’t take the time to open a container, select lidless options.

5. Not Involving Everyone In The Household

The Scenario: You create a perfectly organized space that works brilliantly for you. There’s a hook by the front door for your keys, a cute tray on the entry console for your sunglasses, and a drawer for on-the-go essentials like sunscreen, bug spray, and lint rollers.

When you come home from work that day, you start to hang your keys on the hook and realize you can’t because your spouse’s hat is in the way. The tray for sunglasses holds your partner’s keys and wallet.

Later, you open the drawer to get some sunscreen and it’s not there. You find it by the back door after searching for thirty minutes. Your kids left it there after using it before backyard playtime (hey, at least they remembered to put on sunscreen).

The Lesson: Everyone has different organizing habits and lifestyle habits. If you live with others, it’s important to involve everyone in the organizing process. Consider everyone’s habits and go through the new system together. Be prepared to tweak things during the first few weeks until you settle on a method that works well for everyone.

6. Underestimating Labels

The Scenario: You decide you don’t need to hassle with labels. Since you organized everything, you know where it all is. Everything goes smoothly the first few days, and then you find Band-aids in the medicine drawer. Your spouse did their best but wasn’t sure where they went.

You then realize you can’t remember where you put the batteries. You dig through three bins before you find them. Suddenly, your teenager is yelling from the other room, asking about where you hid their video games.

The Lesson: After all your efforts and time, don’t phone it in when it comes to the labels. It’s like slowing down when you’re 50 feet from the finish line after racing full-speed for five miles. Unless you use clear containers and can see the contents, labels provide a quick reminder about what’s inside a bin. Labels also make it easier for everyone to put things away.

7. Organizing Once

The Scenario: You devote a few weeks to organizing your entire house. You declutter, choose functional storage pieces, and create a space that works well for everyone in the home.

After a few months, clutter creeps back in inconspicuous chunks. A new pair of shoes here, a repurposed bookcase there, a rescued lamp from your mother, and your kid’s artwork have started to chip away at your organized space.

The Lesson: Organizing your home isn’t a one-time gig. It’s like a beautiful garden. You put in a lot of effort in the beginning, prepping the ground, planting seeds, adding mulch, and installing borders. Once you’re finished, your garden looks amazing, but you can’t forget about it.

You need to routinely weed it, water it, and tend to it to keep it looking its best. Otherwise, it becomes overgrown and you need to tear it out and start again. The same concept applies to an organized home. You put in most of the work the first time, but it takes routine maintenance and adjustments to keep it that way.

Learn From These Organizing Mistakes

Remember, don’t let your house stress you out. Your home needs to function well for the people living there, and a solid organizing plan is the key. Once you know what organizing mistakes to avoid, you can approach your project with more confidence.

The most important takeaway is that the primary influencers of your organizing plan are how you live and want your home to function. These things should guide all of your decisions regarding home organization.

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Stacy Randall
Stacy Randall

Stacy Randall is a wife, mother, and freelance writer from NOLA that has always had a love for DIY projects, home organization, and making spaces beautiful. Together with her husband, she has been spending the last several years lovingly renovating her grandparent's former home, making it their own and learning a lot about life along the way.

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